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New rifle build help needed

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Unread 08-23-2013, 10:38 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6
New rifle build help needed

Hello LRH's,

This is my first post here, although I have been browsing these forums for quiet a long time. A little of my background before I get started with my question. I am a former Marine (93-97) and during my 4 years, each qual time (4 times) I scored a 349 of 350 for Expert. I am only telling this since it shows that I was profecient in windage and elevatoin adjustments and obviouosly know how to shoot

Since those fun USMC days the only shooting I have done is with my Thompson 25-06 with a Nikon Prostaff BDC reticle going after Whitetails here in Oklahoma. I love this caliber for whitetails here on the corn and soy bean fields were the average shot is around 300-500 yards ( I only hunt out of treesstands - good for long range field shots). Every year my freezer is full of meat from the hunt so I have to be doing something right. This thompson is the only rifle I own not because it is the most versatile caliber and rifle but because as a single income family I just really could not afford anything better for what I usually do out in the field. I also do some target shooting against my redneck family memebers and beat thier socks off every time, but we mainly just do it for fun and to see who has to buy the next 6pack. I would like to continue busting whitetails as I am now, but also extend my range out for target shooting. A thousand yards would be nice but to do it accurately It would take a pretty good rifle. I'm not looking to get into benchrest competition yet. That may be a thing I get into later but NOT in the next couple years and certinly not off this upcoming rifle.

Last month my wife finally graduated college and has entered the work force making a bit more than me and this has more than doubled our household income. Now it's like we are rolling in cash. My wife also decided that since I had been the sole bread winner for so long I now have 6 months of free paychecks ( I can spend my paychecks on whatever I want with none of it going to bills). This leads me to my question:

I need help on rifle manufacturer selection and scope selection. I am set on the caliber. I cant be persuaded on that part. I have been browsing all over the internet for the past couple months and my new rifle is going to be a 6.5x284 (I know all its pro's and cons and intend to handload for it - I got that order list ready to go and have posted on another handloader forum elsewhere for info instruction and info on that). For the manufacturer I am thinking the Cooper Arms Model 52 Excalibur (Link) and for the scope I just cant make up my mind between the Nightforce Beast (Link) or the US Optics ER-25 (Link) with some customization done to it.

I like the cooper rifle for the 1/2 moa @ 100yds gurantee + the lifetime gurantee and everything I have read on them says they customer service is amazing. Just from all the reading I have done I think the only way to get a better rifle than this would be a custome build, but I dont know the first thing about custome builds.

The two scopes I like both have the options I like and are said to be the clearest glass on the market and they also have the best customer service (So I have read).

My hope is that someone here can help me get a better rifle and scope than what I was able to find and currently have selected. Budget wise I dont want to spend more than 3k for the rifle and no more than 4k for the scope. I intend to purchase the rifle first and then the scope about two months after that. I still have about a month and a half of saving left for the rifle so that gives me some back and forth time on this forum

Thank's in advance for anyone who helps with this project.

Last edited by Oklahoma76; 08-23-2013 at 11:19 AM.
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Unread 08-23-2013, 12:11 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Jackson Hole, WY
Posts: 341
Re: New rifle build help needed


You can't go wrong with any combination you choose. Nightforce is the standard we judge other scopes by. US optics is freaking awesome too. Stepping up from your current rifle to a Cooper with one of those scopes is a night and day difference. I wish I had your problem, but either would be awesome.
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Unread 08-23-2013, 12:28 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Weiser, Idaho
Posts: 1,198
Re: New rifle build help needed

I agree with your current plan. I like Nightforce. You have done your research and I would go with your current idea and make no changes.
Every man needs a good woman, good dog, good horse and a good gun.
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Unread 08-23-2013, 12:31 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6
Re: New rifle build help needed

Thats kind of what I thought. I didn't spend a day looking for the ones I mentioned above. I have been forum browsing this site and many others over the course of a couple months and the cooper + NF/USO was what I came to within my budget.

I am leaning more heavily towards the USO scope than I am the NF just because of the customization on ordering one.

For the rifle though I know that there has to be something better. A custom rifle most likely but I just don't know enough about building a rifle and what all is needed for building one and who makes what the best and why. Pretty much I am staying away from customer jobs cause I dont know crapola about it. It would be fantastic if someone here could say: go to this website and and order this rifle with these parts reccomended plus have this guy build it and provided you do your part it wil shoot 6inch groups at 1k yards
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Unread 08-23-2013, 09:20 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: New rifle build help needed

Welcome to LRH and you've got a great wife there!

You've picked a great chambering for LR shooting. It's probalby the most popular cartridge on this site.

Have you budgeted in reloading equipment and a rangefinder? Unless your going to be shooting at know distances, like BR shooting, a range finder is a must. I would recommend a Lieca 1600. You will also need need a wind/weather meter and i would recommend a Kestrel 4000 or 4500. There will be some other miscellaneous stuff as well.

Coopers are great rifles but I would not choose a sporter rifle as long range rifle. I'm sure you would be able to shoot long with it but you would be better served to to build more of an LR platform with heavy barrel for more consistency. A full custom build is going to run about $3000-$3500 or more.

I just did a 6-284 off of a S&W of a S&W M1500 (made by Howa)

I bought the donor rifle for $350 at a gun show. I'll be able to sell the walnut stock for about $1000

Broughton Light Varmint Sporter Contour (.720 muzzle) $400
B&C Medalist Stock (Same or very similar to the Cooper) $275
Tactical knob on bolt handle (smith mached a section of old rifle barrel)
Smithing, inlet and bedding $990
Muzzle brake installed $200
Bottom metal cerakote $40
Total cost $2135 less $100 for the old stock.

I could get a Timney trigger for it for another $110

With a NF NXS, base and rings it brings the total package up to about $4200

The muzzle brake isn't in the picture because I decided after the break-in to have it installed. Also, the finish is not complete because I am getting it nitrided and it will have a matte black finish.

The Beast is a great scope but i would go with a 5.5-22 NXS (I love mine) or the ACTAR for a lot less. That would allow you to allocate funds toward a little better LR rifle and some of the other LR stuff you will need.

Something to think about.
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- Mark

You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it.
~ John Quincy Adams
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Unread 08-24-2013, 02:01 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 211
Re: New rifle build help needed

Ill play. If it were me, I'd buy all the parts, then search out a smith to assemble. You get everything you want then, actually thinking of a similar build, but here would be my list

Stiller, defiance, bat action repeater action, long
Krieger or brux fluted 6 or varmit
Mcmillian edge, manners stock or sim
Jewell trigger, of course

I'd go blind mag, my last build has the detachable aics mags. They are okay, but as a hunting rifle, think they get in the way, harder to sling I for one never have needed more than 3 down. And you save weight and money, more streamlined rifle.

IMO you have a better starting point than the cooper, than again, never owned one. You have sourced the best components from firms specializing in making the best "pieces"

Smiths, plenty to pick from, just do some more research. Plenty on this forum
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Unread 08-24-2013, 05:40 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central AZ
Posts: 1,149
Re: New rifle build help needed

Sounds like you are headed in the right direction. Cooper makes a quality firearm - and many would list it as a custom build. The Nightforce is also a great scope. Something to think about is how you want this rifle to handle. While Nightforce is a great scope, the NXS is no lightweight (with the BEAST weighing even more). On a 9 pound rifle, I found the NXS made the rifle feel "top heavy" and out of balance. The rifle was always wanting to roll right or left on me. I still have an NXS on my 12 pound rig and it just feels right, especially with the A-5 stock. Not bashing Nightforce in any way - just saying they are built like tanks and sometimes that weight can dominate the rifle and take it out of balance.
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