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Old November 16, 2012, 03:31 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: November 22, 2006
Posts: 789
Can anyone comment on if I'm going about this right as I wont be buying this all at once but in pieces

1 = Gun
2 = Optic
3 = Stock
4 = Barrel
5 = Trigger
I undertook the exact same project a few years back, and here's how I approached it.
  1. I bought a Savage Stevens in 223. The Stevens action is the exact same as the other short actions, but it was exponentially less expensive. An added bonus on the Savage rifles is that if you opt to change to a different caliber later you can do so by swapping barrels, bolt heads, and magazines - all of which can easily be done at home.
  2. I purchased a Bushnell Elite 3200 10x Mil/Mil optic. I wanted to learn the mildot system, and after a lot of research settled on this optic based on what I had budgeted at the time. Optics are a whole different consideration, you'll probably want to do your own research and/or start some new threads when you get there. I did end up switching this summer to a Mueller APT, which is another budget priced mildot optic. I wanted something variable power through the summer since we were doing some varminting, and I've actually been really pleased with how the APT has worked and met my needs.
  3. I upgraded to a Bell and Carlson stock, and actually did this right after I purchased my optic. The factory Stevens stock is an absolute POS, we're talking almost not useable unless your shooting off hand all the time. I lucked out and found the B&C locally for sale used. Before I found it though, I did take the time to reinforce my Stephens stock with some epoxy and an aluminum arrow shaft. I also fashioned a little cheek riser from some PVC that helped get my eye in the correct position. Bottom line is that you can make a factory stock work for a while, but you won't want to use it for long if precision shooting is your goal. This is another reason I like the Stevens rifles for a project gun: Why pay more for a stock you're planning to replace anyway?
  4. My plan was to replace my barrel eventually, but I honestly haven't had the need yet. The factory barrel is plenty accurate out to 600 yards with my handloads, and even though it's a sporter profile it still doesn't heat up too quickly or shift all that much since it's a 223. So I might just end up staying with the factory barrel until I switch calibers, which I'm considering this Spring. If you get onto the Savage Shooters' Forum you'll also find a lot of used barrels for sale if you want to upgrade it, many of which are factory take off's in the heavy barrel or varmint profile. It's an economical route to go if you want to replace yours.
  5. I haven't replaced my trigger yet either since there are plenty of mods you can do to get a nice crisp trigger with the stock parts. There are aftermarket options, but a little polishing and change of the trigger spring have gotten me a trigger with which I'm more than happy.

Hope that helps a little, and hope you have as much fun doing this project as I have.
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