Custom Long Range Rifle

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by buzz4me2, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. buzz4me2

    buzz4me2 Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    Howdy everyone,
    I'm new to the site and have found a wealth of information here. I'm sure my following questions have been asked before but I'll ask them again. Searching through old posts I have found a lot of info that I'm looking for but I'm still seeking advice.

    I'm new to long range shooting. Currently I have a pre64 win .270, 140grain Accubond ammo that I use for deer and as a backup gun. My main rifle is a .300 win mag, 180grain XP3 ammo and Leupold VX-III Boon and Crocket reticle (3x9x40). I have taken deer out to 400 hards with the 270 and elk out to 540 yds with the .300. I love the lower recoil on the .270 but don't have as much confidence at the longer distances. The .300 kicks but is manageable and under the right conditions I'm comfortable out to 500 yards.

    I'm now considering getting my first custom rifle. The animals that I will hunt in the future are mainly elk and deer but I plan on hunting sheep, caribou and moose occasionally in the future and want to get good shooting a single rifle.

    I'd like to get a custom rifle that can take any of the above mentioned game out to 1000 yards using preferably one load. What caliber of rifle would you suggest for this type of hunting?

    Looking at custom rifle makers the names that stand out are Shawn Carlock, Kirby Allen, Robert (Bob) Hart and Kevin Wyatt. I'm guessing any of these guys can build me a quality rifle but I do notice a difference in prices among some of them that have a website. Is this just the way the market is or does quality come into play?

    Does anyone have an opinion for the following makers or guns:
    1) Bob Hart and the Hart Long Range Hunter?
    2) Defensive Edge's Light Weight Long Range Rifle?
    3) Mark Thompson's Weatherby 30-378? (they don't go into great detail on the rifles they sell on their website)
    4) Darrell Holland Long Range Hunter?

    One thing that I like about most of the above mentioned guys is that they offer classes on long range shooting along with the rifle they provide. This is a strong consideration for me as well.

    I don't need all the bells and whistles, just a quality rifle that I can use with confidence (out to 1000 yards) if I can't get into a closer position on that animal of a lifetime. Sorry for the long post but any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

    Jul 20, 2007
    I think you should consider a cartridge for the largest animals you will be hunting, elk and moose. You already have a 300mag and from what I gather you don't think the 300 is a 1000yard large game cartridge. So go bigger, why not a .338RUM or .338 with more powder capacity? They seem to be the ticket. What kind of 300 you got? Maybe you can use that for a platform.

  3. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    I made the long trip to visit Kirby Allen last month and shot a few of his rifles. While I am a newbie at long range shooting before visiting him, (the longest that I shot before was 350 Yds) I was able to hit the steel target that was set at 685 and 868. See this thread:

    All that I did was dial up or hold over (mil-dot) the dope that Kirby fed me and the guns did the rest.

    For firing these guns for the first time, and only running a few bullets thru each gun, they performed beyond my expectations.

    While I didn't shoot the .338 AM, from what I've read it makes a great 1000 yd. gun. I believe Kirby put a bullet thru an elk at 900+ Yds with it?

    I settled on the 7mm AM, but I expect to do more deer/antelope hunting with it than larger critters. If I were to be concentrating on larger animals, especially ones that might bite back, I would want something that would poke a bigger hole in them. I don't know how the .375 would fare at 1,000 Yds, but it was pretty impressive at almost a half a mile! The only downside (for me) is that it was too heavy to consider it for a walking around rifle.

    The only reason that I'm not mentioning any of the other 'smiths that you referenced is that I have no first hand experience with them.
  4. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Hey Buzz,
    My experience has been similar to yours. Personally, I think the 270 is a 1k cartridge. And, the 300 win gets there with plenty of authority. Brake that 300 and make it comfortable to shoot a lot.

    My experience with the smiths on this site are limited to Shawn and Kirby. I'm certain there are other smiths with great customer service and quality products. But you won't be dissapointed with iether of these. I have also read a bunch of positive comments about 308 Nate.

    On cartridge / caliber selection I think you can get the job done with anything from a 7wsm to a 338AM. Every cartridge comes with its own compromises. You have to look at availability of brass and dies, cost to shoot, cost to set up, do you want to wildcat, bullet availability, external ballistics, internal ballistics, terminal performance, barrel life, and feeding issues... Your smith is the best resource.

    Personally, I started out to build a 7wsm and ended up with a 7mm Dakota. Shooting 189 Cauterucios or 200 wildcats this is a 2000 yard capable cartridge. In the case of the Dakota, brass and dies are very expensive. Factory ammo is not readily available. Barrel life is not bad. Internal ballistics are good. External ballistics are great (1/2 the wind drift of my 300 win load at 1k). And I have no doubts about terminal performance.

    Have fun picking!
  5. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    PS. Shawn Carlock makes a fantastic how to "Long Range Hunting" video. You might want to start there. He'll get it to you right away. Also, Goodgrouper on here is a master at helping folks get the most out of thier equipment (factory or custom) and teaches folks to shoot long. Might want to drop him a line.
  6. mcmurray

    mcmurray Active Member

    Nov 11, 2007
    Gun Smiths and Long Range Caliber

    I've conversed via email with Kirby and Shawn Carlock. I also took Shawn Carlock's Long Range Class this summer. Both are great people. You cannot go wrong with either. I chose Shawn to build my a rifle. It turns out that he was a former student of mine when I taught high school Physics! Here are some of the considerations I made.

    1. I wanted a case that did not require a lot of fire forming. That eliminated some of the calibers offered by Kirby. I've done the fire forming thing with other calibers and just did not want to deal with it.
    2. I wanted a bullet that would perform well at 1000 yards on elk, had a high BC, and was readily available. I chose the .338 Sierra Match King.
    3. After several email discussions with both Kirby and Shawn I ended up going with the .338 Edge. It is very easy to load. Simply run a 300 RUM case into the die which necks it up to .338 and your done. The load is mild as far as pressure and velocity. It is also a proven accurate combination.
    4. Combine that cartige with a custom rifle built on standard Remington action and your can complete a rifle without breaking the bank. None of them are cheap but that is not the goal.

    Shawn called me this week and my gun is finished and will be delivered next week. I have several hunts planned. I have 3 deer tags, and 3 Antelope tags to fill in eastern Montana. I plan on testing my abilities at ranges between 600 and 1000 yards (depending on the WIND!)

    In short I wanted a gun that was simple to load for, accurate, and could be delivered in a reasonable time. Shawn was able to do that for me. I will keep the group informed on how well I can shoot this fall.

    If you have any other questions fell free to PM me.

  7. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2008

    ok - I'll be the lone voice for Bob Hart. When I was looking to have my rifle rebuilt I called several gunsmith. Bob took the time to talk with me on the phone and asked plenty of questions. Through that conversation I was able to make an informed decision about the specifications of the work I wanted to have done. So I sent my Rem700 rifle up to their shop to be rebarreled, action trued, inlet stock and bed the stock. He did a great job in a relatively short amount of time and at a reasonable price. My newly rebuilt rifle (in .280...whatelse) is shooting .7moa with cheap factory ammo.

    In terms of your caliber choice, I think everybody else has covered that well.
  8. Down Under Hunter

    Down Under Hunter Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2007
    I would think that all the smiths you mentioned will build one hell of a gun ! Obviously there are alot of guys on the LRF with personal experience dealing with Shawn and Kirby. Both are great guys and go the extra mile to give their customer what they want in a gun.

    From my one personal experience having a custom job done, I can say that dealing with Shawn Carlock was a fantastic experience. I ended up recieving a complete system that in good conditions will put 3 shots into a tennis ball at 800 yards. I now have several 4 and 5 shot groups at 1030 yards in the 4 " range. The calibre I chose was the 338 edge. It is setup very similar to the lightweight package he offers as std. sedero taper Hart 30 ".

    Having an accuracy guarantee is the reason to get one of these guys to build it ! No faulse promises. It will do what they said it would or it does not leave the shop till it does.

    As far as time frame to get built, I'd think you would be looking at 9-12 months from all the names you mentioned. Top gunsmiths are busy people.

    You are certainly on the right track. Buy right the first time and you will be a happy man !

    Good luck my friend !