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nicknitro71
August 21, 2012, 06:37 PM
I am a self-taught gunsmith having worked on guns for the past 20 years. I own 12 handguns all somewhat modified by me, mostly trigger jobs and general accurizing. I have some experience with rifles having built a sub MOA M14 when I was in the service. I also bedded and accurize a M1 Garant (.30-06), and recently I built for a friend a Winchester 70 .243 sniping system that shoots 1/4" MOA @ 100 yards.

I do not own any rifle, I am not a hunter, and my only experience with shooting rifles was in the service and in basic sniping school where we shot M14s, M21s, M24s, and Barretts .50. I consider myself a good shot and I can place 1/2" MOA @ 100 yards, given a good rifle.

I am also an avid reloader.

It's time for me to build my first rifle and I have decided to go with a .300 Winchester Magnum to be used mostly for medium to long-distance target shooting and possibly occasional hunting in Alaska.

I've been to a few shops browsing around and I have narrowed down my list to the following rifles all in .300WM and stainless:

Remington 700, Ruger M77, Howa 1500, Savage 116, and Tikka 3; they are all in the same price range only 40 bucks difference between the most expensive to the least expensive.

The Remington has a long history and it was the rifle I used in the service. The trigger can be fully adjusted, the after-market is huge, but there are a few things I don't care for, namely the c-clamp extractor and honestly the overall quality does not meet my expectations.

The Ruger to me seems the beefiest looking (plus I'm a general Ruger sucker), I like the Mouser style bolt, the trigger is crappy but I know I can fix that and some report accuracy issues. Some report issues about bedding because of the angled front screw and also some report that free-floating the barrel does not do the trick (kind of hard to believe!)

The Howa and Tikka seem like good rifles overall but I have zero experience with such brands.

The Savage feels a bit cheap but many speak highly of its accuracy; I do not really care for the accutrigger but I guess could live with it.

I have no issue swapping the stock, bedding, free-floating the barrel, performing a trigger job, etc, whatever it takes to get me a very accurate rifle.

I am looking for honest opinions keeping the brand war out of the equation.

:confused:

allaroundhunter
August 21, 2012, 06:41 PM
Most long range target shooters prefer a heavy barrel. That will take most of those guns that are currently on your list, off.

Savage makes a good target gun out of the box, as does Remington. I recently had the choice between the two, and went with Remington due to the vast aftermarket options for customization. (I went with .308)

I do not think that you would be disappointed with either the Savage or the Remington, and those are the two that I would choose from, mainly because the others just don't have close to the aftermarket parts available that these two do.

With the Remington, I would advise going with a heavy contour/varmint contour barrel as opposed to a sporter contour.

I have never seen one of these guns in person, but it would appear to be a long action version of the 700 SPS Varmint. My 700 Varmint in .308 is a tack-driver, so this might be something to look into:

http://remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire/model-700/model-700-sps-long-range.aspx

big al hunter
August 22, 2012, 12:44 AM
I would also go with the rem. 700 with a heavy contour barrel, especially if you are going to bed the action and float the barrel. The heavy barrel will be more likely to shoot better floated. Many light contour barrels shoot poorly floated, and actually are more accurate with up pressure at the tip of the stock. I have heard good things about CZ triggers and accuracy but have not priced them. They have a set trigger available on some models that makes it a hair trigger when you want it or a 3 or 4 lb pull when you don't set it. Might be worth a few bucks more if your accurising for long range. IIRC it is called the single set trigger in the spec.s

10-96
August 22, 2012, 03:34 AM
It might seem that with your experience with the Garant, Mouser, Basic sniper school, all those M-rifles, and the Winchester 70 Sniper you built- you might be ready to step up to a custom like a Cooper action, Surgeon, BAT, or a Viper action and start from there and go up. Either that, or stick with the Winchester since you don't seem to like how the Remingtons are made.

Where'd you take your basic sniper school, Schofield Bks by chance?

Bart B.
August 22, 2012, 07:13 AM
For what it's worth, the Winchester 70 action's stiffer, more reliable, and easier to maintain than the others mentioned. Too bad the Winchester factory barrels aren't as good as what Savage puts out. Least costly way to go would be to get a used Model 70 then rebarrel it to what you want to shoot.

Don P
August 22, 2012, 09:02 AM
The Ruger to me seems the beefiest looking (plus I'm a general Ruger sucker), I like the Mouser style bolt, the trigger is crappy but I know I can fix that and some report accuracy issues. Some report issues about bedding because of the angled front screw and also some report that free-floating the barrel does not do the trick (kind of hard to believe!)The Savage feels a bit cheap but many speak highly of its accuracy; I do not really care for the accutrigger but I guess could live with it.
My 2 choices from what you posted about.
Many have complained about Remington QC issues. Personaly I would not buy anything that come from a company that is under this unbrella, www.freedom-group.com

nicknitro71
August 22, 2012, 10:22 AM
10-96, yes a custom bench-rest rifle is one of my dreams but I'm on a budget...when the time comes I will drop the money into something special! As for my military experience, different country altogether, I was in the Italian Airborne Artillery Special Forces, I moved to the US in 1996.

The Winchester is nice but much more $$$ and Mouser for Mouser I like the M77 better.

Yet I just took another close look at the Howa and even tho it's not USA-made, there's nothing I did not like about it!

Sometimes too many choices ain't a good thing!

taylorce1
August 22, 2012, 10:48 AM
It's time for me to build my first rifle and I have decided to go with a .300 Winchester Magnum to be used mostly for medium to long-distance target shooting and possibly occasional hunting in Alaska.

How much building are you going to do, just re-stocking/bedding and trigger jobs or something more complex?

I've been to a few shops browsing around and I have narrowed down my list to the following rifles all in .300WM and stainless:

Remington 700, Ruger M77, Howa 1500, Savage 116, and Tikka 3; they are all in the same price range only 40 bucks difference between the most expensive to the least expensive.


If you are just looking for an action to build a rifle on I'd say get the Savage or Remington. If you are looking for a complete rifle just to tune any of the above would do and I'd throw in the M70 Winchester Extreme Weather or EW rifle. I'm assuming that you are looking at the M700 SPS stainless, Ruger M77 All Weather, Tikka T3 Lite SS, along with your Howa and Savage all are great hunting rifles but I wouldn't call them all great range/target rifles. Plus with the Savage and Tikka weighing in under 7 lbs they might get a tad painful at an extended range/target session in .300 Win Mag.

Savage will be the easiest to customize since barrel swaps and bolt handles are easy and require a minimum amount of tools. You don't like the Accutrigger, that is easy to replace. Sharp Shooter Supply makes a Competition trigger that is pretty much a drop in replacement, and Timney and Rifle Basix make one as well going rate is right at $100 for these triggers. Plus since your rifle would be a long action it is pretty easy to find stocks since they didn't change the action screw spacing when they converted over to the center feed magazines.

As far as the Remington extractor being a problem I wouldn't worry about it unless you are running over pressure hand loads. Everyone that I've heard about having an extractor fail is usually because they ran some hot load through it and that is what cause the failure. However you can have a Sako or M16 style extractor put in that most people feel will cure any issues with a weak extractor. PT&G will sell you a complete one piece bolt (no soldered on bolt handle) with ether of these extractors as well, you just swap over you bolt internals, and have a GS set the head space (if you can't do it) and you are gtg.

Ruger has the beefiest frame because it is investment cast instead of machined. They have as well a very simple trigger that you'll need to buy a spring for to clean up, since they are what we like to call lawyer proof. They have the Mauser style claw extractor (so does the M70 Winchester) that has been time tested. The bedding issue is because of the angled front action screw but if you bed the rifle make sure to use pillars as well and it will cure the problem. Yes not all rifles shoot better with a free floated barrel even Remington uses pressure points at the forend on a lot of their rifles.

Like I said all good hunting rifles weighing in at 7.5 lbs or less without scope however since it sounds like you will mainly be shooting at the range and since it is a .300 Win Mag you might want to look at some different rifles.

It's time for me to build my first rifle and I have decided to go with a .300 Winchester Magnum to be used mostly for medium to long-distance target shooting and possibly occasional hunting in Alaska.


These are a little heavier and set up for more of the type of shooting you want to do with the occasional hunting they start in the $800-1200 retail range but give you a much better rifle to start with. Plus it doesn't sound like you are wanting to rebarrel the rifle so much as just tune the trigger and tweak the bedding.

Savage 111 Long Range Hunter would be a good choice has a much better stock than the 116 and has Karsten adjustable cheek piece on it to help line your eye up to the scope better. It isn't stainless steel but with the new coating for your metal that are out there to day they are far more corrosion resistant than even stainless steel. Heavier contour barrel than the others that will be stiffer and will provide more shots before POI ****s due to heat. It has as well an adjustable muzzle brake if you are looking for the recoil to be tamed even further.

Remington M700 Sendero and XCR Tactical Long Range rifles. Again they offer vastly improved stocks ( HS Precision in Sendero, B&C in XCR) over the SPS or ADL injection molded stocks. Both are stainless steel rifles but the XCR comes with a matte black metal coating that Remington uses. Both weigh in a full pound or more heavier than most of the rifles you listed you were first looking at and that will help with the recoil again at the bench or from the prone position

10-96
August 22, 2012, 05:18 PM
Sometimes too many choices ain't a good thing! Aint that the truth!

Have you been scoping the used rifle rack to see what's out there and to see if anything tickles your fancy?

nicknitro71
August 22, 2012, 07:57 PM
Well, it seems that with my very limited budget and with what I got in mind, the Savage Long Range 11/111 seems the winner. I can pick one up for 800 bucks and put a fixed 10X with mil dots...I'm sure it'll bring back some good memories!

When the time comes (and I hope it will come), I'd love to build me a custom rifle from scratch but with all the goodies we're talking about 4-5K for a complete system...

taylorce1
August 22, 2012, 08:25 PM
As for my military experience, different country altogether, I was in the Italian Airborne Artillery Special Forces, I moved to the US in 1996.


I served with the 3/325 ABCT in Vincenza Italy from 92-94. I enjoyed your old country very much. I really miss the local food!

Well, it seems that with my very limited budget and with what I got in mind, the Savage Long Range 11/111 seems the winner. I can pick one up for 800 bucks and put a fixed 10X with mil dots...I'm sure it'll bring back some good memories!


I think it will be a good fit for you. I went back and read my post on it earlier and I might have been misleading. As far as I know the Savage doens't have any special metal coating, it is just a matte blued rifle.

However you can buy some Duracoat kit and do the coating yourself and it will be better than the matte bluing. You'll need some sort of oven if you want to do some of the better metal finishes like KG Gunkote or Cerakote. There is one out to as well I think it is called Black T which is a teflon based finsih IIRC.

If you need some help finding good deals on your rifle and optics just send a shout out. Bud's Gun Shop offers some great deals and had all three rifles in stock that I mentioned last time I checked. The offer as well 90 day layaway on all new purchases over $300. That might allow you to work some things into your budget. Check "The Sample List" for your optics.

Joe Chicago
August 22, 2012, 08:58 PM
If you go with a Remington, get a used one from before The Freedom Group bought Big Green. I think their quality has declined since the buyout. If you are looking at the Howa you may also want to consider the Weatherby Vanguard S2. It uses a Howa action with a different stock.

Blackops_2
August 23, 2012, 12:59 AM
The Remington has a long history and it was the rifle I used in the service. The trigger can be fully adjusted, the after-market is huge, but there are a few things I don't care for, namely the c-clamp extractor and honestly the overall quality does not meet my expectations.


You can always replace the 700 extractor for a m16 style or sako if need be. Some may disagree with me but i believe accuracy starts with the barrel, not the action. In my experience if rifle accuracy (excluding the shooter) were so action dependent i would expect to see my remington 700 not hold the groups it does. The large part a custom plays IMO is saving money for the upgraded features (avoiding all the labor from the get go) and as you want tighter tolerances as well as more durable by design to an extent.

You could pick up a 700 action for probably around 350$ (possibly cheaper) in a pawn shop if you looked, otherwise you can get them new at IBA (http://www.deathfromafar.com/htm/08_iba_weaponsys_receivers.html). All that being said for me 1/2 MOA is 1/2 MOA regardless of the rifle it comes from. And it can be achieved without breaking the bank. My main point is that few could actual shoot the difference between a custom action and a remington 700, given both have quality barrels and loads.

Bringing a stock remington action up to custom as far as features are concerned is almost if not in most cases more expensive than the custom action itself.

If you could do most other things yourself you could save quite a bit of money as well.

I have no experience with the other manufacturers mentioned, other than having shot the winchester.

Well, it seems that with my very limited budget and with what I got in mind, the Savage Long Range 11/111 seems the winner. I can pick one up for 800 bucks and put a fixed 10X with mil dots...I'm sure it'll bring back some good memories!


I wanted to get a smith to build mine from scratch, also being on a bugdet i did the same. Though i went with a remington 700 5R. But i'm continuously upgrading it to the rifle that i want. And honestly when it's all said and done i would've saved money by just having gone custom. But this way i've gotten to shoot the rifle as i go along. It's a trade off i guess. Even with the little things that have been done to it i've sunk 5 grand into it counting optics over about 5 years. Sending it off for DBM and bolt knob addition now. Sure is an addictive/expensive hobby :o

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/s720x720/402451_2563650212306_1820396325_n.jpg

nicknitro71
August 23, 2012, 07:42 AM
Blackops, +1 on the barrel! In the Army our Remington sniping systems had really sloppy actions (due to thousands and thousands of rounds and major beating), but they all had 1" bull or 1.25" fluted barrels and they all shot 1/2" MOA (with the right stick of course!)

I'll also look into getting a stock 700 action only and build it from there the way I want it.

What are some good sources for Remington bull barrels?

allaroundhunter
August 23, 2012, 09:41 AM
Nicknitro, look into Krieger and Shilen for barrels as a start. I'm not sure what type of barrels are used in military sniper rifles, but Krieger and Shilen make some good barrels for long range precision.

Sent from my HTC One X

Blackops_2
August 23, 2012, 11:47 AM
Honestly any custom barrel. Many smiths use krieger, bartlein, broughton, rock creek. As for the militarys barrels I want to say obermeyer used to make them for the M24 and then remington started producing their own. I can't remember honestly.

Brands: no specific order, spelling is probably off on some of them as well.
Shilen
Broughton
Krieger
bartlein
Lilja
Hart
Brux
Schneider
Rock creek
Douglas
mcgowen
Obermeyer

I'm sure there are some I'm missing. Jered Joplin of American precision arms uses broughton, George Gardner of GA Precision idea bartlein, Terry Cross of KMW uses krieger. Friend of mine solely sticks with shilen. As I said now a days you can pretty much pick one. The ones I see most commonly on here and the hide are bartlein, krieger, broughton, and rock creek. I really like bartlein good prices and great accuracy from the.results that George produces with his rifles.

Bart B.
August 23, 2012, 10:19 PM
taylorce1 comments:Ruger has the beefiest frame because it is investment cast instead of machined.Ruger's receivers may look like they have the beefiest receiver (frame?), but looks can be decieving. In my measuments of several receivers for how stiff they are, Ruger's was one of the flimsiest, least stiff receivers on the market. And the Win. 70 receivers were about 2.5 times stiffer than the Rem. 700 ones; not surprising as the 70's are heavier than the 700's and have more metal aligned with the major bending axis receivers go through when fired.

Ruger fare the well embarresed itself with those 20 some odd Palma rifles they built th their "highest standards plus" for the USA 1992 Team. Poor stock design, horrible trigger and barrels from Green Mountain in Vermont whose barrels are about as low priced as any; not top quality barrels for centerfire rifle cartridges used in match rifles. Ruger managemt was not well informed as to what a Palma rifle should do, accuracy wise. Evidenced by the horrible accuracy they had except for one that was better but not all that great compared to what the USA Team members own rifles shot like. All but one on the Team jused their own rifles; the one that used the Ruger did so 'cause his own rifle went sour.

Everyone that I've heard about having an extractor fail is usually because they ran some hot load through it and that is what cause the failure. The Rem. extractors on the two Rem 7XX rifles I had years ago and the 20 or so I saw that broke on others' rifles all happened with mild loads (about 5 to 7 percent below listed max) for the most part and a few with either factory or normal max safe handloads.

Note there's no significant difference in the low forces applied to Remington's "C" clip extractors between normal factory loads and blue pills they're proof fired with. The greatest force on those extractors is when they expand and slip over the case rim when the round's chambered and the bolt's closed.

nicknitro71
August 28, 2012, 07:54 AM
Updates:

I went looking at the Savage 11/111 Long Range Hunter in .300 WM and it's a no go. The barrel is too thin and flexes a lot, the finish is really cheap, and the gun just did not do it for me. I bet it makes a great hunting rifle but that's not the game I want to play!

Said that, while there I took a good look at the Savage model 12 F/TR and it's one hack of a rifle! It's a .308 W not a .300 WM but there's nothing wrong with that rifle and the price is just right @ 1100. The barrel looks nothing like a stock one, a full bull in 30" with a very nicely done crown. The stock is nice and rigid and features three action screws. The action itself is very beefy and the bolt feels like butter.

I know they use the same rifle for 1000 yards competitions and honestly I'm kinda puzzled by that given the inherit marginal ballistics of the .308 past 600 yards. I might load it with 140-150 max boat tails and max out the powder to get the thing to speed up a little and take it from there.

So I might for now settle on the 12 with a fixed 16X scope and start saving and slowly building my dream custom .300 WM. I've located everything I want and I can get a Remington 700 action only or for three times as much a custom action which I don't know if it'll be worth it. By then I'll have enough experience to compete in F-class.

Said that, does anybody know if it's possible to get a Winchester 70 action only?

chucknbach
August 28, 2012, 08:16 AM
http://www.tikka.fi/t3models.php?supervarmint

Rifleman1776
August 28, 2012, 08:20 AM
If you are going to build a rifle why are you shopping to buy a rifle?
Go to Brownell's and buy components then build what you want.
I have a preference for the Winchester actions.

nicknitro71
August 28, 2012, 09:57 AM
Rifleman1776,

The only action I seem to be able to buy by itself is the 700 which I am not too fund of. My preference would be a 70 action as I'm a big fan of Mouser style bolts. Buying a complete 70 and taking apart and rebuild it, it's a lot of money and material waste, also the 70 has a higher sicker price.

If I could find a 70 action only, possibly that would be the ticket.

taylorce1
August 28, 2012, 10:55 AM
Said that, does anybody know if it's possible to get a Winchester 70 action only?

You might be able to pick one up on Gunbroker, but nobody I know of sells only the M70 action for building rifles. The closest one would be Montana Rifle Company, they make a close clone of the M70 Winchester. If you want an affordable M70 action try to find an old push feed M70 one of the most underrated actions IMO.

Bart B.

I never said that Ruger had a stronger frame I just simply said they were larger (beefiest using OP term) because they were investment cast. I have know way of testing the strength or flexing of the action nor do I care. The Ruger receiver is just cast to save manufacturing costs, and they make darn good hunting rifles IMO but I'd never choose one for a target rifle.

As to the Remington extractor I'm no expert on them either I'm just going off what I've read or been told. I've had a M700 for nearly 20 years off and on and none have ever had the bolt handle fall off nor the extractor break over 100's of rounds. I don't shoot 1000's of rounds through them as they have all been hunting rifles .30-06, .270 Win and most recently .35 Whelen. I'm just going off what I've read on extractor failures and what Rich Riley told me from High Tech Custom rifles. He makes a living building M700 rifles as his main bread and butter, he does several Sako mods a year but told me I didn't need to fix it until it breaks.

Having the extractor snap over the rim might weaken them like you say, but an overpressure round that is hard to extract will put a lot of force on the extractor as well. I imagine a few hot loads are going to put more forces on the extractor when "extracting" than one "blue pill" at the factory or several hundred rounds being cycled through the rifle. Of course this is JMO with no scientific evidence to back up the claim.

All machines have a certain amount of wear and the M700 is no different, parts that wear will eventually fail. Ufortunately we can't predict when the failure is going to happen so you have two choices be proactive or reactive and I'll be the latter when it comes to the M700 extractor.

nicknitro71
August 28, 2012, 11:24 AM
The closest one would be Montana Rifle Company, they make a close clone of the M70 Winchester

taylorce1, you're the man! I just called them up and I will buy a custom ss barrel action from them all my specs! The action will fit any 70 stock and it has interchangeable components. Problems solved, plus I like giving my money to small businesses as I run one! I don't think I will any happier than that!

taylorce1
August 28, 2012, 11:47 AM
Let us know how it turns out for you. I've looked at the Montana's several times, just never dropped the coin on one.

madhat
August 28, 2012, 11:55 AM
i just purchased a Browning a bolt and it is nothing but quality, it is built solid and you can just feel the work put into designing such a fine rifle, i got mine in synthetic with stainless steel 30.06 i love it and will never part.