Obscure Object of Desire: Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster Rifle

Obscure Object of Desire: Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster Rifle


I get a sure degree of ache once I see a cool previous rifle get “modernized,” whether or not it’s historic or not. Even, on this case, the try at modernization units me off.

The solely excellent news in doing that’s that it destroys the gun’s worth and permits me to scoop it up for subsequent to nothing. We are trying right here at a bubba’ed Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster. This rifle’s tragic story was that it had been handed all the way down to a grandson who promptly spray-painted it black and hydro dipped the unique picket furnishings.

Thankfully, he didn’t go all tacticool with MARPAT or Multicam. The grandson then determined to hawk it, hoping to get about $200 above typical worth as a result of the gun had been, er, “upgraded.”

Woo boy. It sat on consignment eternally, dropping in worth sometimes. I gave my card to the proprietor of the gun retailer and wrote a proposal on the again. An hour later, the supply was accepted, and that I owned a Woodsmaster for about $150.

This mannequin is a .300 Savage, which is a dandy spherical that outclasses the .30 Remington and .30-30 cartridges. It performs virtually in addition to the .30-06, and in an autoloading gun like this, the motion stays brief and manageable. My grandfather nonetheless hunts with a .300 Savage rifle and luggage deer with it on an annual foundation. 

The Woodsmaster’s Origins

This Model 81 Woodsmaster relies on the older Model 8 however was up to date with some beauty modifications and two new calibers. The Model 81 and Model eight had been produced in a wide range of grades, and mine seems to be the usual sporting mannequin. A working man’s variant.

These are semi-automatic rifles designed by the grasp, John Moses Browning. The Model eight was one of many first profitable semi-automatic rifles and noticed use principally by hunters. The rifle contains a five-round integral magazine and is loaded by means of the highest of the gun. 

Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster

The bolt locks to the rear (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Some Woodsmasters discovered their manner into the hands of law enforcement officials with removable magazines, and notably, Frank Hamer had some love for the rifle. His was a .35 Remington mannequin with a 15 spherical journal, and he famously used the rifle within the Bonnie and Clyde ambush.

The Model eight and later Model 81 had been most actually some early examples of what would change into the fashionable preventing rifle. A number of of them had been even utilized by French Forces in World War 1. 

Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster

The sights are rudimentary, however efficient (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I knew little or no in regards to the Model 81 Woodsmaster or the Model eight prior to buying this gun. I knew about its FBI utilization and the Frank Hamer angle, and that was about it. Along the way in which, I found the gun has an interesting operation system. The Model 81 makes use of lengthy recoil operation, a system extra widespread in shotguns than rifles. You can see the identical humpback receiver design we see within the A5 series

John Browning Does it Again

When the rifle I purchased fires, the barrel, and bolt transfer collectively contained in the receiver in opposition to a pair of recoil springs. The bolt stays rearward because the barrel is then returned ahead by one of many two recoil springs. As the barrel maneuvers ahead, the spent cartridge is then extracted and ejected. Once the barrel is locked again in place, the bolt is returned ahead by the second spring, which picks up the subsequent spherical and chambers it. 

Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster

Why bubba why (Travis Pike for TTAG)

It’s completely different, however it works. It additionally makes for a heavy gun at round eight kilos with none equipment. The barrel is encased with a shroud to guard it and guarantee dependable operation. The sights are mounted to this shroud and are old-fashioned open sights. My appears as if it was drilled and tapped for some form of scope mount. Unfortunately, the scope mount wasn’t included. The prime of the receiver is open to permit ejection, so a side-mounted scope is a necessity. 

The gun has an enormous charging deal with that’s a powerful function for the previous gun. It’s the dimensions each semi-auto shotgun ought to put on. The security could be very AK-like and ol’ Mikhail Kalashnikov was actually influenced by this design. Another spectacular function for such an early semi-auto rifle is the final spherical bolt maintain open. To ship the bolt residence, it’s a must to depress the follower and pull the bolt barely to the rear. 

Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster

The Safety positive appears acquainted. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Model eight and 81 collection rifles are additionally takedown designs, permitting you to take away the barrel from the receiver for a extra compact bundle. The wood furnishings is properly textured and makes me develop to hate hydro-dipping bubbas hydro an increasing number of each time I have a look at it. 

Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster

The Checkered hand guard is sweet (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Model 81 Woodsmaster is an enormous, heavy rifle, and between the gun’s weight and its operation, the gun eats the recoil from .300 Savage rounds with ease. It’s fairly snug to fireside, and .300 Savage ammunition continues to be simple sufficient to seek out. High-end looking rounds can be found for a couple of buck to a buck fifty a spherical, and it doesn’t seem to be FMJs are too widespread. This received’t be a gun I shoot typically, however once I do, I’ll take pleasure in it. 

An American Classic

Even although this traditional had an unsightly facelift, she’s nonetheless a sweetheart. I evenly oiled the gun and it ran like a clock for sixty rounds of ammo. I do know that’s not much of a take a look at, however ammo is pricey, and that I don’t have to depend on this gun for residence protection, so I’m not involved with a 500-round reliability take a look at.

The sights are simplistic, however they perform simply nice inside the hundred yards i’ve at my residence vary. I plan to make this a deer rifle this season. 

Remington Model 81 Woodsmaster

Gotta ditch this dip job (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I like mission weapons, and this can be one such mission. I plan to try to take away that hydro dipping from the wood, and that I’d wish to protect the wood as nicely if attainable. If anybody has tips about easy methods to take away hydro dipping with out destroying the wood, please go away them within the feedback.  I’d admire the recommendation.

I additionally have to take away the spray paint, which I plan to do rigorously. My gun can be lacking the unique buttpad, so it wears an previous Pachmayr slip-on recoil pad. Hopefully I can discover a kind of bouncing round. 

This is a candy gun. Sure it’s an outdated design, however is a unbelievable piece of historical past that’s enjoyable to shoot. Especially for $150. The recoil operation is fascinating and strong, and something John Browning designed is okay with me. 



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