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

Varmint Hunter

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While it's nice to start a rifle build with a custom action it isn't always needed to get surprisingly good accuracy. I have full custom and semi-custom rifles. Two of the most accurate rifles I own are built off of Rem 40X actions that I've owned for over 40 years. One of the rifles was shooting into the 1s when the stars and the moon lined up.

I can't image an accuracy difference between any of the top listed custom actions.
 
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.300 Dakota

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I like an action with intregal 20 moa rail.and intregal recoil lug.
This narrows your choices by 90%.
Ok... I get the theoretical superiority of integral vs pinned/keyed/pinned and screwed, etc. BUT... is there an ACTUAL accuracy advantage to this that can be measured? The Winchester 70 action has a massive integral lug, and I've had MANY shoot like poo. You started that response with the words, "I like..." So I get the idea of the theoretical advantage gives peace of mind, but is it necessary that I spend an extra $500 for this feature in order to get great accuracy? Not leading the question nor speaking rhetorically, just looking for words of wisdom on why it needs to be this way. You're definitely not alone. Many insist on integral lugs/rails. Just curious if you had poor results with a different ("lesser") type without the integral parts. THANKS!
 

.300 Dakota

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Make a list of features that you must have. Make another list of the actions you would consider. Make a decision and move forward. I think there are just too many good choices these days.
This is exactly what my gut has been telling me, but I wanted hard core advice before I went willy nilly plunking a grand down on something I would regret getting in a few months wishing I'd spent another $300 - $400. Honestly, my leading choices so far have been the Axiom, the Atlas, the Tenacity, and the Origin. I like the looks of the Mesa Precision Summit, but I don't know anything about it and it's missing lots of metal. I understand more metal makes for a stiffer and "theoretically" more accurate action. But so does the integral lug and rail make for a more "theoretically" accurate action. Not sold on either of these representing the Gospel truth unless somebody has seen a noticeable difference. And keep in mind, this is a deer hunting rifle... Not a PRS money-maker. I couldn't shoot well enough to make any money anyway, so I rely on my equipment to be the most accurate/precise it can be so as not to magnify my shortcomings.

All that said, I've ALWAYS wanted a BAT Machine, but I've been told their tolerances are too tight for hunting and that they're HEAVY, so just because I think they're cool and built like an ultra precise tank may not necessarily mean I need to pay an extra $500 - $600 for one to go on my deer rifle. Or does it?

Great answers, keep 'em coming!
 

Nathan gravitt

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A coined a phrase a few years ago.
“We sell confidence”

Plug in your brand of choice. Same applies to compound bows or any other product. If we aren’t confident in something, even if it’s all in our mind, we won’t use it. If we think “X” will do the job better, we will use it
 

.300 Dakota

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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??
Extremely insightful! Thank you, sir!!
 

.300 Dakota

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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! 😁
See, I've put together several great-shooting and beautiful rifles with Savage actions and Criterion barrels. Accuracy from the .1s up to .6s. So why change? Limitation of stocks compatible with Savage actions and weight mainly. I have a Carbon Six .284 Win prefit sitting here collecting dust because I realized (again) after the fact, that there is no stock available for a Savage LONG action with heavy barrel channel for the current production Model 10s or 110s. I was about to build it as a short action single shot to get it done and then decided I wasn't going to short change the project. Well let me retract what I said above. There ARE a couple choices for that combination. They are: Archangel and Choate. Both weigh 4 - 5 pounds... I thought I read somewhere that there needed to be a special cut, counter bore or something done to a pre-fit to get it to work 100% properly on a Zermatt action. Then I had someone tell me here the other day that Inshould just be able to screw the barrel on the Origin action with a nut and live happily ever after. Sounding more plausible by the day...
 

.300 Dakota

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Wish there were more mauser/m70 type actions out there. Even the Remington clones I'd really would like a bolt lock for actions on hunting rigs.
I was looking at a Montana 99 action before they abruptly shut the doors. Mybold gunsmith who passed away said they were still pretty rough and needed lots of "fixing" he called it to get them to be smooth performers. Not sure, just his words. They wanted $800 for one of those though, and I could have bought an entire rifle containing one for pennies under a grand then, so it didn't seem logical with all the other choices out there.
 

jgs8163

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I’ve used 2 of the MacBros recently with great results. $600 custom action, can’t beat it. Comes with keyed barrel lug and a 20 MOA rail. Only available at this time in Short Action though.
I also just used a Kelbly Atlas tactical and there are now shouldered prefits you can order for these. Just finished this build with the Kelbly and fully assembled myself. Barrel screwed on and headspace was perfect.
D2F67448-D7C6-4FDE-A7EA-94181B0B7524.jpeg
 

jrock

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Personal preference with some dependence on build criteria. I have confidence performance won't be an issue. I think there are some that allow more modification than others. For example, it appears to me that some actions that use fixed ejector posts, are not able to be modified to shoot longer cartridges than what they were designed for. This fact removed some possible actions from my list when building a long throated 7 SAUM on a short action. Obviously, one could move up to a LA to fix this issue but it goes back to the build criteria.
I am all but sold on using custom actions to build a gun from scratch.
 

.300 Dakota

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I’ve used 2 of the MacBros recently with great results. $600 custom action, can’t beat it. Comes with keyed barrel lug and a 20 MOA rail. Only available at this time in Short Action though.
I also just used a Kelbly Atlas tactical and there are now shouldered prefits you can order for these. Just finished this build with the Kelbly and fully assembled myself. Barrel screwed on and headspace was perfect.View attachment 299600
Beautiful, sir! Is that the new Grayboe lightweight stock?
 

.300 Dakota

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Personal preference with some dependence on build criteria. I have confidence performance won't be an issue. I think there are some that allow more modification than others. For example, it appears to me that some actions that use fixed ejector posts, are not able to be modified to shoot longer cartridges than what they were designed for. This fact removed some possible actions from my list when building a long throated 7 SAUM on a short action. Obviously, one could move up to a LA to fix this issue but it goes back to the build criteria.
I am all but sold on using custom actions to build a gun from scratch.
Love the 7 SAUM. Was thinking about foing a 6.5 GAP 4S version. And for my 284 Win, dobyiu think I could get by with a short action if I get an action compatible with the A Wyatt extended Mag system, or is there a better way to go? What bottom metal / action did you decide on for the 7 SAUM?
 

jrock

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I have a 6.5 GAP 4S I throated longer for the 140 VLDs. COAL is less than 3", Most of the short actions work with the Wyatts 3" box.

For the 7 SAUM, I went with the Bainey box which is 3.11". I'm building on a Defiance AnTi SA. The bottom of the action will need to be milled back to fit that box. Fortunately, the bolts stop is far enough back to allow for the extra length without modification.
 
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