An average male ruby-throated hummingbird weighs just a bit more than the bullet of a .22 rimfire magnum. These little hummers have been buzzing around ATOTT headquarters, tanking up on juice at the feeder and getting fattened up for their migratory journey to Mexico. Late summer hummingbird weather usually provides some good days for shooting, and I recently headed to the range with a rifle that throws a bullet weighing about five times as much as the average male hummingbird.
The Remington Model 788 appeared in 1967, and folks were surprised to see a couple of rimmed cartridges in the list of offerings, the .30-30 Winchester and .44 Remington Magnum. The .44 Mag is one of our classic and most useful cartridges, mainly in revolvers, but it was not unknown in rifles, and a bolt action
was definitely an attention getter. The promise of the rifle was an increase of several hundred feet per second in muzzle velocity, putting it even more solidly in the category of effective rifles for deer, hogs, etc. The edition I took to the range on hummingbird day has a 22” barrel with an excellent bore, a straight-grain walnut stock, a crisp trigger, and a good scope of moderate power. It is a compact package with a big hole in the muzzle and the promise of accuracy based on the strength and rigidity of the Model 788 action. The action seemed to be well supported in the wood so no accuracy tuning was attempted prior to this trip to the range.
The picture shows a three-shot group fired at fifty yards with Magtech 240-grain ammo that I used for sighting in with the Burris Compact 2-7X scope. This group, measuring .41”, was the best of the day, but there were others that indicated a
potential for very good accuracy and an overall, anticipated performance level of around 1.5 Minute-of-Angle with 240-grain ammo.
Getting a .44-caliber cloverleaf on your target is a great mood enhancer with pistol or rifle, and I recommend the quest for such results. The Burris Compact scope would be just about right for hunting at appropriate ranges for this rifle, and the 7X setting is fine for ammo testing and target shooting, as this scope has a very sharp image.
The accuracy potential of this 788 .44 Mag is going to motivate a lot more ammo testing, with velocity comparisons, group shooting, and perhaps some accuracy tuning. As always, you will eventually see the results reported here in detail.