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To build or not to build?


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#1 Toxic Shot

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:56 AM

So I've decided that I want to upgrade my deer rifle. The only thing I've decided on is the caliber 6.5x55. At what point is a custom build worth it? I'm not looking for f-class, but a high quality custom hunting rifle. How much would something cost? Does anyone know of any good smiths in central California?

Or is all of this a waste of time and money, and should I just look for one off the shelf?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

#2 Rob P.

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:40 AM

You are much better off looking at high end rifles rather than building one if your preference is to impress your hunting buddies through name recognition. You can get premium grade rifles for less than the parts needed to build the same gun.

If you want a tackdriver, then you really want a benchrest/target rifle, which, IMO isn't worth any more than an average rifle in the field. You don't need to hold to a guaranteed 1/4 MOA to hit a deer. What you need to do is actually HIT the deer in the vitals. And all that takes is practice at the range and controlling your buck fever.

OTOH, if you need something that a production rifle can't give you, more drop at heel, higher comb, cast on/cast off, etc, then you need a stockmaker rather than a gunsmith.

#3 Frank

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:42 AM

Hey, Toxic, first a couple of questions

1). Why the 6.5 x 55 caliber? 2). Is it because of its bullets higher B.C? 3). Are you shooting deer beyond 500 yards?

Reason I ask is, many, if not most "deer" hunters max range is normally around the 300 +/- yard mark, that a lot of other, more popular calibers are used for on deer. And "resale" should always be a consideration when buying anything, right?

Now plug that 6.5 into a ballistics calculator & compare it to say a 7mm mag or 270 wsm at their best (highest) avg velocities out to 500 yards (way beyond normal deer distances), & one will see the 6.5 is dead in the water - comparitavely speaking, as far as trajectorys go!

Nothing wrong with a custom job, & if your heart is absoulety set on that, then that is what you should do. However another option would be to buy a less costly, off the shelf rifle & doll it up a tad. Stuff like, replacing a flimsy stock with a solid, good looking(to you) synthetic or wood stock, replace or lighten exsisting trigger, true the bolt, & glass bed the action & free float the barrel. You could do other cosmetic things (flute & color barrel) etc, but prices spike of course.

Let us know what you end up doing, and Good Luck :good:

#4 docskinner

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:00 AM

Frank brings up excellent points.

You can get factory rifles in 6.5x55. Or just go with the .260REM. almost ballistic twins, and you can use any .308 based brass to make brass for reloading.

Custom rifles are sweet - but you should probably do it for that reason, purely that you want a custom rifle. Otherwise for teh accuracy you are looking for, most factory rifles now do that, and you can look around and find a rifle from someone that has the features you want. Usually a grand or less, sometimes far less.
Was just looking at a Savage long range hunter model in 6.5x284 Norma at Guns Fishing and Other Stuff for about $1000, if you are looking for a good (if oddball/rare)long range cartrdige.

A good old fashion .270 WIN will do almost everything those will do at normalhunting ranges, it is chambered in almost every rifle made, and you can buy ammo both cheap and ANYWHERE in the world.

I really think teh only reason for a custom anymore with teh factory quality available is just to have that custom one-off as a trophy or treat, or if you are looking to do precision benchrest.

#5 dabob

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:10 AM

I have had Hart barrels put on three different Remington 700 actions in 223 Rem, 22-250 Rem and 260 Rem by Steve White in Bakersfield Ca.

Steve does great work, he also made my Tikka T-3, 223 Rem into a 223 Ackley Improved.

I am sure there are some great barrels out there besides Hart Barrels, but Hart Barrels are the only brand of barrels that Steve will install.

What impresses me about all of my Hart barrels is that they all shoot in the same place no matter what bullets or loads I shoot through them at 100 yards. Some loads do shoot better than others but the worst groups are still pretty good. With most of the Remington barrels I have had, different bullets would group in different spots.

Just to buy the new barrel and have it installed was right at $550.00. On my Hart Barrel 1-10" twist 223 Rem, I bought a H.S. Precision stock $350.00, I also had Steve Install a Jewell Trigger on it for another $220.00.

#6 Toxic Shot

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 11:42 AM

Thanks for all of the quick replies guys. First of all the caliber, for the hunting I do it's perfect, there isn't an animal in California that it won't kill. Plus my dad shoots the same caliber. I've never been a 30 caliber guy, just like I'm not much of a 12 ga guy, all of my guns are on the lighter side. For instance, 20 ga makes it rain in the duck blind and my model 12, 16 ga really whacks turkeys and pheasants.

I currently shoot a 6.5 old Carl Gustav and I can't get it accurate enough. So I wanted to get one on a modern action but I don't know where to start. Buy a donor used rifle and re-barrel it, buy a new rifle and do some basic accurizing? I know there are members of this forum have been faced with this dilemma before, so I wanted to seek your advice to avoid unnecessary cost. While we're at it what's your favorite hunting gunstock or stock maker?

#7 Frank

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 01:46 PM

My favorite synthetic stock is H/S Precision, of which I still own 2... The black with tan(brown) webbing is my favorite looking stock. Friends and I have approx 6 or more different colored stocks of theirs, and to me, the black with tan looks best of all... even though the others look very good also. Personal taste of course!

Oh, and the colors can sometimes be deceiving in the catalog, and is why it can be a good idea to talk to one of their reps before ordering. They can be a BIG help!

#8 Toxic Shot

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 02:26 PM

That is exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for.

#9 docskinner

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:13 PM

??

http://www.galleryof...=&zipcode=94521

Buy a couple and have a spare!

#10 Divernhunter

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:55 PM

I have a Tikka in 6.5X55 and it is a tack driver. You can also load up the 6.5X55 for modern actions. I was unable to find a big deer to shoot last year with it but I know it would do the job with Swift 130gr bullets at 2920FPS and with less recoil than a 270. It will be going to Africa with me next year and if I get to go hog hunting it will go this year.
The 6.5X55 is a very under-rated cartridge here. It is more common in Europe. Tikka is suppose to be bringing in more of their rifles chambered in 6.5X55 in the future or find a used rifle. You could have one built out of another rifle also. You would be happy with one. Everyone who shoots mine loves it. IF you cannot find a 6.5X55 you want and decide not to built one then a 260Rem would be an excellent choice as it is basicly a modern twin of the 6.5X55. I wanted the 6.5X55 because I already had a Mil surplus rifle , reloading dies, brass, etc for the 6.5X55 and wanted to not have to buy all new stuff which would just be a twin to what I have already.

#11 Frank

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 06:41 AM

Well, lots of options, which is great... I did not think about the Howa or Tikka or 260 Rem either. All great options!

I guess the main thing would be to just really take your time on how you're gonna do this, considering the many options & wanting to do it right the first time / not having to do it over again... unless you just want to of course. lol

Keep us posted, and good luck

#12 clampdaddy

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:19 PM

Get a Tikka. You can build a rifle but you'll spend twice as much and still not have an accuracy guaranty.




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