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.