Have it done and never look BACK! Or better yet have the Badger Ordnance extractor installed instead of the Sako. The pros of having these mods? They are much less likely to fail at the worst possible moment.
Two of the weak points on the mod 700 are the poorly designed safety and the absurdly anemic extractor. Over the years I have had 3 broken extractors and 1 failed safety on the highly lauded Rem 700 action.
The cons of having the mods? The expense, but well worth it! Partial opening of the bolt face...maybe a con to Rem's legal department.
I personally would NEVER EVER take a Rem Model 700 on a remote, expensive, once in a lifetime hunt with the stock extractor in place! Unless of course I had a good back-up rifle along for the ride and I'm not going to get too far from a smith until this mod is done. Nada! No way! This anemic extractor problem I think is also exacerbated with the use of potent reloads.
Furthermore, because of the extractor and it being the weak link that it is I do not consider the the stock Rem 700 action duty reliable until the extractor has been modified!!!
That's a mighty strong opinion. Here'a my take on Sako extractors:
I have owned MANY Rem 700 rifles in one configuration or another, including model 40X's and model 7's. Several of these rifles still have the factory Rem extractors and have never experienced a problem despite some pretty high volume shooting.
Several other rifles had the extractors replaced with Sako (style) extractors because my smith all but insisted on doing it. One of my Sako extractors would eject itself whnever a light fireforming load was used. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] Other than that, it worked fine. All of my other Sako extractors worked flawlessly.
As to the down side of Sako extractors - Your smith has to put a noticeable cut into the bolt nose/ring which doesn't aid in strength. Just my 2 cents.
As I stated in my post, I based my opinions on my personal experience with various models of the Rem mod 700 that I have owned and of those I have handled. A gunsmith friend of mine that works at a local gunshop tells me that repairing broken extractors on the Rem mod 700 is the number one repair order for that firearm.
While in NM several years ago at the beginning of an elk adventure one of my hunting compadres uncases his Rem 700 BDL 7mm mag to test fire and check the zero at the outfitters range. On the third round fired the extractor broke. If memory serves this rifle had less than 100 rounds down the tube. My friend finished his hunt with my back-up model 70.
On another model 700 I had the extractor break on the 16th round fired! Take a good look at the extractor and compare it to almost any other commercial centerfire action on the market i.e., Howa, Weatherby, Savage, Ruger, and Winchester and then look at the Remington and tell me it's not puny by comparison! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!
I wouldn't bet my life on dangerous game with the stock Rem 700 push feed action and extractor! Does anybody? Yeah, I know that some will and do. On an entirely different subject........ever notice that a lot of those heavy banging model 700s have their magazine floorplate duct taped? Oops, don't let the lion have me for dinner before I pick up my dumped rounds off the ground!!!
VH, you mentioned your smith INSISTED on installing a Sako extractor...I would be curious as to why HE felt so strongly about this modification.........as do many other smiths. It is a very popular and I feel an ultimately worthwhile upgrade modification! Money well spent indeed! Better money spent would be to go with the Badger Ordnance extractor at about twice the cost.
Do you remember the recall on the Rem mod 700 safety years back?
The Rem factory extractor and the Sako extractor are only as good as the smith installing them.
I used to give my customers an option if they wanted to retain the factory extractor or have me fit a Sako style extractor which I recommended. In all this time, I have only witness two Rem factory extractor fail. Unfortunately these two were two of my customers, one was hunting in alaska, the other was a comp shooter during an offical match.
Luckily the hunter out the bullet on the moose on the first shot well enough to kill the bull quickly because his rifle was done until they got back to camp.
The comp shooter on the other hand was SOL for that round of score.
I got a phone call from both after this happened and got a rather lively arus chewing even though I had recommended the Sako extractor upgrade. Both of them told me of horror stories about Sako extractor flying out of rifles and such and said they were not for them.
Well, after those two instances, which were very rare to be honest, I changed my policy that any Rem 700 receiver I accurized would get fitted with a Sako extractor just as part of the accurizing package.
If someone came back with the "flying out of the rifle" complaint which I have never seen without a severe case head failure or pierced primer pocket, then I will simply machine the bolt for a Badger Ord pinned in M-16 style extractor which simply will not come out.
Simply put, even though it is rare to see a Rem 700 extractor fail, it happens. And I do not like getting my arus chewed by a customer and do not put my faith in Remington anymore!!!
If a Sako extractor is fitted tight and properly, it will not fail you. If you load hot enough to pierce primers or use questionable cases where case head failure can occur or load hot enough for case head failure to occur, having a Sako extractor fly out of the rifle is the least of your worries or problems.
Just my policy and opinion.
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
I have replaced a number of the magnum rivited remington extractors thatr broke at the rivit hole. I have seen Sako extractors with ejection problems and ones that would pop out easly, but this is due in every case I have seen to improper installation. I would Sako or M16 extractor it and never look back.