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Thread: Custom thoughts

  1. #1

    Custom thoughts

    I'm thinking seriously about having a semi-custom rifle made after seeing some inspiration on here (moses and claret dabler for starters!). I'm not going to rush into anything, it's going to be something I research carefully (and save up for!!) over the next few months but as I've never spec'd up a custom before I'd appreciate some thoughts from those more experienced on SD

    I'm currently thinking of 6.5x47, sako 75 action bedded in a mcmillan stock but after that it's a pretty blank canvas so any thoughts and recommendations welcome, particularly with regard who to undertake the project for me.

  2. #2
    75, sorry to be the cause of such distress... 8)

    I will suggest that if you are planning a rifle to be a practical stalking tool ( as opposed to a varminter or tactical rig ) to be used with a mod, think short on the barrel, like 20" - 21" maximum. My 260rem has a 22" barrel and it will be losing 2" this spring. This vastly improves the balance of the rifle, particularly when it is slung over the shoulder - which is where it spends most of it's life. It might cost 50-100fps, but so what?

    OK, now you have a 20" rifle with a mod, think of a chambering that you can get the best velocity return from this short barrel. I don't know much about a 6.5x47 but it is very similar to the 260rem, so it must work. I think you will get your best return from a 308 case, so that's 260, 7/08 or 308.

    Chris Blackburn built mine, but there are a few decent smiths out there, Mike Norris and Neill McKillop come to mind. Steve Kershaw is very good but very slow.

  3. #3
    Thanks for your comments CD. I had my current sako 75 cut down to 20", so with you on that one - improved the handling hugely. Interested in your comment about getting better returns from a 308 case though, and 260 was in the mix but I'm marginally favouring the 6.5 - don't ask me why

    Neil McKillop is definitely on the list (he chopped the barrel for me) as he's just along the road, but wasn't sure of his capabilty with regard to customs.

  4. #4
    75, maybe we should think about the case / velocity thing differently, assuming you hand load.

    To get the best velocity return, and lowest noise through the mod, you want a cartridge / bullet combination which uses powder towards the faster end of the burn chart. If you are using a slow powder like H4831, N160 or RL22 through a short barrel and mod, you are not going to enjoy it.

    You want to burn a faster powder, think along the lines Varget, Benchmark (my current favourite in the 260 and a 22/250), RL15, something in this burn range will give the best return.

  5. #5
    or VV n135 in the .308. You can get away with a sub 20" barrel on a .308 (say 18.5") and still have a very practical stalking rifle.
    My Tikka groups in the .3s with 165gr game kings and a stubby barrel.

    For a practical deer management tool I reckon the .308 is hard to beat with a short barrel and moderator.



  6. #6
    OK, faster powder with a shorter barrel noted - thanks.

    Any other recommendations on the build itself - without going down the calibre debate route!!

  7. #7
    75: I don't know about the UK, but here in the US the 6.5x47 Lapua is $130/100 US for brass. Are you sure you want to be tied to that?? A better choice is perhaps the 6.5 Hornady Creedmoor...that is if you are stuck on the 6.5 bullet. Both of these are really target cartridges and for hunting, a 6.5x55 would do as well. JMHO of course.~Muir

  8. #8
    If you do decide to go down the custon route, my only advice is to remember that you are the customer. By all means take the riflesmiths advice but make your own decisions on what you want rather than being pressurised into using components that they have laying around. If you are spending a lot of money make sure you do it right. Also, get a definite delivery date and total price, if the guy can't or won't do this for whatever reason then that may be your que to look elsewhere. As you can probably guess, I speak from the experience of being badly let down by a well known part time riflesmith. No names but it was none of those mentioned above. JC

  9. #9

    Neil McKillop did the work on my Sako 75 in 7-08 for me , and I cant speak highly enough of his work and advice.

    The rifle was rebarrelled 22" LW 1450 profile fluted, bedded into a McSwirly, fitted with NEAR rail and Rechnagel rings. Trigger was worked and lighter spring fitted, a larger bolt knob fitted and the bolt fluted. It shoots 140 Accubonds or BTs into less than .3 MOA at 2830 fps.

    If Neil is close by you, he would be the first choice IMHO.

    I've posted these previously, but to save searching ...

  10. #10
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    Going custom or bespoke will leave you with a rifle that costs more than something "off the peg" yet has probably less re-sale value than what you would pay new for an "off the peg" weapon.

    I would seriously give it some careful thought. You can't kill any animal deader than dead and personally I would prefer to:

    a) Keep the money in my family's pocket
    b) Fit the best optics you can afford
    c) Use a decent, accurate, factory made "off the peg" rifle.

    So my own personal choice is a bog standard Parker Hale M81 with a choice of three optics depending on what I am doing: Zeiss Diatal C 4x32; Zeiss Diatal C 6x32; Zeiss Diavari C 3-9x36.

    I am thinking about a bespoke 280 Remington an an old Belgian re-barreled Nazi Mauser 98K with a Nickel Marburg 'scope that I have in a corner cuboard that I picked up but now that the cost is going to be approaching 500 plus just for the 'scope mounts I want!

    So my advice if you really are going to enjoy it then fine. But to me enjoying a rifle means blue steel and walnut in the Holland or finest American "custom" style of Duane Wiebe or others.

    If I were going with a plastic stock I'd think about some of the good continental "off the peg" that have that already but to me it makes the arm too much a "killing machine" rather than an item with aesthetic enjoyment.

    Plastic looks good on an SLR - and I still wish I had mine - or similar but practical as it is it doesn't give me enjoyment on a stalking rifle. It is efficient and better than walnut but just too clinical.

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