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Noob question on rifle quality

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Unread 03-23-2013, 07:50 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 447
Noob question on rifle quality

So I am a noob to LRH - actually haven't gotten into it yet but spending more time at the range during spring and summer months to relax and have fun...as the kids get older those peaceful escapes are more helpful than ever.

But to get back on subject....I have never really taken any big game past 300 yds. Other than consistent accuracy, what it something like a Cooper or on the more extreme end, a full custom rifle going to get me? I.e. if I take game at 300 yds and in, is a std off the shelf rifle, with maybe a trued up action and possibly rebarreled, going to get me that a full custom won't? I do realize that an off the shelf rifle with trued action and new barrel is probably approaching a basic Cooper.

It seems like to me that while the custom quality will be higher and can be appreciated by those with a higher skill set than I possess, it may throwing money away from a purely functionally standpoint. Now I appreciate fine quality much more now, as I have gotten older and have a little more $$ to spend on things that I appreciate...my nice over under will not kill birds and deader than my 20 ga pump that I have had for 30 yrs, but it is beautiful and a joy to take in the field.

So, long way of asking whether the custom quality is something I will notice from a performance perspective at < 300 yds, or whether it is more an appreciation of a quality rifle that I can expect for the additional $$?
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Unread 03-23-2013, 08:20 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: Noob question on rifle quality

You are correct that a basic Cooper will be close to the same price as an off the shelf rifle that is customized with new custom barrel and stock. Coopers are great shooting rifles with custom quality and accuracy. A 6.5x284 Cooper is on my bucket list.

Some advantages of going the custom build route is a greater selection of custom barrels options, lengths, twists, contours, fluting, etc and a great selection of quality after market stocks and maybe bottom metal.

My top choices for factory rifle actions to build from are the M70 and Howa/Vanguard. I look for good price on used rifles as doners.
- Mark

You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it.
~ John Quincy Adams
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Unread 03-23-2013, 08:44 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,474
Re: Noob question on rifle quality

You're right, for 300 and closer, a factory rifle that shoots sub MOA is fine. You make a factory rifle better by doing some basic 'accurizing' - tune trigger, lap lugs, recrown barrel, bed action into decent stock. My nephew's rifle is a perfect example:

Nephew's Transformed Rifle!

His rifle shoots .25moa these days and is capable of killing deer out to around 800.

The thing you do not want to go cheap on is optics. Put the best appropriate optic on the rifle you can afford. Optics is definitely a place where quality is a definite issue.
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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Unread 03-23-2013, 09:30 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Near Napoleon,MI
Posts: 1,192
Re: Noob question on rifle quality

Oregonian, consider the typical process the usual "souped up" custom rifle goes through: (I'm assuming a current modern rifle, will not even speak for old Mauser actions)

Acquire "donor rifle"
Completely disassemble the "donor". If possible, sell off stock, trigger maybe take off barrel.
What you are left with is the basic action. This is then "accurized" for between $250 and $500 (lap bolt lugs, square receiver face and cut breech thread square to receiver and concentric with bolt bore on a lathe. Spotface front of bolt so it is square to barrel c/line and flat. Adjust firing pin protrusion. Correct any bolt lift timing issues)
Now buy a match barrel and heavy recoil lug ($330 and $40)
Now go and get a good fiberglass stock (B&C, Manners etc) $500
Do an inletting adjustments needed and glass bed.
Get a decent 20MOA picatinny rail (at least Warne tactical quality in steel $100)
Bed the rail to the action, possibly pin it and fit oversize screws depending on rifle recoil.
Fit an aftermarket trigger from a Shilen, to a Timney this can cost from $100 on the low end to close to $300.

Assuming you have done all the work and not had to pay a smith, you are looking at having spent $1320 on the low end before paying for the donor rifle. All this assumes your not using a cheap boyds stock. If you go to sell this weapon one day, the outsider looks at it and basically sees the high end stock. Usually one cannot sell accurizing and whether someone will pay for the match barrel is highly dependent on their confidence that you don't have 1000 rounds down the tube..

On the other hand, a true custom rifle, with a custom receiver is never a Remington or a Savage and people know that. Its always a question of whether you are going to worry about resale or not. Customizing a factory rifle usually does not entail 16 week lead times for parts, especially with distributors starting to stock match barrels from well known barrel makers.
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Unread 03-23-2013, 09:40 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4,400
Re: Noob question on rifle quality

Lots of used rifles for sale here, In a lot of different flavors. If you sticking to 300m I don't see the need for anything fancy.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"
If you want to shoot Bergers start here!
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Unread 03-23-2013, 09:53 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 56
Re: Noob question on rifle quality

Just my 2 cents. There are a lot of good savage rifles that would get you into long range hunting without breaking the bank. (sorry i am a savage guy) the accutrigger and accustock make the rifles very accurate. plus then you don't have a custom rifle to try and get you money out of if you decide to sell. if you are just getting in to long range hunting might not want to jump in with both feet. you also have to figure in reloading equipment be cause once you start shooting long range you will want to custom load rounds to get the most you can out of the rifle. thats what happen to me.HAHA
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Unread 03-24-2013, 09:05 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ND
Posts: 421
Re: Noob question on rifle quality

The Oregonian,

Any quality off the shelf bolt rifle / scope will do all you could ever ask for at under 300 yards on big game.

I think you already know the answer. It all boils down to what makes you happy to carry and shoot. Most people who go the custom route do it because they like it, its a hobby or way of life.

Gun guys are alot like car guys...
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