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I just recently received my Grandfather's 721 in .300 H&H. Pure guesswork as to its date of mfg. I'm thinking 1952. But what I am most interested in is how safe is it? Looking online you read all kinds of horror stories about older 721s, and some very positive ones. Does anyone know what the issues are, if it can/needs to be fixed? Is it safe to carry in the field with a round in the chamber assuming safe gun practices are adhered to, or should it be carried with chamber empty? I've read that it can fire when opening the bolt is this true? I am an FFL and this is the first 721 I've ever owned, I'd love to use it just to say I dispatched one animal with it. If it is a safe gun, I'll use it more frequently. Thank you for any help in this matter.
There is no way of knowing the history of this rifle in regards to maintenance, work performed or alterations. A gunsmith should be able to make the determinations you need. I would also contact the factory to inquire if there are outstanding factory modifications that are needed, they will probably want both the Model and Serial numbers.