Ive heard a few people complain about pac nor barrels not living up to their hype, but Ive never owned or shot one, so take that with a grain of salt.
As far as the minimal smith cost, I'm not really following that question. If your wanting a custom rifle
, I would think it a blueprint of the action, chambering and cutting to lenght by a competant smith would be a must.
For my money, a custom better shoot as good as it looks, otherwise the factory gun wins. Good work isnt cheap, and cheap work isnt good.