New to the forum and I need advice in the direction I should go.
I'm at a point in life where I want a great shooting custom rifle. I'm not rich and I know there not cheap so I have to put a limit of $3000. I could spend more but I'd be living alone in a trail down by the river.
My friend has a custom Montana Rifle and advises me to buy one like his.
I'd like advice for other custom rifle makers in my price range that are better. Just to weigh all my options. The gun would be use for deer and possibly elk.
I was thinking 7mm STW for caliber but was told that its not that popular a round anymore and shell may become a problem.
$3000 will give you lot's of options for a build.
Personally, I would talk with some of the site sponsors on getting your rifle built. They are all experienced LR shooters and know what works and what doesn't.
Allen Kirby, Shawn Carlock and Nate Dagley are all building some exceptional rifles with great track records.
I'd Rather Make a Slow Hit Than a Fast Miss!
To be honest, I would recommend looking hard at a custom receiver, even if it ment you passed on some other options which are more cosmetic then anything such as barrel fluting.
If you take a Rem 700 and fully machine it to get it ready for precision shooting, you will be within $100 to $300 of what a full custom receiver would cost you anyway and in the end, you would still have a Rem 700.
If it were me, I would look at the Borden Timberline Magnum receiver. For the money, its the best receiver out there I have used for a Rifle in this class and for anything up to a RUM chambering.
They are not cheap, around $1000 but again, in this case you certainly get what you pay for.
There are other options of course, the Stiller receivers are good choices at a bit less cost. Not as tight as the Borden but good receivers.
For a stock, I prefer McMillan or Manner stocks made of quality composite material. Figure $500-$600 for a sporter style stock of top quality. Again, there are cheaper options out there but you get your moneys worth with these stocks.
Barrel, take your pick of the top makers, Lilja, Hart, Krieger, Broughton, Rock and many others, they will all work great if installed properly. Figure around $600-$650 for a stainless barrel including installation with recoil lug.
So now you have receiver, stock, barrel and barrel fitting taken care of for $2200.
FOr accessaries, a Jewell trigger will set you back around $275 installed and tuned. Floorplate, mag box, follower, spring and receiver bolts will add another $200 or so. Pillar bedding of the stock will add another $150 and simple metal finishing will be around $70. Thats another $695 total for the accessaries.
That brings you to around $2950 for the complete rifle with the best of the best componants and assembly.
Muzzle brake would be extra($185 to $285 depending on make) and barrel fluting would also be extra at around $140 on average.
As far as chambering, there are so many to choose from its hard to say. If you were hunting elk mainly, I would lean toward a larger 30 cal or 338 magnum. Since you will be hunting deer mainly, I would recommend a 7mm with possibly the 30 cals as an options as well.
What size of case to use would depend on many things, how far you want to shoot mainly. If you will be hunting at conventional ranges, no need to get excessive. A 280 AI, 7mm WSM, 7mm Rem Mag will all serve you very well. So will a 300 WSM or 300 Win Mag.
If you want to get into long range shooting, Then the STW and RUM class chamberings will have more worth. Just need more information from you on how you will be hunting and how far you want to be able to reach out.
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
If you have a Rem 700 action trued, you will never get your money out of it if you sell it. By spending nearly the identical $$'s, you'll have a custom action that has the exact same footprint as the Rem700, it will take all the same aftermarket parts etc. And you will always have a custom (high quality) action to work with. By having a Rem trued, you are simply spending the extra money it would take to upgrade to a custom action.
The smiths on this site are awesome, I've seen/discussed a lot of their work. I've personally had Kirby Allen and Shawn Carlock perform work for me and am 100% satisfied with both of them.
If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.
My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives
Find a gunsmith that has a good reputation and happily pay the premium that he will charge. I would skimp on everything else before I skimped on the smith.
Agreed. Look for a gunsmith with a good reputation for consistently getting the work done properly the first time around. Problems that have to be fixed after-the-fact are more expensive and often result in lesser quality or some type of compromise than getting it done properly in the first place. AJ has identified three smiths that post frequently on this Forum. Based on the feedback I've read, and some personal experience, they will either do it the right way or they won't do it at all.