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What can I expect to pay?

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Old 11-13-2013, 07:56 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,196
Re: What can I expect to pay?

Originally Posted by westcliffe01 View Post
This is flat out nonsense. Shilen makes an excellent barrel and I have more faith in all the machining being done in 1 house than having several people involved in different aspects of the job.

Perhaps the very cheapest prefits, like the ones from ER Shaw are the ones that Hired Gun is referring to. (to avoid) I have tried Mc Gowan, but since they could not deliver a barrel in 6 months which was promised in 4 weeks and were evasive when contacted, I cannot recommend them.

The fact that some barrel makers like Lilja and Brux do not produce prefit barrels, by no means serve to justify a claim that a prefit barrel is in any way inferior. It is merely a fact that those makers have more than enough demand for blanks (which they sell at the price of a Shilen prefit) and they have decided to focus on their core processes (blank making & hand lapping) instead of adding the peripheral processes needed to produce turnkey barrels.

One of the big issues in the industry is the popularity of the Remington 700 and the fact that smiths that accurize the receivers do not adhere to a standard protocol (since in fact the smiths remove only enough material to clean up features). So as a result, the dimensions of accurized Remington receivers are scattered all over the place, and to accomplish a good barrel fit on those receivers requires every barrel tenon to be cut for the individual rifle. Savage does not suffer from the same malady.
I would have to agree with Hired gun and Shortgrass based on my experience with pre-fit barrels and pre chambered barrels.

I have worked on many "Pre fit" rifles and the term Pre-Fit it's self is not good. It is just another factory take off in my opinion. The only good thing I can say about them is that they give Gunsmiths lots of work. also a savage pre-fit is one of the worst because most people that buy them think that it is easy to just screw them on and they are good to go.

Head spacing is not the only critical part of the whole process of building a precision/accurate rifle.

Here is a list of some of the problems I have found. and I am sure that my list is not the same as

Chambers= chambers cut with a roughing reamer only, chambers with NO throat, chambers with no free bore, chambers with no lead, very rough chambers, polished chambers. chambers not centered with bore, Chambers that were cocked(The front was not on the same centerline as the back of the chamber and also non SAMME chambers.

Barrel tenon= very poor fitting threads, very rough threads, tenons with short threaded length and
large/long thread relief. Tenon thread not concentric with bore.

Actions = actions that were supposed to be trued that weren't even touched, bolt lugs that were not 100% in contact with the receiver lugs. I could go on but I think everyone gets the Idea.

Really, almost just like the factory rifles are assembled.

I personally have installed only one pre chambered barrel (The last One)because I had to set the shoulder back one thread to get the chamber cleaned up concentric to the bore and to SAMME specifications. the barrel was a high end barrel but the workmanship was very poor. so the customer saved nothing because of the work/time I had to bring it to an acceptable level. (I showed him the problem before I did any work and after all the truing was done showed the finished product before I assembled it).

If you want good work you don't go to the guy at the coffee shop to have brain surgery so why would you do it your self if your not a gunsmith.

Some will say "It's just more work for Gunsmiths" Believe me, good Gunsmiths have plenty of work
hence the time it takes to get your rifle finished.

Buy what you want but most of the time you will spend more that if you started with a blank barrel
and had ONE person do all of it.

This is just my opinion for what it's worth.

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Old 11-13-2013, 11:10 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Near Napoleon,MI
Posts: 994
Re: What can I expect to pay?

So here is my experience:

Savage 12 LPV in stainless with factory 26" fluted barrel
So so performance, could not shoot 95gr Berger VLD's
Replaced with a 26" Shilen select match Varmint contour prefit 1:8 with 243 AI chamber and now shoots the 95gr Bergers to less than 1/2MOA.
Sold Savage takeoff for $180 and paid $330 for the Shilen = $150 out of pocket
No issues with fitting whatsoever

Savage 10 in 308
Bought as a used gun.. PO fitted a Shilen 26" Varmint barrel, Rifle Basix trigger, incorrect recoil lug and re-used original smooth barrel nut. Barreled action was bedded into laminate stock up to end of smooth nut. Barrel nut was not torqued properly, could not be because of Remington recoil lug with 1/16" locating pin which was too long and binding up the nut before it seated against the recoil lug. PO told me "it shoots great".... yep.. Replaced nut and recoil lug. Swapped trigger here on the forum for an original Savage Accutrigger. Ground out the bedding compound ahead of the recoil lug.
Rifle now shoots 1/4 MOA with my 175 SMK load with varget powder and LC 12 LR brass.

Savage 110 initially 270Win. Removed CM sporter barrel and plastic stock. Replaced rifle Basix trigger with factory accutrigger. Bought Hogue stock for $190 and obtained a long action bottom metal and DBM. Ordered custom Shilen Select Match 26" barrel in 8x57. Barrel took 3 months to arrive at my door for a custom. Installed with a new recoil lug and barrel nut. Have not yet even started load development, but it shoots the Yugo 8x57 sniper ammo (was sold on Wideners) better than 1MOA @50c/round. The Rem 700 "Classic" I had could not shoot this same stuff better than 2.5MOA.

So I have had 3 positive experiences with 3 different Shilen select match prefit barrels. I have probably spent as much on these 3 barrels as what a typical Remington owner spends to fit 1 barrel and true his action. If thats what someone chooses to do, fine, it is their money. However, I have yet to meet a Remington owner who's rifle shot substantially better than my own. I have met a few who have complained bitterly about how much copper fouling they get with their new $900 barrels. Shilen makes long or short or long chambered barrels for the Remington action too, to reduce the work it takes to fit it to the action.

I am not claiming to be a benchrest champion or even a competitive shooter, but frankly I fail to see how my experience is going to be magically transformed by the application of another $600 per barrel so that someone who's job is highly diversified can spend a few hours cutting a chamber in my blank in a 20 year old manual lathe. My experience has been that QC at Shilen is very reliable and effective. If there are issues, they will generally catch them before the part ever goes out the door. it is fairly well known that Shilen had issues this year with 6.5mm blanks and that the yield of blanks that meet their "select match" criteria was rather low. That resulted in a several month long delay on my 6.5x284 barrel, but I am confident that when I do finally get it, it will be my 4th story about my satisfaction with their prefit barrels.

Against a backdrop where every Remington rifle I touched was a lemon, I can say that every Shilen has been lemonade and I am going to keep supporting them.
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