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  • Building First Custom Rifle... Opinions Please

    I've done a lot of precision shooting and reloading, however it's always been with factory-ish rifles (i've upgraded stocks and dbm, but that's about it), or what was provided to me when I competed in college. Having said that, please excuse me for my ignorance.

    I will be out of the country for several more months so I want to get the ball rolling now so it's ready when I get back.

    My intent is PRS style shooting. I reload and will primarily shoot recreationally out to ~600m. I will participate in matches when my schedule permits.

    Here's what I'm looking at right now (I'm open to opinions):

    6.5 Creedmoor <--------- Although, I've been reading a lot about the 6mm, and I'm intrigued.
    Defiance Deviant or ARC M5 <------- I've watched all of the ARC M5 videos and have read several articles on the Defiance Deviant. Curious what the community thinks.
    24" Kreiger or Bartlein (not sure on contour yet)
    Timney Trigger
    Manners MCS-PRS-1 with MCS DBS Mini Chassis Gen 2 <---- already ordered this because of the lead times

    I'm also looking for a quality gunsmith to put it together. I've reached out to LRI and GA Precision. I'm open to other suggestions as well.



  • #16
    I have a rifle built on the Defiance Deviant and one with the Tempest. For PRS take a good look at the Tempest action.

    But you can't go wrong with any of them. I thought hard about a Mausingfield, and I agree with these fellas that it's a fantastic action, speaking only for myself, I couldn't justify the extra shekels for it. They are damn proud of it and I just couldn't find the added value over other quality custom actions. But at the end of the day, we drop a lot of money on these builds, so what's a couple hundred extra if it's something you really want.

    Comment


    • #17
      I would consider the ease and user ability to replace barrels if you go with a 6mm and even 6.5. When I was shopping, it was between a MF or AIAT. AI barrels can be had from many smiths while a few sell pre-fit shouldered barrels for the mausingfield, or you can use a barrel nut/bugnut with any action. Bighorn actions are a bit less expensive than the MF and have enough unique features that make it worthy of a custom build. Unless you are particularly attached to the 700 platform, its hard to justify a 700 clone when there are so many options for advanced actions, many of which share aftermarket parts with the 700.

      It seems unnecessary to have to smith assemble a rifle, especially for a user/not a show piece. Bolt action rifles are becoming more modular like the AR platform, a user can purchase all of the components and just screw them together on their bench.
      Last edited by Dtarget; 02-17-2017, 11:27 AM.

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      • #18
        PVA has pretty short lead times, too, and his work is exemplary.
        Joe

        ex meus gelu mortuus manuum

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        • #19
          Do yourself a favor and just true a Remington action. Custom actions are the single most overrated part of a "custom" unless we are talking about a AI factory rifle. I wish someone had told me this before dumping over 1000 into a custom action. It's all about the barrel and Smith

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          • #20
            As far as a smith goes try Pierce Engineering in Lansing Michigan. They have built & re-barreled several rifles for me & my friends.
            Only used SAC once but they did a great job re-barreling my AW

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            • #21
              The most recommended smiths on here will do a good job for you. I have personal experience with Short Action Customs, Spartan Precision, Accurate Ordnance, and LRI. Accurate Ordnance has match rifles ready to ship pretty much all the time, so If you want zero lead time check them out. For all of them their work load will vary throughout the year and depending on what you are having done.

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              • #22
                +1 on what g101489 said. Long as you go with a high quality base that is rock solid into your action. I'd suggest near mfg, theirs are about as good as it gets. A good smith can square up everything else and you'll be good to go and save lots of $

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                • #23
                  Josh at PVA - cutting edge tech in his shop, Tier 1 PRS competitor, makes rifles for other Tier-1 competitors. "nuff said.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Old Fart talking...

                    I've lived through a somewhat similar situation to yours; only my war was 'Nam, and the subject was cars. All of us young Jarheads were stoked up on having a lump of ready cash and getting back to the real world again. What to do with it?

                    Fifty years later, let me share some subsequent observations.

                    What pretty much all of us did was get home, get back on the civilian economy, pick out what was the most instant of gratification choices, then always rode it hard and put it away wet, while slowly readjusting our mindsets back to something that didn't stand out like that nail just begging for the hammer.

                    For your consideration:

                    The most important part of what you're asking for is that it be ready when you are. Lead times are estimates, and getting things custom and perfected will mitigate strongly against this most important consideration. Perfection is an abstract concept, it varies widely by viewpoint, and believe me, it is a constantly moving target. Besides, unless you are already performing at a PRS-Competitive skill level, you very likely don't really know what you really need. Dreams do not often deliver. I know this is hard to read, but for this once, recognize that experience is taking.

                    I seriously doubt that the existing market of factory offerings is totally incapable of delivering a highly reliable and adequate performing rifle that is equal to your needs and a realistic estimation of your abilities. The custom makers will be there when that highly adequate factory solution demonstrably and unarguably fails your needs. If I were the custom builders, I''d rather see you go this route, because they don't want customers with expectations of perfection in this clearly imperfect world. Reality and perfection do not coexist. Neither of us is likely to harbor perfection within our own psyche.

                    Find that solution by examining the requirement. Define the task. Invest the time in examining the catalogues. Compare those likeliest candidates against what folks who are starting out are using with success. Select something that has been in production and is still selling. Make sure you choose enough gun. Stay away from extreme anything. Keep in mind that this is an investment that may someday need to be liquidated, and needs to appeal to the most common buyer. Buy reality, upgrade to perfection when there are no deadlines looming.

                    Your only real problems here are that deadline and a compulsion to achieve perfection on your first try.

                    Just last week, I competed at the National level in an F T/R Midrange(600yd) prone competition, using a factory rifle. I failed miserably; but the failing component was my archaic semi-cadaver and an appallingly inflated set of expectations. The rifle did its job just fine. I was adrift in a sea of mega high-dollar equipment.

                    However, my 20 Y/O Granddaughter shot alongside me in her first attempt at this sort of thing, also using a factory rifle, also in that selfsame sea; and she did well enough to draw praise and expectation of excellent prospects from her fellow competitors. You can't buy that sort of stuff. She is utterly and thoroughly stoked.

                    It's not about the arrow, it's about the size of the fight in the Indian. She's 5' 3" and she ain't small.

                    Greg
                    Last edited by Greg Langelius *; 02-18-2017, 12:42 PM.
                    Life is more interesting when one keeps a neurotic cat... Greg Langelius

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      OK, to brass tacks.

                      Instead of what not to do, here's my suggestion for that adequate factory rifle. If 600yd is your immediate goal, .223 is a damned fine answer. It is accurate, adequate for the distance, and eminently affordable.

                      Factory rifle? Savage 11VT .223, available only at Dick's Sporting Goods. There is nothing on it that it doesn't need (except the OK-for-hunting scope), and it lacks only that scope and a bipod, maybe a sling, too. $550-ish with a rebate (mine was $75). Not sexy? Sexy doesn't win matches, solid reliable rifles do.

                      Really can't stand the stock? Mine are fine (.223 and .308), but Choate makes a good replacement.

                      Handload? Win brass, 24.4gr Varget, CCI BR-4, HDY 75gr HPBT-Match at 2.255" OAL. I know it works, I just shot it last week in those F T/R MR Nationals. So did my Granddaughter, out of a Stag Model 6 Super Varminter. The 11VT's 1:9" twist limits bullet length. This load maximizes the 1:9" twist's performance at MR distances.

                      Scope? Mueller 8-32x44 Side Focus Mil Dot. $215. I have two of the target dot version, and I'm looking for a third. One caveat, this scope does not like being gripped tightly in rings that are very close to the turrets. That is why I chose the rings below, they can grip well without being cranked down way tight. This is a known problem, and the solution is these rings, mounted a least 1/2"-3/4" from the turret.

                      Rings? Vortex.

                      Bipod, a Harris type for starters, Yes they have their flaws, but they also get you into the comp straightaway.

                      Too cheap to be good/ Too good to be true? I've been shooting this setup for a couple of years now in club comps. It delivers, and keeps delivering.

                      Upgrading to 1000yd? Same setup, same rifle, just get the .308 version.

                      The .223 and .308 chamberings are absolutely excellent for bringing a newer shooter up to speed, especially about learning winds. They have the added feature of being fine for F T/R. Finally, they will sell fast and without any buyer reservations when their proper time comes. Ergonomically, the .223 is the perfect trainer for the .308.

                      Try the Hornady 178gr .308 Precision Hunter factory load for starters. This bullet is a match grade performer. I am developing the 143gr 6.5mm version for my .260.

                      Greg
                      Last edited by Greg Langelius *; 02-18-2017, 01:50 PM.
                      Life is more interesting when one keeps a neurotic cat... Greg Langelius

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Greg Langelius * View Post
                        Old Fart talking...

                        I've lived through a somewhat similar situation to yours; only my war was 'Nam, and the subject was cars. All of us young Jarheads were stoked up on having a lump of ready cash and getting back to the real world again. What to do with it?

                        Fifty years later, let me share some subsequent observations.

                        What pretty much all of us did was get home, get back on the civilian economy, pick out what was the most instant of gratification choices, then always rode it hard and put it away wet, while slowly readjusting our mindsets back to something that didn't stand out like that nail just begging for the hammer.

                        For your consideration:

                        The most important part of what you're asking for is that it be ready when you are. Lead times are estimates, and getting things custom and perfected will mitigate strongly against this most important consideration. Perfection is an abstract concept, it varies widely by viewpoint, and believe me, it is a constantly moving target. Besides, unless you are already performing at a PRS-Competitive skill level, you very likely don't really know what you really need. Dreams do not often deliver. I know this is hard to read, but for this once, recognize that experience is taking.

                        I seriously doubt that the existing market of factory offerings is totally incapable of delivering a highly reliable and adequate performing rifle that is equal to your needs and a realistic estimation of your abilities. The custom makers will be there when that highly adequate factory solution demonstrably and unarguably fails your needs. If I were the custom builders, I''d rather see you go this route, because they don't want customers with expectations of perfection in this clearly imperfect world. Reality and perfection do not coexist. Neither of us is likely to harbor perfection within our own psyche.

                        Find that solution by examining the requirement. Define the task. Invest the time in examining the catalogues. Compare those likeliest candidates against what folks who are starting out are using with success. Select something that has been in production and is still selling. Make sure you choose enough gun. Stay away from extreme anything. Keep in mind that this is an investment that may someday need to be liquidated, and needs to appeal to the most common buyer. Buy reality, upgrade to perfection when there are no deadlines looming.

                        Your only real problems here are that deadline and a compulsion to achieve perfection on your first try.

                        Just last week, I competed at the National level in an F T/R Midrange(600yd) prone competition, using a factory rifle. I failed miserably; but the failing component was my archaic semi-cadaver and an appallingly inflated set of expectations. The rifle did its job just fine. I was adrift in a sea of mega high-dollar equipment.

                        However, my 20 Y/O Granddaughter shot alongside me in her first attempt at this sort of thing, also using a factory rifle, also in that selfsame sea; and she did well enough to draw praise and expectation of excellent prospects from her fellow competitors. You can't buy that sort of stuff. She is utterly and thoroughly stoked.

                        It's not about the arrow, it's about the size of the fight in the Indian. She's 5' 3" and she ain't small.

                        Greg
                        Greg,

                        Welcome home. Thank you for your service. I truly appreciate your wisdom and advice on the matter and I will internalize it. I've still got about 7 months, so I don't think my expectation that a custom rifle be complete in that time is unrealistic - I definitely do appreciate your point on this though and I will avoid making that a critical criteria when looking at gunsmiths. In our society of instant gratification we often don't appreciate the time required in the pursuit of quality craftsmanship.

                        Some context - while I have not shot in PRS matches, I have competed in service rifle matches (college), USPSA, and other local matches. For about 5 years now I have owned and shot quality factory rifles with very good scopes. My current setup is a rem 700 blueprinted .308 action, factory barrel, mcrees chassis, and timney trigger with a Vortex Viper PST. This is a good setup that has brought me a lot of satisfaction and I have learned a lot about shooting and reloading. I would now like to make a significant upgrade, and now is a good time financially to do it.

                        My research has only just begun. Based on the recommendations of a few folks here I'm now looking at systems like Desert Tech that allow you to switch between calibers. While the initial investment is pretty high, I think in the long run it makes sense and gives me freedom to play with different calibers in a precision setup at a relatively low cost over time.
                        Last edited by mpeason; 02-18-2017, 02:00 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Thank you, and keep your eye on the prize. I have no doubt that whatever your decisions, they will be the right ones, because I truly believe you understand the situation. Remember, getting home is more important that whats waiting for you once you get there.

                          Last week on the line at Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Every direction I looked was literally tons of money extant in the equipment of the ground. If I were to allow myself to drool, I'd be washed way. But I also knew that the gear is just part of a shooter's set of tools and did not begrudge anything. I had what I had, and I knew what it could do. I knew that that's really 95% of the fight. I was winging it about my own physical preparedness. At age 70, it was a huge stretch, and disappointing as it ended up, i lost nothing. Courage is not about what we face, it's about how we handle it. At 70, courage is even more a part of life.

                          My real hopes were on my Granddaughter. IMHO, our event was a solid success. My only concerns are for what her next step entails; and her next step is not all that different from yours. Keep us posted about how this build, etc., goes, and how your PRS shooting progresses. I care..

                          Semper Fi.

                          Greg
                          Last edited by Greg Langelius *; 02-18-2017, 02:09 PM.
                          Life is more interesting when one keeps a neurotic cat... Greg Langelius

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