'Smithed factory vs custom

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by jericho, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. jericho

    jericho Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    At what point does it go from pure functionality to just bragging rights? If you have lets say a Savage 10FCP in H&S stock,send it off to get accurised and cost of total rifle(buying plus work) comes to say $1500(if that). Now it consistently shoots .6 or.7. How do you justify the price of some customs out there that perform the same? Is it a longevity thing? Should the issue be are you using it for hunting or benchrest comps(where the tiniest variable in accuracy means a loss or victory?
    I ask this question,"cause as someone saving to get my first rifle one day,it gets intimidating,almost like something is wrong with a $1000 or less rifle.I know its not true,but where does the justification of the huge price difference come into play? Lets assume we are comparing two 308's.

    JPRITT Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    A ton of money can get wrapped up into a custom but it is just that a"CUSTOM". If you have a specific purpose for the gun like compitition, long range hunting, benchrest, tactial, or just doing something different, they all serve a purpose.

    Now, thats not to say that a factory rifle wont do alot of these things but more options are availible and can be custom tailored to the shooter. Often on a factory rifle you would have to settle for at least one feature you dont like. Not so with a custom.

    By the time its all said and done you may have 1,2,or 3 thousand wrapped up into and it may not shoot better than your accurized savage but it is your custom rifle made to YOUR spec. And chances are you will shoot it better than most others. Hope this anwsers some of your question. I'm sure other will chime in.

  3. blipelt

    blipelt Well-Known Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    I build custom because I want a specific caliber, weight, and fit. Hunting is also the only hobby I have(they are cheaper than boats and new vehicles). I would not call it bragging rights to have custom rifles. I look at it as having a 9/16 wrench to tighten a nut or a crescent wrench. Both will do the job. One will do the job alittle better.

    You can build a semi-custom for $1500 or a spare no expense full for $3000 and up. It all is up to you. What are you content with is all that matters. My experience is don't settle, and build what you really want. Or else you won't be satisfied.

  4. 3fingervic

    3fingervic Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    Well, I'm no expert, but I don't think there is anything wrong with getting a 10 FCP-K in .308. I just ordered a left handed 110 FCP-K from Savage's custom shop which is going to cost me $874 out the door. It would have been $674 if I wasn't a southpaw. It comes with an accutrigger which will go as light as 2.5lbs. and has an accustock which is aluminum bedded. The gun has also has a heavy fluted barrel and a muzzle break. Sorry, I'm not trying to sound like a commercial, but I'm just saying that some "regular" guns have some nice features. Now there is a question of accuracy. I don't know how much is enough. I would say sub MOA is good. I'm sure others on this site will disagree.
  5. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    Alot of this comes down to expectations.

    You send off your factory sav to have an HS stock and accuracy package done. It comes back and you spend the next month doing load work to find a bullet it will shoot intop the 1/2 to 3/4 range. If 10 guys do this at least 3 of them wont find sub 3/4 minute. Yet they have $1200 to $1500 wrapped up in a factory rifle, with a factory barrel.

    For $1500 a full custom rifle can be built from scratch on a Sav target action. Now you have a gun with a custom barrel that shoots sub 1/2 minute, with the second load you try in the gun. A little work might get you in the .1-.2 range. Sure it's easy to go over $1500, add barrel fluting, and step up the stock from an HS and the price will climb.

    Step up to a custom action and a high name stock and you will be in the $2000+ range. But what you get is an asurance that you have the best money can buy. Easy cleaning, accurate, and built the way you want it. And if you are an avid shooter/hunter, when the barrel goes you invest in a new one and a fitting job.
    now that custom is on it's second life with minimal cost.

    I loaded 7 bullets to test fire a new 338 edge today, full custom, I only had to shoot 3 of them, because the very first 3 bullets landed on top of each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!.................. thats why customs are so popular, they instil confidence in the shooter, are easy to load for, and "only accurate rifles are interesting."
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    There is a fine line between a full blown custom and a customized factory rifle as far as accuracy
    goes. The Money however is a different story.

    A "good" smith can take most factory actions and make them shoot as well as the custom action
    but the end cost can be almost as much depending on the custom action purchased.

    So if you take the Savage or any other factory rifle and replace the barrel with a top quality
    barrel and do all of the truing to the action that normally does not have to be done to the
    custom action and do a proper chambering job and place it in a good stock if the factory
    stock is not very good they should shoot equally well.

    The main advantage of using a factory rifle as a donor is that if you have a rifle that will not
    shoot or has a shot out barrel with a little work and a good barrel you can turn a safe queen
    into your favorite hunting rifle.

    The reason a lot of people opt for the full blown custom is accuracy and some bragging rights.
    because you can have one of a kind and most custom actions are a thing of beauty.

    I would think that most of the smiths on this site could take a factory action and make it shoot
    sub 1/2 MOA groups all day long if given the right parts .

    Once you replace the barrel or even the stock on a factory rifle it could be called a custom
    because you changed it to suit your needs or to improve it's accuracy. But a custom rifle normally infers that all nessary steps have been taken to assure accuracy to the point the
    customer demands.

    So if your looking for a rifle that will shoot .6 to .7 groups you don't need to spend the money
    on a full blown custom. But if it's 1/4 MOA groups then a total rebuild of a factory rifle or a total
    custom rifle is in order.

    A few factory rifles guarantee an accuracy max but they are on the high end of cost. Most smiths
    will guarantee 1/2 MOA or less at about the same cost unless it is based on a custom action.

    So I guess my answer would be = When the owner reaches the point that he is satisfied with
    the total performance of the rifle for the money spent there is no need to go any further.

  7. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    I'll give an example, Savage Mod 12 FV w/ Super Sniper Stock, 6-24X50 Bushnell Elite 4200, EGW Base, Buris XTR Rings, hand loading Lapua brass, Nosler Custom Comp 168 Boat Tails, with Varget at a speed of 2780 fps.

    Cost= $1000 total package
    Accuracy= @100 yrds .5 when my cousin does his part.

    Now a custom w/ same gun owner

    Same super sniper stock, Savage Target Action, 32" Douglas barrel, 338 Lapua brass brass, 300 grn SMK, Same EGW Base, Same Burris XTR Rings, and probably going to add a break.

    Cost of action, barrel, machining the stock to fit the action, and the break= Currently has $1000, owes $450, and the break will add an additional $250 for break and instalation. =$1700

    Should he needed to purchase a base, rings and scope=$600

    Total package after tax=$2300

    Don't know what the 100yrd is producing, but between two different loads in an underground indoor 25yrd range produced a one whole group. That doesn't tell us what it will due at 100yrds.

    So $1000 for a total package sit at the range and shoot 1/2" holes, or $2300 for a total package and hope you can get what you paid for. Just a thought.

  8. BillR

    BillR Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    I've gone both ways. Twice now. :)
    First gun built was a .300 RUM It has a McMillan stock, Hart Barrel, Factory trigger with a great trigger job on it, Rem 700 Action all squared up and shoots like a dream.
    Second rifle is a duplicate of the first and you can't tell them apart except by the hole in the end of the barrel if you don't check the barrel stampings. Its in a .25-06 AI tight neck. It shoots as good or better than the RUM.
    Both rifles ran me in the $2500 area each and still needed optics so figure you will have $3500 in each of them or more depending on the scope and if you go cheap on optics your only fooling yourself. In keeping with fact that the guns are identical twins I put Leupold 6.5X20X40 VXIII LR.
    The wife kind of revolted on the third gun so I went another way. I bought a Rem 700 VS .223 and mounted it up with the same scope. Had a trigger job done on it and worked my butt off finding a decent load for it. It will shoot a 3 shot group at 100 yds into .25 but for some odd reason it will throw the 4th or 5th out. Even with very carefully reloaded ammo. With some smithing it probably would quit that. But with optics and everything (bought it used with about 200 rounds down the tube) I probably have around $1500 in the gun. Still does everything I want it to out to about 500 yds and was actually a great investment and fun to shoot. But that flyer can really Pi$$ you off at times. Makes for a great excuse for misses though. :)
    The last one is a Rem 700 VSSF II in .308 that I am slowly building up. It also was bought used from a guy that probably had 50 rounds down the tube and bought it for Elk hunting and found out that it was just a bit heavy for that.:) I have put maybe another 100 rounds down the tube just playing with it with Federal blue box ammo and it shoots under 1/2 MOA all day with cheap ammo even. Haven't worked up a load for it yet but started customizing it. Wife had revolted again and put her foot down. :) It now sports a H.S. Precision tactical stock with the adjustable butt stock and comb. Leupold MK4 6.5X20X50 LRT M1 scope and MK4 Rings and 20MOA base.
    The first two guns will still shoot rings around the last two right from the get go. Both are so accurate its almost boring. Their my long range hunting rifles. The second two are my go to guns most of the time because I like shooting them on PD's and all joking aside, for going PD shooting I sure don't want to replace a barrel on my hunting rifles by burning them up sooner than I need to and when either of the second set of guns burn out the barrels I already have the investment in them and can replace the barrel's for a lot less than another fully customized rifle purpose built from scratch and last but not least. :) The wife don't kick about me spending the money on replacing the barrel as "Its a lot cheaper than a custom built rifle DEAR" :)
  9. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004

    One can only wonder how/why Kyle Busch is always at the front of the NASCAR pack? Money if spent properly buys quality. Note the spent properly.

    I have two rifles that I consider top of the line go to rifles for LRH.

    Rifle 1:
    495 Dollar donor REM 700 LH 338 Win Mag that due to several reasons the previous owner cut the stock down at a very improper angle and beat the hell out of himself. Thus the 495 price off of the consignment rack.

    I reconfigured the stock did a pillar bedding job on it myself. Had a Holland QD installed to keep my collar bone in one piece. Installed a weaver tactical on a one piece Leuy base and Burris Signature rings. It was very accurate with 250 Sierras and 252 Wildcats. 1/2 MOA out to 800 yards "Most of the time". Flyers are mostly due to light weight of the rifle and the extended range. She weighs in at 9.5 pounds.

    As the Win moniker isn't as sexy as RUM I snagged a 40$ 338 RUM Sporter take off barrel. Still shoots 1/2 moa and if I pay particular attention to my prone form shes good to 900 yards w/o adjusting windage on the scope.

    Total cost: about 750 bucks not including the scope. No blue printing on action just squared up bolt and receiver face as part of barrel swap. Scope was $365 used from SWFA.

    Why so accurate: Just plain luck.

    (This will get you up front on a dirt track)

    Rife 2:

    Used my dad's old REM 721 action and trigger. Sent it to Kirby and said turn it into a 270 AM. I went inexpensive on the stock as my intention was to stock it myself. The rifle came back with a 125 buck B&C sporter stock. The shipping spec out of APS is 1/2" at 100 yds and I was told I would be very happy with this one. Man was I ever! My very few 1000 yd groups are frightening. This rifle and cartridge was designed around the 169.5 Wildcat bullet.

    The only wrong thing I did was not being used to custom or semi custom rifles I thought I had to "work up" a load. Big mistake.

    Those who purchase customs including being bedded by smith, just need to have the recommended load do the barrel break in while sighting in and developing the beginnings of a drop chart and KERPOW! you're ready to go.

    (This might get you on the Nation Wide circuit)

    Rifle 3: Being built by Kirby.
    375 AM (I gotta be nutz:) - I think this was on my bucket list)
    Batt action
    Pac Nor Barrel
    APS Pain Killer brake
    Jewell trigger w/safety.
    Batt (I think) 20 MOA base
    NF Rings
    Will have an NF scope.

    Bottom line, a few more bucks, well a bunch more bucks:) but I know that she'll do what she's designed to do with no lack of confidence on my part.

    All of this is to get the accuracy and power of the 270 AM just a few more yards away.

    (This one gets you into the Daytona 500 with a decent opportunity to win)

    Just stuff to think about.