A lot depends on if you want to eventually shoot past 300 yards. If you are planning on only shooting to 300 yards and never further, there is no need for any sort of custom rifle. A rifle that shoots 1 MOA will shoot 3" groups at 300 yards. No need for anything more than that in my opinion...
I know this topic has been covered a ton but there are quite a few factory rifles out there that are superbly accurate. And I still maintain that you can produce a tack driver for under $2000 dollars if you want to go the custom route. I know that guys spend anywhere from $2000 on up to $10,000 and above for a custom rifle that will shoot IMO the same as a $2000 rig. (or less) Case in point----years ago I was at a police tactical sniper match that involved a HUGE amount of high dollar rifles and a guy from a small town sheriffs department won it. You know what with? A factory Remington 788. Guys couldn't believe it.
"Every man has a purpose---------mine is to be behind a rifle.........."
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than be in any city on earth." ---Steve McQueen
For 300 yd hunting, most quality off the shelf rifles will do fine but there is still a difference between a factory production rifle and custom build or a Cooper. One of the biggest differences is the barrel. If people could get a good look at a factory rifle's bore through a bore scope, many would probably never buy another factory rile. With a custom barrel, you will not need to clean near as often which will save you both time, money and barrel life not to mention much better precision and accuracy.
It's possible to stumble across a good shooter and Savages, Howas and Vanguards usually produce very accurate rifles for an off the shelf product. Senderos usually shoot very well but they have a hefty price tag too. That said, buying a factory production rifle is a roll of the dice. Case in point. I bought a high dollar Sako M85 Finnlight that was supposed to have a 5 shot Sub MOA guarantee. It didn't shoot anywhere close to that. It was a very inconsistant 1.5 - 3 MOA shooter and 3 MOA @ 300 yds = 9". I sent it back to Beretta twice and twice they sent it back saying there was nothing wrong with it. Good luck getting any of the large gun makers to stand behind their product. Not gonna happen, not for accuracy. I was actually looking at Cooper the same time I bought the Sako. Should have bought the Copper. I would have been a very happy man.
I have a couple of build projects now using Vanguard action doners. Here's what they're costing me.
Doner rifle cost, $200 & $300 @ gun shows
Action blue print, $325 ea
Broughton Barrels, $350 ea
Chamber and crown, $275 ea
B&C Medalist full aluminum bedded stock, $270, Manners stock $470
Bedding job $100 ea
They will cost $1520 & and $1920 for the basic rifle.
I was able to tune both triggers to a crisp 1.5 lbs. I'll be putting Timney 3 position triggers on them only because I want the 3 position feature. I cannot tell the difference between the ones I tuned and a Timney. One of them will also get a brake installed for $200. These rifles should shoot as well any custom and the both of them will cost about the same as full custom build.
There was also a good suggestion to look at some of the used rifles for sale on this site. There are some very good deals there.
To the OP, I would highly recommend getting a good custom quality rifle (to include a Cooper) if it's in the budget.
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
Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 03-24-2013 at 11:49 AM.
With any factory rifle ,you can,t depended on off the shelf accuracy. If you buy one that is accurate you are lucky.
There are many good donor actions that with some care and a good blueprinting are as good as anything
you can buy.
The next thing needed is a "Good" stock (It descent have to cost an arm and a leg) just a good well made stock with pillars installed or installed by the smith and a good bedding job.
Triggers are another main item to look at.
There are lots of good barrels and this is the heart of an accurate rifle IMO. If an action is trued,and a very good chamber is cut in a top barrel you have the makings of an accurate rifle with the other components mentioned.
If one MOA is acceptable to you , a factory rifle will do ok with some ammo testing. If not a custom rifle should exceed your expectations.
The main advantage to custom barrels are that they are not as sensitive to different ammo,s (They
will shoot everything well and some exceptionally well.
Custom rifles are not just pretty, If they are built right they can be downright amazing.
If you build a custom rifle plan on keeping it, It is very hard to get your money back for it. (mainly
because anyone willing to spend the money will just go ahead and have one built for themselves).
Also most people question why the owner wants to sell in the first place if it is so good.
As one poster said for $2,000.00 you can have as fine of a rifle as an 8 to 10,000.00 rifle it just wont
be as fancy and have a big name on it.
Oregon- i am not sure what your objectives are . my sendero cost more than a sporter and is accurate and deadly. my son in law and my son each shot 15 shot groups at 1000 yards , you could cover each with a sheet of notebook paper easily. my other son in law won a 1000 yard match with winchester laredo. he had never shot a centerfire rifle. if you get out your laser range finder 1k is purty far.
I have 4 factory rifles that all shoot sub .5MOA. 3 Savages and remington. I gave another one to my brother a Ruger 220, and I sold a Ruger 220. Both of those rifles were under .5 MOA. Both have factory barrels and actions.
So that is 5 rifles, factory actions, stocks, and barrels under .5MOA. I have others I have not tried to dial in as I don't shoot them. They are safe queens.
My point? I would love a custom and would do a custom in a nano second if budget was not a issue. Custom quality is just better and you tend to FEEL more confident and better in the field. You can feel quality in my opinion and I think they are more consistent.
If budget was an issue I would get the rifle you can afford and hand load. This is exactly what I did. I got a nice rifle, I believe, and I spent the money on a night force scope. Total package is around $2400.00 for LR. Not chump change for me. I could have saved $800-1000 and went with a Vortex or bushnell but I really like the NF. : )