JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The popular Remington Model 700 rifle has a manufacturing defect that can cause it to fire without the trigger being pulled, experts told CBS’s “60 Minutes” during a Sunday broadcast.
Some owners of the iconic bolt-action rifle report that it can fire rounds on its own when the safety is off.
Thousands of owners have complained that the Remington 700 has gone off even though they did not pull the trigger, a class action lawsuit in federal court in Missouri alleges.
The attorneys general from 10 states wrote the judge, claiming “there are potentially as many as 7.5 million defective rifles at issue.” Additionally, the letter says, “Remington knows or should know … they are unreasonably dangerous.”
At least two people have been killed by potentially defective Remington 700s, “60 Minutes” reported. In 2011, 16-year-old Jasmine Thar died instantly when a round from a Model 700 hit her in her grandmother’s yard in Chadbourn, N.C.
The rifle’s owner, ex-Marine and experienced hunter James Anthony Blackwell, testified under oath that the gun went off on its own. He was across the street.
“Do you, Anthony Blackwell, believe that you pulled the trigger?” he was asked.
“Do you think you touched it in any way?” he was asked.
Blackwell was not charged or convicted.
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But in another state, 15-year-old Zac Stringer of Enon, Miss., was convicted after he was holding a Remington 700 that fired and killed his brother, Justin. Stringer is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his brother’s murder, but his father, Roger Stringer, believes he is innocent. The dad testified against his son at the trial but changed his mind about the murder when he learned more about the rifle.
Zac Stringer said he only was trying to scare his brother.
“And I started to stand up off of the couch and when I — when I bent at the waist and started up, I heard a click,” Zac Stringer said during the broadcast. “And it went off. And I remember the fire leaping from the barrel. I remember seeing it hit. It was — half his head was gone.”
Roger Stringer did not know that Remington had gotten 200 complaints about Model 700s going off on their own. The alleged defect relates to a trigger mechanism, the X-Mark Pro.
The father now blames Remington for the death.
“I’d never heard of a gun going off without a trigger being pulled. It made no sense,” he said, explain why he testified against his son.
The controversy is not new. In 1994, attorney Roger Chaffin won $17 million in a lawsuit against Remington. He filed the suit on behalf of a man whose foot was hit by a round from the rifle. That rifle had a different trigger, the Walker.
Remington has received nearly 2,000 complaints about the Model 700 in the past four years.
What do you think? Have you ever witnessed a Remington 700 firing without pulling the trigger? Share your thoughts on the controversy in the section below: