Custom Rifle

fishing4sanity

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eastern Washington
Mark Gordon at Short Action Customs, I've got a couple of rifles through him and they've been impressive. I've also used Oregunsmithing in Pendleton, OR and been happy with his work and a custom stock he made for me.
 

Guy

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Dec 5, 2018
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I've got a nice custom made by Michael Scherz, Gila River Gun Works. He moved to Idaho, and I'm not sure he's still making rifles, but he builds a top-notch rifle.





Michael started with a Winchester Model 70 action, one of the newer CRF actions rather than an actual pre-64 action. Slicked it up, added a Douglas barrel. Made the quarter rib, as well as the front & rear sights. He's famous for his terrific scope mounts, which take Talley rings, quick release or standard. Also made a rather nice stock, strong straight grain through the wrist and in the forearm, with some nice figure in the buttstock. The generous recoil pad takes the sting out of the 375, which is a pretty nice cartridge to shoot anyway. It's one heck of a rifle. Accurate, reliable, very comfortable to shoot or carry.

I don't know if he's still building rifles, but there are other makers out there who build with equal quality. I think you can get one similar for your $3k budget.

Regards, Guy
 

N2TRKYS

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Jul 26, 2016
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Alabama
I have the ballistic twin to your 280AI, the 7 SAUM. Actually, I own 2 of them in Remington Model Seven SS with 22” factory barrels.
I hope you like yours as much as I do mine.
 

Addicting

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Jan 19, 2017
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SW Michigan
I absolutely love these actions. Here is everything you need to get started. They also sell stocks and they are very nice. I have one of these rifles and everyone that handles it loves it. http://www.legendaryarmsworks.com/product-p/09276.htm

Don’t buy a complete rifle from them as they are production based Wilson barrels. You can get it built with a better barrel for less from a good smith.
 

Mtnhuntr

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Sep 26, 2017
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Anyone know if you can get a custom stock made? I want a left handed, right action stock... boyd makes one (my current rifle) but it's laminate and heavy.
I know Gunwerks sells them for 800-900. Can you get a custom rifle builder to do one for much cheaper? What about just grabbing a McMillan or something and having them glass and bed it?
 

BrentD

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I like custom rifles a lot. I thought I would have just one. I'm working on my 5th right now. Or is that the 6th? Or???

For the type of rifle you are wanting to build, I cannot be of much specific help, but I will suggest a different model for how to build one. A rifle is a lot like a house. There are lots of very different component parts which all must function together but which also require very different skills, tools, and experiences. Some of them, you may be capable of doing yourself - depending on your own skills and tools and willingness to invest time.

So, what I do when building a rifle is to become a general contractor. I then sub out the different jobs to people of my own choosing, each with his own specialty. In the end I get a rifle that I really want, and not what someone else thinks I am supposed to want. I do some my own work as well (wood finishing, bedding, and all polishing and rust bluing). So I have some sweat equity in my rifles as well as the talents of some of the best in the business for the types of rifles that I use.
 

Guy

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I am very inclined to have a custom 280AI built. I am also considering a Bergara Highlander at $1,600. I am willing to go up to $3,000 if custom at the price gets me more quality. Based on personal experience, which two or three custom builders should I be reaching out to? Cost, quality, customer service, build time are all considerations. What say you?

(Not looking for cartridge debate or mass market tikka/xbolt vs custom/high end debate - I have plenty of great shooting value guns in the safe, looking for something a little more)
Perhaps worth considering is that Nosler offers their rifles in 280 AI, in several grades, with both composite and med-high grade walnut stocks. Really nice rifles from what I've seen, at a reasonable price. I think you can go full custom with Nosler as well, if you'd like. Their wood stocked rifles blew me away... Terrific quality! The synthetic/composite stocked rifles were obviously made for hard use, including a tough Cerakote finish on action & barrel.

Guy
 

rtraverdavis

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OREGON
Anyone know if you can get a custom stock made? I want a left handed, right action stock... boyd makes one (my current rifle) but it's laminate and heavy.
I bet you Manners would do it for you. Send them an email. They’ve been really responsive to my questions.
 

justdada

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Oct 5, 2005
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Colorado
You might want to give weaver rifles a look, they're in Colorado, so not really "in your hood", but their work is at the top of the game..
 

rtraverdavis

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Luscious Fox is the best gun builder I’m aware of. 😉

But yeah, I agree with the rest of the guys that there is something special about a custom. I’m in the planning/saving process for one of my own right now. I have a 700 donor action (actually, the whole rifle, a 300 Wby) that I’ll be ordering a Manners EH1 with the BDL chassis for in the next couple months. The barrel of the current rifle still has some life in it, so I plan to shoot it until accuracy drops off then send it to Pac-Nor for a new barrel—likely a 30 Nosler with a 26 inch barrel. Pac-Nor does their own fitting/chambering if you send them your action, at a reasonable price.

So it’ll be a one-piece-at-a-time affair for me, which affords me the time to save up the money. I’m looking forward to seeing what you end up putting together.
 

cahunter805

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May 27, 2014
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I like custom rifles a lot. I thought I would have just one. I'm working on my 5th right now. Or is that the 6th? Or???

For the type of rifle you are wanting to build, I cannot be of much specific help, but I will suggest a different model for how to build one. A rifle is a lot like a house. There are lots of very different component parts which all must function together but which also require very different skills, tools, and experiences. Some of them, you may be capable of doing yourself - depending on your own skills and tools and willingness to invest time.

So, what I do when building a rifle is to become a general contractor. I then sub out the different jobs to people of my own choosing, each with his own specialty. In the end I get a rifle that I really want, and not what someone else thinks I am supposed to want. I do some my own work as well (wood finishing, bedding, and all polishing and rust bluing). So I have some sweat equity in my rifles as well as the talents of some of the best in the business for the types of rifles that I use.
I see your point but offer another. If you choose good high quality parts and use a gunsmith that is a true professional you don’t need to source multiple sources to complete it. Unless you are after a certain specific things like custom engraving, custom built wooden stocks but still there are gunsmiths who do all that and more.
Picking the right gunsmith is more important IMO than the parts.
If you want to do some work yourself then that can save a lot of money depending on your skills and what you want from the rifle.
 

fishing4sanity

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eastern Washington
I will shoot them an email, I’m very right handed... but very left eye dominant...
I share your pain, due to an eye injury and nerve damage. I've tried to switch, but resort to right-handed most of the time. Sometimes when shooting prone or long distances with a solid rest I shoot left-handed.
 

BrentD

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I see your point but offer another. If you choose good high quality parts and use a gunsmith that is a true professional you don’t need to source multiple sources to complete it. Unless you are after a certain specific things like custom engraving, custom built wooden stocks but still there are gunsmiths who do all that and more.
Picking the right gunsmith is more important IMO than the parts.
If you want to do some work yourself then that can save a lot of money depending on your skills and what you want from the rifle.
Yes, if you pick the right smith and that includes someone with whom you can communicate well. It also depends on what you mean by custom. If you mix and match from a number of different options, I don't consider that a true custom and more than my F150 is custom. But if you can make something truly unique with that smith and that's what you want, then you are good to go. Even the best smiths probably sub out for some stuff. I can't think of anyone that truly does it all from wood inletting to engraving at the highest levels across the board, but they may be out there.

Of course there is always the hunt for wood. This will be wood, VikingsGuy? Are you in the hunt already? I'll have to go back and reread your earlier posts.
 

VikingsGuy

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Yes, if you pick the right smith and that includes someone with whom you can communicate well. It also depends on what you mean by custom. If you mix and match from a number of different options, I don't consider that a true custom and more than my F150 is custom. But if you can make something truly unique with that smith and that's what you want, then you are good to go. Even the best smiths probably sub out for some stuff. I can't think of anyone that truly does it all from wood inletting to engraving at the highest levels across the board, but they may be out there.

Of course there is always the hunt for wood. This will be wood, VikingsGuy? Are you in the hunt already? I'll have to go back and reread your earlier posts.
I am going synthetic (MacMillan, B&C, Manners). I am in the process of learning and picking a smith. Would like to get on order by late summer. Realizing how little I really know about actions :( - have always just bought mainstream rifles on their collective merits, never had to think about options for every piece. But I like a good project.
 

1_pointer

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Indiana
Doubt you will have a custom back for this hunting season, so I'd take that into consideration of your plans. Since you are interested in the 280AI and long, sleek bullets you'll need to pay attention to mag length of the action. Some are longer than others. LOTS of custom actions out there that get great reviews, you just need to narrow down what you want in the action. 'Twer it me, I'd probably get something on the Rem 700 footprint as that opens up stock options over others. I'd also prefer a fixed recoil lug and picatinny scope base as well as the option for a 3pos safety or at least one that locks the bolt down when on.

Help us help you by letting us know what attributes you want in action and, if any, deal breakers.
 
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