Firearms Talk banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

· Registered
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So if I were to give you all $1500 and you had to build a BOLT action rifle from the ground up within the price range what would it be and what would you do to it?(caliber, make/model, aftermarket parts(if needed), ammunition, scope)

Oh i guess i should say that it would only be used at the range. (so basically this thread is what im wanting to do but having a hard time in making up my mind)

Thanks everyone,

· Banned
23,931 Posts
We have been getting one of these a week lately - What's going on out there? :eek:

You want a custom rifle build done, by a quality 'smith, you want to only spend $1500 AND you want that to include optics?! Not asking for much, are you?! :rolleyes:

Assuming that you just want a light, paper punching rifle. I am going to safely assume you don't have an interest punishing yourself with a Magnum style cartridge, but one that you can shoot comfortably.

Off the top of my head.....

I would seriously consider starting with a Weatherby Vanguard Varmint in .223 / .22-250 / .308. The weapon is now guaranteed to shoot 1 1/2" groups, from a cold bore, from the factory when using quality ammo. They used to guarantee 3/4" grouping from the factory, but something must have happened because it's now 1.5 MOA - still a pretty good guarantee on a factory stick. The action is from HOWA, which is made in Japan from CNC steel, so factor that in for your purchase if you would prefer to have all US Components... The weapon MSRP is listed at about $587.00. Let's call it $650 with tax...leaves you about $850 left...

Optics will be your next biggest expenditure, and I would recommend getting good quality optics, because without them, your rifle is almost naked.

In the shop we routinely put Leupold on most all of the rifles we build, unless the customer has something special they want. Leupold is a company based in Oregon and they have an excellent product, along with a lifetime warranty. The problem is, they aren't cheap. You can expect to be spending probably more on your scope from Leupold than you spent on your rifle. :eek:

Then again, most of the rifles that we build from scratch are probably $1.5K to $2K BEFORE the optics are factored in, so it's kind of apples and oranges.

You will need to decide what type of scope you want and work backwards, cash wise, from there, because the scope is going to set you back some of your reserve.

Outside of that, you are going to need a scope base and rings for the scope. I recommend getting a scope mounting rail with travel pre-built into it, that saves on cranking your elevation knobs all the way open from the start.

Badger Ord makes a 20 MOA 1913 Picatinny rail that is milled from 4142 prehardened steel. It's a great product and I have one on all my boltguns. This one is for a Remington Action, but they make them for the HOWA/Weatherby as well. They run anywhere from $125 to $175 depending on where you find them in stock.

Rings - You'll need them for the scope. Some scopes come with them, some don't. If you need some, these Max-50 Rings are pretty good. They lock down tight and they are an inch wide, which gives you more bite on the scope than standard thin rings. They run from about $150 to $180, but you can get a package deal if you buy the rail and the rings together.

A trigger job, if you don't like the factory trigger, should cost about $35 to $70 depending on who does the job for you.

Depending on the scope, that is just about going to break your bank.

There are other options that you might want to look at down the line - but this package would probably be some good bang for the money listed.


· Registered
3,249 Posts
Now that JD has burst your $1500 bubble, you mights consider a cheaper platform, like a milsurp Mauser (Swedish M-36 in 6.5 x 55 is very accurate)
Without optics and without the $189 price of the gun, a gunsmith friend sporterized my Swede for $200. He turned down the bolt, filed down the mag carrier to allow cycling with an empty mag, turned down the barrel, drilled and tapped for a scope mount, put WIlliams express rear sight and front brass beaded sight on, re-blued, hand carved and glass bedded a walnut Monte Carlo cheekpiece stock, replaced the milsurp trigger group and safety, and polished the bolt face. Total cost to me - under $500 with a Bushnell fixed 4x scope. This was 10 years ago, so the gunsmithing cost would probably be triple what I paid. It shoots about 3/4"moa.

· Registered
578 Posts
Well since I'm not qualified to comment on a build I wont but .

I have read many an article on what improving the accuracy potential of stock guns with adjusting what is called the barrel harmonics .

This is the basis for the BOSS system found on Browning and some Winchester rifles which I understand with some time spent working with it the weapon can be a virtual tack driver without having a custom build number .

I'll aim this one at JD since he is in the bizz .

Do you perhaps recall a product called Accumagic ?

It was a plastic Block that if I recall only had 1 contact point to touch a barrel .

You inserted it in the fore end and then it had a allen screw at the front of the fore end as you turned the screw it moved the block fore and aft and changed the Barrel harmonics by changing the contact point .

Reportedly you could take a factory rifle and with this modification for about $100 you could accomplish the same thing as the BOSS system did .

I recall an article on it and they reported sub MOA groups at 100 yards with otherwise stock hunting rifles and factory ammunition that had prior to the mod only grouped about 1 1/2 inches at the same range .

I also remember articles on the Cryogenic freezing of barrels in liquid hydrogen greatly improves accuracy . I know there was a company in ILL that offered this service for about $150 per rifle barrel .

Well I did a bit of searching and answered my own questions JD "well sort of" it seems the Accumagic is now called The Smart Stock and can be found here

Prices have gone up considerably since I read about it 20 years ago .

· Banned
23,931 Posts
Smart Stock

Big - You know, this is one of those things that people bring up about once or twice a quarter, just in time for the next "rush" of rifles to be done ( ie - varmit / deer / elk / Alaskan trip season ). Someone knows someone who got it installed and it worked great, but I don't personally know of anyone that has every used it.

From what I have been able to learn, and there is still a TON of stuff that I don't have even the most infinitesimal understanding of so I am certainly not an expert, but this item is making up for an inherent problem in the mounting of the factory action to the factory stock.

If the initial action was correctly glass bedded / pillar bedded and there was a true free floated barrel, you wouldn't have to worry about inserting a device that will contact one point on the barrel and exert pressure to counter act what is happening back near the action. Now, if you don't have a nice clean bed for the action to sit in, one of the action screws is over tight, or worse is loose, then you run into a compound of issues as the bullet goes from zero fps in the case, to first entering the rifling ( where it comes to a stop for a millisecond ) then the pressure behind the bullet expands and drives the bullet into the rifling, causing torque on the barrel that continues until the bullet leaves the bore.

Obviously the thicker the barrel the less of a problem you will have with this problem. I don't recall seeing barrel profiles in the write up of Smart Stock, but if they were pencil thin hunting/hiking barrels, I could see this "brace" for lack of a better word, making a difference on a stock rifle. However if you took a weapon that was built with a meaty action and a beefy, thick, bull-style barrel, I don't see this being a serious influence on inherent accuracy.

One of the things that I always have to ask people when the latest and greatest product comes out on the open market is this: "Has it been tried or produced in the 1,000 yard or benchrest community yet?" Because those guys are like the mad scientists' division of all things accurate. The stuff that we see hitting the markets today ( like 6.5x284 cartridge that is suddenly so hot ) is stuff that was probably being batted around the shooting bench during competitions and training shoots 3 or 4 years ago.

That being said, there are rare products out there that were designed around a specific criteria. This Smart Stock might be something that was specifically designed to take a run of the mill, thin barreled factory rifle, throw a couple of hundred bucks at it and improve accuracy by 50%. I don't honestly know, because I haven't actually seen one installed on any weapon we have taken into the shop in the few years I have been working there. *shrug*

However, for the same price, probably less, you could have the rifle action glass bedded, lap your locking lugs yourself, and achieve as good as, or close enough for hunting results, to the same type of performance...


· Banned
13,934 Posts
Heres mine. I wish to say I have over $1200 in to my rifle as it sits right now. With optics and other add on's. It is bone stock minus the trigger and firing pin. If you want a full custom Rifle the starting price is going to be around $3000 depending on what you want. For this build I would either go with the Remington 700 or the Savage Model 12 F/TR. This is the best rifle comming out of a factory for a stock F-Class shoot. It will shoot to 1000 yards with the right optics. The leupold would be limiting it a bit. A Nightforce Benchrest 12-42x56mm with the NP-2DD retical would be the cats nuts for that sucker Ringing up a nice $1800 price tag. Of course this would be mounted in Night force rings on a 20 MOA one piece base.

Savage build
Savage Model 12F/TR ...................................$1200.00
Leupold 8.5-25x50 VX-III 30mm Riflescope ......$899.00
Grand total.................................................$2099.00

Remington 700 SPS 223 rem................................. $575
Sell SPS stock...................................................-$100
Jewell Trigger(1.5-3oz no safety).......................... $169.99
Harris 13.25 to 17" bipod..................................... $82.99
Burris 1-Piece Supreme Standard Scope Base.......... $17.99
Burris Burris 1" Signature Rings Gloss Medium .......... $30.99
Bushnell Elite 4200 Rifle Scope 6-24x 40mm
Adjustable Objective 1/4 MOA Dot Reticle Matte......$498.99
H-S Precision Pro-Series Stock Police Sniper .......... $307.99
For a grand total of .......................................... $1583.94

In the future I would add a new Keriger Barrel in 223 AI $350 + install an action Blue print job as well $200 to $350.
I would again sell the stock ($250) and buy a McMillian A-4 stock Total would be $309.99
I would upgrade the scope to a Leupold 8.5-25x50 VX-III 30mm Riflescope $899.00
. Or a Nightforce NXS Rifle Scope 30mm Tube 5.5-22x 56mm Side Focus Illuminated NP-2DD Reticle Matte $1568.00

NOTE: These prices do not enclude the cost of brass (Laupa) Bullets (Custom benchrest not Hornady, Sierra, Nosler or any other) High end Reloading equipment like Redding Micrometer adjust seating dies and a really good press like the Forester Co-ax. High end precision powder measure and other needed equipment. All this could add up to more than $1500 unto it's self.

· Registered
3,249 Posts
Are they hiring where you work?

· Registered
23 Posts
Two Options

I have been in the same place as the original poster.
After years of shooting carbines and military surplus rifles,
I wanted a bolt gun that would have excellent accuracy,
totally reliable, and if I could not shoot it at least 1 m.o.a.
out to about 300 yards, and IF I happened to miss the target,
I had to know it was ME, not the gun, at fault.

I bought a used (20 years old) Remington 700 heavy barreled
varmint rifle in .223 caliber. I think it's all factory standard, but the
trigger has been adjusted to a lower weight.
It came with a Weaver 3X -9X scope. With good quality factory
ammo, it hits a dime at 100 yards.
With cheap Wolf ammo or foreign made military surplus 5.56mm
stuff, it shoots 1.5 to 2 m.o.a., and that's OK for most applications.
It is considerably more accurate than any of my battle rifles, including
two ARs that I have owned.
And I paid HALF of what a used AR-15 would have sold for then.

The Savage bolt-action rifles with that wonderful accu-trigger system look promising. They're inexpensive rifles. If you buy one and it turns out that it just won't shoot good enough for you, you can probably sell it for 80% of what you paid for it, if you save the box and all the papers. So it's a low-risk proposition.
Remington makes some "Police" tactical / sniper rifles with synthetic stocks and heavy barrels. I'd seriously consider getting one of those in .223 for shooting under 400 yards, or in .308 for shooting out to 800. They seem like a lot of gun for the money.

SCOPES: I don't know anything about high-end rifle scopes. I've shot some $500 scopes before, and they didn't seem to be any better than $80 scopes that you can buy at Wal-Mart. I can't tell the difference between them. I did notice that I shot tighter groups when I borrowed the gun with the $500 scope, but then it was a $1300 rifle shooting premium ammo that cost two bucks a round, so... hardly a fair comparison to my deer rifle.

I will say this about rifle scopes: I don't need a lot of magnification to shoot the target, but I do need a lot of magnification to see the target clearly, like to check out the rack on that deer, or to see my bullet hole. So a powerful scope is helpful. But if you shoot with a spotting scope right next to you, then I'd say 4x or 6x is all the magnification I need for any of my scopes.

· Registered
1,105 Posts
I have to agree that an actual rifle "build" (starting with an action, barrelling it, stocking it, trigger. etc.) is probably not going to be a reality. If you want to tweak on something for the fun of it I'd start with a Mauser large ring action and go from there. If you want to make moderate modifications to an existing rifle to make it YOURS, I give up my opinion to the Remington 700 LTR. I know guys on here have affiliations with the Army sniper program or military r&d and contracting and talk about Remington not being up to snuff for them, but my LTR is absolutely the most accurate gun of any caliber I have ever fired. I have the .308 version with a 20" fluted barrel. At 20" you'll probably not make the 1000 yard club but the shorter tube and fluting helps with barrel harmonics. The only reason 1000 would be harder is the small loss in velocity will kick in sooner as the heavier (175gr+) bullet won't stay supersonic way out there. Some will say other rifles are better for the money and I can't prove them wrong, but the LTR is my choice. I over paid for the rifle itself only because I didn't want to wait- $950. I put a Leupold VX3 4.5-14X at just over $650 on it in Redfield rings and bases. I lapped the rings as well. Given the extra money I wold have gone with a Badger Ordnance ring and base set up as Dillinger mentioned. Easy 3/4 MOA groups using steel bullet Hirtenburger ammo. I haven't even started handloading for it yet to dial in a load and only have 86 rounds down range. Good luck.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.