Custom rifle....?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by The Oregonian, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. The Oregonian

    The Oregonian Well-Known Member

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    OK, so I will be the first to admit that a custom rifle is somewhat of dream...by that I don't mean unrealistic, but something to which many hunters aspire. But at the end of the day, not sure how much it really gets me.

    Here is my current situation. I have a Browning A-bolt in 270 win and am currently getting a little over 1" 5 shot groups. I have a handful of different factory ammo on the way (I don't reload) to see if I can improve that, or at least see what offers the best combination of ballistics and accuracy. I don't have the skills YET to reliably take game over 300 yds, but maybe I will get there someday.

    So I don't really think I gain a whole lot by getting a custom rifle for $3-$5k. I may go on an elk trip in the next year, and if so, may get another a-bolt in 30-06 to cover larger game.

    The other approach is to get a custom rifle and grow into it, but honestly don't know if that will happen.

    I have a chronograph on the way to measure speed and can measure accuracy myself, and a scope upgrade and a lapping and alignment kit on the way to maximize what i have now. I am looking forward to getting the most out of my factory gun with factory ammo. But shooting within 300 yds around 1 MOA is plenty for hunting. I shoot at the range only to prepare for hunting (along with enjoyment, but I am not someone who is going to justify my self worth based on small groups). Maybe one day I will get to the point where I can take advantage of a 1/2 MOA rifle, but my skills aren't there yet.

    So, while I can afford a custom rifle and want one from an emotional perspective, I am looking forward to wringing all I can out my factory rifle and only going custom if I can outshoot the rifle. I would rather spend the extra $$ on ammo, an elk or deer trip, or whatever.

    I know that add'l fancy guns are a want, even if we can convince ourselves they are a need, it just looking for opinions from the wisdom of the interwebs....

    Thoughts?
     

  2. Ludicrous

    Ludicrous Well-Known Member

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    If you have room somewhere get a press and start hand loading. I can't imagine having a custom rifle and shooting box ammo out of it. Amazing how it will change your shooting.
     

  3. Mayhem338

    Mayhem338 Well-Known Member

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    I have a Browning A-bolt 7WSM that will do 1/2 moa with loads it likes. My problem was non of them were factory stuff. If you can afford it you might give reloading a try, as it will make the most of your 270.

    If you can swing a custom from one of the great smiths on this site you will never regret it.
    The increase in performance and consistency is just amazing.
     
  4. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Mostly I advise the younger folks around me not to trade product for opportunity. Mostly they laugh at my safe full of product. You can get a lot done with basic equipment.
     
  5. jehu

    jehu Well-Known Member

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    The answer to your question is simple. Get a Sako which, IMO, are the closest rifle out of the box to a custom rifle.
     
  6. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    A custom won't buy you anything without reloading for it -barring pure luck.
    There are aftermarket guns that shoot well with off the shelf ammo, and factory guns that do as well. But way more that don't.
     
  7. Nieko

    Nieko Well-Known Member

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    Start reloading, your a-bolt will more than likely shoot 1/2 Moa
     
  8. sportmuaythai

    sportmuaythai Well-Known Member

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    I concur. I'm the traditional get closest, and get closer hunter:D, lurking here to learn what wasn't available during my period:rolleyes:. Within 350yds, 130gr Nos Part is plenty even for elk moose and griz. If you're going after brownie, then I'd fore go 30-06 and get 7mm Rem mag. I think you need to have a licensed guide to hunt Alaskan bear, and he will probably try to get you within 300 yards.
    A good factory rifle is what I prefer. I have custom rifles, But fear of getting them thrashed on a rough hunt.
     
  9. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    1" is pretty good for a 5 shot group. I'd say look into reloading. Shooting custom ammo will make you rifle a Custom. Getting set up for reloading seems like a massive undertaking compared to buying a box of ammo but there's a reason why almost everyone who's reloads doesn't regret it. I seldom use economics as a reason to reload but over a few years, attach a retail price to the reloaded ammo you've shot and you'll be surprised how much money you haven't spent. This is because it's hard to pony up $30 to $50 dollars for a box of 20 factory shells. Your reloads will be a lot less and you will get substantially more trigger time because you not fixed on the price as well as being more into shooting due to the interest in how your loads perform.
     
  10. sportmuaythai

    sportmuaythai Well-Known Member

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    +1. Mike filled in what I should have included in my post. Reloads will definitely improve accuracy, and you get to select best bullet for the job.
     
  11. Zep

    Zep Well-Known Member

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    Yea, what they said.

    But hand loading is an entirely different subject area than shooting. You have to really want to do it. I think it important to find a very good mentor and read anything you can get your hands on, reloading books, manuals, etc... And it takes buckets of time. But if you love it as most of us do and you are willing to spend the money I think it is certainly the way to go. Chances are you will be keeping the Browning if you get into it. Besides that anyone new to hand loading doesn't want to be learning with a high end rifle.
     
  12. rick523

    rick523 Well-Known Member

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    The advice on reloading is very legit, it will definatley improve the accuracy of your A Bolt. Once you start reloading and see the improvment in group size if your like pretty much everyone else you want to improve them even more (different rifle). Two years ago I felt the same way you do about a custome rifle, then I went on a mule deer hunt in Wy. I live in Indiana. I took my Tika 308 with hand loads sub moa and felt pretty comfortable shooting out to 4-500yds.

    Second day out had two very respectable bucks one in the 170-180 range at 665yds uphill I did not take the shoot because I knew my limitations, never seen another deer that I wanted to take. I told myself then the next time I went West it would be with a rifle I was confident in shooting out to 800yds plus. I am fortunate I have a very good smith within 16mi. of my home, he just finished the build last month on a 7mm rem mag. I'm retired but have a lawn care business to pay for my trips and toys I have a litle over $5000 in this rifle shot at 800yds last week group measured 3.773 inches and has been getting better do I regreat the expense? No way this thing is a ball to shoot it is scary accurate that makes it just that more enjoyable, the only regret I have is I put off a trip out west this year to get comfortabe with the gun. Not to mention we have been in a drought for last six months not good for lawn care. Anyway you may change your mind as your groups get smaller.

    "Shoot straight,Shoot once"
     
  13. The Oregonian

    The Oregonian Well-Known Member

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    All very good advice, and summed up pretty well here. My challenge is not lack of interest in reloading, just that we have two kids under 7 yrs old and I only have time for so many hobbies....just a matter of priorities. If I get good enough to where my ammo, skills, or rifle is keeping me from extending my range, I will probably push myself over the edge and pick it up. Just need to get to where I can outshoot the rifle or ammo. Right now I am not sure I am there yet, so I need to improve myself before I improve my equipment.
     
  14. Zep

    Zep Well-Known Member

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    I think that is a responsible choice. And as you mention, trigger time is always important. I even take my .22 with me to the range once a week and shoot at little pieces of whatever that are left on the berms.

    It will all come together for you in time, just keep it fun and responsible and you are certainly doing that. As I suggest in my original post, keep an eye open for a hand loading mentor. Even if you don't have the time now to do it on your own if you can just watch someone once in a while it will be a very valuable experience for latter. Hand loading for long range ain't a walk in the park.