Making Your Semi-Custom Rifle Look Custom
By Bryan Chatwell
Learning to shoot at long range accurately is very difficult at best and the learning curve tends to be long. Most people that read articles on this web site probably started off similar to me, buying factory guns and shooting factory ammunition. From this starting point normally comes handloading, and then building and buying custom rifles. Like handloading, custom rifles and the components we make them out of are always evolving, and as we learn to become better shooters we tend to expect more out of our equipment. The point that I am getting at is that many of us have semi-custom rifles built on factory actions that shoot great but just don’t have that custom feel or look. Several companies offer affordable actions based on a Remington footprint that will drop in to a Remington 700 stock with little to no fitting. These actions are cheaper than having a Remington fully blue printed and it seems that there is a definite trend in the shooting world to use these actions. However, if you don’t mind spending a little money on the actions you currently have here are a few ways to customize your current Remington 700. Not only will these upgrades improve the look of your Remington but, more importantly, your rifle will be more dependable and accuracy will be improved as well.
Pacific Tool and Gauge makes replacement bolts for short action Remingtons that have a number of fluting options. These bolts look fantastic and a raceway reamer can also be purchased to make sure the raceway and your bolt match perfectly. If that is more trouble that you want to go to, just tell them that you want a factory replacement bolt and what type of fluting. A Sako style extractor kit will also need to be purchased, which PT&G carries for under $20.00. When you receive the bolt the handle will not be attached, but they (PT&G) will recommend a couple of gunsmiths that can install the handle for you. One such gunsmith is Nathan Dagley of Straight Shot Gunsmithing. Nathan welded the handle on my PT&G bolt. The cost was very reasonable and turnaround wasn’t bad at all. Once the bolt is in from being welded or soldered together it still needs to have the lugs lapped and the barrel will need to be re-headspaced. For these two reasons alone I think this is a better option to have done at the same time as a rebarrel job. That way you are not paying to have a barrel re-headspaced that may need to be replaced in the near future anyway.
These pictures are of a PT&G bolt in a Remington 40x. Excuse the dirty rifle. I had just finished an F-Class match in Capitan, New Mexico. The oversize bolt knob was also from PT&G.