To Build or To Buy . . . That is The ???

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by lckytylr, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. lckytylr

    lckytylr Well-Known Member

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    Okay Folks . . . I have a conundrum that I need your help with.

    I have the option to either build precisely what I want, and wait on procurement times for various out-of-stock materials . . . or I can get a custom that's very similar to what I want and it's already had load development completed, but it's not exactly what I want. Wifey says that this is probably the only custom that I'll get to build until I'm retirement age . . . that's in 25 years . . . so I don't want to screw this up. So, within a few hundred dollars, the price is nearly the same, slightly less expensive for the completed rifle than the build.

    This rifle is for HUNTING! I will spend a considerable amount of time at the range shooting it for fun and getting familiar with it, but no competitions . . . I want something that's light and capable of 750 for Elk and Mulies. I'm a backpack hunter, so again . . . as light as is possible for a long range custom. For comparison's sake, I'll identify whether Option A or B are compatible (match) or similar (close).

    What I want to Build (300 Win Mag - Let's Not debate Caliber):

    Barrel: Proof Research 24" (What's available to me right now is a 26", too long for hunting IMO)

    Brake & Thread Protector Cap: Not too picky on brands/models

    Action: Defiance Deviant Hunter

    Trigger: Jewell

    Stock: Manners Elite Tactical (Black & Gray) Carbon

    Scope Rings: Not too picky, but quality stuff $200

    Scope: Haven't really settled on a scope yet, was really looking at the Nightforce SHV, but I feel as though I'd be paying for equipment that I'm not yet capable of maximizing the use of. I'd be open to others (Huskemaw, Leupold, Etc).

    Magazine/Bottom: I want a removable clip

    Necessities: Chambering, Bedding

    Optional: Load Development & Data


    What's available for immediate acquisition:

    Barrel: Bartlein 24" (Not really very close from initial glance, but what do you guys think?)

    Brake & Thread Protector: Included (match)

    Action: (close) Defiance Deviant Tactical (Close - Is there really an advantage to the Hunter over the Tactical . . . or vice-versa???)

    Trigger: Jewell (match)

    Stock: (close) Manners Elite Tactical (Dark Woods) Carbon.

    Scope Rings: American Precision 34 mm $200 (match)

    Scope: Leupold VX-6 4-24x52 - Varmint Reticle, Comes with Aluma-Caps (??? - the reviews I have read are excellent, will I be missing out if I go with this in lieu of a NF or other???)

    Magazine / Bottom: Removable (match)

    Necessities: Chambering & Bedding (Done - match)

    Optional: Load Development & Data (Done - match)

    So, the only differences between what I want and what's offered in a ready-to-shoot custom are the barrels, stock color and scope (which I'm on the fence for anyways).

    If I pick the Build option, I can either wait 16 weeks for a 24" Proof Research Sendero Taper barrel . . . or the builder has 26" in stock and we can get started right now. He also mentioned that he could cut an inch or so off of a 26" barrel, but he was hesitant to do this (is this a bad idea?).

    Stock Color, Of the 3 color options, the Dark Woods that comes on the ready-to-shoot rifle is my least favorite . . . but if you offered me a Corvette in Yellow (my least favorite color), I'd still be quite happy to accept it . . . so does this really matter? If I order a different color stock for a build, it's a long lead time, not certain how long, but I think that this stock is a pretty hot item right now.

    Scope . . . I really don't know what to think. This will be my very first high-dollar scope. I don't want to buy something with so many bells and whistles that may go unused, but as I mentioned before, I plan on spending a LOT of time at the range getting familiar with this rifle and practice practice practice. I'll also be purchasing a G7-BR2, so in theory, I should be able to maximize the use of any windage/elevation/pressure/angle adjustments that I'd need to make in the field. Is a VX-6 (as described above) enough scope for me to be satisfied with for the next 25 years . . . or will I want to replace it with a NF in 5 years?

    So, in closing, if you were me and knew (for the most part), what you wanted, would you build and wait, or buy and start shooting?
     
  2. aj427ci

    aj427ci Well-Known Member

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    Have what you want built.... why spend hard earned money on something you have to compromise with. IMO there are more pros then cons with the 26" barrel. The rifle will feel more yours if you build it then buy someone else's creation.
     
  3. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Be patient and build what you truly want. Your custom barrel can be cut to match the "off the shelf" rifle but I usually figure a loss of about 50 fps (it's not a linear calculation but that's close enough for most guys I shoot with) so your Proof Research barrel offers you a choice to leave it long or cut it to 24 - and I agree that a hunting rifle with a 26" barrel can get a bit cumbersome. A drop down magazine is also a must have IMO.
    I have no experience with Proof Research barrels beyond reading their ads so I'm not authorized to compare it to the Bartlein. Still, I typically build with Bartleins.
    As for the scope, your choice of the VX-6 takes you to x24 while the NF SHV is limited to x20. I wouldn't want a varmint reticle on a hunting scope I intended to use for large game though so, IMO, the VX-6 wouldn't make the cut.
    Only thing I might add is that, when you order your barrel, order two of them. If you're going to shoot it as much as you imply that .308 Win Mag will eat up a barrel before your 25 year retirement date hits the planning stage.
     
  4. BEEMAN

    BEEMAN Well-Known Member

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    Your build is similar to what I just put together; other than the carbon fiber barrel. My 300 WIN Mag: Borden timberline action, Jewel trigger, #3 Brux barrel @ 26" plus Holland brake, PTG BM, Mcmillan game scout stock and a 5-20 SHV. Finishes at 10 lbs 2OZ and shoots amazing. Get a 1-10 twist and a reamer for the 215 Bergers and a 8lb jug of H1000. I think you will be impressed! I would build what you want. Why cut corners.
     
  5. lckytylr

    lckytylr Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone see a problem with cutting down a 26" Proof Research Sendero Light barrel to 24"?

    Has anyone done this with this barrel or know of anyone that's done it?

    I really don't want to wait 16 weeks for the barrel. So, I either have the smith cut down a 26" barrel that's in stock or I wait.

    My biggest deterrent of buying the ready-to-shoot rifle is that I'm not overly fond of the Bartlein Barrel . . . but it's the right length and the total rifle weight is right around 10 lbs.

    Does anyone know the weight savings of a 24" Proof (sendero light taper) over that of a Bartlein of the same length? Proof's website only states that their bolt barrels typically weigh between 3 - 3 1/2 lbs, but doesn't exactly specify for which contour or length. The steel equivalent could weigh nearly double that . . .

    For those of you that would have a custom built to my specifications, would you take an in-stock 26" and cut it down, or would you wait 16 weeks for a 24" to show up? 16 weeks from now puts us at middle of July, plus the Smith needs time to chamber and cut threads, assemble, bed, etc. (probably another 3 weeks or so depending on availability). Then I will need to do load development and practice (I'm a father of two under 3 YO, I don't get much free time at the range).
     
  6. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Well...If you're only gonna get one shot for the next 25 years, I would go with building exactly what you want.

    Also, have you checked with the manufacturer of each "out of stock" item to get their lead-times? The wait time might be sooner than you anticipate.
     
  7. lckytylr

    lckytylr Well-Known Member

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    Re: To Build or To Buy . . . That is The ??? . . .. Update

    So, I went out with the builder today and shot the ready-to-shoot rifle.

    300 WM
    Bartlein 24" w/ Brake
    Defiance Deviant Tactical
    Manner's Carbon Elite Tac
    Jewell Trigger
    Leupold VX-6 w/ Varmint ret

    Disclaimer, I have NEVER shot a custom or even a semi-custom rifle prior to today. I have struggled with factory rifles for several years always wondering "is it me . . . or the rifle?". I, likely, have never shot a rifle with such a light and quality trigger (2 lbs). Until today, I'd never even tried to shoot a rifle beyond 300 yards because I have never been behind one that could hold a group to make it worth stretching out that far.

    The very first 3-shots at 100 could be covered by a dime. Pretty impressive start. We input the ballistics into the builders G7 BR2. First shot at 580 yards looked high. Second shot hit the top of the 12" gong. We adjusted (not enough) and hit almost in the same spot (a little lower). Let the gun cool and got back into it. Mind you, these are my 7, 8 and 9 shots EVER out of a long range gun, all were hits somewhat scattered about on the gong. I was fighting the bubble level, I'd get the bubble leveled and the crosshairs just looked incredibly canted, so I was reluctant to trust them . . . but did anyways.

    Let the rifle cool and decided to take two more shots before the wind picked up any more. Nearly centered on the gong, 1-1/2" from each other (my 10th & 11th shots).

    So, I went into today with zero expectations. I was very impressed with the experience.

    The rifle only feels (just BARELY) heavier than my current rifle (Rem 700 - 300 RUM). If I have a rifle built to the specs that I want, it would be very similar to this rifle and only be 6 oz. lighter. The negatives of a build would be that it wouldn't have any load development done for it (I can do that, but I have done plenty of that for my current rifle and it's been frustrating). Additionally, this gun has a better stock than what I'd probably have on a built rifle.

    I don't know what I want to do. This rifle is very nearly exactly what I want. If I have a rifle built, at this point, it would really only be to say that it was custom-built For Me . . . which isn't really that big of a deal for me. If I go with the build option, I don't know that it would shoot as well as this particular rifle. I have seen several other builds from this smith and he does a great job, but he's openly stated that the guns I have seen in action are not as accurate as this rifle are.

    I strongly feel that, given more time to become familiar with such a light trigger, I could get much much much better with this rifle, so that dime size out-to-out group could get smaller, I know I can do that.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, opinions?
     
  8. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

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    It looks like to me that you have already sold yourself on this rifle. What is the difference in cost vs the new build? If you buy the already built one, here is what you do. You add up what the new rifle would have cost to build (the smith can do that for you). Tell the smith that you only want to buy the rifle itself without the scope. Take the money that you saved from not buying the scope and add it to the amount that you saved from not getting a new built rifle and buy a used NXS 5.5-22x50 with zero stop. Justify the savings that way to your wife as well.
     
  9. IdahoCTD

    IdahoCTD Well-Known Member

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    Re: To Build or To Buy . . . That is The ??? . . .. Update

    Bartlein is one of the top barrel makers in the country. Proof Research isn't at the same level in competition circles. I have numerous Bartlein barrels that shoot very small groups. Besides you can't cut down a Proof barrel 2". They generally have less than 2" beyond the end of the carbon wrap.
     
  10. lckytylr

    lckytylr Well-Known Member

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    I have made my decision . . . I went with the already-completed rifle. She's a shooter.

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  11. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    Congrats, nice looking rifle!
     
  12. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

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    ---- that's nice!! How many rounds were down the tube when you purchased it? What was the cost? I feel that even though it wasn't 100% your custom, it's still a once in a lifetime rifle. Great call.
     
  13. lckytylr

    lckytylr Well-Known Member

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    75 rounds down the tube, nearly all for load development of a bunch of different premium hunting bullets (Barnes TTSX, LR Accubonds, Berger - Not really a hunting rd).

    I got the "good buddy" discount for the rifle. I'd rather not say on open forum.
     
  14. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    A proven good rifle at a good price. Very close to your ideal rifle, and only 6 oz heavier. I don't see how you will regret it. Your tastes will change after you put 1,000 rounds down the pipe. This rifle may start looking more like your ideal rifle by then.