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Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted

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Unread 06-29-2009, 06:26 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4
Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted

Fiftydriver responded to my questions about a borden vs stiller action on another forum... interest sort of dried up over there so here i am to find out what i can.... here is the package I am considering so far... what do you think? How would such a rifle built by borden himself differ from a rifle built by fiftydriver...

borden alpine action, krieger CM bbl #3 contour, either mcmillan edge or hi tech stock, pacific tool and guage bottom metal, jewell trigger, wyatt outdoors center feed mag for BDL style, chambered in 300 WSM

Fiftydriver stated: I had a customer point out this post to me as I have built him a few rifles using both Stiller and Borden receivers and said I may have something to offer to the subject from a rifle builders perspective.

First off, I am not a BR shooter, never have been. I am a custom long range hunting rifle manufacturer in Montana that ships out around 85 to 100 rifles a year to customers that want specialized hunting rigs that will allow them legit, not stunt, 1000 yard precision on big game targets.

I have used pretty much every major US made custom receiver on the market to day and most of them many times over including the Borden and Stiller receivers. Let me say this, in this specific case, you get what you pay for.

That is certainly not saying that the Stiller receivers are not a good receiver but there are differences between the two. I am not bad mouthing Stiller receivers, I use alot of them and they work very well, just answering the question with first hand experience comparing the two head to head.

1. The Borden receivers will have a much better finish quality to them compared to the stiller. By that I mean, the stillers are finished in a very coarse bead blasted matte finish and often there are slight metal discolorations on some areas of the receiver surface. Nothing major and does not effect function at all but its still a fact, the Bordens are finished to a higher grade no question about it.

2. Squareness. I have never opened a box from Borden and measured out one of Jims Timberline or Alpine or BR receivers for that matter and had more then 0.0002" variation across the bolt face when measured from the receiver face to bolt face. Everyone one has been nearly perfect in receiver squareness. This has not been the case with the Stiller receivers. Again, they are not terrible but I have seen several of them have 0.0003" to 0.0007" variation across the bolt face. This may not seem like alot, less then a thou you say but when I accurized a rem 700 factory receiver, it will not get built on until its less then 0.0002" variation across the bolt face to receiver face.

3. Thread quality. In fitting barrel threads to receiver threads, I have found that the Bordens are extremely quality, with a very high quality finish on them. Yes, this can cause some gauling problems if you do not lube the threads before torquing but that should never happen anyway, threads always need to be lubed properly before installing onto the receiver, even by hand. Everyone one I have fitted has been the same, taking 1/2 thou deep cuts off the threads to fit them properly to the receiver threads, the Borden threads will go from the barrel threads not fitting to threading completely on in just a 1/2 thou pass off the threads, telling me the receiver threads are extremely consistant from the mouth of the receiver to the end of the threads inside the receiver.

The Stiller threads are not quite as consistant and they are subjected to either a bead blasting or some sort of coating which leaves them with a much rougher finish then the Borden receiver threads. You can not go from to tight to completely threading on by hand with just a 1/2 thou thread cut simply because of the finish on the threads. I have also found that it is not uncommon with the stiller to get the threads started only to have them tighten up about half way down the threaded barrel shank. Needing an additional 1/2 thou pass on the threads to allow the barrel to be threaded onto the receiver completely. THis tells me that the mouth of the receiver has threads larger in diameter then the end of the threads.

Again, this does not really seem to effect things all that much but its just another one of those "little things" you get with the Borden.

3. One thing that has always bothered me with the stillers is that they have a rough bolt face and the coating on the bolt makes the bolt lug contacts surfaces rough as well. This is again not a huge deal but it does take some time to work in the Stiller to get them to close smoothly and the bolt face WILL get brass smears on the bolt face with a snug chambered cartridge, that will not go away.

The Borden has very finally lapped bolt lug surfaces, receiver and bolt and the bolt face is nearly a mirror finish so there will never be any brass rub off on the bolt face. Everything just closes up MUCH smoother right from the start. Again, just little things.

4. Bolt fit. The Stillers are decent, but in the same class a as a Rem 700 for the most part. Many will say this is by design to allow them to function in dirty field conditions. I am not sure I am on board with this as there are ways to get around that issue and Borden has taken those steps. The stillers lock up with nearly the same bolt to receiver clearance as they have when the bolt is in the open position.

The Borden has a neat feature called Borden Bumps. Designed by Jim. The idea is that the diameter of the bolt body across the area aligned with the bolt lugs is larger in diameter then the bolt body is between the bolt lugs. This give the bolt proper clearance to function in nearly any field conditions yet still allow the bolt to lock up with true match precision to the receiver when the bolt is closed.

Again, this may sound like I am picking on the Stiller receivers and that is hardly the case, I am just honestly comparing the two of them to answer the question. I have used dozens of Stiller receivers and the rifles build on them easily met or exceeded my 1/2 moa accuracy requirement with first loads ran through them so I would not be afraid to use one on a custom build, especially if money was such an issue that $200 would make the difference between being able to do a project and not being able to afford it.

For those that want the best the Borden is just a step up as they really work on those "little things" compared to most other receivers. The first time I got in a Borden receiver I had been using Nesika Bay receivers for all my builds which are $400-$600 more then the Borden receivers and in all honesty, I could not tell a difference between the two quality wise so you can guess which way I went.

There is one thing that Borden needs, a Lapua class receiver. I have talked with Jim several times about this and it is in the works so when that happens, Jim will have a complete line for us to use.

That is a bonus for the Stillers, if you want a Lapua based chambering, they have a couple receivers that will work well for you including the Predator X and the TAC338 receivers. That is one advantage going with the Stiller if you want a rifle based on a Lapua, Rigby or big Wby, they have a couple receivers that will work.

Also, if you compare the Stiller Predator to a trued and accurized Rem 700, they are actually a deal as the Rem will cost just as much to get ready to build on, especially if you have to purchase the receiver and concerning the finished product, the Stiller is vastly superior in strength and rigidity compared to the trued Rem 700 so they are a great choice in that application.

In my opinion and this is a bit off question, the VERY best receiver on the planet for a Lapua based chambering is the newer BAT HRPIC receiver. The BAT receivers have been hammered for poor performance in dirty field conditions but to be honest, I have used them for many years and have yet to have any problems at all if they are maintained properly.

In my opinion, you certainly get your moneys worth with the Borden over the Stiller receivers but if both are built properly, both rifles will shoot great, the Borden just gives you many of those "Little things" that add up to a better product in the end and well worth the cost.

I have owned several Borden based rifles over the years. Currently, I do not own one. The reason is because they have been my personal rifles that I allowed potential customers to shoot and in every case, they offer to buy my rifles at prices I just could not turn down.......

The Borden receiver is a world class receiver. The Stiller is a good receiver. There is a difference, just a fact, not taking away from one or boosting the other, just the way it is.

Kirby (50)
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Unread 06-29-2009, 09:06 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,474
Re: Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted

Your post is waaaaay tooo long.
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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Unread 06-30-2009, 01:26 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted

Good read...
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Unread 06-30-2009, 02:43 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Re: Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted

I don't quite catch on to what the question was supposed to be?

Thou the post was factual, I wonder if the person who wrote the information was aware that it would be posted?

When an individual creates the number of customs stated, with each and every one of them built to the same standards with the same "shipping"qualification standard one would naturally become aware of differences in source products that increase the amount of work to compensate for consistency.

My advice would be to give him the cartridge you desire or the terminal results you desire and turn 'em loose. It'll do the job when completed. This is with respect to LRH only.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 04:19 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Yakima, Washington
Posts: 3,775
Re: Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted

Fiftydriver responded to my questions about a borden vs stiller action on another forum... interest sort of dried up over there so here i am to find out what i can.... here is the package I am considering so far... what do you think? How would such a rifle built by borden himself differ from a rifle built by fiftydriver...

borden alpine action, krieger CM bbl #3 contour, either mcmillan edge or hi tech stock, pacific tool and guage bottom metal, jewell trigger, wyatt outdoors center feed mag for BDL style, chambered in 300 WSM
I find it interesting that you'd quote the entire post from another site but......I can tell you this. If Kirby has spent his time giving you all of the info already, then why not just accept what he's told you. Or, is the question posed one in which you want to know if Kirby really knows what he's talking about or not?

I sent Kirby some pretty big checks without ever meeting him and I was fortunate to meet him and spend some time with him. He's done work for me in the past and will in the future and I trust his word and recommendation explicitly and feel that it's something I/you/anybody can take to the bank.

Kirby, in my opinion, is as good as it gets when it comes to building custom long range guns and he spends all day, every day, using the best products out there and has a knowledge base we can only dream about. If he's recommended something or tells you facts and figures about certain products then I guess you either accept the opinion of an expert or not.

Did he tell you something you didn't like or something that didn't fit in your budget or plans for the gun? If so, a simple email to him would get all the info you want/need and then you can make up your own mind. Ask a question on a web site and you'll possibly get a couple dozen opinions from guys that may or may not even have a custom let alone know more than you already do.

But, get an answer from the guy that builds the best and isn't satisfied with anything less, and I'd say listen to what he's said. Then, if it doesn't all work for you, simply make changes until you're happy with the components and have it built.

We've got several good smiths around here and they all do great work. The advantage they have is that they deal with the best products available on a daily basis and to me, this dictates that they have a knowledge base that I'm sure gonna take advantage of when I have a question.

As to the quality of work done by Borden vs. Kirby I can only talk of my experience with Kirby as I've never dealt directly with Borden. Having Kirby build you a custom long range rig will put a lot of pressure on you because when you crawl in behind the gun and have to break the shot you know the gun is capable and you then have to do your part. Breaking the trigger on an APS custom is something that puts a smile on you face every time.

As to an opinion of the components you've chosen, I'd say it looks ok although I might make a change or two it would be done on personal preference and your choice needs to make YOU happy.

Good luck with you build and if you're serious and want to spend the bucks, send a check to Kirby and wait for the best gun you'll ever have.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 05:25 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,845
Re: Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted

Just my .02 here but my rifles are pretty much all customs and I have a few rifles in the WSM Family all are built on Stillers. Read what you will but my builder is a HOF shooter and one of the best builders there is for competition or sporters and he preferred them when he was building for a living (still builds a few and prefers them as far the Remington footprint clones go).

I also have BAT repeaters, Kelby repeaters that are for sporters all built by the same builder and still prefer the Stiller for a hunting rifle. I also use the Stiller Pythons for my competition rifles and have never been disappointed because I like to win.

Just my .02.
The Truth Is Not Always Good For Business!!

Last edited by Boss Hoss; 06-30-2009 at 05:30 PM.
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Unread 07-01-2009, 09:14 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: Custom Hunting Rifle advice wanted


It's always good to get more than one opinion. Kirby articualted the reasons he thinks Borden actions are a step above. Do you and your builder have specific reasons for preferring Stillers?


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