Building my first LR rifle

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by TheDuckinator, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. TheDuckinator

    TheDuckinator New Member

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    Oct 15, 2013
    Hey Guys,

    I'm going to be building my first rifle for hunting at extended ranges. I've been looking at this site for over a year envious at the shooting you all do not thinking it would be possible to shoot 400+ without insane amounts of practice for years on end. I recently got to shoot a rifle that was properly setup for shooting at those distances (reset-able turrets and Ballistic Charts). I was able to make 2 of 2 shots on a 9" at 750 yards Mountain to Mountain while doping wind, this was my first time ever shooting past 300. I am now hooked knowing that I could shoot ethically and effectively on game out to 600 yards with 2-3 days of practice a month.

    What I want out of this gun is to be able to take a deer out to 600 and an elk out to 400 with minimal recoil. While having the bare rifle (No scope, rings, sling or ammo) come in between 7 and 7 1/2 LBS. I am thinking 280AI with a 160 AB doing about 2850 fps (H4831SC). It is going to be a cheaper build as its my first. This is what I have come up with so far:

    Stevens LA
    Shilen Pre-Fit 26" 1:9 twist Undecided Contour
    Rifle Basix trigger
    B&C Medalist
    SSS Lug
    DNZ Gamereaper 30mm Medium
    I already have purchased a Viper HS 4-16x44

    What are your opinions on what I've chosen and what are your recommendations?
    Keep in mind I am a Canadian so everything is WAY harder to get and costs A LOT more. The total cost for me including scope (No dies or components) will be $2K +

    THANKS!
     
  2. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Other than my personal preference for Remington actions...I'd say you seem to have it pretty situated. On a side note, I'd definitely go 26" barrel, and would go varmint contour.

    You will love the .280 AI caliber. I've shot several, and am building a switch-barrel 700 and one of the barrels will be .280 AI. All I'm waiting on now is the money for the .284 blank and the smith work.
     

  3. Brewer

    Brewer Well-Known Member

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    Greetings Duckinator, what you are talking about, in one form or another, is how most of us got hooked. Great Story!! I am from Kansas so there are many times I have wished to live in or around the mountains so your story really makes me Jealous.

    There are a few things Id Like to submit for your consideration.

    If this is your first build and you are trying to do it cheap, you may want to stick with a round that is not an AI. I'm not saying its a bad idea, its just really expensive. if you have ever run into the numbers, over the lifetime of a barrel, the shooting costs more than the rifle and an AI just makes it that much more because you have to fire form. Having said that, the AI's are great rounds for greater powder efficiency and barrel life.

    If you have an action and you don't want to buy one, it doesn't matter what you have, use it. if you are going to buy a rifle for the action, get a Remington 700. this is the only action considered by most shooters that is even compared to custom actions. as a matter of fact, most custom actions are build after the Remington 700 design. in the US, you can get a Long Action Stainless rem 700 for $500 all day long. the actions are the same on every rifle, from the cheap SPS to the high dollar units.

    Recoil and weight. if you want low recoil, you are going to need to port your barrel. if you want a light rifle, you are going to have to deal with more recoil. you probably knew that but it is significant, go as heavy as you think you can tote around. the .284 is a good bullet and so it the 06 case, but .284 bullets are heavy and that is also a large component of recoil. bullet selection is not as good as some, especially the 6.5mm. if you want less wind drift and better accuracy at longer ranges you really need to look at the ballistic coefficients of the bullets. a 6.5mm 140 grain bullet has a much better BC than a .284 160Grain. that means better accuracy and less recoil. there are many many hunters who have taken Elk at well over 600 yards with 140 grain bullets and killed them Dead on the spot. the 6.5mm-06 is a very good hunting round as well as the .260 (factory round)if you don't think you need the speed of the 06 case. both of these with ports will give you recoil in the .243 range. I have killed multiple deer are ranges past 500 yards with a .25-06 shooting 119 grain bullets, some of them dropped dead. shot placement is almost everything, not bullet mass.

    Your barrel is probably not as important as the guy who is cutting the chamber in your barrel. remember that and go with a good recommendation from a trusted source, not what guys say on blogs. look for shops who have build rifles that hold records, like world records, Hart, for example.

    you can safely save money on the trigger buy having your gunsmith put different springs in your factory trigger and tune it. can save you $50-$100 and you can get Basix performance out of it. if your going to spend the money on a trigger, get a jewel or nothing. I did my own work on a factory 700 rem and got it to 2.5#. cost me $22.

    What ever you go with, remember that you can easily build a rifle that will shoot better than you for $2000, so getting to know your rifles is like getting to know your wife's anatomy, you learn how it fits in your hands and how it feels on you shoulder and exactly how the trigger breaks. you know all her sweet spots... only after you spend a lot of time with her. you got to shoot the rifle many time to so you know how to set it up at 750 yards, or 675 yards or... 25 yards makes a lot of difference at these ranges.

    Good Luck.
     
  4. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Is it a little more expensive than normal dies and brass? Yeah, but not quite like it used to be back in the day. Most AI calibers are so expensive because the die manufacturers don't sell many of them, so they ask high prices for them to help recoop some of their own overhead and R&D they used to build the dies.

    However, the .280 AI has become so popular over the last decade that prices for brass and dies have become nearly the same as a regular set of dies and regular .280, .270 or .30-06 brass.

    With the .280 AI, you no longer have to fire-form every piece of brass...

    Nosler Custom Reloading Brass 280 Remington Ackley Improved 40-Degree

    And dies are not that crazy expensive like they used to be.

    RCBS 2-Die Set 280 Ackley Improved 40-Degree Shoulder

    I also suggest ordering a neck-sizer die for when you get your brass fire-formed to your chamber so you will retain excellent first-shot accuracy.

    RCBS Neck Sizer Die 280 Ackley Improved 40-Degree Shoulder
     
  5. Brewer

    Brewer Well-Known Member

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    MudRunner, I sit corrected on the cost and fireforming of the 280AI round.
     
  6. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    Remington 700 in 7mm Rem Mag caliber
     
  7. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Sully, you ready to complete our deal, yet? I still need the dies and brass... :D
     
  8. TheDuckinator

    TheDuckinator New Member

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    Thanks for all the responses!

    The reason why I chose the Stevens action is because I can pick one up easily at $300 or just buy a whole new rifle for $400. Model 700 I would be looking at $600 used $700 new. Plus I wouldn't need to pay $200-$300 to get a smith to install the barrel. But I will give a few smiths a call to get a definite on prices.

    I have a .260 Rem right now and love it, the reason why I didn't think to hard on 6.5x284 or 06 is it seems where they really shine is with the VLD's. The thing is though that it isn't an uncommon occurrence to be walking down a trail, turn a corner than five feet in front of you is a nice big black bear and the last thing you want is a bullet that is designed to fragment in a situation like that.

    But as far as recoil goes I'm fine with shooting an 06 parent cartridge in a sub 7# gun. I just want to shy away from magnums.

    I really like the idea of trying to do the trigger myself, worst case scenario I can just swap it out.

    Thanks for all the idea's and help!
     
  9. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Even with the Savage you'll still need "Go" and "No Go" gauges for the caliber you choose for when you install the barrel and set your headspacing.

    The .280 AI with the Berger 168 VLD's is an incredible combo, from everything I've read. Can't wait till I can complete mine.