Who did you use, why did you use them, and were you happy?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by bh5k, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. bh5k

    bh5k Well-Known Member

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    I am contemplating building my first complete build from the ground up and was wondering who other people have used. I have seen all sorts of posts saying "this guy is good" or "that guy", but nobody really talks about what they built for them and how the end result was.

    So, who built your last complete build? Why did you choose them? And did they meet your expectations?

    Anybody had any experience with Bryant Custom out of Texas? I found him through Midway's locator and he seems like a good smith. I just don't want to get screwed.
     
  2. hammertyme

    hammertyme Well-Known Member

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    I typically build my own. The link below is for Jim @ centershotrifles who I tried because he came highly recommended by a friend. Quality work at less cost and he was right on the time he said he would take. The are many very good smiths on here and one would be hard pressed to find a bad one.

    Center Shot Rifles (Pittsville, WI)

    Neal
     

  3. bh5k

    bh5k Well-Known Member

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    What did he build for you Neal? Looks like he builds a lot of stuff on Model 700. I am trying to decide between a Bat and Stolle right now on a 300 RUM. Not expecting the smith to decide for me, just trying to do my homework.
     
  4. hammertyme

    hammertyme Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Everything on this 338 Edge handgun. It started as a 3 shot oneholer and is still a 3 shot one holer. SHoots under 2" at 500 yards.

    Neal
     
  5. bh5k

    bh5k Well-Known Member

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    Nice! Good looking gun! How do you like that muzzle break? Keep that Edge pretty tame?
     
  6. hammertyme

    hammertyme Well-Known Member

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  7. 7mmSendaro

    7mmSendaro Well-Known Member

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    I had Kirby Allen (fiftydriver) build a 300WM on a Vanguard action.

    I also had Shawn Carlock build a 338 Edge on a 700 action.

    I was very happy with both guy's quality and delivery. Customer service from both was great.
     
  8. travelr47

    travelr47 Active Member

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    bh5k,

    I've had a mixed bag of experiences with gunsmiths and having custom jobs performed.
    Some of the fault was mine, and some belonged to the g'smith.

    Since this is your "first" build, I'd suggest a few (obvious?) things:

    First and foremost, talk with several gunsmiths and others on this forum (like you're
    doing) about what they did (do), and why;

    Think through the entire process BEFORE ordering or approving anything. You need to
    decide before you place your order exactly which trigger you want, stock type and mfr,
    rate of (rifling) twist, weight of barrel, any type of recoil reducer (whether attached to
    the muzzle of your barrel or built into the stock, or both), quality of barrel and action,
    etc. I've seen some M700 triggers that were smooth as wet glass after being worked
    over by a competitent g'smith. And you'd be hard pressed to feel the difference between
    that trigger and a Jewel trigger. Of course if money is not an issue, Jewel triggers are
    tough to beat;

    Don't make ANY assumptions about anything to do with your rifle! If you assume someone
    knows what you mean without spelling it out, I assure you, you are most probably not going
    to be satisfied with what you receive;

    Don't generalize in your responses to the gunsmith you finally select. Ask for his recommendations and explain your interests/preferences and then be specific about
    what you decide. If you don't understand something, or just want more information,
    ASK more questions and keep asking questions until you are completely satisfied with
    the answers, AND before any work is done!

    Talk with others that have purchased 'custom rifles' from some of the larger folks like
    H-S Precision. Ask those customers for pros and cons. Ask for a list of references from
    any g'smith you're considering so that you can contact them and find out how well their
    rifles shoot.

    Good Luck
     
  9. JARHEAD1371

    JARHEAD1371 Well-Known Member

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    I had my 1st, and only (so far :rolleyes:), custom build last summer by Jim See at Center Shot Rifles in WI. Without a doubt I am completely satisfied with Jim and everything that comes with a custom build. He is full of information and he builds your rifle the way YOU want it built. He is extremely pleasant to talk to and he builds one hell of a rifle. He would be joining us for antelope season, if he had drawn a tag. I don't invite anyone I don't like to go hunting, not to mention stay at our house. While load developing with 180 Bergers and H-1000, out of my 7mm SAUM, I shot this group at 300 yds (no there is not a stray hole behind the penny). My wife and I killed 7 animals last year with the rifle, including 3 mulies in about 30 seconds. Now that we have a Swaro rangefinder, everything is in trouble.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    If you choose to have Jim for your build, you will not be disappointed.

    I would stay away from HS Precision. I called them twice before I chose Jim for my build. Each time I spoke to HS, I felt like I was inconveniencing them buy asking about a custom build that wasn't theirs. HS would have been very convenient, since they are about 4 miles from my house, but I went with the better customer service. Many people around here have had similar experiences with HS.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  10. Festus

    Festus Well-Known Member

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    I "met" Kirby Allen on this forum. From various posts, pm's, emails and phone conversations, I judged him to be helpful, knowlegable and most importantly, HONEST. He built my rifle and I would gladly use him again and recommend him to a friend.

    Festus
     
  11. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    Across this country there are many very good gunsmiths and most of them are not going to "screw" you. But prices do vary considerably. Two of the very best are Dwight Scott and Clay Spencer. Here in my state, Penna, we have quite a few good ones. I have used Sid Goodling, Bob Green and Clarence Hammonds. Jim Borden is top notch, and Kevin Kram, Montour Co. Guns, (LRH advertiser) is reported to be very good, also Nesika Chad.


    Call a few of them, discuss your build, and select the one you feel comfortable with.
     
  12. bh5k

    bh5k Well-Known Member

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    Great advice so far everybody! I guess that is a little bit of the problem. I would consider myself pretty novice at knowing what to ask on a build. I have seen a few 100% custom guns, but not been involved with any of the builds to know why I would want a Kroeger vs Hart vs Lilja vs <insert barrel here>. I am basing my build off of what a friend of mine had built about 5 years ago, but that guy isn't building rifles anymore and well things have gotten a little better and better selection since then too.

    I have been trying to talk to everybody and finding out that some gunsmiths are definitely NOT long range gunsmiths even though they think they are.
     
  13. bh5k

    bh5k Well-Known Member

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    BTW, this is what I am thinking of now, but still weighing all options:

    BAT Action
    Jewel Trigger
    McMillian A-5 stock
    And I can't remember what barrel I talked to one gunsmith about, but I think it was a Lilja or a Hart, but waiting for him to respond back to me about that.
     
  14. B23

    B23 Well-Known Member

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    Good gunsmiths, IMO, are like good barrels. There are many here on LRH and even more across the USA. Like barrels, I don't think there is a "best" gunsmith out there but rather quite a few great ones.

    Again, IMO, a good gunsmith's reputation proceeds him. Both good and bad. If you use this site alone for your research you will find there are quite a few here on LRH that are very highly regarded and have many testimonials, along with pics of their products, to back them up.

    I personally WOULD use someone from this board because I believe it's the least we could do considering all that they contribute to this forum. Kind of a support those who support you type of thing.

    I've personally had Shawn Carlock do some work for me and currently have a build going with Kirby Allen. Both are excellent at their trade and great to work with.

    Going off your projected build list you will certainly be starting off with some of the finest products available, that's for sure.

    Pick one of the gentlemen from this board and you will be more than satisfied I'm sure.