Very basic about customizing a rifle

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by hound_hunter, Mar 15, 2010.

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  1. hound_hunter

    hound_hunter Member

    Feb 14, 2010
    So this is what I've gathered so far. To customize a rifle you literally find a "barrel maker" (not sure on terminology yet) that builds barrels you like, find someone who makes a bolt, trigger, action you like, find a stock you like, and find a gunsmith that you like to put it all together and hand you a finished product? Is this how most people do it? How do you know the good makers and gunsmiths from the bad? How do I know who's barrel and action I would prefer over someone elses if there's no opportunity to test everones different setup out? I'm just trying to get the hang of everything.

    I've been thinking very seriously of getting a 700 XCR Tactical Long Range in .308 and having it setup and ready for me for next time I'm home.

    Centerfire Rifle - Model 700 XCR Tactical Long Range - Remington Centerfire Rifles

    If I were to do that (which I'll probably get that regardless if I fully customize one for me or not) could I take that and customize it more? If so what kinds of things would/could you do to a rifle that's already built? would there be any need to make adjustments to a rifle like this or would that be a stupid idea all together? Just curious, but would there be a way to keep that stock (or one that looked and was just like it, only custom with the stuff I'm about to say) but somehow have an adjustable cheek piece put in/on it. And possibly an adjustable butt-stock. Would any of you recommend making those changes or recommend not making those changes?

    If you haven't realized now, basically treat me like the inexperienced fool I am, dummy everything down, and teach me everything. haha. I've read a lot on this forum and feel like I have learned a ton, I'm trying to get the hang of this all. I'm an avid hunter and would love to get into the long range game without just getting used to holding 4 feet over an animal at such and such a distance. I'd love to bring my groups in at the range too and build that confidence. Having a rifle that I know will perform flawlessly with every shot would sure help me to just focus hard on what I do and live up to my rifle's standards.

    Thanks to all in advance!
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    If I were you I would go around the tree the other way being as you are inexperienced and do not need to make expensive mistakes.

    Here is what I did and would do again.

    Select a "good" gunsmith who knows long range hunting rifles and most of the sponsors on this forum and some of the members fall in that category.

    Tell him you want him to build you a rifle for ???????? style of hunting and you would like ?????? caliber or cartridge. Tell him you do not know anything about anything and you want him to provide advice on barrels twist and length and profile, as well as actions and triggers and stocks.

    Ask him to price it out and then if it is too expensive ask for cheaper components.

    Tell him you want him to order everything and you will pay a deposit as needed.
    So that is what I would do.

    Do not take a opinion poll or popularity poll to determine what components to use. If someone begins telling you how great their choice of rifles and gunsmith are then just ask for a few threads where they have actually killed something at long range with said rifle.

    A good 308 will be a fine rifle out to about 600-800 yards for animals depending on the animal and it will be a really fine paper practice rifle out to 1K.
  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    That's a lot of questions but they can be answered.

    First I would locate to or three Gun Smith's In your general area and talk to each one about
    building your rifle. This will tell you which one you won't to use based on how interested he
    is and how willing he is to help you decide what "YOU" need and not just sell you a rifle.

    Things you will need to know befor you talk to the smith;
    Intended use, approximate weight that you would like, Type of barrel material (Stainless or
    chrome Molly), Style of action and material best suited for your use, and type of stock(Composite,
    Laminate or standard walnut). This will get you started with the smith and if you find the right
    one he can guide you in the right direction To get the most bang for your buck.

    The other method of buying a rifle that is complete is to buy one that can be Customized if it
    does not perform to your satisfaction. (Like triggers,stocks and even custom barrels).

    Choosing the first Custom rifle is like walking through a minefield, If you are given good advice
    and if the smith has your best interest at heart it will be a cake walk but if not it can be a nightmare.

    Read as many post as you can and look at all of the rifle builds you can on this site and you
    will have a better idea of what you want befor talking to the smith's.

    Take your time and develop a plan and stick to it and it will be a great experience.

  4. zkodiak

    zkodiak Well-Known Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    i think je sayed it right but one thing also is i think know how much you can spend also for some charge alot more then others .. im chooseing a smith now and up here in kodiak you just dont go check one out for we have none on the island. so the internet and getting other people's thoughts have helped then i have called them or emailed them to see if they are right for you to choose.
  5. uncle_creepy

    uncle_creepy Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    a great place to start is Call and talk to John Lewis and he will give you way more information than you can think about absorbing. then sleep on it, read more articles, call other smiths, sleep on it more, find a bullet you like and go back and ask 'more questions. one thing you will find is you can relatively quickly rule out 'so so' smiths after you talk to a few. some of the Gander Mountain stores have really good smiths others are hacks.

    ask and learn and absorb. then decide and you should be able to get references from reputable smiths and talk to them find out what they like what questions they wished they had asked up front etc.

    make a list of all the things you want. find a smith that you start to trust and I would be willing to bet you will end up with something you are very happy with.

    I want to see pictures when it is done.