Re: Building my first LR rifle
Greetings Duckinator, what you are talking about, in one form or another, is how most of us got hooked. Great Story!! I am from Kansas so there are many times I have wished to live in or around the mountains so your story really makes me Jealous.
There are a few things Id Like to submit for your consideration.
If this is your first build and you are trying to do it cheap, you may want to stick with a round that is not an AI. I'm not saying its a bad idea, its just really expensive. if you have ever run into the numbers, over the lifetime of a barrel, the shooting costs more than the rifle and an AI just makes it that much more because you have to fire form. Having said that, the AI's are great rounds for greater powder efficiency and barrel life.
If you have an action and you don't want to buy one, it doesn't matter what you have, use it. if you are going to buy a rifle for the action, get a Remington 700. this is the only action considered by most shooters that is even compared to custom actions. as a matter of fact, most custom actions are build after the Remington 700 design. in the US, you can get a Long Action Stainless rem 700 for $500 all day long. the actions are the same on every rifle, from the cheap SPS to the high dollar units.
Recoil and weight. if you want low recoil, you are going to need to port your barrel. if you want a light rifle, you are going to have to deal with more recoil. you probably knew that but it is significant, go as heavy as you think you can tote around. the .284 is a good bullet and so it the 06 case, but .284 bullets are heavy and that is also a large component of recoil. bullet selection is not as good as some, especially the 6.5mm. if you want less wind drift and better accuracy at longer ranges you really need to look at the ballistic coefficients of the bullets. a 6.5mm 140 grain bullet has a much better BC than a .284 160Grain. that means better accuracy and less recoil. there are many many hunters who have taken Elk at well over 600 yards with 140 grain bullets and killed them Dead on the spot. the 6.5mm-06 is a very good hunting round as well as the .260 (factory round)if you don't think you need the speed of the 06 case. both of these with ports will give you recoil in the .243 range. I have killed multiple deer are ranges past 500 yards with a .25-06 shooting 119 grain bullets, some of them dropped dead. shot placement is almost everything, not bullet mass.
Your barrel is probably not as important as the guy who is cutting the chamber in your barrel. remember that and go with a good recommendation from a trusted source, not what guys say on blogs. look for shops who have build rifles that hold records, like world records, Hart, for example.
you can safely save money on the trigger buy having your gunsmith put different springs in your factory trigger and tune it. can save you $50-$100 and you can get Basix performance out of it. if your going to spend the money on a trigger, get a jewel or nothing. I did my own work on a factory 700 rem and got it to 2.5#. cost me $22.
What ever you go with, remember that you can easily build a rifle that will shoot better than you for $2000, so getting to know your rifles is like getting to know your wife's anatomy, you learn how it fits in your hands and how it feels on you shoulder and exactly how the trigger breaks. you know all her sweet spots... only after you spend a lot of time with her. you got to shoot the rifle many time to so you know how to set it up at 750 yards, or 675 yards or... 25 yards makes a lot of difference at these ranges.