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  • Bolt Action Rifle, Where to Begin?

    After a failed attempt to get into long range with a semi-auto platform, I am realizing that a bolt gun was definitely what I was looking for. I fear bought the semi, and tried to make it work, but it is currently in the process of being sold. Fine gun, just should have done more research when buying my first precision rifle. So this is where it leaves me. I am looking to begin the journey all over with a bolt gun. And before everyone pipes up, I am not wanting an RPR. Great gun, have shot one in both .308 and 6.5CM, but for some reason I just find myself drawn to a more traditional bolt gun. So my question is where do I begin? I am used to AR's where I can piece together what I want in my shop, but bolt guns aren't so easy. I know a Remington 700 is standard, but which one should I get to begin with? What about a tikka? Never been around one, but people on here seem to like them. I have a Vortex PST6-24 FFP that will go on top, so I am looking solely at the gun right now. Just really need to know my options, and am looking for a little guidance. Thanks!

  • #2
    Bolts are progressively becoming more build yourself friendly. You have savages that have always used what amounts to a lock nut to hold the barrel in the correct location for proper headspacing as opposed to cutting the shoulder so that the abrrel spins in perfectly. And now remingtons are having that option as well with the remage systems. Tikkas are going that route as well. The bugnut is a another variant of that same idea.

    Then you can throw that in a stock and youre basically ready to go. If youre wanting to build I would buy whatever you can find cheapest and go from there. If youre just wanting to buy a facotry rifle honestly any of those mentioned will serve just fine.

    What are your intentions for this rifle? Steel? Paper? Animals?
    Whats the budget?

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    • #3
      Budget is not real set in stone. Not looking to go hog wild on this, but I am willing to spend on quality parts, just don't want to over buy either. Steel is my main goal. Would like it set up as a PRS style rifle as I do have a few matches close I would like to attend. I have read the bugnut thread, would I need a trued action for something like that, or would I be able to use it off of a factory action? What are some factory options I could buy from my gun shop and then just go from there. I have a buddy who recommends a R700 SPS Varmint, any other suggestions? What about different models of tikkas?

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      • #4
        What about the Remington 5R milspec? Already comes with a good barrel and decent HS precision stock that won't need replacing for now. You can replace and upgrade parts later on to fit your needs. Even get some of your money back if you sell the stock.

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        • #5
          It varies based on just how much truing was done. The bugnut comes set up for normal factory thread pitches (1 1/16x16tpi) so if whoever trued your action changed that thread pitch then it wouldnt work. Personally right now I am waiting on a PTG rem 700 action that they trued the action face, and lug abutments so their trued bolts would mate nicely with. However they retained the factory 1 1/16x16 thread pitch so it would be a prime candidate for the bugnut being that it is trued yet still factory specs where that would matter for the bugnut. Im going remage through northland shooter supply personally though. Bugholes might be able to do a custom bugnut though if you send any action so that he can measure and properly cut it (I think, but call and verify before spending any money based on what I say). Lots of custom actions should be trued and have the factory threads done as well so theres that if youre up for paying more for the refined product.

          I think the 700 sps varmint is a perfect starting point. A heavier barrel that wont shift as much under heat. A different stock and a trigger and youll have a good shooting rifle for minimal investment. The barrel isnt threaded so thats something to consider if you were wanting a brake or can to attach.

          The Tikkas are nice and supposedly come true enough so that truing them isnt worth it. The CTR is a varmint sized barrel and comes threaded which is nice. I think they have a new 24" model rather than the standard 20" that it came in for so long which would net more velocity. The sporter model of tikka is really nice as well but I think it comes in metric threads or something not so common for brakes though not impossible to find. I also think that patriot valley is doing a tikage (savage nut set up for tikkas like the remage) so you could get whatever thinbarrel you can find cheapest and thread your own on. The tikka will also have a finer trigger and the most popular upgrade is a $10 yodave trigger spring kit.

          I assume youre shooting factory ammo so youll likely be going the 308 or 6.5 route. If you reload you open that up to infinite possibilities but for factory match ammo the 6.5 is really shining with the hornady and prime offerings. It can be found cheaper than 308 match ammo from my very limited browsing.

          There are also all of the new offerings from Rem, Tikka, Savage, Weatherby, howa, bergara etc that are coming "PRS Ready" but they are chasing the RPR chassis flavor mostly.

          Its a great time to be a shooter.


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          • #6
            My only issue is the 1/11.25 twist, that's better than the 1/12 of the varmint, but does Remington have any factory .308 with 1/10 twist? Or maybe a 243 with the proper twist rate? Not sure what that would be.

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            • #7
              The 11.25 should work for most bullets, especially those that one would be using in PRS style shooting as opposed to extreme long range stuff. In a 308 I would probably go with 175s, especially without a brake. I think the only rem factory options with a 1/10 twist are the 16" tactical model and 22" magpul 700 model which would be nice as its ready to go out the gate. Not the nicest stock but capable and better than many.

              If you are wanting to do PRS you will want a drop box magazine (DBM) option to get 10 rounds in. So that will require a stock change from the normal SPS offering. My cousin got a sps varm for 350 on sale with a dicks rebate and threw it in a xlr element chassis and put in a timney and its a fine rifle for like 1100 total. Thats not a traditional style stock but it has the dbm included and its affordable (relatively speaking).

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              • #8
                I did a budget Remage build. Bought a Rem700 SPS for $500, pulled the barrel, trigger, floorplate, and stock. Sold all that for $170. Bought a stainless Criterion Prefit in 6.5 Creedmoor, recoil lug, and barrel nut for $389 shipped. Purchased a PTG stealth M5 bottom metal from Midway on clearance for $130 I think. Grayboe Renegade stock $320 shipped. And finally a Tubb T7T trigger used for $300. Add that all up, and you have a pretty good rifle to start on.

                Some additional money spent having the barrel installed, muzzle threaded, barrel cut to 23", and Cerakote the action, bolt, and barrel. I didn't install the barrel myself because I didn't have the headspace gauges or the action wrench.

                I also had to convert my stock to a lefty, and notch the action for the pinned recoil, which is removable if you don't want to use it.

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                • #9
                  This is what I would do if in your shoes. I would buy a Tikka T3x 6.5cm, or 308 if you prefer, with 24" barrel. I have a 20" 6.5 and it is the most accurate gun I've ever had (and I've had several customs and a Desert Tech). It is absolutely a laser. But............with the 20" barrel it's really lacking in velocity. It will get to 1000, but not as well as with a 24" barrel. The Tikka is a really good platform. The factory trigger is fantastic. The stock sucks, but that's easy to change if you want to down the road. Lots of chassis systems or stocks to fit the Tikka. It comes with a good DBM magazine system. Just put a scope on it and shoot. That will get you started. Change the stock down the road to whatever you like. Lots of upgrade potential for the Tikka as far as bolt knobs, scope bases, prefit barrels, etc. The Tikka will not limit what you can do in the future. The Tikka action is VERY nice compared to a stock Remington. Actually, there really is no comparison as far as I'm concerned. The Tikka action is super smooth and like I said, the factory trigger is better than any custom trigger I've used on a Remington.

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                  • #10
                    Get a Tikka CTR in creedmoor, it's a great accurate starter rifle out of the box. You may even decide it's all you really need to accomplish your goals... good luck.

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                    • #11
                      The tikkas are very interesting to me. What kind of stock options do I have with a tikka? Also, if I went the SPS varmint route, what everyone's thought of the Magpul stocks as a quick and cheap way to veto the factory stock? Are they any good, or would I be better off with something else?

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                      • #12
                        If you don't reload , go 308 or Creedmoor . If you want to spend more than a stock factory rifle, there's some good deals in the PX . You already have a scope you're going to use , don't be afraid to get a used , proven rifle to put it on .

                        I started with a used rifle, and to this day it's the 2nd most accurate rifle I've ever fired .

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                        • #13
                          As far as the tikka, I put mine in a McMillan A5. They had some in stock with CTR inlet. I used the factory CTR bottom metal and magazine. Manners makes stocks to fit, and most chassis systems can be had to fit the tikka.

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                          • #14
                            Another vote for Tikka. I've gone down the Remington upgrade road and the custom build road can say that for an off the shelf rifle Tikka brings a LOT to the table. Great trigger, smooth action, typically MOA or better accuracy out of the box with factory ammo, detachable magazine, etc. Most of us tend to change out the stock, and some upgrades to the bolt are common. The good news on the bolt upgrades (bolt shroud, knob) is that you can do them yourself without needing a smith.

                            Below is a pretty crappy picI just snapped of my T3 varmint 24" in a folding XLR chassis. On top of loving the XLRs in their own right, that switch over also means you're using AICS mags, which saves some money compared to factory Tikka mags.
                            IMG_1476.JPG

                            Attached Files
                            I am The German's spirit animal

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                            • #15
                              Minor correction to what spife7980 was saying about the BugNut barrels from Southern Precision Rifles: they are currently offering it in both 16 and 20tpi. They just need to know the action and the thread pitch to spin one up.
                              However, I just can't recommend the way we used to do things as far as buying a Remington in 308 and then replacing everything.
                              I am The German's spirit animal

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Looks like I'd still be several weeks out on a bugnut still tho, really looking to get something fairly quick, as trigger time will do more for me at this stage then any equipment ever will. Who sells tikkas? Any vendors on this site? I like supporting them if possible.

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                                • #17
                                  Hello all.

                                  I can start a new thread, but I think this pertains to the OP's question.

                                  Most of the market seems to be moving to a barrel nut system such as Savage's. If this is the case, why isnt Savage recommended more here, rather than a custom system? From what I can tell so far, using a custom system means replacing with a barrel made by whomever produces the barrel nut you decide to go with. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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                                  • #18
                                    The savage barrel and floating bolt head design is great and lets them provide an accurate shooting rifle at an affordable price. However the rest of it can be found to be lacking. Poor extraction due, primarily it seems, to the design of it. Switching things up periodically for great aftermarket support to develop to be slowed. They can shoot though.

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                                    • #19
                                      I was not interested in a savage due to thinking that the savage barrel nut designs limited the barrel contour to being a thin contoured barrel only, is this true?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Where to start? Here: https://forum.snipershide.com/forum/...-as-a-beginner

                                        Not trying to be snarky.. but I'd read that thread and then follow the advice you get here. I was worried about "over buying" for a long time.. but everything I bought always lacked something I didn't realize I wanted when I bought it. Do you need to spend 6k on a rifle and 4.5k on a scope? No.. but you should seriously ask yourself what you want to do with this rifle.. compete, bang steel, shoot groups on paper, hunt??

                                        The advice given so far is excellent.. If you go factory - Tikka is where it's at for sure. Custom is getting easier and easier and I'll bet you can call up Chad at Long Rifles Inc (SH member and vendor/smith) and see if you can order a custom from him.. he's FAST. Only catch might be that if you want his fastest rifle possible you might be limited to parts he has on hand. He makes amazing rifles.

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                                        • #21
                                          Originally posted by spife7980 View Post
                                          The savage barrel and floating bolt head design is great and lets them provide an accurate shooting rifle at an affordable price. However the rest of it can be found to be lacking. Poor extraction due, primarily it seems, to the design of it. Switching things up periodically for great aftermarket support to develop to be slowed. They can shoot though.
                                          If you dont mind expounding, is it the extractor itself or the design of the action?

                                          I picked up a cheap 12fv recently because they were on sale at Cabelas, but I am not sure if I am going to keep it.

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                                          • #22
                                            Originally posted by AHart76 View Post
                                            I was not interested in a savage due to thinking that the savage barrel nut designs limited the barrel contour to being a thin contoured barrel only, is this true?
                                            It is possible I am ignorant as to what is considered thin around here, but Northland Shooters Supply offers both Criteron and Shillen in Bull contours that are 1" or more at the muzzle.

                                            http://northlandshooterssupply.com/m...ade-barrels-2/

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                                            • #23
                                              I was asking because I have no clue, I was at one point led to believe that something about the savage barrel nut system limited barrel contour choices. This could be be dead wrong.

                                              Comment


                                              • #24
                                                Originally posted by R_Swanson View Post

                                                It is possible I am ignorant as to what is considered thin around here, but Northland Shooters Supply offers both Criteron and Shillen in Bull contours that are 1" or more at the muzzle.

                                                http://northlandshooterssupply.com/m...ade-barrels-2/
                                                I guess we all have our own ideas of thin, but I'll go way out on a generalization limb and say that a Remington Sendero/Varmint contour or similar seems to be where we start at "light barrels" that are still "thick enough". I have so many truck axles as barrels that at this point a Sendero feels like a spotter contour or lighter, but it's really all relative. A "sporter" contour is generally considered to be too light for most precision purposes, but there will always be a guy who has one and is killing it with one.
                                                I am The German's spirit animal

                                                Comment


                                                • #25
                                                  If you find a factory Tikka configuration you like (barrel length, caliber, muzzle threads etc...) I vote for that route. There's really no other factory action I would recommend over a Tikka for a semi-custom. Reasons why are posted by the others above^ good trigger, smooth bolt, side bolt release, pretty much pre-trued etc...

                                                  But taking the stock barrels off of Tikkas and Remingtons is a pain. At least it was for me... So if you want a different configuration than what's available from the Tikka factory, then a custom would be nice, since you don't spend any money paying for something you plan to replace (namely the barrel), and you can just install the new one relatively simply.

                                                  Patriot Valley Arms makes pre-fit (barrel nut style) barrels for the Tikka. If you go the custom action route, Northland Shooter Supply (NSS) stocks pre-fit barrels that fit Remington style and Savage style actions, which also covers pretty much all of the custom action out there, since those usually take either a Remington or Savage barrel thread.

                                                  As for the contour question, barrel nuts can support pretty thick barrels, stock inlet/chassis is more of the issue when it comes to big barrels/nuts, but even then, they're pretty forgiving. If you plan to run the standard medium palma/varmint/sendero style barrel, you should be fine.

                                                  After you've decided on an action, then it's time for the stock/chassis, which is a fun choice to make.

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