Difference in custom guns....

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by The Oregonian, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. The Oregonian

    The Oregonian Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    450
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Question for the hive....

    Considering (maybe decided to get?) a custom or semi custom gun...maybe a matter of timing. But my question is how much you get on a $5k-$7k gun vs a $2k-$4k semi-custom or custom gun...somewhat of an arbitrary range, but comparing a handful of guns / smiths.

    In the $2-$4k range is Cooper, which has a 1/2 MOA guarantee, as well as some other custom builders who are sponsors here.

    In the $5k+ range are other sponsors whom I will not call by name, but well known, more 'name brand' smiths.

    I can completely appreciate fine craftsmanship, but just wondering what sets those apart if they shoot in the 1/2 MOA range. If it is reputation/demand and/or craftsmanship, I am fine with that - not complaining at all. But wondering how much is actually a functional difference vs a demand/brand difference. Or it could be that as you get closer to diminishing returns, incremental improvements are expensive...ie 1/4 MOA vs 1/2 MOA difference is very tough and takes a lot of work and significantly more $$.

    I am NOT knocking anyone...not asking anyone to bad mouth any high end smiths. Just trying to make an educated decision, knowing that quality costs money and can be appreciated, but needs to be balanced against functional difference and the incremental $.

    Thx.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,306
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    With all things being done right and quality parts and custom barrels used A $2,000.00 to
    $3,000.00 rifle should shoot as well as a $8,000.00 rifle But It may not be as pretty or have the
    name.

    All custom rifles should shoot under 1/2 MOA in my opinion and it is not unusual for them to shoot
    under 1/4 MOA.

    If a builder sets out to build a 1/2 MOA rifle that Is his standard. If he sets out to build a 1/4 MOA rifle
    but granites 1/2 MOA normally the rifle will shoot well under 1/2 MOA and normally under 1.4 MOA.

    The difference is in the attitude (It will shoot 1/2 MOA so thats good enough. As apposed to "Thats the best I can do" and most of the time it will shoot less than a 1/4 MOA.

    J E CUSTOM
     

  3. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,150
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    I have a custom Rem Model 7 with a fluted Brux barrel reamed for the 243 Tactical Match. It shoots right at .5 moa. All-in cost was about $1,500 w/o scope. I recently bought a Savage Edge in 243 to use as a beater "truck gun". Spent a little more than $300 for the rifle. I threw on some rings and a cheap $125 scope. It shoots lights out and will hold .5 moa, if I do my part.

    Dollars are not always a guaranty for accuracy.
     
  4. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,829
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    The main reason that I believe that people go custom is for longrange purposes. You don't really need a custom $5k rifle that you will only be shooting out to 600 yards with unless you just want one. The reason that I went with a full on custom rifle is for the consistency that it will get me at 1K yards and beyond. There are TONS of factory rifles that will shoot .5 MOA or less at 100 yards on a consistent basis. Heck, there are tons of factory rifles that will shoot .5 MOA at 600 yards. But there are VERY, VERY, few IF ANY factory rifles that will hold their own with a full custom rifle at LR and ELR shooting distances.

    The care and tight tolerances that are utitlized in the making of a full custom gives it the ability to shoot tighter groups at the longer ranges over and over again with the right handloads and a good shooter.

    Now a semi custom may well hold its own with a full on custom but I havnt owned a semi custom nor have I shot one so I cant tell you.

    My custom 338 Lapua is absolutely amazing in the make and feel of it. It has been a .3-.4 MOA rifle all the way out to 700 yards so far. On monday, I shot a three shot group at 700 yards with this rifle that measured 1.25". I am going to let that one go as luck but I do believe that the rifle is capable of doing it if I am.

    Hopefully by April, I will have broken the 1K mark with this gun.
     
  5. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,550
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Curious, if a 10000.00 rifle shoots .5 MOA at 600 and a $500.00 rifles does the same why is there is a difference let's say beyond 1000? I would have imagined at this point the bullet has stabilized and is going to do what a bullet does independent of the thunderstick that threw it.

    I say if a person can afford custom, go custom. There is just something magical in the way they feel and function. I shot a 12000.00 rifle recently and really liked it. My 750.00 stocker will shoot right with it, but if feels different.
     
  6. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    819
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Exactly how I feel...are we missing something?
     
  7. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,829
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011

    All I am saying is that the custom will do it on a more consistant basis than the factory rifle. A lot of people say that their factory rifle shoots .5 MOA everytime but I am betting that it doesnt. I used to think that I had one that shot .5MOA groups everytime until I started logging all of my shots and saw that it was not as consistant as I thought.
     
  8. dragman

    dragman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,448
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Just my .02
    *Good factory gun $600-999 - Great for the person that doesn't load or is a novice loader.
    *Semi Custom gun $999-1599 - Great for person that is a regular reloader and up.
    *full Custom gun $1599-and UP - Great for the ultra presision loader.

    If you spend $5000 on a gun and shoot factory ammo or just do very basic reloading then the money wasn't well spent. Most of the money spent is on getting the gun built to your specs (short throat, tight neck, short chambered, etc)
    If you know what you want and utilize all the equipment to it's fullest when loading then your getting what you paid for.
     
  9. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    912
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013

    I took one of my factory $1K rifles to an F-class LR match last year just for the practice and to see how well I could shoot compared to some of the best around the region. I had top score in my class for the first two days and finished well the third. I would say my factory rifle shoots just aey o kay compared to some of those customs that were on the range. Yes customs have a better probaiblity of achieving the precision you are looking for and some factory rifles will do the same. For those factory rifles that don't, post them in your local paper. :D
     
  10. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,829
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011

    Dont get me wrong...I am definitely not disagreeing with you at all. There are some factory rifles that will do that but they are very few and far between.
     
  11. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,306
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    I can not argue with any ones opinion so far on the type of rifle a person needs (Factory or custom)

    I have owned 3 factory rifles in the last 40 years that shot 1/10 of an inch groups @ 100 yards, so there
    are factory rifles that can shoot good but they are hard to find with that level of accuracy.

    A factory rifle that will shoot 1 to 1 1/2 MOA are more common and as someone said if you don't
    have a problem with that level of accuracy and don't reload, a factory rifle is OK with limited distance
    hunting.

    The advantage of 1/2 moa or better at the shorter distances it the ability to place the shot exactly
    where you want it. If you want to take a turkey a 200+yards and don't want to blow him up
    you take a head shot. (This should not be attempted with a 1MOA+ rifle). sometimes you need to
    take a shot that will drop the game where he stands so it is recoverable at long distance. A 1 to 1 1/2
    MOA rifle will not do and the shot should not be attempted.

    So if a person buys a factory rifle he needs to know its limitations.

    As far as the custom rifle; I expect better than 1/2 MOA from any custom and with good reloads,
    this is not impossible to get. I am OK with 3/10th MOA groups but not satisfied and keep looking
    for a better load. I may never find the "magic" load but I don't give up, I just don't try as hard
    at some point.

    One cannot compare a Factory rifle to a custom because they are as different as apples and oranges
    Factory rifles are mass produced and most if all have some issues with quality control. If they only
    have one or two problems they may shoot well. If they have many problems they will not shoot worth
    a $#!t . I have never disassembled a factory rifle that did not have issues of some kind.

    Custom Rifles are/should be built one at a time and the chance of a quality issue are small to none
    so you do get what you pay for. with all the right parts and good Smithing most of the time they
    will amaze you and normally out shoot the shooter if he will admit it.

    I do believe that one can buy a $2,000.00 custom that will shoot with the $8,000.00 rifles. After all,
    If you buy the best barrel, trigger, a trued/blueprinted or custom action, a good stock with pillars
    and bedding along with good smithing what else can be done to drive the price up to $8 to $10,000.00

    So buy what you want and be happy with it no matter what it cost.

    Just my opinion

    J E CUSTOM
     
  12. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,550
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Informative thread for sure.
     
  13. albertakid

    albertakid Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    270
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Well here is my 2 cents on the subject...for what its worth

    I used to shoot competitive archery with traditional equipment. Now you want to talk about a bunch of fellas proud of thier custom equipment:D

    And you know what I learned its the wingnut behind the string that makes the diffrence!!!! All the money in the world doesn't matter if you can't shoot.

    I agree that a off the shelf rifle probably won't in its orignal state shoot with a 10,000 custom rifle, but I have seen 1500 dollar guns blow the doors off full on customs in the right hands.

    What I see with true custom rifles are the chance to own working art. You need to appreciate the work and dedication that went into the rifle and having the best components money can buy sure doesn't hurt, but I for one don't have deep enough pockets to own a 5000-10000 work of art, but dont tell that to my targets!
     
  14. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    912
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Factory or custom each shooter will have their own personal views toward what performance degree they are willing to accept with each characteristic in their rifle.

    Precision while long range hunting in my personal perspective takes the back seat to accuracy. A five shot 1" 1000 yard group shot fifteen inches from center is five shots that missed the intended resting-place by fifteen inches. Cool precision to look at on paper, not so cool on a deer. A 1 MOA factory gun with the shooter able to center five shots on the target (accuracy) in my opinion achieved better results than the .1 MOA custom gun as above with the intent of big game hunting purposes. For hunting purposes try no to get so wrapped up just in the precision capability of a gun either custom or factory and the cost associated without first learning and experiencing what changes mother nature will take on a bullet in long flight and more importantly how to correct for these changes.

    To me, and this is just my personal opinion backed by my own personal experience, matching accuracy and precision together for long range hunting (800 yards +) is where a full on custom comes into play. There are other reasons people choose a custom and I’m portraying my reasoning why and when I choose the full on custom. Each will have their own. For the most part we can anticipate and control to certain degrees the precision potential of the gun/shooter/ammo combo. If you have been consistently shooting ½ MOA equivalent groups in field practice, one could assume most of the time that degree of precision while hunting will continue. Conditional confidence, or your confidence in predicting accurate atmospheric and wind speed conditions as applied to your corrections, is directly related to accuracy. This is where most errors are made while shooting long range. For the most part you can control the target size. I want to shoot the vitals of a moose, a deer, a gopher etc. You can control the level of precision. I must have a ½ MOA potential gun or better. But you can only predict Mother Nature so much. If we could all the time almost all of the F-Class strings would be perfect scores. Heck the 10 ring is 10" at 1000; will enough for a ½ MAO gun right? Then why are some of the best shooters in the world not cleaning all their strings?

    I would highly recommend reading the book "Accuracy and Precision for Long Range Shooting," by Bryan Litz. Bryan takes a scientific approach with predicting the probability of hitting certain sized targets under different condition confidence. The book includes a chapter specifically on hunting big game. Generally under the same conditional confidence and precision potential same hit probability ranges increase with a higher BC bullet combined with quicker velocities. What example does Bryan use as his "book end" in the big game hunting section? The 338 Allen Magnum. Yes, the 338 Allen Magnum is my choice for a full on custom. A full on custom in this gun is the ONLY choice. Only one smith makes this gun. Each of you will have your own choice for your specific reasons. I have my full on custom choice for my specific reason, a very well made gun with the best components pushing a very high BC bullet at very high velocities. Sure will help me with those 800+ ranges when I unfortunately misread Mother Nature. Custom in this case, all the way.