New rifle build help needed

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Oklahoma76, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Oklahoma76

    Oklahoma76 Member

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    Hello LRH's,

    This is my first post here, although I have been browsing these forums for quiet a long time. A little of my background before I get started with my question. I am a former Marine (93-97) and during my 4 years, each qual time (4 times) I scored a 349 of 350 for Expert. I am only telling this since it shows that I was profecient in windage and elevatoin adjustments and obviouosly know how to shoot :)

    Since those fun USMC days the only shooting I have done is with my Thompson 25-06 with a Nikon Prostaff BDC reticle going after Whitetails here in Oklahoma. I love this caliber for whitetails here on the corn and soy bean fields were the average shot is around 300-500 yards ( I only hunt out of treesstands - good for long range field shots). Every year my freezer is full of meat from the hunt so I have to be doing something right. This thompson is the only rifle I own not because it is the most versatile caliber and rifle but because as a single income family I just really could not afford anything better for what I usually do out in the field. I also do some target shooting against my redneck family memebers and beat thier socks off every time, but we mainly just do it for fun and to see who has to buy the next 6pack. I would like to continue busting whitetails as I am now, but also extend my range out for target shooting. A thousand yards would be nice but to do it accurately It would take a pretty good rifle. I'm not looking to get into benchrest competition yet. That may be a thing I get into later but NOT in the next couple years and certinly not off this upcoming rifle.

    Last month my wife finally graduated college and has entered the work force making a bit more than me and this has more than doubled our household income. Now it's like we are rolling in cash. My wife also decided that since I had been the sole bread winner for so long I now have 6 months of free paychecks ( I can spend my paychecks on whatever I want with none of it going to bills). This leads me to my question:

    I need help on rifle manufacturer selection and scope selection. I am set on the caliber. I cant be persuaded on that part. I have been browsing all over the internet for the past couple months and my new rifle is going to be a 6.5x284 (I know all its pro's and cons and intend to handload for it - I got that order list ready to go and have posted on another handloader forum elsewhere for info instruction and info on that). For the manufacturer I am thinking the Cooper Arms Model 52 Excalibur (Link) and for the scope I just cant make up my mind between the Nightforce Beast (Link) or the US Optics ER-25 (Link) with some customization done to it.

    I like the cooper rifle for the 1/2 moa @ 100yds gurantee + the lifetime gurantee and everything I have read on them says they customer service is amazing. Just from all the reading I have done I think the only way to get a better rifle than this would be a custome build, but I dont know the first thing about custome builds.

    The two scopes I like both have the options I like and are said to be the clearest glass on the market and they also have the best customer service (So I have read).

    My hope is that someone here can help me get a better rifle and scope than what I was able to find and currently have selected. Budget wise I dont want to spend more than 3k for the rifle and no more than 4k for the scope. I intend to purchase the rifle first and then the scope about two months after that. I still have about a month and a half of saving left for the rifle so that gives me some back and forth time on this forum :)

    Thank's in advance for anyone who helps with this project.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  2. jpd676

    jpd676 Well-Known Member

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    Dude,

    You can't go wrong with any combination you choose. Nightforce is the standard we judge other scopes by. US optics is freaking awesome too. Stepping up from your current rifle to a Cooper with one of those scopes is a night and day difference. I wish I had your problem, but either would be awesome.
     
  3. WyoElk2Hunt

    WyoElk2Hunt Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your current plan. I like Nightforce. You have done your research and I would go with your current idea and make no changes.
     
  4. Oklahoma76

    Oklahoma76 Member

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    Thats kind of what I thought. I didn't spend a day looking for the ones I mentioned above. I have been forum browsing this site and many others over the course of a couple months and the cooper + NF/USO was what I came to within my budget.

    I am leaning more heavily towards the USO scope than I am the NF just because of the customization on ordering one.

    For the rifle though I know that there has to be something better. A custom rifle most likely but I just don't know enough about building a rifle and what all is needed for building one and who makes what the best and why. Pretty much I am staying away from customer jobs cause I dont know crapola about it. It would be fantastic if someone here could say: go to this website and and order this rifle with these parts reccomended plus have this guy build it and provided you do your part it wil shoot 6inch groups at 1k yards :)
     
  5. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to LRH and you've got a great wife there!

    You've picked a great chambering for LR shooting. It's probalby the most popular cartridge on this site.

    Have you budgeted in reloading equipment and a rangefinder? Unless your going to be shooting at know distances, like BR shooting, a range finder is a must. I would recommend a Lieca 1600. You will also need need a wind/weather meter and i would recommend a Kestrel 4000 or 4500. There will be some other miscellaneous stuff as well.

    Coopers are great rifles but I would not choose a sporter rifle as long range rifle. I'm sure you would be able to shoot long with it but you would be better served to to build more of an LR platform with heavy barrel for more consistency. A full custom build is going to run about $3000-$3500 or more.

    I just did a 6-284 off of a S&W of a S&W M1500 (made by Howa)

    I bought the donor rifle for $350 at a gun show. I'll be able to sell the walnut stock for about $1000

    Specs
    Broughton Light Varmint Sporter Contour (.720 muzzle) $400
    B&C Medalist Stock (Same or very similar to the Cooper) $275
    Tactical knob on bolt handle (smith mached a section of old rifle barrel)
    Smithing, inlet and bedding $990
    Muzzle brake installed $200
    Bottom metal cerakote $40
    Total cost $2135 less $100 for the old stock.

    I could get a Timney trigger for it for another $110

    With a NF NXS, base and rings it brings the total package up to about $4200

    The muzzle brake isn't in the picture because I decided after the break-in to have it installed. Also, the finish is not complete because I am getting it nitrided and it will have a matte black finish.

    The Beast is a great scope but i would go with a 5.5-22 NXS (I love mine) or the ACTAR for a lot less. That would allow you to allocate funds toward a little better LR rifle and some of the other LR stuff you will need.

    Something to think about.
     

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  6. youngtrout

    youngtrout Well-Known Member

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    Ill play. If it were me, I'd buy all the parts, then search out a smith to assemble. You get everything you want then, actually thinking of a similar build, but here would be my list

    Stiller, defiance, bat action repeater action, long
    Krieger or brux fluted 6 or varmit
    Mcmillian edge, manners stock or sim
    Jewell trigger, of course

    I'd go blind mag, my last build has the detachable aics mags. They are okay, but as a hunting rifle, think they get in the way, harder to sling I for one never have needed more than 3 down. And you save weight and money, more streamlined rifle.

    IMO you have a better starting point than the cooper, than again, never owned one. You have sourced the best components from firms specializing in making the best "pieces"

    Smiths, plenty to pick from, just do some more research. Plenty on this forum
     
  7. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you are headed in the right direction. Cooper makes a quality firearm - and many would list it as a custom build. The Nightforce is also a great scope. Something to think about is how you want this rifle to handle. While Nightforce is a great scope, the NXS is no lightweight (with the BEAST weighing even more). On a 9 pound rifle, I found the NXS made the rifle feel "top heavy" and out of balance. The rifle was always wanting to roll right or left on me. I still have an NXS on my 12 pound rig and it just feels right, especially with the A-5 stock. Not bashing Nightforce in any way - just saying they are built like tanks and sometimes that weight can dominate the rifle and take it out of balance.
     
  8. Oklahoma76

    Oklahoma76 Member

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    Yes on the reloading. My parts list is all been approved on the handloader site I posted to. Lots of research done there as well. It's at around 1200$ since I had nothing for reloading before. Ordering mostly from midway usa.

    I was planning on using a mildot reticle and ranging with that. One of my uncles whom I target shoot with allot has one and every time we shoot he is calling out ranges for us and when he does I consistently hit my targets, so he is right on the money. He says it takes a little while to get used to but isn't hard to learn and get good at and then your not left any dependency on additional gear with battery requirements.

    I have never ranged with a milldot reticle but he has promised to show me the ropes out in the field and I have been watching allot of instructional videos on it also. If I go with the USO scope I was going to get the "MDMOA" reticle and if the NF Beast then the "MOAR" reticle.

    Much thanks to all the people who have posted with help but it leads me to another question. When doing a custom build like you all have described is it common that all of the back and forth between you and your gunsmith is done via phone and then parts mailed to him or should the smith be located within driving distance and done in person?

    EDITED PS -
    Does anyone know about these two gunsmiths I found in Oklahoma?
    Beanland Custom Rifles
    Cutting Edge Arms
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  9. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    Oklahoma- thank you for your service. my brother had two coopers. they are light . the triggers were good. they required some load developement. the advantage to a cooper is no wait. we both have heavy rifles in 6.5-284 now for long range . mine is off of a remington and his a bat. load developement consists of dropping powder. i would get the NF scope. i would use a range finder.
     
  10. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    It is possible to range with a reticle, mil or MOA, if you know the dimensions of your target. But that won't give you the precision or accuracy of a lazer rangefinder. At 1000 yds, your bullet will be dropping about 15" every 25 yds so if you miss judge your distance by 25 yds, you have induced about 1.5 MOA of error into your shot. For hunting, animals will vary in size and dimension and ranging them accurately at long distance would be extremely difficult. IMO, for serious LR shooting, especially hunting, a rangefinder is a must.

    Are you considering the BEAST because it is FFP? Do you understand the differences between FFP and SFP? You can get extremely capable scopes for a lot less than the cost of a BEAST.

    I just had 3 rifle builds completed by 2 different smiths. Both do excellent work. One is 3 1/2 hours from me and the other is 45 min. In the future I will be using the closer one because of the convenience and ease of communication. I didn't have the best communication with the one who was 3 1/2 hours and there were some minor glitches in the project that did not affect the overall quality of the rifle. With the more local guy, communication was very good by phone, email, text and face to face. I spent a lot of time in his shop chatting about the projects and other things and he was able to "show" me things which made it a great and educational experience for me. We have a very good relationship. Not all smiths will be like that. Communication is very important and I recommend using email so you both understand exactly what is expected in written form.
     
  11. Oklahoma76

    Oklahoma76 Member

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    Both the Beast and the ER25 are FFP and yes I know the diference between first and second focal plans for mildot ranging. Other features of those two that seperate them from other scopes is 1/10 mil adjustments, 90%+ light transmission, zero stops, Custome turrets and reticles.
     
  12. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, if that's what you want you should get it.
     
  13. Outlaw6.0

    Outlaw6.0 Well-Known Member

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    I guess I get to play devil's advocate :cool: After owning both NF & USO, I have to vote USO (the MDMOA is a great reticle). The only thing I would change about the USO you're looking at is the elevation knob. USO's EREK knob is bad to the bone, while it wouldn't be my first choice for a saddle scabbard it is my favorite overall.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with a Cooper, I believe it will treat you well. I do have to encourage you to pick up a good rangefinder though, along with a Kestrel; that is must have equipment (IMHO).



    t
     
  14. 406precision

    406precision Well-Known Member

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