Newbie Custom Rifle Questions



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  • Newbie Custom Rifle Questions

    being a frustrated southpaw I have been contemplating my options for a new rifle. thought about ordering custom from Remington, but then started thinking more about it. Why give the business to the very company(s) that frustrate me. so i started researching custom options.

    that brings me to where I could use some help. don't really know anyone who has custom rifle, so friends are not much help. There seem to be many options out there and my technical skills are limited on this topic.

    my research has brought up alot of options and have ruled some out for price reasons and others. for example, i want a 300 win mag so cooper firearms is out for me for now. what to stay around 2-3k if that range can produce a high quality rifle that will last (seems to be possible). if not, can go higher but doesn't seem necessary for my needs.

    leaning towards getting stainles barreled action from Montana Rifle Company and then going with either MPI or Lone Wolf (was thinking rimrock also but that no longer seems to be an option) stock. Will stick with 300wm and 24". Would like to keep it light and will consider muzzle break to keep kick down if needed.

    where i could use some help and would appreciate feedback is on the above manaufactuers - folks experience with their products, customer service, and of course other options that i might want to consider based on positive experiences folks have had with others.

    Also wondering about muzzle break, the noise doesn't bother me, but is it necessary with a top of line recoil pad and does it have any impact on accuracy? currently shoot a 300 with boss on it so it really has not kick.

    if getting stainless action and barrell, is it necessary or advantagous to get a coating such as roguard? seems overkill to me, but not sure?

    oh yes, i mainly hunt on the coast of washington for blacktail and elk but also have been to wyoming for mule deer one time (these guys are freaking big compared to the blackies on the coast)

    thanks for any help that is provided


  • #2
    I am a lefty as well and purchased a Remington 700XCR in 300 RUM. I believe it is also made in 300 WM. I like the gun and shooting it without a muzzle break is not a problem. After the price of the gun, you could put a real nice scope on it and still come in under what you want to spend. I put a demo Swarovski AV 3x10x42 on mine and the whole package came in at $1,500.

    I recently picked up a left handed MRC short magnum stainless action for a project as well.


    • #3
      I looked at the XCR, but at this time they do not make it in a lefty 300wm and I don't want a RUM or a 26 inch barrell - Was thinking of replacing my 270 with an XCR for a backup/second rifle.
      I should have clarified my budget is rifle only. That is a sweet scope, I have that exact scope and will never hunt with anything else after using that the last few years.

      thanks for the input I appreciate it.


      • #4
        Custom Rifle


        Being a lefty myself I feel your pain in regards to rifle selection from major manufactures. I have an MRC (Montana Rifle company) 1999 LH stainless steel barreled action in a McMillan fiberglass stock complete with custom paint job. It is a fine semi custom hunting rig that is well worth the cost. You can order both at the same time and have MRC ship the barreled action off to McMillian for inletting. The rifle will then be shipped to your FFL upon completion ready to go. Another option is a laminate stock like Richards Microfit or a Boyds JRS both come in lefty versions inletted for the MRC IIRC, easy enough to bed and inlet yourself or have your local smith do it.

        I have had several rifles coated with Cerakote. It is among the best available in my opinion and has worked perfectly on both rifles I had done with it. Try Charlie Santoni at: if you go that route Charlie can also order, paint and inlet your action. Give him a call hes a great guy to deal with. Turn around is very fast and the work is forst rate.

        Anyway there are lots of options out there but these are a few ive used in the past that i can recommend. Your research may lead you elswhere but thats half the fun isnt it.

        One thing I would suggest is to take a look at the new Ruger Hawkeye. Their rifles are among the best factory offerings available IMHO and they are made in the USA. They make a SS Lefty 300 Win Mag in a laminate stock which I like quite a bit. I own one of these very rifles in 300WM SS Lefty and highly recommend you shoulder one before you spend a ton of cash on a custom, it may just be what your lookin for and they come with excellent rings as a bonus. I really like the new LC6 triggers in the Hawkeyes too...better than my M77 MKII with a trigger job. I actually prefer the Ruger action over the MRC and you get the whole rifle for the cost of just the MRC action with no barrel. Both are very solid, its just a personal preference I guess. Good luck in your search.



        • #5
          I, personally, would go with a local smith. Seattle is a big town and someone on here can probably recommend one near you.

          Most smiths have a couple examples of rifles they've done (or are doing) and I'd go take a look around and see what they have. If what they typically do is what I'm looking for, then I'd lay out my price range and give them a list of must have features. Once you've agreed that they can do what you want for the price you want, cut the smith loose and let them work their magic.

          To me, it's kind of like commissioning a tell the artist what you want, but not how to do each and every brush stroke. Let the smith have some freedom and you'll get a good product back.

          One last thing, estimated completion dates are a big trouble when having a custom gun built. If you need a gun done by a certain date make sure you get that written on the initial invoice/estimate. Understand that things can and do go wrong and it may not all be the smith's fault.
          "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."


          • #6
            give them some info

            Give them the basic info on what you intend to do with it ie hiking, long shots, terrain color, salt, etc..and ask what they recommend and most importantly follow their recommendations.
            Providing trips for multilpe species for over 20 yrs


            • #7

              Just adding my 2c's

              Left handed myself not an Alaska expert but I have put together
              several rifles and have been considering a Montana rifle for some
              time. I have a few Model 70's both right and left handed that
              I consider rebarreling to meet the issues involved with Lefty
              paws...... I have allways preferred the Win 70 safety to
              the Remington.

              I actually used right handed m70's for many years and while
              you have to take the sights off the game you flip the rifle on its side
              to work the bolt and it can be done pretty fast by us lefties who
              have to be inherrantly more intelligent existing in a right handed world.

              I have a Rem 700 300 RUM in a Brown Precision stock and
              contrary to some of the more recoil tolerant I am 6ft 250lbs
              and this rifle thumps me when I shoot it. I put it together for
              an Alaskan trip. I bought a Remington custom walnut stock for this
              rifle but decided on the Fiberglass Brown Precision after
              looking at a hunt where it rained 10 days straight on the Moose Hunter.
              Ir has a leupold scope on it and is not too unbearable heavy to

              I am a Mortgage Lender and had to sell off around twenty Rifles
              last year due to industry meltdown. Went from making a decent
              living to subsistance lifestyle. In reality the most expensive
              rifles that I owned were Model 70 super grades which due to
              high grade dense walnut were rather heavy and easy to shoot.

              Montana rifle with McMillan is around $1600 which is less than
              buying quality barrel, action, stock and having a smith set it up
              which if your budget is 3K allows enough extra to buy a heavy and
              light rifle since Montana does not charge a premium for the .416+
              calibers. I am interested in making a heavy rifle that weighs 10 pounds
              plus. I have the Remington short action heavy barrel rifle in .308
              and I image it is a 10 pound plus rifle with Leupold scope. That
              rifle I shoot and can almost keep cross hairs on target when shooting
              at the Bench. Older I get the more I seem to be less tolerant of pain.....

              I have a 700 .338 Mountain rifle that I have owned for several years
              but have yet to take to the range, it is lighter than a standard
              rifle it weighs around 7 pounds with scope with its Kevlar stock
              I reckon since I am getting old (55) I if I ever make my dream
              of an Alaskan hunt I can carry this light rifle around and make
              my guide (left handed Guide, know any?) tote the 2 pound
              heavier RUM up the slope............... and then I can switch if
              I am shooting without jacket for padding.

              I am going to take my custom shop stock and put a left handed
              .270 700 barreled action in it for deer in Eastern US where it does
              not precipitate as much.


              • #8
                I have owned many custom rifles and several have exceeded your stated budget but I want to say the link below is one of the best made rifles ever anywhere and it is still available though the model has been discontinued.

                I have used the pre-64s, the Mauser M98, Sako, MRCs and Dakota actions for my custom rilfes. I have recently become very disenchanted with the MRC action and the company. The Dakota M76 is the cats meow but is well beyond reach of most of us. The model 97 however was a very reasonable priced rifle. This is what I would call a hybrid rifle in that it has the breech, bolt, safety, trigger of the M76 (which is what the world of rifle experts believe to be the best of all designs) but has a cylindrical receiver similar to Remingtons but much thicker and with a heavier recoil lug and the action will bed much stronger than a Remington 700. I have a few of these and I have found them to out shoot the M76 and are lighter weight. These rifles (Dakota) all have Lothar Walther barrels and are hand lapped, extremely smooth accurate barrels. I have some that are .5MOA rifles. This is a sleeper of a rifle and was discontinued by Dakota because it was outselling the more profitable 76. Give it a look.

                Last edited by Murphy; 01-29-2009, 17:10.
                Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                • #9

                  Perhaps to help the original poster's request of help

                  More 2c's

                  I have spent a lifetime learning from people who have experienced
                  situations that are new to me. Teachers I believe is the general term.
                  Invariably when I strike off on my own I step in unforseen holes and
                  am an expert at locating issues that became a problem for me.

                  With the humility of a left handed non gunsmith, non professional,
                  enthusiast, since I have yet to purchase a MRC product
                  but it certainly was on my list.

                  Mr Murphy would you care to share your issues with MRC

                  Are they still behind on supply?

                  Do they have unresolved issues with service or quality with
                  their castings or other action parts?

                  Did one break on you?

                  I can understand if you do not want to get specific on the net

                  But MRC according to the sage professional scribes who may not
                  have the overal level of experience with the gun that you have
                  and that is where my information and interest first came up.

                  If MRC has issues

                  I may need to retract earlier post somewhat and rebarrel a left hand
                  M70 or just buy a NIB in 300. win mag LH M70 that show up on
                  from time to time and us that as a starting point. I have seen left hand
                  Stainless M70's in 30 06 and .270 but not in the magnum bolt face chamberings which were all Blued actions.

                  Perhaps if business picks up Dakota would become viable, but at the moment us Mortgage Bankers are on Savage
                  110 budgets..... There is a LH NIB .375 Model 70 on gunbroker right now for $1995


                  • #10
                    Not to offend current model seventy owners but the M97 is twice the gun in design, fit and finish of the classic model seventy (post 1994 pre 2006 manufacture).

                    MRC rifles/actions are cast-That of itself isn't bad but by nature makes a bulkier action. They also are made to accomodate different length cartridges by modularly snap fitting of the magazine box, bolt guide/stop (length of bolt stroke) and follower. This is neccessitated by the price, they are a budget action, but in a popular price range. The Ruger is a better gun of similar construction and price.

                    The 30-06 length magazine is supposed to accomdate 3.4" AOL, they do not, at least the last two I have do not. Also regardless of caliber they offer only the magazine box, bolt stop or follower that they have, nothing more. They are not custom from MRC the company; i.e. barrelled actions or complete rifles. They do have the "C" broached collar in the receiver and a slightly cone breech of the M70, that is a plus for MRC.
                    I presently have four MRC actioned rifles here. One of mine and three others that I am doing various things for. One is an MRC complete rifle the other two are made by different custom makers. All of these three failed to feed initially and two of them have spilled their magazine contents at the shot. I've owned 335 Sako rifles (Well I haven't shot numbers 334 and 335 yet.) and NONE of them ever failed to feed or spilled the contents of magazine at the shot. But they are not CRF (except the model 85) and that is an issue for some folks and I'm only talking about CRF rifles here.

                    The M70 is of poor quality control and of the three dozen or so rifles I've seen (shot loaded and shot some more) in the past 10 years, about one third had serious QA problems. They do have the well proven Winchester safety/trigger system as do MRC and Dakota M76 and M97's. Only Dakota lockwork parts are machined from bar stock.

                    The original poster inquired about a left handed 300 Wm in the 2 to $3k range. The M97 is that. I do understand the mortgage business, my sis is in that as well and I sincerely hope it it picks up out of the Savage budget rangs, I'm sure it will. I will say I'd rather own one M97 than 35 Savage 110's. I know several of you out there like them but they are what they are.
                    Last edited by Murphy; 02-01-2009, 14:30.
                    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Murphy View Post
                      I will say I'd rather own one M97 than 35 Savage 110's. I know several of you out there like them but they are what they are.
                      Yep definitely. Fairly heavy, not much to look at, a bit sloppy but "decent". I would say they are likely what most people can afford...
                      The Alaska Life

                      ~Spero Meliora~


                      • #12
                        thanks for all the input - I appreciate it. comments from murphy are not surprising, I have seen similar reviews, but they were older and was hoping those issues were past. I had not thought of the Ruger option as I was looking for composite or fiberglass stock.

                        I am not aware of a good gunsmith in this area. there was one down south on the coast where i grew up a few years back, but I hear he is out of business now.

                        as tempting as that dakota rifle is, I am not quite done with my mental masturbation on the process and all the features I may or may not want. i would love to have this ready for next fall, but if that does happen that is ok.

                        Again, thanks a ton for all the input and please keep it coming it has been very positive and informative for me and I know have some additional research to do.



                        • #13

                          Give these a look.


                          • #14
                            Worth the wait


                            I had Don build my rifle on a Ruger action(lefty). He knows what a weapon should be like. Look at his shooting titles, he does not compromise. I waited a year but I can truly say it was worth it. The rifle is much better than I am. If I miss there is ony one explanation..........ME!
                            Mine is a .338-06 and wears a McMillan stock and a 24in Lilja barrel.

                            Good luck with your project. One thing I really liked was that Don does everything himself. When you call or email you talk to Don because he answers the phone. Very nice guy.

                            Afflicted by condition human


                            • #15
                              As a lefty I had two rifles built using the MRC stainless actions in the last couple of years.
                              The first was a 458 Lott and the second was a 35 Whelen. Both of them were stocked with McMillan Supergrade stocks which were a perfect drop in fit.

                              Like the actions so much I just sold my wife's Kimber Montana in 7mm/08 that she just never took a liking to due to its sharp recoil and bought her a right hand MRC stainless that is in the process of being made into a .308 complete with Shilen ss barrel and also a McMillan stock that she picked out.

                              In my limited experience the MRC's are a fantastic stainless action. Yes, they are a tad bulky and they would not be a good choice if you were trying to build a really light weight rifle. I do not think they are any better than a Win 70 Classic action but there bottom metal iswas nicer. But when you need a stainless crf (especially a lefty!) and you love the old style "bullet proof" trigger system they are a fantastic choice.

                              Unlike Murphy, The only issue I had with them feeding was when MRC installed the incorrect bolt stop on my Lott. They fixed it for free and I never had any problems since.

                              Every time I ordered a MRC action I had it within a month if my memory serves me correct. But I think they take a while longer to deliver a barreled action.

                              Order the action, barrel, and stock. By the time you get the action and barrel and have it put together your stock is finished. 6 months and you are finished.

                              However, unless you have a need for stainless and syn stock I would just try to find a Win 70 lefty and go from there. It is a lot cheaper route with the end result being close.


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