Choosing a custom Rifle Maker


Well-Known Member
Jan 10, 2010
So. Utah
This task seems to be a little daunting. I would like to have a custom rifle built but cannot settle on a Professional to complete the task. Being new, but having spent much time quietly reading I know that there are many that know a great deal on this site. Can anyone give a short list of who they would choose to build a custom for them. Or even what to look for. The application would be a rifle that would be able to shoot from 1 to 100o Yds and everything in between. Also able to be carried afield within reason.

Thanks for the help and the patience
Pick any smith here and you will not be disapointed!

You can email or call them to see how long your build will take and work out the details there prices are all close to the same regardless of smith you pick.

They all offer the same basic thing but your personalty may fit better with one guy than another. I have personal used Kirby Allen and Kevin Cram and they are both great guys.
Kirby Allen made my .338RUM hunting rifle. He was great to work with. Did the whole thing via email and never have talked to him in person. Wouldn't hesitate to get another one from him.

I also like Shawn Carlock. Went to his long range class and wouldn't hesitate to get a gun from him either.
As far as smiths there are quite a few on this site.Check out Fiftydriver - Kirby Allen- Allen Precision Shooting. Nate308 - Nathan Dagley - Straight Shot Gunsmithing. Shawn Carlock -Defensive Edge. Coyboy - Jim See - Center Shot Rifles. Kevin Cram - Mcrifles. Just search site for their contact info as all are sponsors here and reputable. These are just a few off the top of my head to point you in the right direction. There are others as well. Hopefully others will chime in. I highly recommend Kirby Allen of Allen Precision Shooting. He is a great guy to deal with and very helpful. The best way to contact him is through email, it may take a few days but he will always get back to you. His email is [email protected] .
Add Kevin Cram of Montour County Rifles.

A good smith will teach you and make you understand anything you don't know before just taking your money. Ask him a question he will do his absolute best to give you an answer and be sure you understand. I associated with some smiths that was not even interested in dealing with me unless I was building a new rifle. Kevin helped me allot before he even knew I was building a rifle. I started asking questions about guns and LRH long before I dropped the lets build a gun statement. He never hesistated to help me out or talk about things.

As stated above there is allot of smiths on here that copuld help you out.

Kevin builds my guns and will continue to do so for a very very long time :)
Who ever you choose, please get a firm delivery date. The gunsmith will probably hesistate on a fixed date but, he should be able to get to within a month or so. FYI, it is possible to build a rifle in 10-14 days from start to finish if the parts are in one place and the smith can jump on it immediately. This does not include lead time on parts or the back log of the smith. It might save you some worrying if you have a date.
I have experience with both Shawn Carlock/Defensive Edge and Jim See/Center Shot Rifles.
Both are top notch quality - very easy to work with and willing to take the time to help you figure out exactly what you need.
I'm with canderson on nailing down a delivery date. Ask for their current delivery time and back log. Ask about their quality of fit and finish. Do they finish fitting stock to metal? You will be suprised by some of the reputable smiths that don't finish the fit on a McMillan stock. They will spec the pre-inlet and if it is not a precise fit they just bed it anyway. I should say a cosmetic fit. I personally would prefer to deal with someone I could talk to on the phone at least once to make sure he knows what I am looking for. Just because you read about all the great smiths on this site and other sites you are usually only hearing about those that had good luck with them. Most people are not going to post negative things.
So take your time and personally talk to a number of gunsmiths you are interested in. Tell them what you expect from the rifle( fit,finish,etc.). You will be able to tell after talking to them which ones seem more inclined to do the job you are looking for.
The smiths thus far listed are of the upper crust of rifle builders. I wouldn't hesitate to have any one of them build me a rifle.

One thing I've learned is that not only are they building "my" rifle, they are building rifles for others at the same time.

These folks are supporting families and living lives and without making money they would have no business, family and a much less rewarding life. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated group available.

Since I purchased a mini lathe, I've learned why a smith do all of the bolts, then all of the actions in batches. Set up time is a real pain. Thus the wait from the time of order. But it is good to know about when it will get finished.

It will be in the next good enough for me.:)
I can't agree more with Canderson. At least get a tentative completion date from your gunsmith, so that you can plan your future hunts or shooting sessions accordingly. I believe it is not uncommon for a year or longer lead time for some gunsmiths.
The comments are well received guys. Thank you much. I am sure that there are others that had the same questions.
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