New Rifle, Opinions?


Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2019
Winchester, Virginia
I recently just got my first custom rifle built around December of last year. I wanted to get some opinions on what everyone things or possibly would have done different. Looking at building another one later on this year, hopefully a little less weight as this one didn’t quite meet my target.

300 Win Mag
Defiance Deviant Hunter (LA)
Proof Research Barrel (26”)
McMillan Game Hunter Stock
Jewel Trigger (1.5lbs)
OEM Remington Bottom Metal
Leupold Mk. 4 Rings (Aluminum)
Leupold VX6HD 3-18x50 (Illuminated Firedot)
Weighs about 9.5lbs.

Gun has probably 60 rounds through it, as I have not had much time to take it out, and haven’t had the chance to shoot beyond 200 yards yet either.

Also, what’s your guys’ opinion about not having MOA marks on a Hunting Rifle? Questioned whether I should’ve went with the “TMOA” reticle instead.

And I live in VA, typically hunt whitetail and black bear, but built this to be able to do all, although turnedout a tad bit to front heavy for freehand shooting. What’s your limit for freehand as far as weight goes?

I will attach pictures of the rifle and a 100 yard grouping on 200gr Barnes Vortx Ammuntion.

Also note that I am a fairly new shooter.



Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2003
Lizton, IN
Yes a lot of personal preference here. But here it goes:
1) That's a second focal plane scope? Then I'd place very limited value in having MOA marks on the reticle. I just don't trust the accurate, and though I have scopes like that's I've just dialed them and never used the MOA marks. Now FFP scopes are another matter.
2) I can count on one hand the number of completely freehand shots I've taken with a bolt action rifle in the past couple decades. I almost always find some sort of rest. If I'm entering a situation I'm expecting close/freehand shots, I'm probably carrying a lighter lever or semi auto gun. So to your point yes, I guess, if I plan on shooting freehand I go lighter.


Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Feb 2, 2019
Tucson, Arizona
I've been shooting offhand all my life shooting silhouette competition, also 99% of my hunting shots are offhand as well.

A lighter rifle will NOT help you, it will be harder to keep on target. Heavier rifles are simply more steady, not to mention the amount of practice it takes.

I would recommend you shoot a lighter rifle offhand and see how that goes first, before you spend the money on a build that won't do effectively what it's supposed to.

My competition rifle weights 10 lbs and 1.5 oz, just under the limit allowed of 10 lbs and 2 oz. Heavier would be better and easier, reason why there is a weight limit in the rules.

My 7mm-08 hunting rifles weight around 9.5 lbs and my 7mm Rem Mag weights 10.5 lbs., these are pretty good weights for offhand shooting in my personal experience and preference.

Like I mentioned this is my experience and preference, and most offhand shooters will provably tell you the same thing.

Hope this helps and stay safe


Well-Known Member
Dec 16, 2013
End of the Oregon Trail
That is a pretty nice weight for a do all rifle that one might expect to use out west on elk and such at longer ranges someday. Lots of folks would like to have that rifle. It's obviously a shooter too. Heck lots of long rang hunters use rifles that are close to 15 pounds!

Now for a general carry/backpack/treestand/woods/truck type rig, I like something that is right about 7.5 to 8 pounds with scope and all.


Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2016
SE Idaho
In actuality I think yours might be a touch lighter than my last build...65.284
26" brake...standard remington la.....aluminum bottom bipod..iota lightweight stock..6.5-20x50lrp(22oz) I think)
I don't remember weighing whole setup yet..but it's gotta be close to 10#.....
My other 65.284 is a noodle barreled shilen..all loaded ready to go 9# or so....
Off hand shooting takes some time to learn....but out the 400 with the right rifle shouldn't be a big deal for moa of animal...but hey...who's splitting hairs.....😁

Hand Skills

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2017
I do a lot of offhand and positional shooting. Over the years I've decided 7.5lbs all up is my MINIMUM - anything lighter feels like it's going to float away and below 7.25lbs, for me they become very difficult to hold steady.

FWIW, I can generally shoot about 3moa offhand. I have many targets showing groups +/- 2moa, but only when I get lucky...which does happen if a guy shoots enough ;)

I've been getting into the long range thing the last few years, and most of my rifles have gained weight with bigger, badder optics.

You have a great rifle there, and if I were in the OP's shoes, I would just run it as is. You might be able to save 8-12oz with an ultralight stock. Most of my rifles wear Wilcat stocks, usually they finish out around +/-25oz with a nice recoil pad


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2017
The nicest rifles I have had for positional shooting (standing/kneeling/sitting) have 20-22" barrels. However, a 26" barrel balances very nicely on a barricade for PRS shooting and make it easier to hit higher velocity nodes. I think what you built at 9.5 pounds is a pretty nice rifle for long range hunting. A really good western elk or deer rifle and similar to one that I want to build but in 7RM.

Years ago, I built a 223 with a 22" in a McM A5 Edge and a 7WSM in the same stock with a 26" barrel, both had M24'ish fluted barrels. The 223 was a dream to shoot positionally, the 7WSM was a bear because it was too front heavy. I have a Sako TRG that weighs more, but is easier to shoot positionally, it has a medium Palma barrel and a 4# stock, so there is better distribution. It is still not as easy as my 22" 223 was, or my 22" 6.5 creedmoor AR10. There is truth to the beware a man with one rifle, because he will know it. However, there is also truth to having the right tool for the job, because there are less compromises.

Also for scopes, I want a FFP mil reticle with mil turrets. I will accept a bit more weight for a hunting rifle, but it eliminates a confusion factor for me.


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2019
Is the McMillan stock an Edge fill one? if it is, there aren't many lighter options. A Proof Research stock would be a little lighter.
Could save a fair amount of weight with a different action, like the Defiance anTi, or a titanium action. Could also save some weight with a little pencil barrel, like maybe a #2 contour. An aluminum floorplate will also cut a little bit.

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