So is an action really just a matter of personal preference?

.300 Dakota

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Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
317
Location
Moss Point, MS
Had several rifles built and have built several rifles with factory actions and pre-fit barrels. I've only had 1 aftermarket actionnof the bunch, which was a Pierce short action with coned bolt and 8x40 screws for Rem scope mount. I've had every level of blue printing that is known to man done to factory actions. I've even had one factory 700 action that was sleeved to such tolerances, one spec of Gun Grease on the raceway locked it up. Many have been superbly accurate, and some not so much, including one that was laughable (or would have been if not for the $2500 I wasted on it. The one aftermarket rig was a 5-shot, 1/2 MOA rifle chambered in .22x47 Lapua with the old 82 grain Berger Match bullet. It was mated with my first ever Brux barrel in my first (and only) Manners stock. I was told quite a bit of inletting had to be done to fit the action into the Manners. That smith has passed on now, so I can't get further details. I had a Jewell trigger set to about 14 oz in that one.

Likewise, a factory blueprinted Winchester 70 action was mated with a 27" Rem Mag contour Douglas XX Premium and chambered in .300 Dakota was a 1/4 MOA 3-shot rifle (after 40 shots worth of seasoning) (never tried it for more shots, nor did I think I needed to after proving and depriving the load on multiple days). It was epoxy bedded in a birch laminate Stocky's stock. I've found a factory Savage 112 .22-250 to be a 1/8 MOA gun, and a Savage 11 I converted into a 6.5x47 Lapua with minimum headspace on a Criterion barrel. The list goes on. Didn't seem to have good luck with anything Lilja barrels were on, but may have been the builder and not the barrels.

I see thread after thread here where someone is touting a certain action and/or dissing another, then somebody else has a thread touting the action berated by the last person, and so forth. So the loaded question is: Is there an aftermarket action I'm liable to never see 1/2 MOA using if I spend over $800 on it, and it's mated to one of the premier barrels out there (Brux, Krieger, Bartlein, Hawk Hill, Proof, Mullerworks, Rock Creek, etc.) if the chambering, crowning, and mating to action and stock is properly done? After all, that's what it's all about, right? Accuracy to kill cleanly at insane distances? I prefer stocks to chassis for weight savings, as it needs to be light enough to carry and climb with. But could I not just pick anything from a Tenacity or Origin or Predator or Atlas, or Axiom, etc. and be just as accurate, all other components held equal at ranges of 500 to 1000 yards (or more) as if I'd bought a $1700 BAT Machine, Mausingfeld, Fuzion, Deviant, TL3, Surgeon, or the high-end Kelbly or Zermatt or Curtis, Templar, etc?

Or is it really just about personal preferences of certain features on certain models? For instance: I like 3-lug designs (or the short throw anyway). It doesn't have to be as smooth as polished glass. I do NOT like small diameter firing pins (found that out with the Pierce). It DOES have to work in the field under adverse conditions without binding. I like the idea of interchangeable bolt heads. I prefer lightweight. It needs to easily drop into most major GOOD QUALITY stocks. It needs to feed and eject every time - I like the plunger type ejectors just fine... Is there something better? Indifferent about CRF. Cool looks with fluting and flared loading/ejection port is a plus but I prefer the smallest port that will work to maintain stiffness. I'm a pragmatic/utility guy more than a cool/bells and whistles guy. I like the traditional floor plate capability, but may consider a short DBM if it is lightweight and doesn't rattle- metal > plastic mags! I like the idea of using the popular AVAILABLE triggers that get you down to ounces (yes for hunting! Ok, maybe close to a pound.).

Overall, I want what everybody else wants: The most accurate rifle (precise) at the lowest weight that it can maintain its accuracy (not necessarily necessitating a titanium version of a good action to shave a few ounces at the cost of an extra $400 or more), at the lowest cost I can get said package, that will be durable and 100% reliable over my lifetime and my grandkids' lifetimes. So what action do I HAVE to have in it to do that? OR... should I be shopping by features and get the most of what I like and the least of what I don't, even if there are a couple of compromises? I know some of these actions are for certain types of DBMs only, so that will potentially separate the groups nicely. BUT... if you tell me, no, you gotta have THIS action or spend the rest of your days wishing you had this (brand X) action, and it runs AICS mags or Wyatt mags, I will definitely look at it hard. I also understand many of the highest end actions are made for competition and are too "tight" for hunting.

I've been told the best hunting actions may include things like Defiance Deviant and Lone Peak Fuzion. Also heard that about the Stiller Predator... The former 2 because they're so smooth and dreamy. So my question is, could I shoot just as accurately with a Predator, Tenacity, Origin, Axiom, Atlas, Nucleus even if it wasn't as "smooth" or "darn good looking?"

I've heard rumblings about extraction/ejection issues with a few of those I just mentioned. So is it a fluke or is there QA problems with some lower end actions/companies? Is there too much "slop" in one or another (surely not in a custom action, though each individual's definition of 'slop' may vary). Does mass production of any of them play in (again there is any such thing as 'mass' production of an after market action)?

Bottom line, which is dependable about 100% of the time and can always be part of a sub-1/2 MOA rifle if all the other parts are good and assembled correctly? Now which one is the lowest price of the group in the previous answer?

Throw a couple options out or just one or a half dozen to keep the waters muddy.

Kind of... well, this IS another stupidly annoying "which action?" thread. Maybe with enough variation to avoid being done to death.

The fact that a man can't put his hands on one of these readily makes it harder. I have fondled a Deviant Hunter and a Nesika, and a Pierce. They were all accurate. The Nesika and Deviant were much prettier and smoother. The Pierce shot just as good, however, for a few hundred less... Coned bolt nose. Does that help anything? The Pierce had it, and I read that some other models do, as well. It requires the smith to make the barrel tenon a certain way to mate up properly, yes? Good, bad, indifferent? I realize much of this will be opinion and personal preference, and if I see a trend that it is mostly personal preference, I'll have my answer. Not necessarily looking for the name of a single action, rather mostly which ones I should avoid.

Thanks! I'll shut up and listen. Maybe to crickets, but I'll be no worse off. Wracked my brain long enough without the experience to make an informed decision.
 

TAZMAN

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Joined
Oct 23, 2003
Messages
531
Like some others, I have had many different actions and none have ever failed me in competition or at training. My current PRS rifle uses a Winchester action with a Hart barrel chambered in the "master race' 260!!!lol I have a surgeon action on my 6.5 Creedmoor and custom actions on my other rifles. From my experience the cost of a custom action is close to the same price as truing and customizing a factory action but they all seem to perform very well. My new 300 PRC has a Stiller action.
 

VLD Pilot

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Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
2,155
Location
Northern, Mi
It's personal preference to a certain extent. If your running a standard cartridge (non-magnum) where a heavier action isn't required, I'd say it's all personal preference. If your running a Lapua or larger bolt face cartridge, I'd say it becomes more than that. At that point it IMO becomes a matter of what is the safest strongest action for the job. The Remington standard size(foot print) action may not be the best choice. Some people don't care about If it has a custom name etched on the action. They'd rather spend a few bucks less on a factory action getting it trued up and cleaned up for straightness and move on. Today the numbers are real close due to the Remington action price going up.
 

VLD Pilot

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Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
2,155
Location
Northern, Mi
Yep my customs do not outshoot my trued factory actions. It's very controversial regarding accuracy of customs vs factory trued actions. I'm not getting into that discussion so I'll leave it at personal preference. Not gonna highjack this thread with rhetoric that's gonna go south. Find one you like, research it and pull the trigger. I believe all customs are close and I have some personal favs that I love. That's how I chose mine.
 

MagnumManiac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2008
Messages
3,797
All I can say is that, yes, it is personal choice.
I have never built a rifle with a trued action that did not shoot to my standards. I have re-barreled actions without truing them that shot better than the factory barrel, so is it the action or the barrel inducing the accuracy?
If it doesn’t shoot half MoA it doesn’t leave until it does. I build on Rem 700’s, which are the easiest to blueprint and true. Winchester Model 70’s and Kimber. When they were still in production, for Rigby based cartridges, I would build on CZ550 Safari Magnum actions.
All of my comp guns are trued Rem 700’s, stainless too, I’m not a fan of CM.
Sure, I like custom actions too, have built some comp rifles on BAT actions as they were the only actions available here.
I like Borden actions and will be replacing my CZ builds with the Borden. I have a CZ action that is set up for a custom 338-416 Rigby Improved 45° that I will be replacing the barrel on soon, may go to a 33XC case instead, this would be a good project for a Borden….dunno, my mind isn’t made up yet.
Again, it’s all personal choice, they all work.

Cheers.
 

nksmfamjp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2004
Messages
1,457
Had several rifles built and have built several rifles with factory actions and pre-fit barrels. I've only had 1 aftermarket actionnof the bunch, which was a Pierce short action with coned bolt and 8x40 screws for Rem scope mount. I've had every level of blue printing that is known to man done to factory actions. I've even had one factory 700 action that was sleeved to such tolerances, one spec of Gun Grease on the raceway locked it up. Many have been superbly accurate, and some not so much, including one that was laughable (or would have been if not for the $2500 I wasted on it. The one aftermarket rig was a 5-shot, 1/2 MOA rifle chambered in .22x47 Lapua with the old 82 grain Berger Match bullet. It was mated with my first ever Brux barrel in my first (and only) Manners stock. I was told quite a bit of inletting had to be done to fit the action into the Manners. That smith has passed on now, so I can't get further details. I had a Jewell trigger set to about 14 oz in that one.

Likewise, a factory blueprinted Winchester 70 action was mated with a 27" Rem Mag contour Douglas XX Premium and chambered in .300 Dakota was a 1/4 MOA 3-shot rifle (after 40 shots worth of seasoning) (never tried it for more shots, nor did I think I needed to after proving and depriving the load on multiple days). It was epoxy bedded in a birch laminate Stocky's stock. I've found a factory Savage 112 .22-250 to be a 1/8 MOA gun, and a Savage 11 I converted into a 6.5x47 Lapua with minimum headspace on a Criterion barrel. The list goes on. Didn't seem to have good luck with anything Lilja barrels were on, but may have been the builder and not the barrels.

I see thread after thread here where someone is touting a certain action and/or dissing another, then somebody else has a thread touting the action berated by the last person, and so forth. So the loaded question is: Is there an aftermarket action I'm liable to never see 1/2 MOA using if I spend over $800 on it, and it's mated to one of the premier barrels out there (Brux, Krieger, Bartlein, Hawk Hill, Proof, Mullerworks, Rock Creek, etc.) if the chambering, crowning, and mating to action and stock is properly done? After all, that's what it's all about, right? Accuracy to kill cleanly at insane distances? I prefer stocks to chassis for weight savings, as it needs to be light enough to carry and climb with. But could I not just pick anything from a Tenacity or Origin or Predator or Atlas, or Axiom, etc. and be just as accurate, all other components held equal at ranges of 500 to 1000 yards (or more) as if I'd bought a $1700 BAT Machine, Mausingfeld, Fuzion, Deviant, TL3, Surgeon, or the high-end Kelbly or Zermatt or Curtis, Templar, etc?

Or is it really just about personal preferences of certain features on certain models? For instance: I like 3-lug designs (or the short throw anyway). It doesn't have to be as smooth as polished glass. I do NOT like small diameter firing pins (found that out with the Pierce). It DOES have to work in the field under adverse conditions without binding. I like the idea of interchangeable bolt heads. I prefer lightweight. It needs to easily drop into most major GOOD QUALITY stocks. It needs to feed and eject every time - I like the plunger type ejectors just fine... Is there something better? Indifferent about CRF. Cool looks with fluting and flared loading/ejection port is a plus but I prefer the smallest port that will work to maintain stiffness. I'm a pragmatic/utility guy more than a cool/bells and whistles guy. I like the traditional floor plate capability, but may consider a short DBM if it is lightweight and doesn't rattle- metal > plastic mags! I like the idea of using the popular AVAILABLE triggers that get you down to ounces (yes for hunting! Ok, maybe close to a pound.).

Overall, I want what everybody else wants: The most accurate rifle (precise) at the lowest weight that it can maintain its accuracy (not necessarily necessitating a titanium version of a good action to shave a few ounces at the cost of an extra $400 or more), at the lowest cost I can get said package, that will be durable and 100% reliable over my lifetime and my grandkids' lifetimes. So what action do I HAVE to have in it to do that? OR... should I be shopping by features and get the most of what I like and the least of what I don't, even if there are a couple of compromises? I know some of these actions are for certain types of DBMs only, so that will potentially separate the groups nicely. BUT... if you tell me, no, you gotta have THIS action or spend the rest of your days wishing you had this (brand X) action, and it runs AICS mags or Wyatt mags, I will definitely look at it hard. I also understand many of the highest end actions are made for competition and are too "tight" for hunting.

I've been told the best hunting actions may include things like Defiance Deviant and Lone Peak Fuzion. Also heard that about the Stiller Predator... The former 2 because they're so smooth and dreamy. So my question is, could I shoot just as accurately with a Predator, Tenacity, Origin, Axiom, Atlas, Nucleus even if it wasn't as "smooth" or "darn good looking?"

I've heard rumblings about extraction/ejection issues with a few of those I just mentioned. So is it a fluke or is there QA problems with some lower end actions/companies? Is there too much "slop" in one or another (surely not in a custom action, though each individual's definition of 'slop' may vary). Does mass production of any of them play in (again there is any such thing as 'mass' production of an after market action)?

Bottom line, which is dependable about 100% of the time and can always be part of a sub-1/2 MOA rifle if all the other parts are good and assembled correctly? Now which one is the lowest price of the group in the previous answer?

Throw a couple options out or just one or a half dozen to keep the waters muddy.

Kind of... well, this IS another stupidly annoying "which action?" thread. Maybe with enough variation to avoid being done to death.

The fact that a man can't put his hands on one of these readily makes it harder. I have fondled a Deviant Hunter and a Nesika, and a Pierce. They were all accurate. The Nesika and Deviant were much prettier and smoother. The Pierce shot just as good, however, for a few hundred less... Coned bolt nose. Does that help anything? The Pierce had it, and I read that some other models do, as well. It requires the smith to make the barrel tenon a certain way to mate up properly, yes? Good, bad, indifferent? I realize much of this will be opinion and personal preference, and if I see a trend that it is mostly personal preference, I'll have my answer. Not necessarily looking for the name of a single action, rather mostly which ones I should avoid.

Thanks! I'll shut up and listen. Maybe to crickets, but I'll be no worse off. Wracked my brain long enough without the experience to make an informed decision.
Thanks for your post. To me, it is about cost, compatibility, weight and features.

A factory donor rifle, especially a Tikka, Remington or Winchester 70 will be $500 - $700ish. I paid $700 for my Win 70. Sold off some parts on it. Normal truing seems to be $150 -$250….maybe not needed on the Tikka. Then are you replacing the trigger, bottom metal, etc? Can you sell the factory bits? Then, how well can you judge that the donor action doesn’t need bolt handle timing, extractor modification, scope mount holes aligned. Also, you need a scope base and many customs come with one perfectly mated.

Compatibility is just that. Trigger tech will only recommend their top trigger for custom actions. Some don’t have feed rails so they require center feed magazines. Some triggers cause cock on close or other issues for one action, but not all. Stock fit to standard inletting.

Weight….I really don’t have anything to say other than action weight is really important for balance. The action is one of the few heavy parts behind the balance point. It is also key to hitting a weight goal.

Features….3 lug vs 2 lug…I like 2 lug for cocking force reduction. Tenon length, size, compatibility. Safety design…trigger or striker types. CRF vs push feed. I prefer CRF, but like an extractor that will snap over a rim. Interchangeable bolt face.

To me, the Bighorn Origin with CRF, is the best solution out there. Wish I understood better why I might want to use the other more expensive Bighorn actions??
 

Nathan gravitt

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Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
316
Location
Virginia
I came to the same conclusion a few months ago. Origin won out for price along with I wanted a controlled feed action. You can buy used savage barrels that incorporate the barrel nut or get a savage prefit or shouldered prefit with no gunsmithimg needed. You just need an action wrench and barrel vise. Best triggers and stocks available since it is a Remington 700 footprint. Aftermarket is the way to go for sure at this point if you plant to have any work done to the factory action. Just my 2 cents now that you came out with your opinion! 😁
 

Hard rock

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Joined
Dec 20, 2020
Messages
628
Location
Tomball Texas 77377
Thanks for your post. To me, it is about cost, compatibility, weight and features.

A factory donor rifle, especially a Tikka, Remington or Winchester 70 will be $500 - $700ish. I paid $700 for my Win 70. Sold off some parts on it. Normal truing seems to be $150 -$250….maybe not needed on the Tikka. Then are you replacing the trigger, bottom metal, etc? Can you sell the factory bits? Then, how well can you judge that the donor action doesn’t need bolt handle timing, extractor modification, scope mount holes aligned. Also, you need a scope base and many customs come with one perfectly mated.

Compatibility is just that. Trigger tech will only recommend their top trigger for custom actions. Some don’t have feed rails so they require center feed magazines. Some triggers cause cock on close or other issues for one action, but not all. Stock fit to standard inletting.

Weight….I really don’t have anything to say other than action weight is really important for balance. The action is one of the few heavy parts behind the balance point. It is also key to hitting a weight goal.

Features….3 lug vs 2 lug…I like 2 lug for cocking force reduction. Tenon length, size, compatibility. Safety design…trigger or striker types. CRF vs push feed. I prefer CRF, but like an extractor that will snap over a rim. Interchangeable bolt face.

To me, the Bighorn Origin with CRF, is the best solution out there. Wish I understood better why I might want to use the other more expensive Bighorn actions??
The Curtis Axiom 3 lug 60 degree bolt throw is a fine action slick as glass and Curtis Customs has a slick DBM 3rd mag set up also I love the performance of mine set up as a switch barrel 6.5 prc next barrel will be a 300wsm sound like your well versed in about everything out there hope you find what works for you
 
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