Help Needed

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Tim Behle, May 15, 2002.

  1. Tim Behle

    Tim Behle Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2002
    Yesterday I ordered my first custom Barrel. [​IMG] It will be a 27" Lilja Heavy Varmint Contour and be fitted to a Remington 700 action. I now need to find a stock and a gunsmith. But I have questions about both.

    The gun will be mostly used for coyote hunting, it's second use will be for shooting small groups ( Hopefully ) from a bench, out to 1,000 yards, maybe more. Can you suggest a good stock? One that is not flashy, fits well in a bench rest and not uncomfortable to hold?

    Once I get the barrel and stock in hand, what specifically should I ask the gunsmith to do to it to make it as accurate as possible?

    Just because I will never shoot it in competition, doesn't mean I don't want it to shoot as well as possible. What is the most accurate type of bedding? What should I ask be done to the bolt, the lugs or any part of the action, or chamber?
  2. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Tall order

    It's been my observation that gunsmiths are individuals and they each have their own methods and limits (real or imagined). For me there isn't a method or technique for holding a non-completed rifle (barrel, action, stock and accesories) and being able to get any idea of what it'll feel like when completed. I have, and have had many rifle built to the same specification (some by the same builder) and each rifle feels different when completed. The palm swell will be a little different, the bolt handle shape, the solid/harmonic feel of the completed rifle varies.

    My advice, talk to many shooters that shoot as you do and take note of the gunsmiths. Some folks will have had many rifles built and know the quirks of the individual gunsmith(s) they use. Start with the best parts you can get, don't skimp on anything. Get a little faster twist than you think you need (alloy bullets need more twist than lead core of the same weight). Get a new recoil lug if the action style uses one, it's relatively inexpensive and it make the gun a little more "special". You'll appreciate the little extra things and the smith(s) sometimes enjoy working a little more diligently on a "special" gun.

    Functionality beats beauty every time, you can't impress targets or animals to death, you must be able to hit them with a bullet.

    If the gunsmith insists on doing things his way without a satifiactory and valid response, look for another gunsmith. Most professionals enjoy discussing their profession, appreciate the interest and aren't afraid to offer their knowledge and experience. Folks on the edge of their knowledge and experience often don't care for questions.

    Go to a rifle match and talk to the shooters, handle their rifles and get a feel for the features and such that you want, most will be happy to assist.

    Lastly, if you get it wrong you can always try again (in you can handle the wait) and actually, if you get it correct you'll end up getting another one (or two, or three...) anyway (it's addictive).


    Dave King
  3. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    I would like to offer some suggestions. You are essentially looking at three major rifle components - action, barrel and stock. The scope, mounts and accessories are another bridge to cross.
    Here are some considerations:
    Rem. 700 action - have the action trued up, blue-printed, squared, accurized or whatever they want to call it. This is essentially bringing key fits and contact points into perfect alignment - something that Remington did not have the time to do. This work is all done from an imaginary line that runs exactly through the center of the cylindrical action from front to back. Everything should be perfectly parrallel or at right angles to that line.
    The front of the action must be squared (to the forementioned line) and made perfectly flat. Then the lug recesses are redone, the threads are recut and the lugs on the bolt face can be squared and lapped into the lug recesses. There is a bunch more magic that a good smith does, but this gives you an idea.
    Dave is correct about replacing the recoil lug, it must be perfectly flat on each side and heavy enough to withstand pounding and be a good bedding point.
    The guy then either redoes your Rem. trigger or installs a Jewel or aftermarket trigger - this is essential to your shooting. If you wanted the best you could also have him get a Badger Ordnance trigger guard assembly to replace the aluminum Rem. unit. The guard screws would be replaced regardless, torx is best. Some smiths enlarge the standard screw-holes on top of the receiver to 8-40's also. You could also install a lighter weight firing pin assembly - not a big deal for this job I expect.
    The barrel is next. After cutting to length the smith has to make perfect threads to fit the action threads, then a perfectly square shoulder to butt to the recoil lug. The chamber is cut and the muzzle crowned - that is a somewhat simple job that is very key to accuracy. Suffice to say each smith has his favoured methods of chambering and crowning.
    This pretty much handles the barrel and action.
    Next could be the stock. If I was building that rifle I would order a McMillan HTG and have them make the barrel channel to fit. Get an extra sling swivel installed and the premium pad, it is very nice even tho recoil is not an issure in a heavier rifle. I would get a camo pattern moulded right in. HS also does some nice varmint stocks for the Rem. The stock would have steel or aluminum pillars installed and the action would be bedded into it in Marine Tex.
    After the action is torqued into the stock you will install mounts and a scope and start the fun job of breaking-in the barrel. Then you can give the coyotes hell.