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Critique my planned rifle

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Unread 12-29-2009, 06:44 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 15
Critique my planned rifle

I am a new member that is planning on building a LR rifle. I am a longtime hunter that has used a factory rifle, muzzleloader, and bows. Long range hunting looks like a challenge i want to try now.

I want to build a rifle capable of taking elk to 1000 yrds, shoot marmots way off in the summer, shoot some coyotes and maybe shoot at some local competitions.

I will not be shooting at elk beyond a yardage at which i can hit a 6" circle 1st shot every time. That may be 600 to start and I have to learn to shoot to 1000.

I would like experianced opinions of my proposed setup before I build. I researched to end up where Im at but I could be off on something.

The plan;

Stiller predator RBRP LA mag bolt action
why-custom action that wont cost much more than a trued 700 or savage but will hold value better

7mm STW with 168 berger hunting VLD's
why-high BC,flat shooting round that should kick in a heavier gun. plenty of energy to do what I need

Hart stainless straight 26" #7 varmit contour barrel 1 in 9 twist with fluting, bead blasted,brake
why- quality heavy barrel that looks good, fluting to cut some weight, brake to keep recoil light

timney 700 trigger w/safety at 1.5#
why-quality trigger but less then others and i shouldnt need pull measured in oz's

wyatt extended magazine

Bell and carlson varmit/tactical stock with adj cheek and butt, pillar bedded
why-available now, adjustable,like the looks (does the aluminum bedding block mess up the pillar bedding process?)

barrel fitted and action bedded by local gunsmith, Dan Dowling Accurate Gunsmithing
why-less time than sending action in, listed on 6mmbr.com as quality smith

Huskemaw 5-20 LR scope with RFBC turrets

Am I off on anything? What else do I need to consider or change.

I would like to end up with a 1/2 moa setup.

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Unread 12-29-2009, 07:54 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 507
Re: Critique my planned rifle

Personally for the 7mm STW I would go a minimum 28" barrel.
On the other hand I don't think you will find a better or more knowledgeable Smith than Dowling. Just do whatever he tells you to do. You are very lucky if he is a local gunsmith.

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Unread 12-29-2009, 08:11 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Central ND
Posts: 1,018
Re: Critique my planned rifle

+1 on Dan Dowling, a friend has him build his dashers. He has a few records to his name.

A magmum would be tough to compete with I would think. Alot of added cost. Have you ever thought of a switch barrel? Build your magnum and have another barrel for competing with. Have two calibers for the added cost of a barrel and chambering.

"Amazing things can happen when preparation meet opportunity" Richard Schatz

"The will to win, compares little with the will to prepare to win" Donovan Moran
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Unread 12-29-2009, 08:13 PM
Official LRH Sponsor
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 634
Re: Critique my planned rifle

Originally Posted by James H View Post
... Just do whatever he tells you to do.
I don't know Mr Dowling personally, but I think the above is good advice in general; find a gunsmith you trust and listen to his advice. There's a reason he's a gunsmith.

You can get good info on here too about your proposed build, but if I were you I'd value the gunsmiths input above all.

We all like discussing and learning new things, but when it comes to something as important as getting a new rifle 'right', I trust those who know best.

As to your particulars, I agree that a longer barrel would be an asset if you're willing to carry the extra weight/length. The brake will add length so you want to be careful about making it too long.

You might consider a HS Precision stock (H-S Precision Stocks - Online Store). Adjustable cheekpiece and length of pull, and probably available in stock somewhere.

Good luck,
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Unread 12-30-2009, 04:21 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: Critique my planned rifle

Welcome to LRH Justin,

Your rifle sounds like a real nice rig. Here's my opinion on your rig and your plan.

Your goals as I understand them are to be able to shoot elk up to 1000 yds and your required accuracy is to be able to hit a 6" 100% of the time.

On your choice of cal and cartridge, I would say it is marginal. A 7mm can get the job done but bigger is better. The STW is a good cartridge but marginal to deliver an effective killing payload to 1K. If you're set on the 7mm I highly recommend going to the RUM at least for 1K elk. And whatever cartridge, go with the 180 VLD for higher BC and more mass and energy on target. (I personaly dont like them at closer ranges). If you already had the STW, I would say get the most out of it. But since this is a planned build, I would recommend rethinking your plan.

Since you are using a brake, I would recommend a .30 cal at least and no less than a RUM chambering.

On your personal standard of accuracy... that's going to be tough, and I would be surprised if you get past 700-800 yds. 6 inches @ 1000 yds is .55 MOA
and .5 MOA groups @ 1000 yds are rare, let alone .5 MOA accuracy which is different than shooting groups. And to expect it 100%.... welll, I just dont think you are going to get there. My standard for elk would be 18" @ 1000 yds. That is well within the kill zone.

Next, for precise accuracy @ 1K I would recomend another scope. You may have read some threads on it and if you have you will see that a BDC turret has limitations and the farther you try to reach with it, the greater it's limitations. Again, you have set a very high standard of accuracy and you will need as much precision as possible to get near it. A BDC turret is not a precise tool. It's a tool that sacrifices precision for simplicity. They can be useful, but they are a fudge tool and the more changes and distance you have, the more fudging you will have to do. Their clicks are 1/3 MOA, half of your stated accuracy requirement. In shooting extreme distances you will already have great challanges such as judging windage to name just one. If you mis-judge the wind by 1/2 mph and everything else about your shot is absolutley pefect, you have missed your 6" target by 2-3".

For 600-800 yd shooting where you dont encounter many changes, (elevation, temp, pressure, angle, etc) and you have an accurate rifle, you can probably at least come close to your 6" requirement with a Huskemaw.

You asked for an opinion and there it is. Can you kill elk @ 1K with a 7mm STW? I think so, but you will be stretching the limits. I dont believe you will attain your accuracy standard, especially with a non-precision scope.

Good shooting and hunting and keep us posted.


Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 12-30-2009 at 04:26 PM.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 06:42 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 15
Re: Critique my planned rifle

Thanks for the info so far!

I agree that 18" for an elk is more achievable and realistic. I guess that I came up with 6" arbitrarily. My point was that I will only engage game if I know that I will not womb it. I have seen way too many people take lob shots in the field just trying to get lucky. I cant stand that.

I came up with 1400 ft/lbs of energy at 1000 yards which I believe to sufficient with a quaility bullet. I wanted to stay away from larger calibers specifically to keep recoil at a minimum which will let me watch my impacts. I came up the STW for the reason of having just enough power with the least amount of recoil as possible. I have been on the fence on which weight bullet to use and I probably should use the 180's.

Reality is that I long shots where i hunt will be 600-800 yards. I dont know how many times a 1000 shot will present itself.

You really have me thinking about the Husk. I was under the impression that they were a precision scope capable of reliable 1000 yard accuracy. I will spend more time reading opinions on those. How about Leupold Mark 4's. That is what a LRH friend of mine shoots and loves it. I dont believe that I need a NF for what I would like to do but what do I know!

Thanks for the comments and keep them coming.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 08:33 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,548
Re: Critique my planned rifle

Just my 2 cents. Don't let recoil be too much of a limiting factor on caliber choice. As an example 7mm & 300 & 338 rums, 338 edge, 338AX to mention a few equipped with the right brake recoil not much more than a 25-06 and you should be able to spot your shot at 600 yards or further.
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