I said I would never spend this kind of dough on a custom rifle. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “never say never”. Surprisingly the process what actually a lot of fun, and my Remington 700 Custom Build is Finished. I met some great new people in the process, and learned a lot about custom gun building and how it’s done. I can tell you that if you’re considering going down this road you must be patient, vigilant, and steadfast in your decisions. With that said, the final product is a platform that I will be very happy and competitive with for many years to come. I will also tell you that if you don’t possess one of those virtues I mentioned above, you can always buy a complete rig and stay within your budget. There are many fine precision rifles being made today that stand out on the range. Brands like Tikka (Sako), Remington, and Savage, just to name a few.
What does it take to create a custom bolt action rifle that you will be happy with? It will take a lot of study and homework on your part if you’re to be successful. You must consider your budget first and foremost. Can you build the custom rifle you want with the amount of funds on hand? Once you decide that, then you can begin the process.
I would like to share with you the components that made up my build, along with a few images of the final product. First you must decide on a caliber. Caliber choice will point you in one of two directions with regards to your action. There are “short” and “long” bolt actions depending on the caliber you choose. I went with the .308 caliber due to it’s accuracy, versatility, and high choice of bullets to choose from for both hunting, as well as competition. On the other hand, I also own a 7mm magnum, which is part of the “long action” platform. A little research on line with tell you right away which you’ll need based on your caliber decision. Basically it comes down to length of the cartridge in question. After you’ve made your caliber choice it’s on to the brand of action you want to use. The most common action used by builders today is the tried and true Remington 700 action. It’s versatility and proven reliability make it a favorite among builders. The Remington action is cylindrical, making a base platform that works for all types of setups. When it comes to the action there are a few things to consider besides long or short. There are Benchrest actions that can be had for a premium price, as well as Stainless Steel actions, or the traditional blued steel. If you plan on painting your rig you could save some cash by going with the blued action. The Benchrest, or 40X Remington actions come in either a single shot or repeater style. This simply means there is a cutout in the bottom of the action to accept either a magazine, or a spring loaded floorplate to hold more than one cartridge. Smiths will tell you that the single action is the preferred for it’s overall strength, but I personally don’t think there’s much difference The benefits of having say a 10 round magazine at the ready far outweigh the debate over the strength of the action.
Next we must decide on a barrel. There are also many things to consider when choosing a barrel. Manufacturer, twist, overall length, fluting, muzzle brake, etc. Twist rates will require a complete article, so for now we will stick with the build summary. There are many great barrel makers out there today that have excellent reputations among competitive shooters. Brands like Bartlein, Lilja, Brux, Rock Creek, just to name a few. We recommend joining a forum to gain knowledge and opinions about different barrel manufacturers. We have initiated a forum here, but due to the fact that it’s fairly new and our members are just finding out that it’s here, you may want to check back to our forum in the future for related topics. Barrel taper and length will have a huge impact on the overall weight. While many prefer a Palma or Heavy Varmint barrel, the trade off is weight gain. Many pounds in most cases. Take this in to consideration when deciding what you’re going to be using this platform for. If you’ll be hunting and toting this rifle over long distances, you’ll definitely want to stay away from the two I just mentioned. Barrel availability is a big deal here. Most barrel makers can take several months to fill a custom order. Something to keep in mind while deciding.
Next would be your stock or chassis, depending on personal preference. I went with a chassis from Accuracy International. Why? Because my homework gave me all the data I needed to make a solid decision. The functionality, looks, and performance were everything I was looking for in a chassis. The basic differences between a stock and chassis are a chassis is pre-molded or forged to accept the barreled action right away without any modification. Whereas a custom stock requires a lot of modification to accept a barreled action.
From there you want to consider Optics, or your scope for the rig. There are a slough of choices in the marketplace when it comes to Scope selection. You must decide what features you will need based on the type of shooting you will be doing primarily. If your goal is to shoot at longer distances, say 300 yards and beyond, you should consider a high magnification scope from the 20X to 40X magnification. If going the high magnification route like I did, you will want a Variable objective, or “parallax” adjustment opposite the windage turret. This will allow you to quickly gain focus of your target at different distances and magnifications. Stay tuned for the series of follow up articles that highlight more details of the bid, as well as custom load development and how important it is. Meanwhile, here is a glimpse of the finished product.