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Centerfire Rifles - Manually Operated Lever action, bolt action or other non gas operated centerfire rifles.

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  #1  
Old 01-18-2020, 11:47 PM
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Default Building a bolt gun

Hello everyone I'm interested in putting together my first bolt gun. I've been doing some research on the interweb and think that I kind of got an idea what is involved. This is for fun, im not a pro shooter nor am I a competition shooter. Anyway I'm trying to do this on a lower budget but get a decent sub moa rifle out of it. I've been thinking of the Bighorn origin action. Seems like a good action at a good price point. From my reading the Origin comes with a small shank savage pre fit threading. So, I've seen quite a bit of options for pre fit savage barrels, so I haven't decided on one yet. Then I figured I would throw it into a KRG bravo stock. So, I don't plan on hunting or anything, just target shooting.

I'm not a gunsmith or anything so I'm looking for a way to put an accurate rifle together without having a gunsmith do any work on it. I know I'll need go and no go gauges for the barrel install, but that part seems easy. Am I missing anything? Is this doable or am I forgetting something big?
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:12 AM
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I've been think about it but haven't done any research yet so I'll just follow this thread. Seems like fun, good luck.
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Old 01-19-2020, 1:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jkgts1 View Post
Hello everyone I'm interested in putting together my first bolt gun. I've been doing some research on the interweb and think that I kind of got an idea what is involved. This is for fun, im not a pro shooter nor am I a competition shooter. Anyway I'm trying to do this on a lower budget but get a decent sub moa rifle out of it. I've been thinking of the Bighorn origin action. Seems like a good action at a good price point. From my reading the Origin comes with a small shank savage pre fit threading. So, I've seen quite a bit of options for pre fit savage barrels, so I haven't decided on one yet. Then I figured I would throw it into a KRG bravo stock. So, I don't plan on hunting or anything, just target shooting.

I'm not a gunsmith or anything so I'm looking for a way to put an accurate rifle together without having a gunsmith do any work on it. I know I'll need go and no go gauges for the barrel install, but that part seems easy. Am I missing anything? Is this doable or am I forgetting something big?
Besides headspace gauges, you will also need barrel vise and action wrench.

I can usually headspace a barrel nut barrel on to an action for less than you can buy just the gauges.
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Old 01-19-2020, 4:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jkgts1 View Post
Hello everyone I'm interested in putting together my first bolt gun. I've been doing some research on the interweb and think that I kind of got an idea what is involved. This is for fun, im not a pro shooter nor am I a competition shooter. Anyway I'm trying to do this on a lower budget but get a decent sub moa rifle out of it. I've been thinking of the Bighorn origin action. Seems like a good action at a good price point. From my reading the Origin comes with a small shank savage pre fit threading. So, I've seen quite a bit of options for pre fit savage barrels, so I haven't decided on one yet. Then I figured I would throw it into a KRG bravo stock. So, I don't plan on hunting or anything, just target shooting.

I'm not a gunsmith or anything so I'm looking for a way to put an accurate rifle together without having a gunsmith do any work on it. I know I'll need go and no go gauges for the barrel install, but that part seems easy. Am I missing anything? Is this doable or am I forgetting something big?
you can buy prefit barrels for just about any action made now days whether they are shouldered or use a nut so easier/better just to buy a shouldered barrel spin it on torque to 75-100fp and done no need for head space gauges but youll still need a vise and action wrench.

you can get a nice vise for around $60-$80 bucks i have this one and have changed over 30 barrels with it...my vise is a davidson form brownells but same design.

http://www.pmatool.com/barrel-vise-by-viper/

action wrench you can get form big horn or what ever action manufacturer you decide to go with.

trigger....i just switched from a 2 stage bix n andy to the trigger tech diamond and will say that ill be swapping out the BnA on my vudoo for a TT next week.

stock/chassis...the bravo is a good choice they make a ton of up grades for them so its a great start

scope...sense you doing a budget build id look at vortex...there is a LOT of inexpensive scope out now days...i looked through a new scope a couple of weeks ago called a riton...really nice glass and tree reticle...also the athlon line.

you can put a real nice rifle together for about $3000 + or - a couple hundred bucks.
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Old 01-19-2020, 9:22 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Yeah I figured I would need a action wrench and a vise of some kind. Scope I can think about later down the road. If I build this its going to be a slow build as not to piss off the wife lol. I was thinking about this because I have a Remington 700 that I have had for 10 years. And was thinking if I need a new barrel I would have to take it to a smith again. Then I learned that there are Remage barrels now. This blew my mind hahaha. I was really into long range in the beginning of my shooting interest, that's what got me into guns. Then over the years with life and family I drifted away and now im into it again. So, I'm just now catching up and researching. Do you guys think that a correctly installed, shouldered barrel, will be more accurate then a pre-fit deal?
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Old 01-19-2020, 9:56 AM
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OK, I have to ask. What's the whole purpose - a DIY rifle or a consistent (same POI for a given POA every time) shooter? What's the budget? If it's consistency you're after, do you plan to reload or are you just going to use factory ammunition? How often do you plan on shooting it?
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:08 AM
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Sending an action to a gunsmith isn't that bad anymore to get a barrel cut for your action. Spin off the old barrel, then send the barrel to a gunsmith who already have uncut barrels in stock. Choose your cartridge (most good ones will already have the reamer for the most common cartridges) and then wait for it to come back. If you are okay with sending your 700 barreled action to a smith, they can do all the assembly and you will not need an action wrench or barrel vice either and it eliminates the need for you to get gauges and you get a barrel cut to your action.

Most recreational shooters will not burn out a barrel so if you're not going through many barrels just get one that you know is headspace to your action.

Accuracy wise, I don't see a huge difference since i did have a RPR at one point, but there is just something about barrel nuts on bolt actions that I prefer to stay away from.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jkgts1 View Post
Do you guys think that a correctly installed, shouldered barrel, will be more accurate then a pre-fit deal?
A prefit barrel will never be as accurate as a properly shouldered barrel, at least if you have a competent smith put it together correctly. Now, in the hands of the average shooter they may not be able to tell the difference or be able to use the rifle to its full potential, especially without handloads.

Every barrel in existence today is crooked to some degree, some more than others. With a prefit you will never get your barrel properly timed to 12oclock. So essentially your barrels will all be timed incorrectly. Will you notice the difference, probably not. With the proper tooling you may be able to time your barrel with a prefit, but that will also affect your headspace. It's really up to you what level of quality you want.
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2020, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by JackEllis View Post
OK, I have to ask. What's the whole purpose - a DIY rifle or a consistent (same POI for a given POA every time) shooter? What's the budget? If it's consistency you're after, do you plan to reload or are you just going to use factory ammunition? How often do you plan on shooting it?
Its just for fun. I like to d DIY when I can. I mainly shoot at steel, so im not shooting F-class on paper. Currently I can go out to 500yrds or so. Im trying to build a rifle minus scope for about $2000. I know I can pick up a good rifle for less than that, but where would the fun be? I only get to shoot when I have time maybe once a month. I work full time and have 2 little ones so my free time is not so free. I do reload currently.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:35 AM
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A prefit barrel will never be as accurate as a properly shouldered barrel, at least if you have a competent smith put it together correctly. Now, in the hands of the average shooter they may not be able to tell the difference or be able to use the rifle to its full potential, especially without handloads.

Every barrel in existence today is crooked to some degree, some more than others. With a prefit you will never get your barrel properly timed to 12oclock. So essentially your barrels will all be timed incorrectly. Will you notice the difference, probably not. With the proper tooling you may be able to time your barrel with a prefit, but that will also affect your headspace. It's really up to you what level of quality you want.
Yep that's what I figured. Yeah not sure how much clocking/ timing will matter with a joe schmo like me lol. Plus I would love to shoot as far as my equipment allows, but where I live, im limited.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:16 AM
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If I build this its going to be a slow build as not to piss off the wife lol.
...

Then over the years with life and family I drifted away and now im into it again.
I asked because of what you said above.

Reloading is cheaper. It's DIY. It's something you can teach your kids. It's a continuous science experiment (which is what attracted me). The only downside is the risk of lead dust but that can be managed.

My second best shooter is a Howa 1500 in .223 with a varmint barrel and a relatively inexpensive scope I bought used for less than $600. It was originally sold as a package deal. It's unmodified and does MOA or less with hand loaded, pulled 62 grain boat tail bullets.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:32 AM
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I asked because of what you said above.

Reloading is cheaper. It's DIY. It's something you can teach your kids. It's a continuous science experiment (which is what attracted me). The only downside is the risk of lead dust but that can be managed.

My second best shooter is a Howa 1500 in .223 with a varmint barrel and a relatively inexpensive scope I bought used for less than $600. It was originally sold as a package deal. It's unmodified and does MOA or less with hand loaded, pulled 62 grain boat tail bullets.
For sure I enjoy reloading and it is a constant experiment, its something you can dive into way deep. I have found myself looking and all kind of things precision guys do when reloading. I have to stop myself and say "I don't need to do all that." I picked up a howa 1500 in 308 a few months ago, sadly I have not sat on a bench to see how accurate it is yet. It was $299 at tuners so I couldn't pass it up haha. I took it to the desert but just fired a few rounds to be on paper. I was sitting on the floor and using a wobbly seat as a bench.

Last edited by jkgts1; 01-19-2020 at 11:45 AM..
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:42 PM
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I picked up a howa 1500 in 308 a few months ago, sadly I have not sat on a bench to see how accurate it is yet. ... I was sitting on the floor and using a wobbly seat as a bench.
For reasons I can't quite explain, I get my best results shooting from a tripod or sticks.
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Old 01-19-2020, 1:28 PM
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For your purposes buy a barrel from Grizzly Bruno's or someone like that who has the barrel in stock.
You can then save up more money and get the dies.
Since you reload already your way ahead of the game.
Pick a cartridge that the F-Class or Benchrest guys use as they will consistently shoot small groups.
Make sure the cartridge you choose has brass available from Lapua or pick a different cartridge.

Have a gunsmith who already has the reamer install the barrel and you will be way ahead of the curve.
You want a match type reamer not what is called a standard reamer.
The straighter you start a bullet down the barrel the better that gun will shoot. Match reamers have much tighter throats in order to keep the bullet in line with the bore.
SAAMI reamers are not your friend unless it is one of the most recent purpose built chamberings.
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Old 01-19-2020, 2:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jkgts1 View Post
Hello everyone I'm interested in putting together my first bolt gun. I've been doing some research on the interweb and think that I kind of got an idea what is involved. This is for fun, im not a pro shooter nor am I a competition shooter. Anyway I'm trying to do this on a lower budget but get a decent sub moa rifle out of it. I've been thinking of the Bighorn origin action. Seems like a good action at a good price point. From my reading the Origin comes with a small shank savage pre fit threading. So, I've seen quite a bit of options for pre fit savage barrels, so I haven't decided on one yet. Then I figured I would throw it into a KRG bravo stock. So, I don't plan on hunting or anything, just target shooting.
Also look at the mc3 stock from McMillan. It's almost as cheap as the KRG.

Wait a couple weeks until after SHOT to see if any new cheap actions are announced.
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Old 01-19-2020, 3:01 PM
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Its just for fun. I like to d DIY when I can. I mainly shoot at steel, so im not shooting F-class on paper. Currently I can go out to 500yrds or so. Im trying to build a rifle minus scope for about $2000. I know I can pick up a good rifle for less than that, but where would the fun be? I only get to shoot when I have time maybe once a month. I work full time and have 2 little ones so my free time is not so free. I do reload currently.
The $3k I posted included a gen2 pst type scope and rings so yes you can build a rifle minus scope for $2k
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Old 01-19-2020, 3:39 PM
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Pre-fit barrels are almost as expensive as paying a gunsmith to machine a barrel blank to your specific action.
I say almost because the pre-fit barrels are usually around $100 cheaper.
However, they are also usually made from barrel blanks that are $100 cheaper than a premium barrel like a Bartlein.
So the savings is primarily in the quality of the barrel.
Pre-fit barrels are bascially just fancy factory barrels.
With a pre-fit barrel, you don't get nearly as many options in barrel blank manufacturer, twist rate, rifling shape, chamberings etc.
You also can't time the barrel to the action so that you have more usable scope elevation travel and KNOW that any thermal drift will be on the vertical axis.
For someone just looking to save $100 who is not concerned with having a top quality barrel custom fitted to their action, they are a good option.
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Old 01-19-2020, 5:37 PM
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Yeah ^
custom barrel price to price, you are generally going to spend about the same but you get more from a blank fitted by a smith. However, it also depends how the smith charges, if you want a particular cartridge custom reamed for a particular loads free bore, and if running longer bullets, you may want faster twist rates. I have yet to see a pre fit barrel, even with a good gunsmith installing it, shoot better than a blank custom fitted and squared.
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Old 01-19-2020, 5:48 PM
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OP, for DIY, I went with the shouldered pre-fit barrel route. Torquing the bbl to the action.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s....php?t=1573177

I think the Zermatt Origin is the best value custom action right now.

The build without Magazine, Bipod, Sling is roughly $3200.
Accessories on the Bravo chassis brought the price up. KRG is also coming out with a tooless LOP buttpad for the Bravo too.

Without the chassis accessories and TT diamond i got on there it would be less than $3k with optics.

That however doesn't include the price for tools.

Last edited by DDRH; 01-20-2020 at 1:49 AM..
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Old 01-19-2020, 9:11 PM
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DDRH
Thanks for the info I didnít know about the shouldered pre fit.
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Old 01-19-2020, 9:16 PM
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Anyone know of a good smith in SoCal to do the work? Maybe I can get a more accurate estimate for the service and decide. When I had my 700 done it was done by a guy in Glendora, think he was a armorer for sheriff or PD, canít remember his name. But he finally moved out of state.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:18 PM
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Anyone know of a good smith in SoCal to do the work? Maybe I can get a more accurate estimate for the service and decide. When I had my 700 done it was done by a guy in Glendora, think he was a armorer for sheriff or PD, canít remember his name. But he finally moved out of state.
I know a guy.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:20 PM
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DDRH
Thanks for the info I didn’t know about the shouldered pre fit.
Shouldered pre-fit are only for specific actions with known breech depths.
These usually do NOT include mass produced guns as mass produced guns are generally not consistent enough to finish chamber a barrel and KNOW that the headspace will be within safe specs.

On actions like a 700 with separate recoil lugs, pre-fit barrels are usually short chambered and require finish chambering to set headspace since the lug thickness effects the headspace and the maker of a pre-fit barrel has no idea what lug thickness you will use.
I have had many people bring me their pre-fit barrels that will not headspace with the parts they bought thinking that it would just screw in and work.
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Last edited by ar15barrels; 01-19-2020 at 10:22 PM..
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:07 AM
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Shouldered pre-fit are only for specific actions with known breech depths.
These usually do NOT include mass produced guns as mass produced guns are generally not consistent enough to finish chamber a barrel and KNOW that the headspace will be within safe specs.

On actions like a 700 with separate recoil lugs, pre-fit barrels are usually short chambered and require finish chambering to set headspace since the lug thickness effects the headspace and the maker of a pre-fit barrel has no idea what lug thickness you will use.
I have had many people bring me their pre-fit barrels that will not headspace with the parts they bought thinking that it would just screw in and work.
Yep totally understand that part, just never seen that before.
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Old 01-20-2020, 7:12 PM
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Yep that's what I figured. Yeah not sure how much clocking/ timing will matter with a joe schmo like me lol. Plus I would love to shoot as far as my equipment allows, but where I live, im limited.
I think that by being in California we are all limited. however, from where you are there are a few good target clubs allowing out to 1k yards. with this new Shot Market stuff, I have a club north of Santa Maria looking to try 1500 yards or further.

As for your build here is my advice:
1. do what makes you happy and fits your budget
2. If you’re going for a budget build, go budget. don’t get a $1.5k action and a $200 barrel. instead go for a Ruger American or Remington (I'm prejudice against savage), and a prefit barrel, or use the factory barrel.
3. If you are going to build a custom rifle. Go full custom.
4. Go SHOOTING! To often we chase better rifles when the shooters need to just shoot more rounds down range. Or more often we shoot 2k rounds trying to find that perfect load when we just needed a consistent load.

Anyways those are my thoughts.
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Old 01-20-2020, 8:39 PM
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I went with a switch barrel setup...very simple
20170511_143510.jpg

20170511_143436-1.jpg
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:12 PM
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I went with a switch barrel setup...very simple
Attachment 866689

Attachment 866694
Good lookin gun. Any details you can share? Looks like a Remington action.
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Old 01-21-2020, 4:52 AM
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Good lookin gun. Any details you can share? Looks like a Remington action.
stick to your original plan dont let anyone talk you out of it because in the end you will not be happy.
the only thing id suggest changing if it were me...buy a bartlein blank and pay the couple of extra bucks and have Randell chamber and fit it to your action.
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Old 01-21-2020, 2:11 PM
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Good lookin gun. Any details you can share? Looks like a Remington action.
Remington 700 action...criterion remage setup...I was in your position at one point...I'm not a pro...I'm just an occasional shooter and this rifle is more than enough for my needs....I didnt want to spend thousands of dollars....i shoot with people with custom rifles costing 3x and i never felt at a disadvantage.

This is a couple groups at 100yards...but you should do what you feel suits your need or what you really want...I'm just sharing
20170115_132557.jpg

20170115_124813-1.jpg
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  #30  
Old 01-21-2020, 5:38 PM
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stick to your original plan dont let anyone talk you out of it because in the end you will not be happy.
the only thing id suggest changing if it were me...buy a bartlein blank and pay the couple of extra bucks and have Randell chamber and fit it to your action.
Oh for sure I'm just admiring the rifle.
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Old 01-21-2020, 5:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Patis View Post
Remington 700 action...criterion remage setup...I was in your position at one point...I'm not a pro...I'm just an occasional shooter and this rifle is more than enough for my needs....I didnt want to spend thousands of dollars....i shoot with people with custom rifles costing 3x and i never felt at a disadvantage.

This is a couple groups at 100yards...but you should do what you feel suits your need or what you really want...I'm just sharing
Attachment 866842

Attachment 866843
Very nice groups, thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-22-2020, 8:57 AM
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Unless you're planning on competing against stiff competition (and looking to win, if not give them a run for their money), I'd say a RemAge setup will do fine. In the end we're all taking what we've got and trying to do the best we can with it.

The advantage of a Rem-Age is the economy of assembly (no smith required, hence, no smith wait time); the disadvantage is the possibility of slightly degraded performance. You may or may not save money on the up front costs. Barrel replacement is straightforward, and the initial installation teaches you what you need to do, so it's quicker the second time.

I have both a switch barrel shouldered action (spin off the short range barrel, spin on the long range barrel - requires down time to fit a new barrel as the smith wants the action in hand, and he's not real fast); and a R700 RemAge setup for more casual shooting. Either way works for me.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:14 AM
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The advantage of a Rem-Age is the economy of assembly (no smith required, hence, no smith wait time); the disadvantage is the possibility of slightly degraded performance. You may or may not save money on the up front costs. Barrel replacement is straightforward, and the initial installation teaches you what you need to do, so it's quicker the second time.

I have both a switch barrel shouldered action (spin off the short range barrel, spin on the long range barrel - requires down time to fit a new barrel as the smith wants the action in hand, and he's not real fast); and a R700 RemAge setup for more casual shooting.
The advantage of having me fit a barrel is that the wait time is only 3-4 hours and you get to watch the work being done.
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Old 02-10-2020, 2:06 PM
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Depending on your budget i went with this howa 1500 SA 6.5 CM setup cost me around 499$ for the barreled action and the oryx chassis 400, diamondback tactical FFP optic 400$ dont have to add the other parts i had done but i am about 2300-2400$ into it with everything including the gunsmithing.
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Old 02-10-2020, 5:10 PM
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Op, you could save yourself a lot of dicking around by simply having Randall install a good quality barrel in the caliber of your choice, and in the exact configuration you prefer. If you decide to get more serious later about placing the bullets in distance targets, you will have the foundation you need without having to go from cheap to much better, and buying more tools to make that happen. You can enjoy assembling the rest of the components that don't require the specialized experience that a proper barrel install really does. And that experience WILL make a difference that is measurable.
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Old 02-11-2020, 8:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
The advantage of having me fit a barrel is that the wait time is only 3-4 hours and you get to watch the work being done.
Well, yeah, aside from the 7 hour drive down and another 7 back...

But I'm keeping you in mind, Randall.
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