Hey guys, new member to the site though I have been reading for several years.
I wanted some feedback on a custom rifle
build I was about to get started on. I have been an avid big game hunter for about 20 years, mostly archery and rifle out to 300 yards, (where I can hold over instead of dialing a scope). A lot of moose, black bear, elk and deer. I was a typical MPBR rifle hunter, 20 rounds a year to site in my rifle in the fall, then hunting season, then clean the rifle and store it for 8 months.
That kind of changed four years ago as I sat at 650 yards watching the largest bear I had ever seen feed for an hour, and had no way of getting closer due to the terrain, so I didn't try the shot as it was way out of my comfort zone. I started looking into what it would take to shoot 650, and four years later I find myself turned into a bit of a shooting nut. I started reloading, went from 2 rifles to 13 (love new toys), and now shoot an average of 250 rounds a month. I have also upgraded most of my hunting gear over the last three years, and have the ever increasing gadget pile on my reloading bench.
The longer range shooting has been coming along, but is a tough challenge I am methodically getting better at. I spent two years to get reliably sub MOA at 200, and I am currently shooting the gong at 400 at our DIY range in the mountains, and 300 prone at the local range, (longest lane they have). I moved my max range for hunting out to 400 yards 2 seasons ago, doesn't sound like much but it was a lot of work and I am very conscious of ethical killing. The longest hunting shot I have tried was a black bear at 369 yards the year before last, took him with a double lung.
I was shooting stock rifles, trying out different manufacturers for accuracy and personality so I have a lot of different makes. I happened across a fairly inexpensive .223 Varmit gun, 1500 Howa with a 24" heavy barrel on a Knoxx Axiom stock, and a Monarch 5-20x44, (I added a Timney trigger). Strange looking creature that I really enjoy shooting, though with the 1/12 twist it doesn't like anything over 55 grains, but with a 52 grain Berger I have got it dialed into .75" @ 200 yards from the bench.
That rifle really got me interested in heavy barrels, so about a year after I bought it I jumped of the ledge and bought my first custom rifle
, (lightly used), a 30-378 Wby Mag, 28" Douglas premium barrel, Timney trigger, Mcmillan Stock, pillar bedded, Vortex 6.5-21X50, and BBK-2 Mauser Magnum action.
It was a long haul getting a pet load for that one, and some serious upgrades to my reloading bench, both gadgets and learning new techniques, but I have it shooting 0.6" at 100, and 2" at 300 with a berger 185 grain, gong to try the 210 grain next. Still have some work to do but I am absolutely addicted to shooting this rifle. A lot of recoil as I don't have a break on it, but it is a 13 lbs rifle so I am getting used to it. It really makes you work on technique, but I think if you can shoot that thing well anything else feels like a .22.
It has ruined me for stock rifles, so I have decided to do my first custom build. I am thinking low recoil, but I need something with a little more punch and a better BC than the .223. Since I really enjoy my .223 varmit gun I was planning on starting with the Knoxx Axiom stock again, which limits me to Howa 1500/Wby Vanguard, or Remington 700 actions.
I am thinking .308 for the caliber, mainly for recoil and the fact I don't have a .308 so it is a new cartridge to play with. Since I have a Howa 1500 already I am thinking a Remington 700 for the donor action, and I am looking for one now.
I need to figure out the trigger and barrel, optics will probably be Vortex or Sightron, I really like those two for the price. Scope rail I am thinking custom, I am having one made by Murphy Precision now for my 30-378, and I will see how they do for the next one.
I like Timney triggers and I have a couple, but I have also been reading about Jewel and Shilen if I want to go up or down in cost, any other obvious high quality ones I should look into.
Barrel I am struggling with as I only have experience with 1 custom barrel, the Douglas on my 30-378. I want to have the action blue printed and barrel installed by the manufacturer so I am a little limited, but I have looked at Heart, Pac Nor, and Douglas. All seem to be pretty popular and in the same ballpark price wise.
I am also thinking 24" as I am not sure I will gain much in .308 with going longer, and it is a lot easier to hump a rifle up the mountain with a 24" barrel for a little LR Coyote hunting
. The Knox Stock already make sit a little unwieldy as it is.
I was hoping to get some feedback on my plan for the stock, action and caliber, as well as some suggestions on potential barrels and triggers that I am not looking at yet.