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Thread: Custom Rifles

  1. #1
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    Question Custom Rifles

    Hi guys,

    Not being as well educated in the art of gun making as I would like to be, I am posing this question here. I am in the market for a new rifle. I have looked at buying a Christiansen Arms or H. S. Precision custom rifle. I am mind boggled by the options. I have talked to others about barrel length, stocks, action, length of pull, triggers. If you were able to buy a gun for $3-3500 bucks what would you consider as options and why?

    Also, anyone have experience with the new .325 WSM caliber? I am undecided about caliber. I already own a .300 WSM Winchester and its awesome. Its taken a sheep and goat now. I know I definitely don't want a heavy rifle, but possibly a larger caliber for grizz/brown bears. I have considered both the .338 and .325 WSM for larger game or going totally the opposite direction in a .270 WSM for sheep.

    Thanks for your insights.

  2. #2
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default custom gun

    BG,
    Lots of ways to go with that project/goal. Instead of buying a custom gun already finished, have you considered having one built? Not hard, but time consuming. I've done several over the years and found them to be as good as if not better than the "custom" guns. The first thing in the project is to get ahold of an action, your choice and preference- Rem 700, Win 70, Ruger 77 or Mauser??? Depending upon the model, availability of gunsmith to do the work especially with the Mausers. I think grizz106 has found a good one for the Mauser work. Next is the barrel. I like Shilen SS Select or Krieger. Then a stock. You can fit the stock to the finished barreled action or have the gunsmith do it. Total will likely be well under the 3-3.5K price you're looking at. Action- look for any used, old beater gun with the action you want- cheaper the better but anywhere from $200-500. Barrel as I listed and with the contour and twist YOU want from $300-350. Gunsmith work (get a good one! with the ability, tools and dedication) $300-600. The work may vary depending upon reamer availability and whether or not you want the action "blueprinted" or just the normal so-called "trueing" and lug lapping and if you want another trigger put on. Stock would be $250-450 depending on taste and brand. Min cost estimate- $1050, Max cost estimate- $1900. All this is just another option to consider besides the finished custom guns you've looked at. I won't comment on the laminated, composite barrel/gun manufacturer. HS Precision stocks are VERY tough, rigid and relatively easy to bed- but a bit on the heavy side. I have no experience with HS Precision guns.

  3. #3
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    All I can say is that yes, it is a confusing process with many options to consider.
    First you want to decide, Do you want a custom rifle built from factory parts using an off the shelf Rem, Win, etc action or do you want a true custom rifle/action built exactly for you?
    I decided to go the true custom route and ordered a left handed 375 H&H from Hein:
    http://www.rifleactions.com/
    From what I have learned there are only a small handfull of action builders that are considered the best of the best with Hein being one and Granite Arms another. I know if you check out Hein's web page you can see they build there actions from scratch and they are cartridge specific. Even drop down magazines are a no cost option. Hein will build you a custom rifle with your choice of action size on one of there custom syn stocks for about 3k before you start adding extra goodies. I went with their syn stock built so it holds four down, Kreiger stainless barrel, and detachable Talley mounts/rings. It will also be Robar plated with Roguard in a mat black finish. They will make the finished weight of the rifle whatever you want.
    If you decide to go with a wood stock the cost jumps up considerably. I ordered my rifle from them in Feb or March and they were quoting a delivery time under a year so I do not have it yet. Contact Carl at Hein and he will bend over backwards to help you.
    So, you can find a beater action and spend 3-3.5k or you can have a custom action made for you for the same price. Each works well but it is up to the spender to decide what is right for them.
    Last edited by Snowwolfe; 10-25-2006 at 12:58.

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    I just wanted to add a few thoughts. I have built up several rifles in the last decade and overall been very pleased with the results. The last one being a LH stainless 338 WM Ruger. Here is what I had done:
    Rifle - $600
    Lilja barrel $300
    Barrel work including chambering, installation, trigger work, truing the action, etc. $280.
    McMillan stock - $450. Bedding - $150
    I would be the first to admit that if I could of bought what I wanted "off the rack" which would of been a 338 WM left handed stainless in a controlled round action in a good syns stock and the rifle was capable of 1.5 MOA I would of probably stopped there. But I did end up with a smooth feeding all weather tack driving rifle that shoots better than I can.
    When we get older in life we don't always buy what we need, we buy what we like. At age 53 I decided I wanted a rifle built for me and the only person I had to convince I needed one was my wife! Godbless her for saying go for it.

  5. #5
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    Default Custom Rifle...

    B/G,

    In the $2500 price range, you have many options. You should consider the Dakota Model 97 if you're looking for a standard caliber (not a long mag).

    These actions are milled from a solid block. They are very closely fitted and finished. The can be ordered with LOP and barrel length specified at no extra cost. Base price is $2295 retail, a good dealer can cut a break on them. Sights, and hinged floor plate can be added on to the synthetic which makes it about $2600 retail. And of course stock wood can be selected for an upgrade. These are truely very good rifles. Excellent barrels, by Lothar Walther. I have shot about two dozen of these and presently own three. Absolutely all of them were less than MOA, mine are about .5" with hunting loads. There is the long range hunter and the light weight. Mine are 338-06 with 23" and it has sights and Black T* finish, with hinged floor plate.
    The 30-06 is base model with sights aded. The last is a English walnut stocked (deluxe model) with hinged floor plate in the light weight version, and a 24" barrel chambered in 6.5-06. It is a much better shooter than I am. It would retail for $2895 today.

    I think the retail price on the synthetic stocked M76 is $3695 and can be had in any caliber from 22-250 to 450 Dakota.

    Actions are available and are (just my opinion) the very best design of any bolt action ever. The best of the M98 mauser, the pre-64 Winchester, and the best efforts of Don Allen and Pete Griesel.

    As with any custom rifle it must fit you and have your features and these may not do that for you but no higher quality or safer design can be had at any price.

    No I don't rep for Dakota. www.Dakotaarms.com
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  6. #6
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    Default Custom Rifle

    First let me state my bias, I'm sold on the 338-06. It's just downright superb in my opinion.

    Here's one of my custom rifles:
    Hogue overmolded stock
    1938 vz-24 action
    Timney trigger and side safety
    Douglas barrel
    Leupold Rifleman Scope 3x9
    Teflon Flatblack coating
    Tactical sling

    I have less than $900.00 into this rifle including dies, and I'll NEVER be able to shoot as well as it does. The Mauser action almost makes me weep every time I cycle it. If'n yer so inclined I believe you can stay under $1500.00 and still "have it all."

    Regarding the Scope, a former Marine sniper friend of mine insisted I try the Hunter... I'm happy with it and I hit where I'm lookin'.

  7. #7
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    Like shortwave, I'm having a 35whelen built on a vz-24 action. I had a 22" shilen tube screwed on, timney trigger, bueller safety and hinged bottom metal, also D&T with bases and a bent bolt handle. So far I'm still under $500. Not sure on the on the finish or stock. I expect I will still be under a grand when all said and done. I also have a VX3 (1.5x5) sitting in the safe I'm gonna throw on it.

    For 3 grand you could have a really nice rifle built.

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    Default Custom Rifle.

    I have had 2 rifles built over the years and both turned out to be great guns.
    The first was a FN 98 action that I picked up for $45 and put a low safety and single stage trigger on it. I then sent it to ER Shaw and they fitted a 20" 458 Win Mag barrel, opened the bolt face, modifyed the feed rails, cut off and rewelded the bolt handle, D & T for scope, and applied a matte blue. When I got it back I fitted it to a laminated stock and had less than $1,000 in the finished rifle. The second started life as a Pre War Mod 70 30 Gvt 06 that had a bulge in the chamber. I bought it for $450. I had Matt Brainard of Missoula, Mt put on a Douglas AG 24" FW contour barrel in 6.5-06. I sent the gun to MPI with the Specs I wanted on the stock. What I got got back was a tack driver that fit perfect. I have less than $1400 in this one. I have one FN 98 action left and it looks more like a 35 Whalen evey day. Have fun doing it!!!

  9. #9
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    My personal thought is, if you want more killing power than the 300 WSM offers, then you need to jump up to at least a 338 win mag, if not the 375 H&H. And when you get to that level of power, you don't want a rifle as light as your 300.

    It's the magic tradeoff, and I wouldn't trade off the retained velocity and manable recoil of a 300 WSM in a light rifle for a round that kicked more and didn't keep bullets going over 2000 fps way out there which is what happens if you go for a 325 wsm. Not to mention the fact your bullet choices are extremely limited in the 325, and odds are it isn't going to be a popluar round and available on every corner.

    If you really like your 300, and IMHO it is an outstanding round in a light rifle, why not consider getting a nice 300 WSM built? The biggest advantage of a good custom is a top notch barrel carefully chambered and crowned will shoot most any ammo very accurately, and will dazzle you with the right handload.

  10. #10
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    Smile Thanks for the input

    There is definitely a lot to consider here. I appreciate your time in putting your thoughts down on this forum for me and others to read. I have more research to do, but your opinions bring up points that I had not considered.

    Thanks again,

    Happy hunting

  11. #11
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've shot and own a bunch of different guns on up to 500 Jeffrey, and hunted with a few different combo's. From that experience I've concluded you can have a light gun, or you can have a powerful gun, but don't try to combine the two or you will regret it.

    I've also concluded from hunting I don't want a heavy gun. So, I'm more than willing to give up a bit of power for a lighter more compact gun. With modern bullets, the smaller bores kill as well as the bigger bores did years past.

    It's always tempting to get a more and more powerful gun, but it also always comes down to shot placement in the field. No amount of power makes up for poor shot placement. And good shot placement doesn't take that all much power to do the job with a good bullet.

    While I've learned to shoot very powreful rifles accurately, it takes a level of concentration that can be a hindrance from field positions. Having a gun you can totally ignore the recoil, and plop into any position and squeeze off a shot has alot going for it, especially a light well balanced rifle you don't even notice in your arms at the end of a week long hunt.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    I just wanted to add a few thoughts. I have built up several rifles in the last decade and overall been very pleased with the results. The last one being a LH stainless 338 WM Ruger. Here is what I had done:
    Rifle - $600
    Lilja barrel $300
    Barrel work including chambering, installation, trigger work, truing the action, etc. $280.
    McMillan stock - $450. Bedding - $150
    I would be the first to admit that if I could of bought what I wanted "off the rack" which would of been a 338 WM left handed stainless in a controlled round action in a good syns stock and the rifle was capable of 1.5 MOA I would of probably stopped there. But I did end up with a smooth feeding all weather tack driving rifle that shoots better than I can.
    When we get older in life we don't always buy what we need, we buy what we like. At age 53 I decided I wanted a rifle built for me and the only person I had to convince I needed one was my wife! Godbless her for saying go for it.
    Now that you have mentioned (age and what we want), there is the rifle I want: a D'Arcy Echols "Legend" in .338WM. The only problem is that it costs much more than 3K, and takes a few months of waiting. Have you heard of Allen Day (allenday) at some of the hunting forums? Well, all he can say are none but good things about Echols' rifles. He is the guy who had an "Accubond" negative report at another forum.

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    Thumbs up

    Ray, Just order it. It will take a year to be finished and you can save the money as you wait

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    Talking I think i will pass for now :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Ray, Just order it. It will take a year to be finished and you can save the money as you wait
    But I have been thinking about it.

  15. #15
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It would take me a couple years to save for an Echols, but it sure would be nice.

    Then again for that much I could get a lathe, several reamers and build myself 3 or 4 nice rifles.

  16. #16

    Default New Rifle

    Quote Originally Posted by Boss Gobbler View Post
    Hi guys,

    I have looked at buying a Christiansen Arms or H. S. Precision custom rifle... If you were able to buy a gun for $3-3500 bucks what would you consider as options and why?

    I am undecided about caliber. I already own a .300 WSM Winchester and its awesome.
    I would stay away from Christiansen Arms. Their are reports that their barrel severly over heats with rapid fire. The Advanced Barrel Systems carbon wraped barrels are exclent barrels. gige Mike a call he will explain the the diffrence in the two barrels.

    If you want a light rifle Hi-tech stocks are a great option, very light and very strong.

    If you want a nice mauser action look for a old JC Higgins you can buy a rough one for under $200 They were made by several manufactors. I have a FN that I'm planning a 375 Ruger as soon as the chamber specks come out.
    Mod 50 FN 1951
    Mod 51 Husqvarna
    Mod 52 Sako
    Mod 54 Browning

    Kevin Weaver makes the best light weight rifles that I have shot and his prices are very reasonable.
    http://www.weaverrifles.com/

    ABS http://home.alltel.net/mdegerness/
    Hi-Tech http://www.bansnersrifle.com/hightech/index.html

    Good Luck
    DR B

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