First Rifle Build

rootacres

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Jan 5, 2018
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241
Hello All,

I am going to climb down the rabbit hole. After taking my Ridgeline out to the 600 yd range and ringing steel on the first shot you could say I am hooked. I am going to do a 7mm rem mag, that should be a great do all rifle and I like the way the 7mm kicks the wind. The intended purpose of this rifle is a lighter weight hunting package. SO I do have a few questions.

Question #1
I am looking doing a McGowen 24" 1:9 twist barrel, my question is, should I be concerned about doing too thin of a profile on a 7 mag? Is a fluted ultralight sporter (#1) too skinny for a 7 mag, or a fluted #2 for that matter?

Question #2
I want to do a pre fit barrel with threading, muzzle brake and cerakote options. What other companies are there than McGowen? Carbon Six has a 3.5 month lead time. Proof doesn't finish the barrels. Any suggestions?

Build List:
Blueprinted Rem 700 action (Unless I score on Tikka to use as a donor soon)
Manners MCS-EH1 Stock
McGowen 1:9 7 mag barrel (Fluted #2 Contour?)
BDL Bottom Metal
Timney Calvin Elite Trigger
DNZ Rings
Vortex Razor HD LHT 3-15x42

Ammo:
I reload and have had great luck with accubonds, but will probably also look at some Bergers and ELD-Xs.
 
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jmcmath

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Mar 27, 2017
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Fluting. A #1 is about a waste unless you just want the aesthetics of flutes. That’s already an utterly tiny barrel, and I think McGowan will only make them 22” long.

You mention a lighter rifle... is an ultralight what you want out of this rifle? Your barrel makes it seem like yes, but a 7mag isn’t exactly an “ultralight” rifle cartridge usually. It’s a long magnum that has decent recoil in a standard package, much less a lightweight.

than manners eh1 is going to run around 30 ounces without bedding, so it’s not an ultralight either. The proof research stocks at stockys, or a wildcat composites would be much more suited to an ultralite build. As it is now I think you’re building a very average weight rifle and putting a teeny barrel on it.

What do you want the bare rifle to weigh?
 
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rootacres

rootacres

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Jan 5, 2018
Messages
241
Fluting. A #1 is about a waste unless you just want the aesthetics of flutes. That’s already an utterly tiny barrel, and I think McGowan will only make them 22” long.

You mention a lighter rifle... is an ultralight what you want out of this rifle? Your barrel makes it seem like yes, but a 7mag isn’t exactly an “ultralight” rifle cartridge usually. It’s a long magnum that has decent recoil in a standard package, much less a lightweight.

than manners eh1 is going to run around 30 ounces without bedding, so it’s not an ultralight either. The proof research stocks at stockys, or a wildcat composites would be much more suited to an ultralite build. As it is now I think you’re building a very average weight rifle and putting a teeny barrel on it.

What do you want the bare rifle to weigh?
Lighter weight yes, but by no means ultralight. I don't need a sub 6lb rifle but I definitely don't want to be lugging around a 10+ pounder either. I just wanted to have a more vertical grip on the stock as opposed to a sporter style. And I feel more comfortable taking on elk sized game with a 7 mag out to 600 yds than compared to the calibers found in most ultralight mountain hunting packages. I just saw the barrel as an area to trim a little fat and thought a lighter contour could be an option being that this rifle won't need to sustain a lot of shooting at once. I'll have to check out the Wildcat composites.
 

jmcmath

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Mar 27, 2017
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Gotcha, if you want a vertical grip the wildcat isn’t what you’re looking for it’s more of a natural sporter style.

I think starting with the tikka would save you some weight in the action area, and let you run a slightly thicker barrel for the same weight range of rifle. A stock tikka in 7mag is around 6.5 pounds, that’s about perfect for what you would want it seems. take that platform and do a shouldered prefit for a custom barrel and a carbon stock and you would have a more balanced rifle IMO at the same weight. (In my head I think you’re build is about 6.5-6.8 pounds bare)
 
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rootacres

rootacres

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Gotcha, if you want a vertical grip the wildcat isn’t what you’re looking for it’s more of a natural sporter style.

I think starting with the tikka would save you some weight in the action area, and let you run a slightly thicker barrel for the same weight range of rifle. A stock tikka in 7mag is around 6.5 pounds, that’s about perfect for what you would want it seems. take that platform and do a shouldered prefit for a custom barrel and a carbon stock and you would have a more balanced rifle IMO at the same weight. (In my head I think you’re build is about 6.5-6.8 pounds bare)
That Remington KS Tac Hunter on Wildcats website does appear to have a more vertical grip. We will see, I'm going to shop around for a Tikka before ordering a barrel. My dad has a superlite in 300 win mag and the action seems pretty awesome compared to a standard rem 700.
 
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rootacres

rootacres

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What grain bullet are you trying to shoot? How much are you looking to spend on this whole project?
Probably a max of 180gr but likely landing somewhere between the 162 ELDX and 175gr Bergers. Minus optics it looks like it’ll be in the $2000-$2500 range.
 

Savagehunter

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Mar 4, 2017
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Straight jacket armory benchmark stainless prefit or they will chamber up a proof prefit for you. Just ordered a 6.5x284 proof for my nucleus action. 6weeks lead time for carbon
 
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rootacres

rootacres

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Not to be rude but...





And that rifle will do nothing over a factory Tikka.


How many elk have you killed at 600 yards?
I hear ya, and honestly we could play that game with many rifles. Custom / Semi-custom vs Tikka. A Chevy will drive you to work just as good as an Audi. I honestly just think it would be fun project and I feel it would be cool to go hunt with a rifle I put together. A bone stock Tikka would get the job done but I don't want a plastic fantastic stock, Id like to have a muzzle brake, upgraded trigger, premium barrel etc. By doing a build I get everything I want and nothing that I don't.

Have I killed elk at 600yds? I have not, some of the areas I have gone and will be going 600yds is not out of the realm of possibility. The longest range I have access to is 600 yds so if I'm proficient at that distance and a big bull walks out at 605 yds on the last day of a $10k hunt. I want to feel comfortable with weapon I brought on the trip.
 

Formidilosus

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Have I killed elk at 600yds? I have not, some of the areas I have gone and will be going 600yds is not out of the realm of possibility. The longest range I have access to is 600 yds so if I'm proficient at that distance and a big bull walks out at 605 yds on the last day of a $10k hunt. I want to feel comfortable with weapon I brought on the trip.

Not quite the same as Chevy versus Audi. Well... actually taking a R700 and assembling it IS akin to taking a Chevy Malibu and modding it over a factory Audi (Tikka)- to use your example.


I have zero personal interest and zero desire to change your mind, but you did ask for help. The standard response you are going to get is “I just bought X, you should get it”.


However you’re stated criteria are-

“lighter weight hunting package”

“Vertical grip”

“Elk at 600 yards”.



Taking objective performance and not “wants” or “opinions”- the answers are rather easy.


The first is the action: There is no amount of money that will make a R700 as good a shooting implement as a T3. The 700 action and and trigger will never be as reliable or smooth as a Tikka. The only thing that the 700 offers over a T3 is COAL for true magnums. However, sub 1k’ish yards, I would absolutely pick a cartridge that fits in a T3 over any “better” round that only works in a 700.

Vertical grip: The T3x stock has a very good vertical grip that is swappable for the standard. Other than that, the only lighter weight stock for a T3 that is designed correctly for distance shooting is the Axial Precision. Vertical grip, negative comb with top of butt pad above bore line, generally neutral forend. If performance is the goal and not just bling, it does not make sense to spend more money to get a worse designed stock (however slight), or stock with no performance benefit.


Elk at 600: The big one, and the one that should be driving every other decision is “Elk at 600 yards”. Emphasis on 600. Killing an elk, or any animal at 600 yards is about hitting vitals with enough remaining velocity on the projectile at impact to initiate upset with sufficient penetration, AND the ability to quickly and correctly make follow up shots. Emphasis on hitting and quick and correct follow up shots. Elk at 600 in a relatively light rifle? I’ll take a 6.5 Creedmoor everytime over a magnum of any flavor. .7 BC, low recoil and cost allowing a thousand to two thousand rounds a year practice, seeing every impact through the scope, extremely quick repeat shots, and plenty of terminal performance negates any advantage the magnum offers for the vast majority of people. Having used both magnums and small cartridges past 600 yards multiple times on elk, I’ll take the smaller cartridges.


Do you have a practice rifle?
 
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rootacres

rootacres

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Jan 5, 2018
Messages
241
Not quite the same as Chevy versus Audi. Well... actually taking a R700 and assembling it IS akin to taking a Chevy Malibu and modding it over a factory Audi (Tikka)- to use your example.


I have zero personal interest and zero desire to change your mind, but you did ask for help. The standard response you are going to get is “I just bought X, you should get it”.


However you’re stated criteria are-

“lighter weight hunting package”

“Vertical grip”

“Elk at 600 yards”.



Taking objective performance and not “wants” or “opinions”- the answers are rather easy.


The first is the action: There is no amount of money that will make a R700 as good a shooting implement as a T3. The 700 action and and trigger will never be as reliable or smooth as a Tikka. The only thing that the 700 offers over a T3 is COAL for true magnums. However, sub 1k’ish yards, I would absolutely pick a cartridge that fits in a T3 over any “better” round that only works in a 700.

Vertical grip: The T3x stock has a very good vertical grip that is swappable for the standard. Other than that, the only lighter weight stock for a T3 that is designed correctly for distance shooting is the Axial Precision. Vertical grip, negative comb with top of butt pad above bore line, generally neutral forend. If performance is the goal and not just bling, it does not make sense to spend more money to get a worse designed stock (however slight), or stock with no performance benefit.


Elk at 600: The big one, and the one that should be driving every other decision is “Elk at 600 yards”. Emphasis on 600. Killing an elk, or any animal at 600 yards is about hitting vitals with enough remaining velocity on the projectile at impact to initiate upset with sufficient penetration, AND the ability to quickly and correctly make follow up shots. Emphasis on hitting and quick and correct follow up shots. Elk at 600 in a relatively light rifle? I’ll take a 6.5 Creedmoor everytime over a magnum of any flavor. .7 BC, low recoil and cost allowing a thousand to two thousand rounds a year practice, seeing every impact through the scope, extremely quick repeat shots, and plenty of terminal performance negates any advantage the magnum offers for the vast majority of people. Having used both magnums and small cartridges past 600 yards multiple times on elk, I’ll take the smaller cartridges.


Do you have a practice rifle?
Yeah, I guess not much of this lands in the "Question 1" or "Question 2" portion of the post and the thread title wasn't "Sell me on a Tikka". I did state in the OP that if I scored a Tikka I would use that platform as the donor action, I am even considering doing a Bighorn or something along those lines.

It is interesting on how many of these posts turn into a caliber debate. Theres no question that a 6.5 CM will have less recoil than a magnum. If you want to chuck 6.5's at elk at 600 yds then go for it. The high bc bullets in the 7mm at the velocities a Rem Mag can throw them makes the terminal performance attractive to many in the hunting world.

Basically I want to build a rifle, it looks like it would be a fun project. My intended use is X and the caliber I'm doing it in is 7mm Rem Mag. The manners stocks (among others) look very nice to me, maybe the T3x is perfect for you. It seems like there are a bunch of them for sale on the classifieds, you could clean up. I think there is something to using a very ridged well built aftermarket stock. It seems I'm not alone in this, that's one of the first upgrades many people make. Maybe rem 700 triggers are garbage, I happen to like the trigger tech I currently have and I have messed around with a few timneys, they seem nice too.

I don't have a practice rifle. Just a 300 WSM Ridgeline and some whitetail guns that barely count because of the restricted areas I hunt in.
 

HGL

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Jul 17, 2018
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I just did a pre-fit build on a Bighorn. Got the barrel from Preferred Barrel Blanks. They offer threading, fluting, cerakote and what not.

Great prices and had it in 5 weeks. Shoots just as good as my other custom barrels (Bartlein, Brux, Rock, Proof).
 
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rootacres

rootacres

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241
I just did a pre-fit build on a Bighorn. Got the barrel from Preferred Barrel Blanks. They offer threading, fluting, cerakote and what not.

Great prices and had it in 5 weeks. Shoots just as good as my other custom barrels (Bartlein, Brux, Rock, Proof).
Did you do the barrel instal yourself? The more I look at these bighorns the more I like them. I may just have to go that route.
 

30338

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Jun 2, 2013
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For whatever reason I like old Rem 700 actions, TT triggers and either Hawk Hill or Benchmark barrels. I'd go unfluted #2 in either of those barrels. Last Benchmark I ordered took 2 weeks. Check out the McMillan Game Scout. I like that vertical grip a lot and its relatively light in carbon. Save the money on barrel fluting, no significant weight savings. I'd chop it at 24" and would not brake it. Down the road buy a suppressor and chop it at 20 or 22. 8, 8.3, or 8.7 twist.

There has been a guy trying to selling older 700 actions on either longrangehunting or here or snipershide. The older ones would probably need minimal if any truing.

Not a Tikka fan, just never warmed up to them. I could easily just go with a 6.5-284 or 6.5 Creedmoor for elk to 600, but have also seen a 7mm Remington do great work out to 700 and beyond on critters. When it comes to optics, listen to Form and you'll be way happier.

Something like this
 

HGL

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Did you do the barrel instal yourself? The more I look at these bighorns the more I like them. I may just have to go that route.
I did, pretty easy even if you have average mechanical skills, like me. Viper barrel vise, torqued it down to 75 lbs with the bighorn action wrench, checked headspace with Go and NoGo gauges and went shooting.

18" 6.5 CM

IMG_2336.JPGIMG_2337.JPGIMG_2366.JPG
 

Droppndrakes

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missouri
What did your build list look like? Thanks
I went defiance deviant with a Bartlein light Palma and really like them both but that’s a little different direction then you are looking for. I would definitely recommend the EH-1 though it is fantastic. This was my upgrade from a Christensen as well and there is no comparison.
 

Lawnboi

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I’m doing my first build as well, and have done a crap load of reading. Just thought I’d mention a few things.

Actions ability to take pre fit, shouldered barrels. This is a nice feature and almost a must if your buying a new action. However it’s still cost prohibitive to screw on your own barrel, you need a vise, wrench, torque driver, and go/no go gauges. While nice for someone changing or burning barrels, might be easier to just send it all to a gunsmith for a build especially a lightweight magnum that probably won’t see the volume. Having the prefits as an option leaves you with options beyond just being able to put your own barrel on, you can still keep a chambered barrel ready and have minimal down time. Resale on the action is going to be much higher as well.

I’d read more on thin barrels. Especially if you want to thread on a brake, and on a light weigh 7 rem mag id want a suppressor or a brake on it. Getting brakes that fit, and threading those thin muzzles gets grey. A carbon barrel may be something worth a look if you want to maintain some meat while keeping weight down. Those thin contour barrels are often shorter than normal blanks as well.

Manners is 6 + months out on stocks. Order as soon as you know what you want. I went with their mini chassis for bdl on an eh1 for my build. A Bartlein 4 contour will be going on this rifle, not lightweight, but I wanted it to take 5/8x24 threads @24” for my suppressor, and not be a PITA on longer shots.

If you don’t already have a 700 in hand its probably going to be cost prohibitive to buy one and add all the stuff an entry level custom would have. Part of the reason I went with a defiance tenacity for my build.

I own three tikkas but wouldnt build a 7 rem mag on one. I have a custom tikka in the works, along with my 700 clone build.

Worth mentioning if you plan to reload or not.

Where do you live? Look around for reputable gunsmiths. Unless you plan to do it all yourself?

This is all coming from a guy who dumped a Christensen arms for a tikka
 
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