The manufacturer of the world’s most popular hunting rifle has been wrestling for decades with a critical safety issue, and at least twice considered a nationwide recall of the gun, according to corporate insiders and internal documents revealed in a ten-month CNBC investigation.

But the Remington Arms Company has never alerted the public to the internal concerns, and insists the gun is free of defects, despite thousands of customer complaints.

The controversy over the 700 is explored in a CNBC Original documentary, “Remington Under Fire: A CNBC Investigation,” premiering Wednesday, October 20 at 9pm ET/PT.

The Remington Model 700-series rifle—with more than five million sold—is famous for its accuracy and smooth trigger. In addition to being popular with hunters and target shooters, a version of the 700 is also widely used by law enforcement and military snipers.

“The Model 700 is the most popular, reliable, accurate and trusted bolt-action rifle in the world, with over five million rifles produced and billions of rounds fired over nearly five decades,” Remington says in a statement to CNBC.

But the customer complaints, and more than 75 lawsuits, have alleged the 700 is susceptible to firing without the trigger being pulled. At least two dozen deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to accidental discharges involving the 700’s trigger mechanism.

They include the death in 2000 of nine-year-old Gus Barber of Manhattan, Montana, who was killed on a family hunting trip when his mother’s Remington 700 went off as she was unloading it. Barbara Barber has said she is certain her hand was nowhere near the trigger. Her husband Rich Barber, who witnessed the accident, learned within days about similar reported incidents involving the 700.

Source: Scott Cohn for CNBC.

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