Great points WildRose, another is you getting components you are accepting the responsibility that they work together for your goal. Ex. you are building a 7wsm throated for 180's you better know what bottom metal to have if it is a repeater or build on a long action.
I guess it all depends on your background/Occupation. In my occupation timelines and planning is critical.
I certainly understand the timeline issue. I don't much have that problem any more. If something comes up where I suddenly get invited on a hunt to go after any game species I already have a weapon ready to go; unless perhaps it was for an emergency rhino, cape buff, or elephant... LOL
To me though the bottom line is pick a gunsmith and then sit down with them and discuss the project before you buy anything unless you are for example fixed on a certain action. Then pick a gunsmith that works with that action and let them be part of the rest of the process of putting all the components together if you expect them to gurantee the accuracy of the final product.
Without the First and Second Amendments the rest of The Constitution is Meaningless.
If the customer provides "everything", including the receiver, a 'gunsmith' can not sell that fiream as there is no transfer of ownership in this situation. It does not belong to the gunsmith, it still belongs to the customer. The law (and ATFE) would consider that "stealing/selling a stolen firearm". A gunsmith can loose! Keep a good 'paper trail'(e-mails, notes included with parts shipments) so no one gets hurt. He's trusting you to follow through on your end, as much as you are trusting him to supply you with what you asked for!
Actually you can sell a gun that a customer leaves and doesn't pay. At least in Texas you can. First you have to send the usual demand letters for payment via certified mail. Wait a minimum of 10 days then start proceedings in small claims court (Justice of the Peace in Texas). The court will serve them a summons to go to court and if they are not local then you have to put notice in the local paper where they reside or where you last knew them to reside. If they do not show then you win buy default and the court can and will award you the gun if what they owe is over the value of the gun. It is just like doing a mechanics lien for work done on a car by a mechanic. Once you get the court order awarding you the gun you can get a FFL to transfer ownership.
I just had a custom done by a hall of fame benchrest shooter. He charged double what most folks do to chamber but he had the barrel I wanted on his shelf. it shoots groups in the .2's and I got it back in 1 week. I came out ok I think. For future hunting builds it will be savage actions and barrel nuts for me though, customs are too damn expensive just for hunting. I have a stock Stevens that I spent 249 on and it will shoot under .5 any day with hand loads after it was bedded.
This is my opinion only and my current situation, I am not all for a speedy build. I would rather it take longer for a build, than to rush through it. I'm not saying the outcome will not be the same, but rather a smith take their time. I agree with FiftyDriver on reputation of the builder and backlog situations. Prior to undergoing my build, I was informed of the time frames and expressed no immediate rush. I sent or had delivered all components of my rifle to my builders. The barrel had to be ordered through Brux with a custom "B" measurement. I made some changes throughout the way by adding a muzzle brake and thread cap. So to each their own I guess!
It also depends on what happens during the build. Things can come up that throw a monkey wrench in the entire ordeal. I have had a build going on for a while and several unforeseen things occurred that were not responsibility of the smith or myself. If you are going the custom route, expect delays, it's the hurry up and wait game. In the end, it is always well worth the wait and I cannot wait until I get my new platform.
Like others have said, you can supply everything and still be out 9-12 months. I have been down this road.
Just a thought, go to your local gun club and see if they have a Long or short range benchrest club. If they do more than likely one of the guys shooting is a very good gunsmith that dose all the work for the people. He usually dose it for Fun and is not trying to make a living out of it..aka retired. He will usually only take work that he wants and if you piss and moan he will likely not take your work.
These guys will turn stuff around in days not weeks. They may not be top name guys, but their guns on the line are shorting 1.5" groups at 600.
If you find that guy, treat him fair, he will be a life saver! Like install a m16 extractor why you wait!
Do you leg work and you will be surprised who is right in your back yard.
The top guys are there for a reason and the deserve what they have, but they were that local guy doing local work once.
By the way, when you find him.....Don't tell anyone or he will get back logged!