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Building a new rifle?

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Unread 08-13-2003, 07:05 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: PA
Posts: 196
Building a new rifle?

I plan on getting a custom rifle by next year and have a question. Should I buy the rifle piece by piece and have a gunsmith put it together. (probably wont have the $ all at once)or should I just save and have the gunsmith (probably Sid Goodling) put it all together at once? Or Just buy a used one? This will be my first custom rifle.
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Unread 08-13-2003, 09:09 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Lock Haven P.A.
Posts: 1,071
Re: Building a new rifle?

If I were you I would find a good used one.Sid should be able to find one for you....For your first LR gun a used one will give you a good place to start.Let you learn without spending a ton of money...Just my 2 cents..
Boyd Heaton...
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Unread 08-13-2003, 09:50 AM
Writers Guild
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,459
Re: Building a new rifle?

Depends on your goals and budget. I too agree that a used rifle is the better way to go, if going for a custom type gun. Many have excellent life left or can be set back for renewed accuracy. The cost would be about 50 to 60% of new.

Look through the tons of info on this site and decide what you want to do and what cal you want to work with. The 30cal, 7, 6.5, and 6mm cal will all go easily to 1000m and the larger cals can be used for hunting if the desire is there.

The most important thing is trigger time. Having access to affordable components is more important then having the lastest super wildcat. Think about how much you can spend shooting, then work out how much each shot is going to cost. You will find that common cartridges like the 308, or 6BR/243 will start to make more sense.

many production rifles like those from Savage will shoot very well with a little tuning. Could be the cheapest and easiest way to start.

If custom is your goal, consider how I build mine. I use actions from WWI or II rifles. Install a good barrel and rework the stock. With some trigger work or just replacing them, you get a very accurate functional rifle.

If you went to ER Shaw or Montana rifleman, you can get a good barrel installed on your action (sporterized Mausers or Enfields P14/17 are around $100) for around $200 bucks (use Chrome moly barrels, you will never know the diff). With an aftermarket trigger ($40), boyd lam stock or similar ($75 to 150), and a Bushnell 3200 10X, Burris sig rings and bases (around $250), you have a perfectly serviceable and attractive rifle for around $700.

My rifles will shoot 1/2 MOA or better.

Good luck.

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Unread 08-13-2003, 11:38 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,787
Re: Building a new rifle?


Depends on what you are going to do with it? In my opinion big difference in the route you take. If you are not trying to shoot competition (either 1k BR or some other form) with it, then you can go with about any caliber, action etc and build it for $700 like Jerry said and have lots of fun and learn a lot.

However, If you want to shoot 1k BR now, then pick up a good used gun at one of the shoots. Cost will be $1000-1400 depending on action and number of rounds. New will cost $2000 plus if you build it. Many times they will come with dies and load development already done. Good used 20x or 6-24x scope will cost$250-400 max and serve you quite niclely. You will find that you are going to spend another $300-600 in specialty loading tools and equip depending on how serious you get.

Try to stay with a non-fireform caliber (6.5-284, 300 win mag, 300 Wsm, 300 weatherby etc) and just shoot it for a year. It will cost $300 for new comp 28-30" barrel and $150-175 for installation later, in any caliber that the bolt face will handle.

Same thing for just LR paper/metal shooting guns, you can find a lot of good used guns for sale at half the cost to build. Go that route until you have the experience to know what and exactly how you want it set up.

Finally, pick your gunsmiths very carefully. Sid is a great BR smith for sure. Make sure the smith you are using has experience building the type of gun you want for comp or whatever. There are too many subtle differences in gun setups between disciplines, ability to track bags, throats, chamber specs etc. Those differences make the difference many times in how the gun performs in order for you to get to that top level. Too many general or one specialty gunsmiths think it is easy to build a gun in another discipline that is a winner when they have zero experience buiding winners. Look for the gunsmiths name in the equipment list or winners circle. If not there, probably a reason why no one is using them for that discipline. Remember any gunsmith can build a gun that will run in the middle or lower half of the pack if that is all you want, but only a specialty smith will build the gun that runs in the top 10-25% consistently.

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