From what I read above, I think you talked yourself out of the custom route.
To some of us the name of the game is thrill and dream of the hunt and the taking of game. This would be the other side of hefting a heavy weight (12 lbs or better) over the mountains.
What you have would seem to do the job accuracy wise. Don't know the cal.
I'd recommend tuning it a bit to satisfy the 'craving' then wear it out, then send it off. That's what I did and I've never been happier. Now I drag the big girl to the 'spot' and spend the day. Life is good.
BTW, I have about 1750 in mine for the whole nine yards (except glass). That's not quite 10X of what I spent for the wife's ring (holy good scrud! 38 years ago) The second best investment I've made. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
<font color="blue">I must confess to being a fan of ‘full-custom’ rifles, believing (incorrectly) that was the only way to achieve awesome accuracy…
At the insistence of an incredibly good & wise friend, and equally superb gunsmith, I recently purchased a Remington 700 SVS Varmint .243 Win – for the incredibly cheap price of $425, brand new.
Completely free-floated the barrel (it’s a plastic stock mind you that is NOT bedded), adjusted the trigger to about 2 lbs, mounted a Leupold Mark 4 PR 4.5-14x40 scope, and worked-up a load consisting of Berger 105g VLD’s that shot the best group I ever shot on 8 March 07 at Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix…
.142” @ 100-yards… no BS. The gentleman shooting next to me actually shook my hand and congratulated me.
Furthermore, it will shoot Berger 80g match bullets into .440” which is more than enough for assassinating prairie dogs and coyotes.
Needless to say I am very happy with the rifle.
Simply put – no more expensive rifles for me. I have a Surgeon Action that will be shipped to me this week (or I will forfeit the $300 deposit, which ain’t gonna happen) and sorry to say but I will be selling it the moment I get it, because I am not investing hoards of money into a rifle when I can get the accuracy I got out of a very inexpensive factory rifle…
My suggestion is save the money and invest it into quality reloading gear and work-up a load that your rifle loves and you will never be happier.
"Is custom worth it?" NOT IF YOU DONT HAVE THE MONEY!!!
What good is the custom gun with out the range finder?
1MOA will kill most game out to 600-800 if you know exactly how far they are!! even a custom is useless with out a range! If I'm understanding your delema, your thinking custom VS rangefinder go with the range finder.
Then shoot the crap out of what you have, learn it inside and out, when you know what it will do then you will know if you need to get closer.
The thing thats put every Tom, Dick and Coues7 into long range shooting is being able to know the range at a resonable cost, you just can't guess at 500 on out it don't work!!!
It just sounds to me like you can spot game, you know where they are, you just want to connect! Are you taking shots and missing?? how do you ajust for range?? how do you know your range?? What kind of up/down hill is involved??
Me thinks you need more range time not a custom!!
For an off the rack rifle, there are things that are VERY responsible for inaccuracy and there are things that are just "Tweeks" - and some of the "Tweeks" are expensive and add little or NOTHING to the performance of a field hunting rifle, and are best left to the BR shooter, or to vanity.
The SPS stock is a real dog-a-roo, so first, I would change that to a solid based stock, and glass the action with steel bed or one of the other better bedding compounds. The McMillen stock would be an excellent choice.
trued action and bolt - FORGET IT - this is benchrest stuff, and you're not building a BR rifle. You will not see any improvement in a field/hunting rifle.
new barrel with brake - Wait 'til last on this - the barrel you have may be just fine, and your 1" groups are probably due to the junk stock and non-existent bedding.
bolt handle mod - Why???
McMillan HTG stock = A VERY GOOD MOVE. Do this first, and get it bedded, before you do anything else. Then shoot the rifle and see where you are. Pillars won't add anything to the accuracy of the overall package.
new recoil lug - PASS on this. There is nothing wrong with the recoil lug you have - I have been working on Rem 700 actions since they were called 721s, and 722s... and I have never seen a recoil lug fail, bend, or cause a secondary problem - this is vanity stuff, and will add to the cost for no benefit.
I could keep the factory action, bolt and barrel and just get a new recoil lug, new HTG stock and have it pillar and glass bedded for approximately $1000
OR... you could just restock it, epoxy bed it, do a TRIGGER ADJUSTMENT, for a lot less.
I guaree-damn-tee you that the existing barreled action will be more than fine when the action is properly stocked and bedded.
And then, go and buy a Swaro range finder, and have money left over.
You can have a "custom" gun off the rack. At Sportsmans I got a .257Wby MK5 Utra Lightweight with B&C Medalist stock ( aluminum bedding block), fluted Krieger barrel, and adjustable trigger. Just over 6#s and prints cloverleaves. You can replace your junk stock with the B&C for a lot less than the Mcmillan and buy that range finder cause you going to need it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
Arizona Antelope Foundation
Arizona Wildlife Foundation
Damn, these guys are sharing some excellent info. Here goes mine.
Buy the rangefinder and some steel targets (even one from www.lvsteeltargets.com) and as much ammo (or components) as you can afford and then - find the time to shoot. Tuneup the rifle as you can afford to but that is not as important as pulling the trigger. Tweeking gear is fun but we make hits from becoming confident marksmen. We need to learn the basics of marksmanship, how to shoot in wind, how to shoot in various field positions, how to get a shot away as quickly as possible with accuracy and to fire a followup if needed. We need to find a partner and become a hunting team, as in shooter-spotter. We need to practice in the crappiest wind and weather, not in blue-bird skies. We need to learn from our misses - only one way to do that - keep notes on virtually every shot fired. That is what data books are for. We don't need to worry about whether a 7mm mag is a better long range rifle than a .308. I have seen competent .308 shooters beat the pants off of guys with big expensive magnums for one reason - they practice a lot.
Good luck with your decisions. You are at the right place to get advice to shoot longer distances.