Cost of full custom rifle but on budget?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Bigeclipse, Jul 18, 2019.


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  1. jmcmath

    jmcmath Well-Known Member

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    OP was planning on buying a cooper, I mean absolutely zero disrespect by this because coopers are sweet, but OP wants to spend some money.

    What we “need” is a savage axis or the like and a fixed 6x for 95% of hunting. Sometimes we want cool stuff. You can assemble one hell of a rig with 2.5k
     
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  2. chickm1

    chickm1 Well-Known Member

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    Any kind of muzzle brake raises the decibels to the point of being much more harmful to your hearing with one shot, than a standard rifle without a brake. I always wear ear plugs when shooting, but seldom wear them when hunting. My buddy has a brake on his 7 Mag, and will not shoot it Evan once, without hearing protection. Ha! One time he stuffed cigarette butts in his ears, because he left his plugs.
     
  3. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    All my hunting rifles sports MBs and suppressor. I do not wear earplugs because I want to hear what's around me. I however use balaclava and it's plenty enough protection for the one shot, it's like cupping a hand over the ears.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  4. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    This is a good example of a budget custom that leaves no compromise and is built for hunting hard and far.
    Tikka 7mag bought new, tore down, fit and chamber a Rock Creek #5 cut back to 24 inches, threaded for suppressor with timed brake adapter. Stock opened up and barreled action bedded back in by owner. Rail and custom bolt knob by owner and fluting by Polished Knob. Chambered in 300 WSM set up on the 215 Berger, dropped everything out to 600 yards last year with one round right though the cross hairs with the 215 running mild at just over 2900 fps, an easy 1000 yard kill everything you range rig with no compromises, shoots small too and he's into it including gunsmithing just over $1700 without the optic, suppressor or bipod naturally!
    IMG_20190719_182558080.jpg
     
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  5. Tatsnscoots

    Tatsnscoots Well-Known Member

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    Very true, I bought a Savage Axis 223 heavy barrel for $175 after rebates on Black Friday a couple years ago that shoots 3/8” groups with Hornady Match factory ammo. The stock is horrible but you can’t argue the price.
     
  6. Turnbolt53

    Turnbolt53 Well-Known Member

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    For a budget build, it's hard to argue with a Tikka action, as long as you are building for a short action cartridge. Since they are 30-06 length actions, they are not ideal for long action cartridges unless you're willing to live with the COAL constraints. Lately I have seen aftermarket long action bottom metal for AICS mags, but don't know how well that works.

    Savage is the other way to go, and there are a lot of benefits to them as well.

    Maybe the best way to go is finding a full custom barreled action for sale that is close to or exactly what you want. I have one rifle that was built this way, and easily saved $1500 over the cost to build once I bedded it in a Manners.

    I have also owned a number of customs that somehow didn't suit the original owner, and these can be had at a great savings too, but since they aren't custom-for-me, they mostly haven't met my needs.

    For some people, buy-once . . . cry once works, and it's hard to argue against that logic, but I am kind-of a churner so it wouldn't work for me.

    Finally, though not "custom", companies like Cooper, Seekins, Barrett, Bergara, Fierce, offer enough great rifles with enough variety to satisfy most any need for under $2500.
     
  7. e1harris

    e1harris Well-Known Member

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    Can't get any better than this... unless you choose a PVA pre-fit barrel for the Curtis, but then you need the tools to install the barrel yourself.

    Curtis Axiom $1,095
    Bartlein Barrel $345
    Gunsmith Chamber/Install $325
    Timney Calin Elite $230
    Bottom Metal $163
    Stocky's Long Range Composite Stock M50 $150

    Total $2308
     
  8. e1harris

    e1harris Well-Known Member

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    Or just save yourself $1000 and the time by buying a Christensen Arms Mesa for $1295..

     
  9. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    The Christansen isn't the same league as what was posted!
     
  10. e1harris

    e1harris Well-Known Member

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    Barret Fieldcraft
    Cooper
    Kimber
    Christensen
    Tikka

    All are great factory rifles, that can probably shoot better than the average custom built rifle owner can handle... I stand by my custom recommendation of a Curtis for $2300, but still believe that the average shooter can save a ton of money on a Christensen.

     
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  11. Turnbolt53

    Turnbolt53 Well-Known Member

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    I went back and reviewed your original post, and if you want a custom hunting rifle on a budget, then IMO you would be hard-pressed to do better than Weatherby Fan's recommendation.

    The Kimber donor already has a great stock with exceptional ergos, a lightweight action, and a great trigger.

    All you need is some gunsmith work and a top quality barrel and you are done. $1500 sounds like a good estimate, and 1/2 MOA should be reasonable.
     
  12. Philward

    Philward Well-Known Member

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    "Budget" can mean anything, $1k, $2.5k, $5k,...It's just an upper limit or range that a person is willing to spend. "Custom" would mean something that you just cannot buy, special stock, super light weight, obscure caliber, or you want bragging rights. Could be he wants the piece of mind that his action and barrel are trued and fit better than a factory rifle, I'm in that boat myself, but mine shoot well enough that I don't want to spend the money to do more.

    He wants a Whitetail woods rifle that can shoot reasonably accurate to 500 yds, don't understand the no wood stock thing, I use wood stocks all the time and I'm hunting Pacific Northwest, thick timber and rains all the time here. No issues with accuracy or durability. Don't think he needs a 26" barreled, long range sniper rifle. Big canyon open terrain maybe yes but not in thick whitetail woods.
     
  13. greenejc

    greenejc Well-Known Member

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    Check out E. R. Shaw. They make custom rifles on the Savage action and you can get a variety of options and calibers at prices ranging from $1,200. I am currently getting a rifle made here by William Trotter in .35 Whelen with a Shaw 26 inch 1 in 14 twist heavy sporter barrel. Its on a Remington 700 action and will mount a Shepherd P2 scope. Cost will be under $800.00.
     
  14. .300 Dakota

    .300 Dakota Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to *Rule 4 Violation* alot of people on here off, but to do what you (op) wants to do is a complete waste of money to "build" anything. There are any number of rifles under $1000 that will do exactly what you want and they exist in the cartridges you list. And if you happen to get the occasional dud-in-a-box, sell it and buy another one. You're still ahead money.

    Before any of you blow your tops, or computers up, my friend (and gunsmith) and his neighbor were sitting around talking 2 days ago about this. He does this for a living, and he's as ultra precise as a brain operation with a laser. He looks me in the eye and says, "You know as well as I do many of the off-the-shelf guns will shoot just as accurately as most any custom gun." I admitted MORE accurately many times. He grinned and said he hoped none of his work fell in that category. I grinned back and said not so far, but the jury was still out on the last one. A $250 Marlin XL7 or XS7 will hold .700" @100yds all day. That's why Remington bought them and ceased production. They had a decent trigger and cheap but utilitarian stock and a fluted bolt, along with an excellent safety. A Bergara low end model will shoot in the .5s. How do I know? Most of your Browning X-Bolts will shoot half or sub-half MOA without buying the McMillan version. I have multiple examples of that. I'm making my cousin some ammo for his now-discontinued Remington 710 in .30-06. It was considered by most to be junk. The barrel isn't free floated, the factory trigger is 6 lbs, and it ain't much to look at. That stupid thing that sold for $300 new shoots one ragged hole with my handloads and a good rest. I've got guns I've invested $4000 in that won't do that, man! More than one! I could rework his trigger for him and buy that gun for whatever he wanted and be REAL happy! Winchester XPRs will go at least to the .7s, also. You want something special, invest $700 in a Sauer 100 in your 6.5 PRC. Or if you just like the cool, tactical look, buy the new Ruger Hawkeye Varmint Target rifle for $999 in 6.5 PRC with full 26" tube. It has a 2+ lb trigger in it and demonstrates sub-1/2 MOA in reviews. The first guy that commented on this post advised you to buy a Tikka Tx3 and have it rebarreled. I'm telling you that you don't even have to have it rebarreled. The Tx3 will shoot 1/2 MOA with it's preferred load off the shelf.

    There are only 2 reasons to build a custom gun. Well, 3. Ok, 4. 1)For a particular style that fits the shooter better than available models, 2)For a special caliber (cartridge chambering) that isn't available in the desired model or anywhere, 3)For a competition grade rifle, and 4)Just because you want to and what people like me say is boring and can't possibly be true. Then $60,000 or more later after 20+ custom guns, many of them wildcats, have been built and paid for, you realize only one or two was as great as you thought it might or ought to be. Yes, that's me. I've easily spent money to build at least 20 custom guns. I've used barrels from McGowen, Mullerworks, Shilen, Hart, Pac-Nor, Krieger, Bartlein, Douglas, Brux, Lilja, Wilson, etc. and had as much blue printing as any machinist would care to do on Winchester, Remington, Pierce, Weatherby, Savage, and CZ, and spent several thousand dollars in parts, labor, and loading components for each one. Not one was capable of doing what the $300 Remington 710 is doing now. One other gun was capable, and it was a Browning A-Blolt Eclipse in 270 WSM. Now I've had some quarter-inch big magnums that were capable of a whole lot more than this .30-06, and I've had some very capable .22 wildcats.

    Look, if you want to build super, guaranteed accuracy into a custom rifle, you can. It's going to have a near straight-taper barrel sitting in a Manners, McMillan, or AG Composites stock. If you want to tote a 15-lb rifle into the woods every time, it will be superbly accurate. I believe what you are asking for is something you actually enjoy carrying and not "lugging" or "hauling" around. Go to www.stockysstocks.com and you'll be able to configure the stock you want. If it's not available, you'll know where to look to get it factory direct. www.bugholes.com and www.redhawkrifles.com ALL have precision parts available. you're dead set on forking out the dough you could be spending on high-end glass, my advice is to see which stock on Stocky's site tickles your fancy, and order it. Go over to Red Hawk Rifles and buy a Douglas Air-Gauged barrel in appropriate contour for your wants and specifications in your bore size of choice. Have a knowledgable, capable, and ENTHUSIASTIC gunsmith do the machining and bed your action choice in your stock of choice with that Douglas air-gauged barrel and be prepared to spend a lot of time at the reloading bench to figure out the gun's desires. That's right. You HAVE to reload to get the performance you're looling for. And top accuracy. Don't blame the rifle for poor accuracy if you haven't taken the time to craft and feed it what it wants.

    $1800 is going to be about the least you'll spend for a custom buy a Browning X-Bolt in 280 Remington, or the new Ruger Target in 6.5 PRC, or the Sauer 100 in 6.5 PRC, or a Savage Long Range Hunter in 6.5x284 and be amazed at the accuracy and value in what you get- or throw it out and buy another one if it doesn't function up to par. I could buy 6 of the Rem 710s for my least expensive custom and the extra dollars bought no more accuracy. They bought perfect balance, good trigger, extra long barrel for extra velocity, and unique caliber/cartridge- and great accuracy- just not quite as great as the 710 model. AG Composites and Manners are my 2 favorite choices for custom stocks. You won't go wrong with any barrel you pick from any one of the Web sites I listed. It's easier to just go ahead and buy an aftermarket action rather than make smith do all the dialing in to true/blue-print a factory action. Lots of big name, flashy actions out there now and list grows by the day. Still nothing wrong with a plain old Stiller Predator to drop into a Manners stock and have it properly bedded. I have a smith I'd trust to do anything here right by home and his name is Johnny Garris and he owns Custom Gun Coatings and Repair in Mobile, AL. He can do anything you want done and do it faster than 90% of any other smith in the country. Most of your "big time" smiths are only interested in building you a super-ultra-long-range-badass-countersniper-tactical-match rig weighing the requisite 15 pounds or more capable of shooting about what the $300 Remington 710 is shooting. A "regular" hunting rifle is beneath them. Tell Johnny that Ray Young from Hurley, MS sent you and you might get an even better deal than he's already going to give you.

    Another option is a semi-custom. Montana Rifle Company and Nosler both make sub-MOA rifles in the calibers you specified for half the price of a Cooper. If you want to go a little higher up the food chain, buy a Fierce Fury for $1999 and it's GUARANTEED to shoot 1/2 MOA! Best deal on the market, IMHO. But don't just throw money at the idea. You are much more likely to be disappointed since your expectations will be perfection for something "custom" you paid all that money for. Good luck!
     
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