Re: What for first build?
I thought about going the 700 route and building off it but after doing my homework I would now consider one of the custom actions and the work of a competent gunsmith. Can't help you much there choice wise, at least not today as I am still trying to figure that out. I did learn last week in my search/study that by studying the results of benchrest shoots you can find what actions/smiths the competitors use. Certain names pop up more than others, of course the gunsmith part can at least be a rather regional thing. I would be willing to spend an entire day on the road to meet a gunsmith before hiring him. But I am sure you reach a point as skill level increases this may not be possible. These are just my current views on the topic.
If you go to the International Benchrest Shooters web site and go under "Results" then "Scores" and scroll down you will see what these guys and gals are using. Then look up the gunsmiths and see what kind of rifles they generally build, many also build hunting rifles.
This can get expensive real quick but if you are already a competent shot and you have the coin this may be a viable option.
What is your goal, what are you hunting.