I would go with the a Stiller Predator, and I would chamber it for the 7MM WSM or 300 WSM cartridge. I would also Recommend looking at Manners Stocks. For your build, I would suggest the Manners T2 or T3. The wait time is around 10 to 12 weeks. Have fun with your new build, but I would go with one of the WSM cartridges I mentioned over the 7mm-08. The WSM cartridges will fit in the Stiller Predator Short Action.
Good thoughts and thanks for the advice, but I already have a new Jewell trigger that I got a great deal on last winter that I was going to put on another M700 that I have and plan to keep. I'm going the custom action route for value later, rather that have to buy another Remy action and have it worked on but be worth less later on. This may be the only custom gun I ever have, so I'm looking for the best I can get, and hopefully it will shoot better that 1/2 if I do my part with good handloads.
That pricing on the group buy for Stiller Predators looks pretty good. I'll definitely think hard about that one. Any other 700 clone actions that are recommended beside the Stiller and the Phoenix? What about the Borden actions?
As for caliber, I want a low recoiling gun for easy bench shooting, which is part of the reasoning for the 7mm-08. I don't know how the recoil would be on 7mm WSM or 300 WSM, but I'm guessing they probably kick pretty good in a lighter rifle. Do they? I currently have a Remington 25-06 Classic (a real keeper) that's fun to shoot and a pre-64 model 70 fwt. 30-06 that I use that has some bark to it while at the bench.
Just to throw another caliber choice out there..... 284 win. Middle ground between the 7/08 and the short mags, still effective in the shorter barrel your looking for. I have a 284 and a 270/284 and like them both. I built mine on long actions to seat the bullets further out without going the custom mag box route.
My votes: Stiller action and for caliber based on your previous input: 260 Remington. A 130 gr Scirocco or Accubond at 2900+ fps would be a real deer thumper and those super high BC bullets will really fly well for long range shots. A 140 gr Nosler Partition or Swift A-Frame is also available in .264 should you get the overwhelming itch to harvest an elk or moose.
Blacktails , I ordered my action with a heavy Rem tang , target port and extended barrel tennon simply because its gonna be a tactical style rifle and weight was not a concern. For a packing rifle I'd go with the standard Rem profile and use the Tally aluminum ring/base combo for the scope mount , have your stock setup as and ADL or BDL with aluminum bottom metal , as far as stocks go the composits will generaly be a bit lighter , Manners stocks makes a nice stock (MCS-UL) thats only about a pound and a half and has a good cheek rise to fit most guys and scope.
For the caliber , the 7-08 with a 162gr A-max will be way more than any deer or black bear can stand at 500yds and can be loaded to be very accurate and not abusive at the bench , its also no big deal to reload for and fit in the mag easly. If 500yds is gonna be the max range that you intend to shoot my personal choice would be a 308 , its known for accuracy , has the ability to be loaded with bigger heavier bullets and has tons of factory ammo available.
In all honesty , a rem 700 with the lugs lapped and sa good barrel screwed on will likely shoot in the 1/2 MOA range. I've seen a few com from Pac-Nor and shoot sub .5" at 100yds.
blacktails, there is a pretty good Stiller group buy going on over on the hide right now. If I had the extra jingle I'd have one.
It's worth looking in to.
Stiller actions have all of the good stuff.
I am new to this forum, so I need a little help...what is the "hide"? I want to check out that group buy.
I have been thinking about a light carry gun in 270WSM, and am researching my best bang for the buck. ;) Having a light, fluted bolt action is my focus, because I can afford a Remington Ti action accurized.