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Old June 22, 2013, 10:17 AM   #1
Dearhunter61
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Factory vs Custom Rifle

Ok guys, Lets just say I have a few rifles but all of them are factory. I've read a lot about guys building or having rifles built for them or buying a custom built rifle. For those who are fans of custom built rifles tell me why...what are the advantages? Accuracy?

I have a Rem 700 BDL 300 WM. It will shoot sub MOA. It's just an incredible rifle so what would I get out of a custom rifle that I don't get with this one? And I do reload for it.
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Old June 22, 2013, 10:29 AM   #2
SaxonPig
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IMO not much to be gained as far as function. Modern factory rifles are excellent and it's hard to improve on their performance in most cases. You build a custom rifle because you want something different or something more aesthetically pleasing to your individual taste.

Probably wouldn't find one exactly like this on the shelf...





Or like this...





This either...


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Old June 22, 2013, 01:00 PM   #3
taylorce1
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Customs for me is the quest to find a balance that I want.

For a NA big game hunting rifle I want a rifle that balances well, comes up quick, and points naturally. I want as well a reasonable weight, reasonable recoil, and capable of reaching 400+ yards accurately from field positions. Sometimes I can find this in a factory rifle, but I might have to change out or modify the stock, or if it is in a hard to find cartridge I'll opt to have a rifle built.
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Old June 22, 2013, 03:44 PM   #4
Bart B.
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Three huge advantages of a custom over factory rifle.

Properly built with the right parts, they're much, much more accurate.

They won't walk shots away from the point of aim as the barrel heats up.

Their value doesn't depreciate nearly as fast.
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Old June 22, 2013, 04:32 PM   #5
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For me I make my guns mine. The way I like them. Unique. Sometimes they are "better" overall and some are just better for me.

I build muzzleloaders and they are built to fit the shooter. Most people don't know what it's like to have a rifle that really fits them untill you have one built to fit them.


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Old July 6, 2013, 01:26 PM   #6
Marksinsoni
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Don;t have stamina to really look into it. But once I get my rifle all set in with multiple years of faithful service .. lol, I get new stock, some new barrel work, new optics, custom stock and so on.
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:24 PM   #7
shurshot
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"I have a Rem 700 BDL 300 WM. It will shoot sub MOA. It's just an incredible rifle so what would I get out of a custom rifle that I don't get with this one? And I do reload for it. "
Nothing. You have one of the finest, strongest, most accurate rifles ever made. I have a Remington BDL in .270 and I feel it is perfect for me, from Groundhogs to Moose.
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Old July 6, 2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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"I build muzzleloaders and they are built to fit the shooter. Most people don't know what it's like to have a rifle that really fits them untill you have one built to fit them."

Exactly! One shoots much better with a rifle that fits well.

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Old July 6, 2013, 05:21 PM   #9
tahunua001
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having a custom rifle built is alot like having a custom guitar made.
a custom guitar still has a body, a neck, 6 strings, a bridge, a fretboard etc etc. what you do get that you can't get from a factory guitar is something that is completely suited to your aesthetic tastes.


it is impossible for a company to mass produce a rifle that fits all criteria for everyone. some people value looks over extreme accuracy while others would pick the ugliest rifle in the world if it meant a 1/8th MOA increase over their existing model. by custom building, you are not just going after accuracy. you arre going for accuracy, ergonomic compatibility, aesthetics appearance and utility to best suit your personal needs.

the closest I have to custom rifles are my AR15s and they fit my needs/likes/wants to a T and that is just something that no AR15 that has been mass produced has every been able to claim.
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Old July 6, 2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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I have a stock 788 in 308 that is capable of sub moa and a custom ruger 77mkII hunting rifle that is a 1/4moa rifle. Is it worth it?? Heck yes. Both are rather plane looking but shoot well.
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Old July 6, 2013, 06:50 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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Factory vs Custom Rifle

I have a factory (except for a Jard trigger) Ruger M77 MkII in .204Ruger that routinely shoots under 1/2 MOA. I load for a factory (except a Timney trigger) Rem 700 in 22-250 that routinely shoots under 1/2 MOA.

For me, the attraction of custom rifles isn't accuracy, as I'm not into shooting anything that requires more, but getting what I want.

What if I don't want a blued, sporter profile, 24" barreled, plastic stock .243Win but instead want a stainless, fluted, Shilen #2 26" barrel in .243AI with a walnut stock?

Who's going to sell me that gun? Nobody. If I want it, I'm making it.
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Old July 6, 2013, 07:05 PM   #12
AllenJ
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^^ Ditto, except I want my next rifle to be a 7 WSM and a comp stock. Nobody is making the WSM in sporter rifles with 26" barrels so my only choice is to have one built. I don't see any problems with the accuracy of recently manufactured stock rifles, in fact I've been pretty impressed with some of the less expensive rifles on the market. They just don't make what I want.
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Old July 6, 2013, 07:30 PM   #13
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Man. I must shop in the wrong stores or something, or maybe it is I'm just a kludge when it comes to shooting, but I can count on one hand the number of factory rifles I have owned that will shoot "sub MOA all day long"...

Aside from aesthetics, there are mechanical reasons one would choose a custom rifle. 1). He can get it chambered in whatever cartridge he wants, and doesn't have to settle for a currently produced factory rifle chambering that is at best a compromise. 2) Barrel quality is doubtless much better than most factory offerings. 3) He can choose whatever barrel length or profile appeals to him. 4) The length of pull and other critical dimensions can be made to fit the owner. 5) The action can be made to much tighter dimensions. 6) The striker/lock time is typically faster with less moving mass to disturb the aim. 7) Triggers are generally several steps above factory offerings.

In essence, while there are factory rifles which will shoot very very well, there is a warm feeling to know that one has a quality firearm, a pride in ownership sort of thing.

Last edited by stubbicatt; July 6, 2013 at 07:56 PM.
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:21 PM   #14
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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Some build custom rifles to better fit them or their needs. Others build to have a more accurate rifle (benchrest rifles or example). I have a stock 700 that shoots around1/2 MOA. I have a 300WM that was custom built that shoots around 1/3 MOA. It was built as a a competition rifle or the builder. I talked him out of it and he just finished a 7mm to replace it. Is the added accuracy worth the price of the custom rifle? It is to me but probably not to the average shooter. Accuracy can be improved somewhat by a us ton rifle, but as everyone has said, modern factory built rifles are very,very accurate.

Although I have had 2 Savages and 3 Remington's that would not shoot MOA out of the box. My father has a pre 64 Win model 70 in .338win mag that is around 1&1/4 MOA.


Bart B. Hit the nail on the head or my opinion of custom rifles...
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:54 PM   #15
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbicat
I can count on one hand the number of factory rifles I have owned that will shoot "sub MOA all day long"...
Do you handload?

My Ruger (and the Rem) was sub-MOA before I handloaded but it was more like 3/4.

Now, it shoots like this (0.368 MOA) regularly and virtually never over 1/2 MOA at 100. I'd have to shoot it blindfolded to get to an inch.

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Old July 6, 2013, 08:57 PM   #16
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I hate to say accuracy is over rated, but for hunting rifles, the average hunting rifle will shoot inside the unsupported hold of a shooter. Now if there is nice flat spot with an unobstructed view to put a bi pod rest, the accuracy of shooter with his rifle goes up, but in the brambly woody woods were I live, you can’t see 50 yards at ground level, not even power line cuts are clear to the ground.

For a hunting rifle, this pre 64 300 H&H shoots fine with its factory barrel. It has been bedded and the stock cut for a rubber buttpad. Those modifications reduced its value as a collectable.





For target rifles, target shooters customize the heck out of their rifles to get the ultimate in performance. There have been a few rifles that “out of the box” qualify as target rifles, but even so, once a target shooter gets his hand on one of those, they change barrels, modify the handstop, add a special buttplate, and the rifle ends up highly customized. While some may believe (or hope) that customized rifles keep their value, all the time I see customized target rifles being offered for far less than what the owner put into the rifle. You put a custom trigger in the action you won't get 100% of the value of that trigger back. You see.

I have been shooting small bore of late, this is a factory correct M37 Remington. These are rare. What M37’s I do see, the stock has been discarded or cut, barrel changed out, and all original M37’s are worth more, sometimes substantially more than any customized version.



Bernard Levine has an excellent section in “Levine’s guide to knives” on the value of handmade knives, and custom rifles follow the same trend. Levine says
Quote:
“ Because the collector market for hand-made knives is overwhelmingly a fashion market, some of its features are counterintuitive”.
I am of the opinion that custom rifles follow the same fashion market model. When the maker is alive and influencing others, the name recognition is high. When the maker folds or dies, his work appears old and obsolete. There are only a few old and dead makers whose custom rifles are highly collectable and very valuable, and this is primarily due to the exposure they get in Gun Magazines. I am of the opinion this is how Gunwriters enhance the value of their rifles from their collections. These guys pump and dump.

How much would you pay extra to have this name on your barrel?

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Old July 6, 2013, 09:45 PM   #17
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You do so to pay homage to the custom builder. The best are the best, and compare to Van Gogh in the painting world.

My gunsmith won the Wimbledon Cup and was the armorer for the US Palma team. On top of that, he is the best!
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:39 PM   #18
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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Here is my 300WM at 100yds three shots(sorry not a five shot).

This is shooting a Mk248mod1 load. Which is a (Federal Cartridge Co.) US Army load.


Here is the same rifle shooting 302 yards, the group right above the heart area is just about an inch for three shots. Off of a bipod and rear bag.


Zoomed picture of the three shots. Also have video from today of me shooting a small 10" silhouette at the same distance.
[IMG][/IMG]

My stock SPS Tactical AAC-SD is the best factory shooting rifle I have and it maintains about 1/2-5/8 MOA. I will try to find the pics of it's groups... sorry they aren't on the iPad. I do usually handload, but with the 300WM the Army load is pretty good, so I just replicate it. So is the difference worth the extra $3500 in the custom rifle over a stock rifle (and that s before optics)... Not to most. To be honest a stock good shooting rifle is more than most ever need. I just wanted a competition rifle. Will this ever kill an animal, nope, just punch paper. But I honestly have a small fortune tied up in it and all of the work to make it. So yep, I don't blame most who will say I will take my stock 1/2 MOA for the price difference. Some will understand, some wont, I just wanted one of the best shooting rifles that I could afford. It has never been about bragging rights, it simply is about the feeling it gives me to shoot this rifle. I have seen rifles and shooters that will out shoot me and this rifle. It just goes back to, it is the best I can own and afford (without the wife killing me at least). So my answer is yes there is a difference, but it gets to where to gain just a slight bit of accuracy costs more than another stock rifle. It is like chasing horsepower in cars... I have seen people pay thousands for 25-35 horsepower...
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Old July 7, 2013, 12:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubbicatt
Man. I must shop in the wrong stores or something, or maybe it is I'm just a kludge when it comes to shooting, but I can count on one hand the number of factory rifles I have owned that will shoot "sub MOA all day long"..
The factories are getting better. There are a number of factory rifles that "will shoot MOA all day long" with good ammunition. It's not the holy grail it once was. Looking through my gun locker, I see four factory rifles that could be easily described as MOA rifles. It's just not uncommon any more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slamfire
I hate to say accuracy is over rated, but for hunting rifles, the average hunting rifle will shoot inside the unsupported hold of a shooter.
I wouldn't say that it's over-rated, but the average hunter (whatever that is) could probably use a 3 MOA rifle with no real handicap. Most whitetail deer in the US are killed inside 100 yards.

But, that's not to deny that a custom rifle has appeal. I've seen several that make me drool. Fine wood, good metalwork, close tolerances, and the fact that they shoot very accurately does nothing to diminish the appeal.

Wasn't it Townsend Whelen who said, "Only accurate rifles are interesting."
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Old July 9, 2013, 08:12 PM   #20
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While the factories are producing some fine shooting, and styled firearms there are still several reasons for "building your own".

As was already pointed out previously, accuracy. You probably will not get the accuracy out of a factory gun, as a built gun, unless you spend the money, and get one of the "tactical" or "sniper" rifles. Which start in the $1500 and well up range.

Some of us want something that simply is not made by the factory. Like some of the wildcat cartridges in different length barrels.
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Old July 9, 2013, 09:24 PM   #21
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Quote:
Some of us want something that simply is not made by the factory.
In years gone by, gunsmiths would take military rifles, usually a Mauser, and sporterize it. Some were artisans who bedded barrels full length of the stock, often using the finest woods, checkered beautifully, engraved metal, etc. They were works of art, but many didn't shoot as well as some tuned factory rifles.

One guy, a good, older and richer friend had a beautiful custom rifle and he tried to win a turkey at the local shoot. My wife and I couldn't get to the match until later in the afternoon, due to a family party. When we got there, he had come in second closest to the center of the 100 target 10 TIMES. My 7 month pregnant wife beat him by shooting a perfect pinwheel on her first shot, so he came in second again. On a bet by the other guys the previous week, I had taught her how to shoot early that morning, lying down and resting the rifle on the log.

Custom today often means the best barrels and actions, stocks, scopes, triggers, etc. Depending on how they're put together and fed, some are truly marvels. The gunsmith guild members are often still not into accuracy that much, especially when judging the several rifles that must be built for certification.

The moral of this story is: Choose your gunsmith wisely and make sure you get one that has a proven record of accuracy, if that's your goal. If time a big factor for you, you may not want to have a rifle built for you, but have a factory rifle accurized, which shouldn't take as much time.
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