who's the best custom rifle builder


Nov 3, 2004
who\'s the best custom rifle builder

I am wanting to build a custom rifle and i dont know who to have do it for me. And i dont understand some of the things there asking me. Im a young hunter and havent learned all the tricks and trades and my young age of 14 so could you please help me
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

I would start with the rifles intended purpose, paper punching, hunting. Will it be carried far (weight will be a concern). If the intended target is an animal, the cartridge will have to have enough power, and since you are on this site, it will need to be inherrently accurate enough to put a round on target at distance.
Some questions a good smith might ask would be.
Target animal (the biggest you will hunt).
Caliber choice.
Cartridge choice.
Bullet choice, this will help the smith decide the twist rate that best suits the application.
Weight, that gets you into stock selection, barrel contour, hardware on the rifle (rings and mounts, bottom metal).
Will you want a break? This will reduce felt recoil and allow a lighter rifle.
There tons of options. Do some home work to figure out your needs. My olny suggestion is buy the best you can afford so you olny have to do it once.

Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

The best? You are likely to get a lot of opinion on that....and no clear consensus.

With good reason. Machinist skills, combined with a solid firearms background and the talent is not exactly as rare as a builder of London Best shotguns; nor as expensive, thankfully.

Still, it helps to have reliable references. It's not absolutely necessary to deal with someone clear across the country. I use a unhearlded local, with many references from people I already know. Much better to conduct business eye to eye, in my opinion. The problem with this guy; he turns down work if he doesn't know you. He's more like a well kept secret.

Anyway, decide what you need and WHY you need it. Do your homework, talk to friends, visit a few shops, and sign up.

Good luck, LB

edit: now I will duck and run.

[ 11-07-2004: Message edited by: LB ]
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

Before looking for a builder, you should first sit down and take a long look at what you want. You should have a pretty clear concept of what you want before committing to a rifle. Not to long ago I was in your shoes. Granted I was 17, so a little older, but I too wanted a custom gun. Leading up to this decision, I had worked a year and a half on a gun range. I read a majority of the monthly publications regarding shooting and what not. Needless to say, I had a fair idea of what I wanted. I owned several hunting rifles, reloaded and had the ability to shoot often. Now I'm not saying go out and find a job at a range, but take steps to educate yourself. Start reading gun mags, and better yet, get hands on experience. Hopefully you have access to other guns. With the OWNER's PERMISSION, get familiar with them. Get an understanding of what you like and dislike. That's a big part of owning a custom gun, it's tailored to your needs. Along with knowing the gun, you should look at how you are going to use it. With my custom, I was looking primarily at punching paper, maybe the occassional open field deer. So I wanted a heavier, more bench orientated gun. Included with choosing a gun configuration, you should select a cartridge that best suits you. Unless you reload, or have access to equipment, It doesn't do you a whole lot of good to chamber some odd-ball wildcat. Finally, and this is a two-per, make sure you have enough money, and permission to buy this gun. For me, It took alot longer to get my parents permission than it did to raise the cash. Keep in mind, most anything custom is not cheap. Take your time, save your pennies, and also remember, there is more to being a kid than shooting. Its fun to have a custom gun, but make sure it doesn't consume you(monetarily and time wise). Good luck, and have fun
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

thanks for the help but can you guys/gals give me any pics of some of Matt work he tried emailing me some but it didnt work. Does anybody have any other suggestions I still havent decided what caliber i want. And could you give me a list of stuff needed for reloading i want to start but dont know what i need or really anything about it. Would any body give me a rough estimate of what the rifle will cost and the reloading will cost
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

I know you dont want to hear it but I'll say it anyway, if you are 14 years old DONT make a custom gun!!!!!! my very first custom gun was just exactly what I wanted when I ordered it and now I shoot it less than any gun that I have,buy a factory rifle and shoot a couple more years until you figure out exactly what your wants and needs are. Most likely what you think is the ultimate gun now wont be in a few years,then with the extra couple grand you'll save now you can really get what you want later.
Have Fun B
p.s. I'm a blue hair 46 year old and had my first custom gun built at 30.

[ 11-08-2004: Message edited by: brian b ]
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

Glad you said it Brian,
Looking back on it, I don't think I was too young when I bought my custom gun (17, actually didn't get to shoot it until I was 18), I was comfortable in my decision, and still don't regret it. But this was a calculated decision. I had alot of experience and knew what to look for with that gun. There is nothing wrong with asking for opinions, lord knows I do it alot on this board, but a word of advice, take a few steps before you try to sprint in regards to the shooting sport. You are 14, you may want to take some time before buying a custom rifle. My first rifle, and the one I still use for hunting, is a far cry from custom. But it was through using it, learning it and of course shooting it, that I found what I like(hell I still like that rifle). Best of luck, and although it might not seem like it, you've got a world of time.

[ 11-08-2004: Message edited by: 7ultra ]
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

truthfully I dont have that much time for i Have been vigoursly training for the marines. I will be in and till i die, honarable ejected or incable of performing my duties. So my choice is do it now or never do so i say do it now i like to plan ahead, ordering for this rifle would not occur until same time next year or mid summer so i have time to contimplate it still but i thank you for your suggestions
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

Wow, at 14 I had no idea what I wanted to do.... I would seriously wait to by /order a custom gun, your life will make a gazillion changes in the next 2 years alone not to mention in the next decade. I bet by the time you are 18 you will have reconsidered going into the military a few times.. especially after you have a girlfriend or 2...
At 14 I never had enough money to build a custom rifle ... not even sure my father would have let me have one anyway....

slow down man you have a long time ahead of you... not to mention changes... has your voice changed yet? Go buy a PSS or somthing and play sniper for a while and see if it is what you really want....

besides.. quit being so serious and enjoy life for a bit... you'll have plenty of time to act like and adult and deal with lifes stress' go be a kid....
Re: who\'s the best custom rifle builder

HI kaliesman,
I think shooting and reloading would be a great thing for you to spend your time on. considering what most 14 year olds are spending their time on nowdays.......

assuming that your parents are behind you on this....
this is what I would suggest for starting out.
a savage tactical or varmint rifle depending on your preference,toppped with a good scope
do NOT chintz on the scope! my recommendation would be Sightron S2, Nikon Monarch,or Leuopld vx3.
You could have the rifle with the scope for around 800-1000 depending....

also .308 would be a great caliber to start with.
As far as reloading this is what I would suggest.
The Lee classic cast press ($59.99) this press is an excellent press for the money! it is equivelant to or better then the RCBS rock chucker (which is $107.00)
then you will need a scale.
I would reccommend an RCBS 502 scale($57.39)
then you will need some reloading dies.
I would reccommend Lee delux rifle 3-die set ($25.99) this is available in .308
Then you will need a good reloading manual.My personal favorite is Nosler ($20.00)
also a powder dispenser would speed things up.I have used RCBSs for years and couldn't be happier ($65.00) but you could get by with a funnel and a trickler (for about $15-$20.00)
Then after a few reloads you will need a case trimmer as they grow in length and for this I would reccommend Lees case trimming system for it is simple and straight forward.

For full length sizing you will need to lub your cases. these are just some of the basics for starting and there are kits you can buy that would include most of the above.But I guess this is what I would reccommend. also get a good "how to reload book" and research,research.
also if you know someone who reloads ask him if you can come over and get some pointers and visual how to's.
you can go to www.midwayusa.com for all of your reloading equipment.
I hope this is helpful and don't be discouraged because of your age you gotta start sometime.

reasearch and knowledge are powerful things.

As far as a custom gun I would not reccommend it for starting out but if it is something you want to pursue the Savage action is a great action to build off of ...in my opinion.
I started relaoding when I was 16 and I am still learning things today so don't try to learn it all over night.
good luck on your adventure and if you have any more questions feel free to e-mail.
Jon Beanland, Melvin Forbes and GA Precision are all excellent...and there are others. Sometimes, the most important thing is to know who to avoid. For instance, one to avoid is Lane Precision (Dallas Lane) in Pocatello, ID. He will insist on a big deposit, will take three times longer than promised to finish, will not return calls, and will not give a refund even if he builds the wrong rifle (eg. a right hand rifle for a left hand shooter). The guy just does not like people and will treat you that way. A custom rifle build should be fun. So choose a reputable builder like those above and you'll be good. A glitzy website and some nice web photos does not mean the guy is fair, fun, honorable or even competent.
Warning! This thread is more than 6 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.