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Petzal: Why You Should (or Should Not) Buy a Custom Rifle

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April 26, 2010

Petzal: Why You Should (or Should Not) Buy a Custom Rifle

By David E. Petzal

First, let’s define our terms. A true custom gun is a one-of-a-kind rifle stocked in wood with a price tag of $10,000 and up. What I’m blathering about are synthetic-stocked semi-custom rifles, made in small numbers, to standardized designs, by shops employing two to ten people, and carrying price tags of $3,000 to $6,000.

Second, there is no logical reason to buy one. I love the things, and use them almost exclusively, but there is nothing they can do that I couldn’t get done by a good factory rifle. So why bother?

*When you pay all that money what you are buying is the ideas and skills of the man who made the rifle. If you get one of Melvin Forbes’ Ultra Lights, you purchase the 20 years he spent as a country gunsmith fixing other peoples’ mistakes and the two years he spent supporting himself as a shop teacher while designing a rifle that weighed 5-and-change pounds with scope.

*You buy perfection. When custom rifles leave the shop, they are supposed to work perfectly. Not well, not good enough, perfectly. If they do not, they will be made to.

*You buy exclusivity. Not every honyak in camp will be carrying a rifle made by Mark Bansner, or Nosler, or Kenny Jarrett. This is important to more people than you would think.

*You buy the cutting edge of performance—the last 1 percent that money can purchase. No factory trigger will pull as well as a Jewell. No factory barrel will quite equal a Lilja, or a Schneider, or a Pac-Nor, to name three. No factory stock will combine the uncanny light weight and strength of a High Tech Specialties stock.

If some or all of this is important to you, start saving your money.

Comments (92)

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from Douglas wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can bet that a semi custom firearm would hold its worth thru the generations too.
(this thought is to try to convince my comptroller wife that "we" need to invest in one. Think of the grandkids!)
When it comes to gun nuts, Mr. Petzal, you sure know the buttons to push!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'll take mine in .270 Win with a 23-inch barrel. Set the trigger to 3.00 pounds, please.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'll just keep on shooting my 35 yr old Ruger M-77 and keep the $$$$$$ for trips to places to hunt.

+9 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

No thanks, the ones I have shoot just fine, seeings they're 30-06 they'll kill anything in the world and If I bought something that expensive I'd be too afraid of it (OOOOH the HORROR!!!) getting scratched!

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cgull wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

If I get a custom rifle it'll be a modest ER Shaw Savage. I'll save the rest for the high price of fuel and what it's going to cost next year to drive any of my vehicles. Pretty soon not only production platforms will blow, so will refineries.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I would expect any firearm for which I paid more than $800 to work perfectly. It's not rocket science. If I pay $2K+ for a firearm, which I have, I expect it to have drop dead gorgeous looking wood, and bluing so profoundly deep and reflective it makes the Hubble Deep Field image look dull and lifeless. I also expect it to have an action that cycles smoothly, with no rattley wiggle, and I expect it to group better than I can shoot.

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

You can get a really nice rifle for $1000. How much better is the $10,000 custom rifle? 1%? 2%? I can buy a lot of ammo with the $9,000+ I'm saving by not buying the finest custom rifle.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can shoot a $1500 gun well enough to win a competition that I would find around here.. And I can't shoot a $10k gun any better. So I'll keep the money.. My deer camp buddies have never said a single word about how good their gun is but we talk for hours giving eachother crap about who has made a better shot this year or that year.. Why would I want to give my gun credit for the shot when bragging rights are on the line. Hell, for that matter, guys with the 20+ year old guns that Dad passed down to them and cost him $150 bucks when he bought it get the most talk in the crews I hunt with. We aren't hunting the high fences on TV.. We bust our backs in the bluffs of my uncles various pasture lands. First time I'd trip and put that stock against a rocky surface I'd probably cry.. And crying isn't allowed while hunting.

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Every now and then I go look at the beanfield rifle website.

And at the Krieghoff website.

Hmmm.

Reckon I'm only waiting for things to go my way!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

i did the opposite of what u "should" do.. buy an expensive rifle and a cheap scope.. a decade later they stopped making the rifle and scopes have mooved on both in quality and prices.. so now i do have a"custom" weapon and need a proper expensive scope to put on it :P might want a "custom" stock on it too from KCC.. a rifle that is completely "finished" is boring to me even if it might cost a bundle.. sell it and buy 3 new projects is what id do :P

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'm a big fan of custom guns. Not that I will ever own one, but all the cool stuff in today's custom guns will sooner or later show up in tomorrow's factory rifles. How many stainless synthetic factory rifles could you get 25 years ago? How many sub-seven pound big game rifles could you get fifteen years ago? How many aluminum pillar bedded factory rifles could you buy ten years ago? How many MOA factory rifles could you buy five years ago? Right. Now if only the factories would embrace the takedown concept, the thing would be almost complete.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

The reasons for buying a semi-custom rifle are quite compelling, but the IRS is getting my "fun rifle money" this year to the tune of $3500, and change, apparently I didn't pay enough taxes last year? Oh well, death and taxes, death and taxes...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'm not arguing with you Mike Diehl., but Dave's point #2, "when they leave the shop they are supposed to work perfectly, if not they will be made to". At that price (around here an Ed Brown cost $3600+ and I can't enter his shop without an appointment) why should there be a problem? But it happens. I'm very skeptical of these semi-custom rifle makers. Where is the testing after the shops' quality control?
What I'm trying to say is once the price reaches the 3 grand level a man shouldn't have a gripe, none, unless he admits he didn't explain his needs well enough. His fault. I do admit I'd like a semi-custom since I can't afford true custom but the factories are pushing the envelope hard on the semi-guys as mentioned in an earlier blog of Sako, Kimber, and even Shaw.

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from MLH wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Buying a factory gun can be a crap shoot. I've gotten and quickly unloaded the crap ... the crap cost me quite a bit of money, money which could have gone toward a good custom.

There are typically priced guns that get the job done, and sometimes you get a fine one, but there is always something special about a gun that has been detailed by a skilled craftsman. That price is worth it to someone that really takes pride in their firearm or demands the best.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

"I'm not arguing with you Mike Diehl., but Dave's point #2, "when they leave the shop they are supposed to work perfectly, if not they will be made to"."

That is correct. And if I bought a $800 Savage new, if it did not work perfectly, it too would be made to do so, by Savage. Same for Ruger. Paying an extra four to nine thousand doesn't get you any more of a guarantee of out of the box reliability or accuracy than you'd get from a Weatherby Mark V.

Someone said something about the wonders of having available lightweight big game rifles. Thanks no. If I ever shoot a Cape Buff, I'd want a ten pound rifle to shoot it with.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I have been collecting rifles for more than 40 years, and almost all of them are at least custom-stocked and custom-barreled; a few are genuine custom all the way. I only have one factory rifle and that is a Rem. Model 700 Classic in .222 Rem. that shoots like a house on fire. I love fine wood, my choice of barrels, and preferably old Sako actions or pre-'64 Model 70s. I am not trying to be snobbish. These are the rifles I choose to own, hunt with and shoot. Many factory rifles may shoot as well, but my collection is the culmination of 45 years of painstakingly putting them together at a time when I made very little money. If I had unlimited funds, they all would be made by Dale Goens, Al Biesen and the like, but they are an impressive collection for a guy who has never made $50,000 in a single year in his life.

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from Themasterdan wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Bought my first custom gun the year that I got done with college. It was quite the gripe around the house that I was spending my hard earned money on such a frivolous thing. Fellas you will never ever be disappointed in purchasing a custom rifle. Much like quality optics you won't ever want to go back to what you had before. Will this rifle drive tacks, yes. Will a Savage, Browning, etc do the same given proper ammo; probably. Also it is a working rifle, no pomp. It was made to be drug through the snow, rain, mud of the Rockies. Trust Mr. Petzal you won't regret the purchase.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

You may pay $10,000 and up for a custom job, but my sporterized 03-A3 is priceless to me.Total cost of everything under $200, but my Father had it customized for me as a lifelong gift and what can replace that!

Firearms are like Women, it's all in the eye of the beholder!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Has anyone ever seen a Hummer with brush marks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Has anyone ever seen a Hummer with brush marks.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

based on the experiences of gunwriters Ive read in various magazines, if you ask an accuracy-specific gunmaker (e.g. the famed Mr. Jarrett) to build you a rifle, he will probably build it so tight it will work with only one make of case. Say if you want it in .257 Wby, he will probably set up the extractor to work with a Norma/Weatherby case, or maybe Federal.

Of course, Mr. Petzal would tell you all his custom rifles are SAAMI-spec, but if you're not Mr. Petzal, or another heavyweight gunwriter or buyer, how do you tell Mr.Jarrett, Sisk, Bansner, etc. that he should sacrifice a bit of 'tightness' so your rifle would be able to feed, chamber, fire and extract Remington or Winchester or Hornady brass?

Good luck on it working perfectly. For one load, custom "developed" for your rifle, maybe. And you'll pay for load development, too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Indeed, master Ozark! Im trying to save up for that thunder-thumping .338... maybe the Winchester, but Im thinking REALLY hard about the Lapua, too... if I ever win the lotto, I guess. Im only 20, it can still happen!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Here's one from Ross on the cost of "accurate" customs that cost above $2,000-2,500 : I don't care what exalted precision or gilt edged accuracy is claimed, they're still Remington action and synthetic stock rifles.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I have learned one very important thing from the numerous custom rifles I own or have owned. The gun is only as good as the skill, imagination, and care of the craftsman who made it. Without the best maker performing the work you are only paying for an assembled group of parts regardless of the cost be it $1000 or $10,000. Buy the best barrel, trigger, stock, etc, pay me to build it and you will get a genuine POS that you probably can't give away. You will never regret selecting the best man to build that dream gun.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I would agree that while they look very very nice and perform impecibly I wouldnt want to take that much money into the high country and have it get scratched just because of hard hunting.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from lyle gorch wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can relate a bit to the snob appeal. I have two Randall knives, that may not do any more than a $30 special, but pride of ownership does come in.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

fng: As much as I like the .338 Win and Lapua I would suggest you consider the Edge if you reload and don't mind higher pressures. Its an excellent long range hunter's rifle which also works well for close targets if you choose the right bullet.

Bernie: I no longer have any custom rifles built on pre'64 actions but own several pre-Garcia Sako action rifles. I suppose all of these rifles might be disqualified as customs by some people's definition since the actions are not made from scratch by some guy from a couple bars of steel. Oh well to each his own...those Sako actions are old friends and operate the same regardless of which one I choose to use for the trip.

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Here's how the dollar value goes. Not counting my 1 ton 4 x 4 Chevy Duramax and gooseneck Featherlite trailor or pack horses, panniers, and sawbucks, camping gear like tents, stoves, sleeping bags, and food, the breakdown goes a bit like this. Custom rifle say $4,000, custom saddle complete with scabbard, saddle pockets, breast collar, bit and headstall, blanket, spurs totaling about $5500, my chinks, high tech underwear, wool and or synthetic clothing, weatherproof boots, plus socks, hat etc. about $1100 or maybe a bit more, range finder $800, scope/mounts $1100, spotting scope $900, two knives, ax, and saw $350, .44 mag $700, holster/gunbelt $150, bear sprayer $50, small digital camera $500, reloaded ammunition $100, hunting licenses plus numerous other items of various dollar values. This is just me sitting on a $4500 Missouri Foxtrotting horse at the trail head. I am certain you could accomplish this same trip for less than half the monetary investment and get by just fine. Note I did not total up the cost of riding away down the trail looking for elk. You only live once so do it the way you want if you can afford it. I suppose that is part of why I am 62 and still working. By the way everything I own is bent, torn, or scratched, the mountains don't care. Character scratches on the rifle and saddle go well with witness marks on the trees, old scars on the horse, sweat stains on my hat, and wrinkles in my hide.

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from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

ishawoa, you, sir, a scholar and a gentleman. I had heard of the .338 Edge, and it is comparitive to the Lapua. Any more to add on the advantages? the only reason I ask is I don't even know the differance between the pressures, or their effects, I don't care about bolt size (my dad has a dirty thirty for killing anythng that refuses to stay 500+ yards away XD) and any advice on scopes? I was told a nightforce 5.5-22x56 beats a USOptics sn-3 5-25x58 with erek nob, MOA reticle, and four month wait time. I tend to agree, mostly because the US is 1000 more...

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from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

ps, this is a project gun. It'll be heavy, loved, cherished, treated like my baby and have uncounted cleaning patches wasted on making sure NO carbon is in it, its polished and properly lubed. I was thinking the only custom builder in my city (Alberta tactical rifles), a Macmillan a5 stock, and what kind of action? they have stillers, nesikas, rem700's, etc.

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from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

and, pardon me, surgeon, BAT and dakota actions. And lilja, or rock creek barrels? trying to build an opinion from scratch is... difficult.

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from z41 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

For me the value of this article is seeing "honyak" in print. I can still buy a $300 use Remington to plug deer with.

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I haven't heard anyone use the word honyak for years,other than a few of us old timers who use it around each other.
Z-41 is right...seeing honyak in print adds to the value
of the article.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

To me, the term "custom", as applied to the .338-06 that I hope will come to fruition this year, means that I doubt anybody else will have one like it, it's chambered in something I can't buy off the shelf at Gander Mt. or the little local shop, and it's designed, equipped, or whatever the way I want it. Yes, there's a small touch of snobbery there, but also a certain sense of pride as well. Too, in my case, the gunsmith is an old friend and I greatly want one of his with the shop name on it before he locks the shop door one last time. It's a Ruger Mk II action with a 23" Douglas barrel in an all-weather configuration and will likely see a lot of field time if all goes well.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

For the money spent nothing I have seen tops the big Shiloh Sharps single shot rifles. Waited five years for mine. Fit and finish is second to none, action slick as owl hockey, very, very accurate.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rlriggins wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Dave although the entire article was very good I too want to thank you for using the term honyak in it. Around my family we have used honyak for as long as I can remember and I had never seen it in print. Now I can spell it as well as pronounce it. Thank you.

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from davidpetzal wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

To O Garcia: The facts elude you. If you tell Kenny Jarrett that you need a SAAMI chamber that will take any brand of ammo you shove in it, that's what you'll get, whether you are me or some other honyak. Any of the custom makers will give you whatever you want, within reason. It's your money, after all. All of my Ultra Lights have at least #2 contour barrels, despite the great anguish it causes Melvin Forbes to add weight to his rifles. When Mark Bansner built my .270 WSM he installed a muzzle brake, due to a miscommunication. When I found out, I asked him to saw the goddamn thing off and he sawed the goddamn thing off, no problem.

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from Bella wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

My god I have lived an entire year on less than what Unca Dave says a "custom" gun should cost!
As Ishawooa points out though if you inventory every piece of gear at the trailhead the investment is pricy even if the gun is old and the camo worn and comfey.
I will continue to admire custom guns in museums and shoot my (mostly acquired used) firearms As If they were "custom" guns.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

At the present, any custom rifles or high grade sxs shotguns are currently enrolled at Texas A&M University; an investment that will prove to be more valuable than a few custom guns. However, when my son graduates next year, some nice ones are going to come my way.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Learned a couple things over the years.

W C Fileds one of my favoriet sooth sayers said.
Womwen are like elephants ,. I like to look at em but I wouldnt wanno own one . ; ) ( asume he included hunting in that statement) and custom rifles : )

From various achetechts I have known and an egnineering background,. I learned form sooner or later follows fucntion,..not the opposite.

And then there is art,.. which is a subject that has always confused me.

In buisness there is what is called the law of demminishiong margial return . which means essentially the more you spend the less you get per dollar unit.

What ever a unit ends up to be. Satisfaction ,.. arrogance ,.one upsmanship,.. what ever.
I think custom guns incorperate all of the above.whcih liley then take them out of the realm of any true appreciation on may part.

Thusly if you toss all that in life's blender and still decide you need a true custom gun .
Well hell ,. get one .

You are probably a man / woman of taste and decermment .
or,... someone who either made or inheriteed enough money to do what ever the hear desires .

My criteria is,.. will the gun of my most recent desire let me get the job done ( kill the critter ) better more humanely.

Which takes me back to trigger, stock fit and recoil.
If you can manage the recoil.
Meaning it does not affect your shooting in a negative way ,if the trigger is right for you, and the stock allows you comfortable shooting assuming decent optics.
You should be able to keep most shots within two inches.
Few,.. weather a custome rifle is involved or not can do better,,specally in the field

So how much deminishing marginal return ( pain in the wallet ) are yo willing to endure ? YUK YUK

Just my 2 cents

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Learned a couple things over the years.

W C Fileds one of my favoriet sooth sayers said.
Womwen are like elephants ,. I like to look at em but I wouldnt wanno own one . ; ) ( asume he included hunting in that statement) and custom rifles : )

From various achetechts I have known and an egnineering background,. I learned form sooner or later follows fucntion,..not the opposite.

And then there is art,.. which is a subject that has always confused me.

In buisness there is what is called the law of demminishiong margial return . which means essentially the more you spend the less you get per dollar unit.

What ever a unit ends up to be. Satisfaction ,.. arrogance ,.one upsmanship,.. what ever.
I think custom guns incorperate all of the above.whcih liley then take them out of the realm of any true appreciation on may part.

Thusly if you toss all that in life's blender and still decide you need a true custom gun .
Well hell ,. get one .

You are probably a man / woman of taste and decermment .
or,... someone who either made or inheriteed enough money to do what ever the hear desires .

My criteria is,.. will the gun of my most recent desire let me get the job done ( kill the critter ) better more humanely.

Which takes me back to trigger, stock fit and recoil.
If you can manage the recoil.
Meaning it does not affect your shooting in a negative way ,if the trigger is right for you, and the stock allows you comfortable shooting assuming decent optics.
You should be able to keep most shots within two inches.
Few,.. weather a custome rifle is involved or not can do better,,specally in the field

So how much deminishing marginal return ( pain in the wallet ) are yo willing to endure ? YUK YUK

Just my 2 cents

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from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

oops soory for double post

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from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Right now I am looking for a Ike Ellis custom, the man built some of the best and most beautifull guns I have ever seen but until I can find one I am goin with a Cooper.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

A rebarreled Weatherby Mark V is about as close as I'll get to custom with the exception of a Shiloh Sharps 1874 No. 1 Sporter.

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from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Yohan, with an engineering background, do you write specifications on print as illegibly as you write blog posts? If so, your manufacturing capabilities might be as out of control as my fiancee in a shoe store. I honestly think you could provide some partially interesting knowledge to these posts if you would slow down, read what you write, check your grammar, and stop saying YUK YUK.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

It is all about satisfaction. We choose different options on the vehicles we drive, we buy a house in a certain area built on a certain plan, we ride a certain breed of horse, we even own a certain breed of dog.

Rifles are no different. At first we shoot what we can afford. As we become more prosperous we move on to choosing more of what we want and like. Some perhaps are more practical than others, some more extravagant.

For the true Rifle Looney accuracy, fit and finish are like a shiny object to a crow. We also like to add a little touch of our own perhaps. Some even go so far as to have a stock painted to resemble the vomitus rendered from a bit too much pulled pork BBQ and cold beer...

Is a rifle guy or gal any different from a "car" guy or gal. Style is a matter of personel choice and having something a little different. How much chrome you add is up to you!

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

While I do agree with the above statement that some custom bits of old are now standard, and that more of that will happen in the future, the opposite has also happened.

Several rifle manufacturers also have their own "custom" shops, where they can select parts, fine tune triggers, and other small tasks that can make a ordinary factory job work just a bit better. Remington has one. My question is; why? If it's not much more money, and just a bit of work, why don't all rifles have the "special" trigger job?

Guns are getting like computers, cars, and other electronic devices. There's the base model, then the one with what you really want and/or need to function optimally. My beloved Remington group likes to have several models... One with smoother action, one with a nice stock, one with a decent scope, one with iron sights, but try to get them all on one rifle? Ouch.

To me, a super custom rifle is great for bragging rights, and to show off at the field. You're either a good shot or not usually with or without it. The "law of diminishing returns" does apply. $4000 to go from a half-inch group to a third-inch group? Fine European walnut stock personally carved by Baron Von Krupp? An action blessed by the Dali Llama? What's the limit for performance while being reasonable?

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

fng: The Edge shoots a little flatter than the Winchester or Lapua plus you avoid the high cost of the latter's brass. Other than that there probably is no real life advantage.
As with other variations of the Remington Ultra case as well as the numerous latter day generation of short magnums, pressures may run 10,000 higher than the older cartridges. This obviously limits brass life, barrel longevity, and maybe shortens the use period of the action. However things like the Edge are fun to play with, are different than what most people use, and do possess a small, if not remarkable, improvement over similiar cartridges. In reality I doubt that it is worth the effort but then that is why some folks are happy with an Impala 5.3 L while others must have a 'Vette with a ZO-6 and dual turbochargers.
By the way in my "list" of hunting stuff I forgot my binoculars so add another $500-$1000 depending on what is taken on the hunt. Funny I have forgotten them prior to real hunts which resulted in a case of constant squinting or stareing through the spotting scope in an effort to locate an elk across the canyon. Most aggravating. What I described for myself does not vary much from many local Wyoming hunters although not everyone is so inclined to spend a lot of money on gear.

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from SL wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I think way too much emphasis is put on owning things that are bigger, better or more expensive than the next guy in our society. In the scheme of things what difference does it make owning a custom gun?? Not a heck of a lot. I guess it helps the ego of the owner, but that is about it. Who else might care about it? Maybe another anal gun nut, but no one else, this I can assure you. They won't kill game one bit better than the over the counter gun at ranges most people shouldn't be shooting at anyway, so what else are they really good for other than helping boost ones ego?? Over the counter guns are more accurate than they ever were, most of them way MORE accurate than the shooter holding it will ever be able to take advantage of, so a custom gun will be of mighty little help to him either. I also laugh at those who think guns are a good investment. I have NEVER heard of anyone getting rich buying and selling guns. In general the money that can be made on some guns is generally chicken feed compared to any other sort of good investment one can make. I own guns to hunt with. I could care less if they were one of a kind and worth $10,000. The game I put down don't know the difference either. I could put the money I saved to wiser and better use.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Bee

I'm trying to find some chrome spinner rims to customize my four wheeler. Seen any in Georgia?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

SD_Wt

Having worked in engineering firms for the past 12 years, I can assure you that engineers who possess less than stellar writing skills are not an anomaly! LOL

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from Andrew Ferraro wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

There is a huge difference between collecting guns and hunting. I don't want to "invest" in a $10,000 rifle, but I think the semi-custom shops are a great idea for a special occassion (like a 40th birthday) and yes- I hope my wife is reading this post. What's my best bet for a light 308 to carry on drives?

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

SL for the most part I think you are correct with your comments. The exception is I know quite a few people who indeed did become rich selling guns and associated products. Some rather wealthy. A few live nearby.

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from New Age Bubba wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Here's what makes this a complicated issue, at least to me: you can buy a moa rifle out-of-the-box for under $1,000, so what are you really getting for $10,000. I suppose it's the difference between a Ferrari and a Chevy/Ford--one is a work of art disguised as a tool and the other is just a tool.

Sadly I can only afford a factory gun (maybe if I had spent more time in the office, like my boss wanted), but I can appreciate the custom guns and the satisfaction they provide.

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from Proverbs wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

For the posters who disdain (or pretend to) custom guns: Why bother to say so in this blog?

For the pretenders: If you are really Gun Nuts, I truly hope you are able to someday own a fine custom rifle. You will derive a pleasure out of it that is understood best by fellow Gun Nuts. And it has nothing to do with ego.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

WMH,

Yes, believe it or not on my last trip to the ATL I saw several such "vehicles"... How about a set of these? Check out the link:

http://www.streetdreams.org/photo/showphoto.php?photo=172

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from SL wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

"For the posters who disdain (or pretend to) custom guns: Why bother to say so in this blog?"

Why bother to say anything about anything in a blog?? Some talk of how sweet it would be to own a custom gun, while others say that it makes very little difference shooting wise these days whether you shoot a custom gun or a production gun. You can spend $10,000 to fondle your rifle and ego while I will spend $500 to $1,000 to use it without worrying about it or how much money I shelled out for it. The title of the blog is "why you should (or should not) by a custom rifle" if you haven't noticed.

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from fng wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

thank you, master ishawooa! indeed I believe I will take your advice. To be honest, Im young, have no kids, and make a fair bit of money. When would be better to buy stuff that you will always want and treasure!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mike

Mike D,
So what's your point.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

That anything you can get in a $4,000 custom gun you can get in a $800 factory gun. And if you pay a couple thousand, the factory gun will be more pleasing to me to look at, because it won't have a plastic stock. It's not necessarily the case that anyone in particular would share my preference for wood. But the craftsmanship and effort that goes into a properly made wooden stock is much more impressive (to me) than some molded plastic thing made of some space age polymer.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

"so what are you really getting for $10,000"

A designer label.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Part of my endearment of custom rifles revolves around the talents of the stockmakers, barrel-makers and other artisans who put such a work together--something someone as ham-handed as I am could never do. Same sentiment goes to the makers of handmade knives.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Of course, if you spend $10,000 on a factory custom gun you're probably also getting a work of art that blows the doors off anything around. That kind of money gets you AAAA select fancy walnut, MOA, silky smooth fit and finish, fancy engraving in any design you want, and gold inlay, with a custom box to put it in, and a partridge in a pear tree.

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from focusfront wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

If someone gave me five grand and said, "Spend this on whatever YOU want," I'd rather have a left-handed H-S Precision Takedown rifle in .270 or 7mm-08 (if such a thing was ever made) than a Rolex watch, set of custom golf clubs, handmade fly rod, etc. But when you can get a 1 MOA rifle for under a grand, and a 1/2 MOA rifle costs two, three, or ten times that, it's hard for most of us to spend that kind of cash for a half inch that the deer will never notice.

I still love to read about custom guns; there's not many things out there that are made so much better than they have to be just because the builder's pride in his work demands it. Hopefully Savage or somebody will produce a takedown bolt rifle for the rest of us. Keep it up, Dave.

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

f I had $10,000 laying around, I'd use it on a couple of out of State hunts. $10,000 piece of fine workmanship is worthless if you can't use it! Kinda like living in the Desert owning a Snowmobile!

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

One more thing, you get what you pay for! A couple of weeks ago in Wal-Mart, I ran into a Gentleman who bought a Remington 700 BDL 7mm Rem Mag and toed it with the cheapest scope Wal-Mart had and yes he said, the big one did get away!

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

toed, FAT FINGERS STRIKE AGAIN!

TOPPED!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mike D,
It seems we were on a different page. I wasn't putting down the semi's so to speak but praising the quality of the factory stuff. I thought you were on the other end and wondered why.
Sorry for the miscommunication.

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

You actually don't have to pay the prices of a rifle marked Kenny Jarret or Mark Bansner to own a custom. Right here in or near Cody, WY there are several custom rifle makers who equal the craftsmanship of the well known makers for much less money. Some of them have been putting togather rifles as long as Jarret and Bansner combined. Bear in mind that I have nothing against either of these fine rifle makers and am just using them as convienant examples since Petzal mentioned their names first. I have examined their wares and have shot them, you can buy equally good custom rifles for less. I can even offer a web site or two if anyone is interested.
Custom rifles are created most likely for personal satisfaction but I can assure you that most Wyoming hunters don't give your rifle a second glance when they meet you on the trail. They will check out your big bull elk or inquire about the lack thereof if they heard you shoot and don't see any results. Likely they will be far more interested and impressed by your horse than any rifle you might be packing including one from Echols. Perhaps this sort of example is not even important and doesn't really matter in the whole scheme of things. Its as simple as if you have the money and desire build a custom, if you are lacking either aspect buy a factory rifle and be happy. Either will work well.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I might buy another rifle someday, but only after every rifle I own currently has a premium piece of glass on it.

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from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

WEEEEll,.. Sd White Tail hunter
Asssuming that title is not ment to imply a caucasion house of ill repute

I will in the future make all and every effort not to get your undies in too much of twist . YUK YUK

It is however true that Im ususally in a hurry (just my nature) which is why I like to hunt and fish,and or shoot.
As those activities for what ever reason slow everthing down. Couldn't care less if I never golf again.
( your a golfer right ? )

Thusly your sensitiveness,..while I have a certian background. What I am is what is commonly referred to as a stock broker.
My practice is somewhat narrow by most or typcial standards however .
Whch means Im not in the pit yelling buy or sell.
That said it dosent hurt to be fairly adept with numbers in either venue.
I am also further involved in real estate here and there.
However what I am not is a practicing engineer nor do I manufacture stuff.Not to say I won at some point if iy makes sence.

Truth is most engineers as well as certain members of the medical community just plain pi$$ me off.
So I dont hang with many of those dudes.
A certain group physicians I also find have the tedency to think their feces smells like strawberry yogurt and as you can imagine.
I dont have mcuh to do on a social level with that group . Alhough some are clients. Go figure hugh ?

Not a great speller but not terrible either.
I have big hands,. XL glove fits but its pretty snug . Big hands = big fingers. Most of which have been broken due to amuature boxing for 20 + years, which dosent make em smaller .Amazingly enough though ,. no arthitis.
So, pressed for time I will ( occasionally ?) hit more than one key.
Which goes a long way at times to giving the appearance im just under the US Army I Q limit,which I think is about 80.
Rest assured however I have a little more juice than that.

Also if it counts ( meaning money is at stake) have "people" who work for me,. who type.
I send emails to people I know and who know me, but have then, the bennifit of spell check.
Which also goes some distance to elevating my supposed IQ to the inteded user.

In any case it is not my life goal to casue you stomach cramps.
Yet becuase you seem to have the ability to act or talk more from opinion than fact.
Im not gonna get too upset if you have some difficulty with my "pelling gamer or sentse stukter" YUK YUK

Thusly I will appologise in advance for any future stress I cause you.
I do however sympathise with you in that you appear to marying a woman who either has a shoe fetish or is very vian and self centered.( or God forbid both ? )

Maybe one of those sex and the city wannabe'babe's .??
As I usually date women some what younger than myself .
When see that comin ,. I feint right, then left,. then do a spin ( breaking tackle move) and dodge out the door.If I cant do that I have some one call me with an emergency situation : )

Good luck with that pardner.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal, glad to know the accuracy specialists do listen to the buyer. I wasn't really worrying about the chamber, actually it was about the extractor, esp if you happen to want your rifle built on a CRF action.

Some reasons for wanting a custom rifle (regardless of stock material or price)
-rare caliber (say 9.3x64 Brenneke or 8x68S) or a wildcat
-you're a youth, or a youth-sized guy, or a lady, and you want the rifle to actually fit you, but you don't want any of the compact models being peddled by Remington, Ruger, etc. because the buttstock just doesn't look right for your taste, you want the rifle to be properly proportioned
-if the rifle is for a really specialized application, like an ultralight, super accurate, mountain-ruggedized sheep rifle that you happen to want in, for example, a really cool Shilen DGA action
-beauty
-just because

Often, the last reason comes first.

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from davidpetzal wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

To O Garcia: The truth no longer eludes you.

Just for the record, I'm not a believer in CRF or full-length extractors. My Kenny Jarrett .30/06 is an intact Remington 700 that was just rebarreled, and had at least 5,000 rounds through it with the first barrel, and never failed to feed or extract. Not once.

Warren Page's .375 Weatherby (on which he actually burned out three barrels) was another untouched Remington (actually a 721) that never failed.

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I'm on my 3rd barrel on my Remington 700 and never had a single problem. This 700 has been trough harsh conditions from the swamps of the Southeast to the Deserts of the Southwest to the Arctic Circle and never failed once!

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from Gritz wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

First off, I think this is a GREAT post. This is the tension point of all of your readers because they either come here to listen to you talk about rifles they will never own or they come here to rag on you about how upity you are for talking about the rifles no one could afford. I personally am very happy with my factory rifle and my wife would probably cry more than I would if I emptied our bank account on "another gun?!" But something I really could use direction on is quality, custom flint lock rifles. I put together a beautiful cap lock rifle a few years ago and I really love this gun. Besides looking beautiful I can go to the range, have a blast and spend less than 30 bucks for as much as I want to shoot (lead balls are cheap). I got my first buck with it last year and now that I know that it really works I would like to move to a nice, solid, professionally finished rifle in a flintlock. I am really hyped but if I am going to spend the money on this gun, which will be on display in my home, I would like to get something that is not mass produced and sold by sporting goods stores. I am looking for a good, Pennsylvania rifle with a 1-66 twist and at least a 33.5 inch barrel. If anyone has any good resources for connecting with American producers I would love to hear it.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Controlled Round Feed is a common affliction to those who listen to Mauserchester fans too much.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Beekeeper

That's what I'm talkin' about! Pimp my ride!

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from Douglas wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Gritz,
I too love a fine muzzle loader. Check out Jim Chambers flintlocks website for a kit.

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from Zermoid wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Why spend all that money on a perfect gun that you will have nothing to tinker on?
Aren't most if not all gun nuts also tinkerers? I love to get a new (to me) ued gun to tinker on, fix this, change that, ad this. God forbid someone lays a rifle in my hands that will shoot a 5 shot group thru 1 hole at 100 yds with almost any ammo! Where's the fun in that?!

I'll take a factory Savage, or any other gun for that matter, that has minor problems over any "custom perfection rifle" any day.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Bee, well put, wish I'd said that. The 'smith assures me I'll see my new toy this year. It shows up, rest assured of pictures. Regards....

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from New Age Bubba wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Why not start another less controversial topic, like the best rifle caliber?

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

As with any hunting rifle, quality will prove to be its own reward, and economy will prove to be expensive in the long run. :- chuck hawks

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from Gunslinger wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

There ae4 typesn of firearms. Cheap ones, high dollar guns: Those that shoot to point of aim and thoe thatdon;t.,When youn find such a gun hang on to itas few available.As someone stated, why don;t Rem and etc make all their guns quality fiearms at a fair price, I got both,cheap and high $.Somemshot better with brandXAmmo,others shot beter with another Brand bullet.Me, I'll take the Rem 700 and best Ammo available.Secondly I will take the MArlin XL7 for haras hunting i 270

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

When you have a Kool-Aid budget, you must make the best what you have! Three things you can do to the rifle you do have to improve it, glass bedding, specialized recrown the muzzle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsg-Yt6t-HM) for the type of bullet you will shoot and type of use and replacing the trigger assembly with a quality trigger assembly made by Timney Triggers (http://www.timneytriggers.com/). Recon if I had Davids job, I probably go insane admiring fine workmanship. But for now, I make the most out of what I have. One thing to consider, with the new advancement on the “AR” platforms with cartridges large enough for Water Buffalo and Elephants accuracy and dependability is enhanced for one major reason is for there is no stock to worry about proper bedding.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
have you ever asked a high-dollar custom rifle builder to ehrm, 'build' you a left handed clone of the Remington Model Seven from bar stock?

You know, because a left handed Model Seven is something Remington should have built, and 2nd, just to see their reaction to the request?

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Gritz,
Bill Evans at Ultracoatingsinc.com of KCMO builds beautiful flintlocks when he has time. My Lancaster style flinter was made by Bingham in Ohio in 1993. I love it's Siler lock, Davis triggers, Getz 39 ich swamped barrel and curly maple stock with engraved brass patch box. But the gun was prone to hangfire now and then until Bill worked his magic on the touch hole liner. Lost contact with Bingham years ago. You are right about flinters being cheap (and fun) to shoot. You can see the longrifle on page 9 of my photofiles by clicking my username and opening the files. Bill knows at least one other Longrifle builder that I know of. If you want a flinter that isn't factory made get in touch with Bill.

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from Gritz wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Thanks for the info. I might not actually pull the trigger on ordering a custom flint lock just yet but it is amazing to look at them, calculate, dream, daydream, and dream some more. Who knows, maybe I will dream enough about it that I will "accidentally order one in my sleep." At least that will be my excuse to my wife.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

When you buy a custom rifle or shotgun or even handgun, don't think of it as an investment, because with few exceptions, its value will depreciate. Beautifully made guns, even though we consider them works of art, are not paintings or sculptures or rare wines. If you're Average Joe, your custom gun has little collector value. Unless it is a Holland & Holland, Westley-Richards, an original Rigby or some other London brand or maybe a David Miller, it will sell for less than you bought it. If your name is John Wayne, Chuck Yeager, Joe DiMaggio, Jack O'Connor or God forbid, Rosie O'Donnell, obviously people would like to buy your gun, even at astronomical prices in an auction. (Sorry for the Rosie bit.)

Financial reward is no reason for buying a custom gun.

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Got word ER Shaw has shipped my rifle. Should get here in a few days!

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from Gunslinger wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I think its time to change the subject also and let us Southern guys who want to hunt the Rockies at a affordable price.So far not been abe to do so unless you pay a trespass fee for l.000 plus and camp out. Cost about 750.00 for gas to drive out, 3 guys go and l sleep l keep the driver awake,switch every 200 miles or so. Now buy the tags for Elk and der,anothr 650.oo. Food about 300.00 ad odds and ends.So you spent nearly 2500.oo.Nowgta guided hunt and we talking 5-10K bucks ut you still got to fly or drive out. The price is now about out of reach of the average Joe. Guns,all will shoot well, accuracy depends on the shooter. A custom job (have one) and a few Rem 700's when I go west I take a Rem 700 in 30-06 and a 25-06 and a 44-40 side arm. O you can spend thousands on stuff that will not improve the gun at all,few really bad guns slip by the inspectors. My biggest complait has always been the trigger, but now thats being taken care of with adjustable ones. Beauty, buy a Walnut Stocked useage by a Syn. With a custom job, you can spend till you run out of $ with fancy engraving, but will not make the gun shoot any better.My Custom job was special built in Italy and use now and then,but it was built for a Ariian hunt on Mausr action with dble setrigges and some engravig,but wth open sighs,my old eyes now requie scoped guns and I wll not scope this gun period.It's my show and brag gun.For good huntng,the 700's go to the feld, 24" bbls and Nikon scopes, will put 3 shots at 200 yds that a l/2 dolar will cover if I'm right on the hold.. There many good guns out ther now that will not break th bank.Take the Mosseberg, Marlin,T/CVentura, with a fair scope and you can buy the combo for about 350.600 .00 dollars and will shoot as well as most of us can shot out to 200 yds. A few ys back was in MT , sawthsi dandy 4x 4 on 2nd ridge, I estimated tobe l75 yds, no time to ange. I held on hair line and oe shot and down he went. Then I ranged the animal and it was 345 yds. Had I ranged him prior to the shot, I would have passed him up.That was with theRem 700 in 30-06 using Scirocco's .afew days later i kileda Lope at 325 yds with the 325 yds, and in that flat sagebrush it looked to be about 200 yds,but the guide who was driving,said when he stops shot. Here at home a 200 yd shot is a rarity, most are about l50,even some at 75 yds. Pratice enough that you know wherr your gun will hit and you will be ok, but you must pratce.I use a MArlin 22 Wm to pratce after i check the 0 on my hunting guns, then I check the zero once I get to the hunt camp,you better, because the luggage handles will try their best to ruin your prize rifle.Use the best Ammo you can find, whats a 3-4 dollar bullet when you spend 5K bucks on a one shot deal,and thats all you gonna get as a rule unless you break him down. Good hunting, shot often and straight

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from Gunslinger wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

The cost I stated above all depends on MPG, type of food, (I love Steak roasted) and the dozen litle thing yo never thought of. A hunt out in the West s no cheap hunt evena do it yourself hunt.I waited 30 ys for my first hunt,(l993) now have been ll times and pray one more in store for this old 75 yr old man. There will be more game in years to come, if the gam Comm will alow us to kill some Cougars,Wolves and bears.Where I hunt,I can tell a lot lessgame now than 20 yrs ago, and last year was the worst ever, too many wolves, and Cougars. A Cougar passed withing 20 yds of my wife that was trailing 2 small does.There would have been one less Cougar had I saw it, but was gone befro I could get in positon.o

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from BigBboy25 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I've had three custom rifles put together and none of them have cost $10k. They all have Jewell Triggers, Hart or Krieger Barrels, McMillian Stocks and remington 700 actions and were built by one of the best gunsmiths in the U.S. Truman Wilson, he's built 4 rifles for 1000 yard benchrest and with those four particular rifles shooters have broken 5 world records at the Pennsylvania 1000 yard club. I've never had any problems with my rifles and they all shoot under 1/2 MOA. Mr. P makes some good points but I don't think price determines the final product. You must buy good components and hire a good gunsmith, but I think you can get one hell of a rifle for under $10K.

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from Bellringer wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'll just keep on shooting my 35 yr old Ruger M-77 and keep the $$$$$$ for trips to places to hunt.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I would expect any firearm for which I paid more than $800 to work perfectly. It's not rocket science. If I pay $2K+ for a firearm, which I have, I expect it to have drop dead gorgeous looking wood, and bluing so profoundly deep and reflective it makes the Hubble Deep Field image look dull and lifeless. I also expect it to have an action that cycles smoothly, with no rattley wiggle, and I expect it to group better than I can shoot.

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from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can shoot a $1500 gun well enough to win a competition that I would find around here.. And I can't shoot a $10k gun any better. So I'll keep the money.. My deer camp buddies have never said a single word about how good their gun is but we talk for hours giving eachother crap about who has made a better shot this year or that year.. Why would I want to give my gun credit for the shot when bragging rights are on the line. Hell, for that matter, guys with the 20+ year old guns that Dad passed down to them and cost him $150 bucks when he bought it get the most talk in the crews I hunt with. We aren't hunting the high fences on TV.. We bust our backs in the bluffs of my uncles various pasture lands. First time I'd trip and put that stock against a rocky surface I'd probably cry.. And crying isn't allowed while hunting.

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

No thanks, the ones I have shoot just fine, seeings they're 30-06 they'll kill anything in the world and If I bought something that expensive I'd be too afraid of it (OOOOH the HORROR!!!) getting scratched!

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Here's how the dollar value goes. Not counting my 1 ton 4 x 4 Chevy Duramax and gooseneck Featherlite trailor or pack horses, panniers, and sawbucks, camping gear like tents, stoves, sleeping bags, and food, the breakdown goes a bit like this. Custom rifle say $4,000, custom saddle complete with scabbard, saddle pockets, breast collar, bit and headstall, blanket, spurs totaling about $5500, my chinks, high tech underwear, wool and or synthetic clothing, weatherproof boots, plus socks, hat etc. about $1100 or maybe a bit more, range finder $800, scope/mounts $1100, spotting scope $900, two knives, ax, and saw $350, .44 mag $700, holster/gunbelt $150, bear sprayer $50, small digital camera $500, reloaded ammunition $100, hunting licenses plus numerous other items of various dollar values. This is just me sitting on a $4500 Missouri Foxtrotting horse at the trail head. I am certain you could accomplish this same trip for less than half the monetary investment and get by just fine. Note I did not total up the cost of riding away down the trail looking for elk. You only live once so do it the way you want if you can afford it. I suppose that is part of why I am 62 and still working. By the way everything I own is bent, torn, or scratched, the mountains don't care. Character scratches on the rifle and saddle go well with witness marks on the trees, old scars on the horse, sweat stains on my hat, and wrinkles in my hide.

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from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Yohan, with an engineering background, do you write specifications on print as illegibly as you write blog posts? If so, your manufacturing capabilities might be as out of control as my fiancee in a shoe store. I honestly think you could provide some partially interesting knowledge to these posts if you would slow down, read what you write, check your grammar, and stop saying YUK YUK.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

It is all about satisfaction. We choose different options on the vehicles we drive, we buy a house in a certain area built on a certain plan, we ride a certain breed of horse, we even own a certain breed of dog.

Rifles are no different. At first we shoot what we can afford. As we become more prosperous we move on to choosing more of what we want and like. Some perhaps are more practical than others, some more extravagant.

For the true Rifle Looney accuracy, fit and finish are like a shiny object to a crow. We also like to add a little touch of our own perhaps. Some even go so far as to have a stock painted to resemble the vomitus rendered from a bit too much pulled pork BBQ and cold beer...

Is a rifle guy or gal any different from a "car" guy or gal. Style is a matter of personel choice and having something a little different. How much chrome you add is up to you!

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from Cgull wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

If I get a custom rifle it'll be a modest ER Shaw Savage. I'll save the rest for the high price of fuel and what it's going to cost next year to drive any of my vehicles. Pretty soon not only production platforms will blow, so will refineries.

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from seadog wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

You can get a really nice rifle for $1000. How much better is the $10,000 custom rifle? 1%? 2%? I can buy a lot of ammo with the $9,000+ I'm saving by not buying the finest custom rifle.

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from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Every now and then I go look at the beanfield rifle website.

And at the Krieghoff website.

Hmmm.

Reckon I'm only waiting for things to go my way!

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from focusfront wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'm a big fan of custom guns. Not that I will ever own one, but all the cool stuff in today's custom guns will sooner or later show up in tomorrow's factory rifles. How many stainless synthetic factory rifles could you get 25 years ago? How many sub-seven pound big game rifles could you get fifteen years ago? How many aluminum pillar bedded factory rifles could you buy ten years ago? How many MOA factory rifles could you buy five years ago? Right. Now if only the factories would embrace the takedown concept, the thing would be almost complete.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

The reasons for buying a semi-custom rifle are quite compelling, but the IRS is getting my "fun rifle money" this year to the tune of $3500, and change, apparently I didn't pay enough taxes last year? Oh well, death and taxes, death and taxes...

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I have learned one very important thing from the numerous custom rifles I own or have owned. The gun is only as good as the skill, imagination, and care of the craftsman who made it. Without the best maker performing the work you are only paying for an assembled group of parts regardless of the cost be it $1000 or $10,000. Buy the best barrel, trigger, stock, etc, pay me to build it and you will get a genuine POS that you probably can't give away. You will never regret selecting the best man to build that dream gun.

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from Douglas wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can bet that a semi custom firearm would hold its worth thru the generations too.
(this thought is to try to convince my comptroller wife that "we" need to invest in one. Think of the grandkids!)
When it comes to gun nuts, Mr. Petzal, you sure know the buttons to push!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'm not arguing with you Mike Diehl., but Dave's point #2, "when they leave the shop they are supposed to work perfectly, if not they will be made to". At that price (around here an Ed Brown cost $3600+ and I can't enter his shop without an appointment) why should there be a problem? But it happens. I'm very skeptical of these semi-custom rifle makers. Where is the testing after the shops' quality control?
What I'm trying to say is once the price reaches the 3 grand level a man shouldn't have a gripe, none, unless he admits he didn't explain his needs well enough. His fault. I do admit I'd like a semi-custom since I can't afford true custom but the factories are pushing the envelope hard on the semi-guys as mentioned in an earlier blog of Sako, Kimber, and even Shaw.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I have been collecting rifles for more than 40 years, and almost all of them are at least custom-stocked and custom-barreled; a few are genuine custom all the way. I only have one factory rifle and that is a Rem. Model 700 Classic in .222 Rem. that shoots like a house on fire. I love fine wood, my choice of barrels, and preferably old Sako actions or pre-'64 Model 70s. I am not trying to be snobbish. These are the rifles I choose to own, hunt with and shoot. Many factory rifles may shoot as well, but my collection is the culmination of 45 years of painstakingly putting them together at a time when I made very little money. If I had unlimited funds, they all would be made by Dale Goens, Al Biesen and the like, but they are an impressive collection for a guy who has never made $50,000 in a single year in his life.

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

You may pay $10,000 and up for a custom job, but my sporterized 03-A3 is priceless to me.Total cost of everything under $200, but my Father had it customized for me as a lifelong gift and what can replace that!

Firearms are like Women, it's all in the eye of the beholder!

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from Proverbs wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I'll take mine in .270 Win with a 23-inch barrel. Set the trigger to 3.00 pounds, please.

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

i did the opposite of what u "should" do.. buy an expensive rifle and a cheap scope.. a decade later they stopped making the rifle and scopes have mooved on both in quality and prices.. so now i do have a"custom" weapon and need a proper expensive scope to put on it :P might want a "custom" stock on it too from KCC.. a rifle that is completely "finished" is boring to me even if it might cost a bundle.. sell it and buy 3 new projects is what id do :P

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

"I'm not arguing with you Mike Diehl., but Dave's point #2, "when they leave the shop they are supposed to work perfectly, if not they will be made to"."

That is correct. And if I bought a $800 Savage new, if it did not work perfectly, it too would be made to do so, by Savage. Same for Ruger. Paying an extra four to nine thousand doesn't get you any more of a guarantee of out of the box reliability or accuracy than you'd get from a Weatherby Mark V.

Someone said something about the wonders of having available lightweight big game rifles. Thanks no. If I ever shoot a Cape Buff, I'd want a ten pound rifle to shoot it with.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Here's one from Ross on the cost of "accurate" customs that cost above $2,000-2,500 : I don't care what exalted precision or gilt edged accuracy is claimed, they're still Remington action and synthetic stock rifles.

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from lyle gorch wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I can relate a bit to the snob appeal. I have two Randall knives, that may not do any more than a $30 special, but pride of ownership does come in.

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

fng: As much as I like the .338 Win and Lapua I would suggest you consider the Edge if you reload and don't mind higher pressures. Its an excellent long range hunter's rifle which also works well for close targets if you choose the right bullet.

Bernie: I no longer have any custom rifles built on pre'64 actions but own several pre-Garcia Sako action rifles. I suppose all of these rifles might be disqualified as customs by some people's definition since the actions are not made from scratch by some guy from a couple bars of steel. Oh well to each his own...those Sako actions are old friends and operate the same regardless of which one I choose to use for the trip.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

To me, the term "custom", as applied to the .338-06 that I hope will come to fruition this year, means that I doubt anybody else will have one like it, it's chambered in something I can't buy off the shelf at Gander Mt. or the little local shop, and it's designed, equipped, or whatever the way I want it. Yes, there's a small touch of snobbery there, but also a certain sense of pride as well. Too, in my case, the gunsmith is an old friend and I greatly want one of his with the shop name on it before he locks the shop door one last time. It's a Ruger Mk II action with a 23" Douglas barrel in an all-weather configuration and will likely see a lot of field time if all goes well.

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from davidpetzal wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

To O Garcia: The facts elude you. If you tell Kenny Jarrett that you need a SAAMI chamber that will take any brand of ammo you shove in it, that's what you'll get, whether you are me or some other honyak. Any of the custom makers will give you whatever you want, within reason. It's your money, after all. All of my Ultra Lights have at least #2 contour barrels, despite the great anguish it causes Melvin Forbes to add weight to his rifles. When Mark Bansner built my .270 WSM he installed a muzzle brake, due to a miscommunication. When I found out, I asked him to saw the goddamn thing off and he sawed the goddamn thing off, no problem.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mike D,
It seems we were on a different page. I wasn't putting down the semi's so to speak but praising the quality of the factory stuff. I thought you were on the other end and wondered why.
Sorry for the miscommunication.

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from MLH wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Buying a factory gun can be a crap shoot. I've gotten and quickly unloaded the crap ... the crap cost me quite a bit of money, money which could have gone toward a good custom.

There are typically priced guns that get the job done, and sometimes you get a fine one, but there is always something special about a gun that has been detailed by a skilled craftsman. That price is worth it to someone that really takes pride in their firearm or demands the best.

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from Themasterdan wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Bought my first custom gun the year that I got done with college. It was quite the gripe around the house that I was spending my hard earned money on such a frivolous thing. Fellas you will never ever be disappointed in purchasing a custom rifle. Much like quality optics you won't ever want to go back to what you had before. Will this rifle drive tacks, yes. Will a Savage, Browning, etc do the same given proper ammo; probably. Also it is a working rifle, no pomp. It was made to be drug through the snow, rain, mud of the Rockies. Trust Mr. Petzal you won't regret the purchase.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

based on the experiences of gunwriters Ive read in various magazines, if you ask an accuracy-specific gunmaker (e.g. the famed Mr. Jarrett) to build you a rifle, he will probably build it so tight it will work with only one make of case. Say if you want it in .257 Wby, he will probably set up the extractor to work with a Norma/Weatherby case, or maybe Federal.

Of course, Mr. Petzal would tell you all his custom rifles are SAAMI-spec, but if you're not Mr. Petzal, or another heavyweight gunwriter or buyer, how do you tell Mr.Jarrett, Sisk, Bansner, etc. that he should sacrifice a bit of 'tightness' so your rifle would be able to feed, chamber, fire and extract Remington or Winchester or Hornady brass?

Good luck on it working perfectly. For one load, custom "developed" for your rifle, maybe. And you'll pay for load development, too.

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from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Indeed, master Ozark! Im trying to save up for that thunder-thumping .338... maybe the Winchester, but Im thinking REALLY hard about the Lapua, too... if I ever win the lotto, I guess. Im only 20, it can still happen!

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I would agree that while they look very very nice and perform impecibly I wouldnt want to take that much money into the high country and have it get scratched just because of hard hunting.

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from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

ishawoa, you, sir, a scholar and a gentleman. I had heard of the .338 Edge, and it is comparitive to the Lapua. Any more to add on the advantages? the only reason I ask is I don't even know the differance between the pressures, or their effects, I don't care about bolt size (my dad has a dirty thirty for killing anythng that refuses to stay 500+ yards away XD) and any advice on scopes? I was told a nightforce 5.5-22x56 beats a USOptics sn-3 5-25x58 with erek nob, MOA reticle, and four month wait time. I tend to agree, mostly because the US is 1000 more...

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from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

ps, this is a project gun. It'll be heavy, loved, cherished, treated like my baby and have uncounted cleaning patches wasted on making sure NO carbon is in it, its polished and properly lubed. I was thinking the only custom builder in my city (Alberta tactical rifles), a Macmillan a5 stock, and what kind of action? they have stillers, nesikas, rem700's, etc.

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from fng wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

and, pardon me, surgeon, BAT and dakota actions. And lilja, or rock creek barrels? trying to build an opinion from scratch is... difficult.

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from z41 wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

For me the value of this article is seeing "honyak" in print. I can still buy a $300 use Remington to plug deer with.

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I haven't heard anyone use the word honyak for years,other than a few of us old timers who use it around each other.
Z-41 is right...seeing honyak in print adds to the value
of the article.

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

For the money spent nothing I have seen tops the big Shiloh Sharps single shot rifles. Waited five years for mine. Fit and finish is second to none, action slick as owl hockey, very, very accurate.

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from rlriggins wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Dave although the entire article was very good I too want to thank you for using the term honyak in it. Around my family we have used honyak for as long as I can remember and I had never seen it in print. Now I can spell it as well as pronounce it. Thank you.

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from Bella wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

My god I have lived an entire year on less than what Unca Dave says a "custom" gun should cost!
As Ishawooa points out though if you inventory every piece of gear at the trailhead the investment is pricy even if the gun is old and the camo worn and comfey.
I will continue to admire custom guns in museums and shoot my (mostly acquired used) firearms As If they were "custom" guns.

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from wingshooter54 wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

At the present, any custom rifles or high grade sxs shotguns are currently enrolled at Texas A&M University; an investment that will prove to be more valuable than a few custom guns. However, when my son graduates next year, some nice ones are going to come my way.

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from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Learned a couple things over the years.

W C Fileds one of my favoriet sooth sayers said.
Womwen are like elephants ,. I like to look at em but I wouldnt wanno own one . ; ) ( asume he included hunting in that statement) and custom rifles : )

From various achetechts I have known and an egnineering background,. I learned form sooner or later follows fucntion,..not the opposite.

And then there is art,.. which is a subject that has always confused me.

In buisness there is what is called the law of demminishiong margial return . which means essentially the more you spend the less you get per dollar unit.

What ever a unit ends up to be. Satisfaction ,.. arrogance ,.one upsmanship,.. what ever.
I think custom guns incorperate all of the above.whcih liley then take them out of the realm of any true appreciation on may part.

Thusly if you toss all that in life's blender and still decide you need a true custom gun .
Well hell ,. get one .

You are probably a man / woman of taste and decermment .
or,... someone who either made or inheriteed enough money to do what ever the hear desires .

My criteria is,.. will the gun of my most recent desire let me get the job done ( kill the critter ) better more humanely.

Which takes me back to trigger, stock fit and recoil.
If you can manage the recoil.
Meaning it does not affect your shooting in a negative way ,if the trigger is right for you, and the stock allows you comfortable shooting assuming decent optics.
You should be able to keep most shots within two inches.
Few,.. weather a custome rifle is involved or not can do better,,specally in the field

So how much deminishing marginal return ( pain in the wallet ) are yo willing to endure ? YUK YUK

Just my 2 cents

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from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Right now I am looking for a Ike Ellis custom, the man built some of the best and most beautifull guns I have ever seen but until I can find one I am goin with a Cooper.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

A rebarreled Weatherby Mark V is about as close as I'll get to custom with the exception of a Shiloh Sharps 1874 No. 1 Sporter.

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

fng: The Edge shoots a little flatter than the Winchester or Lapua plus you avoid the high cost of the latter's brass. Other than that there probably is no real life advantage.
As with other variations of the Remington Ultra case as well as the numerous latter day generation of short magnums, pressures may run 10,000 higher than the older cartridges. This obviously limits brass life, barrel longevity, and maybe shortens the use period of the action. However things like the Edge are fun to play with, are different than what most people use, and do possess a small, if not remarkable, improvement over similiar cartridges. In reality I doubt that it is worth the effort but then that is why some folks are happy with an Impala 5.3 L while others must have a 'Vette with a ZO-6 and dual turbochargers.
By the way in my "list" of hunting stuff I forgot my binoculars so add another $500-$1000 depending on what is taken on the hunt. Funny I have forgotten them prior to real hunts which resulted in a case of constant squinting or stareing through the spotting scope in an effort to locate an elk across the canyon. Most aggravating. What I described for myself does not vary much from many local Wyoming hunters although not everyone is so inclined to spend a lot of money on gear.

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from SL wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I think way too much emphasis is put on owning things that are bigger, better or more expensive than the next guy in our society. In the scheme of things what difference does it make owning a custom gun?? Not a heck of a lot. I guess it helps the ego of the owner, but that is about it. Who else might care about it? Maybe another anal gun nut, but no one else, this I can assure you. They won't kill game one bit better than the over the counter gun at ranges most people shouldn't be shooting at anyway, so what else are they really good for other than helping boost ones ego?? Over the counter guns are more accurate than they ever were, most of them way MORE accurate than the shooter holding it will ever be able to take advantage of, so a custom gun will be of mighty little help to him either. I also laugh at those who think guns are a good investment. I have NEVER heard of anyone getting rich buying and selling guns. In general the money that can be made on some guns is generally chicken feed compared to any other sort of good investment one can make. I own guns to hunt with. I could care less if they were one of a kind and worth $10,000. The game I put down don't know the difference either. I could put the money I saved to wiser and better use.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

SD_Wt

Having worked in engineering firms for the past 12 years, I can assure you that engineers who possess less than stellar writing skills are not an anomaly! LOL

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

"so what are you really getting for $10,000"

A designer label.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Of course, if you spend $10,000 on a factory custom gun you're probably also getting a work of art that blows the doors off anything around. That kind of money gets you AAAA select fancy walnut, MOA, silky smooth fit and finish, fancy engraving in any design you want, and gold inlay, with a custom box to put it in, and a partridge in a pear tree.

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from focusfront wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

If someone gave me five grand and said, "Spend this on whatever YOU want," I'd rather have a left-handed H-S Precision Takedown rifle in .270 or 7mm-08 (if such a thing was ever made) than a Rolex watch, set of custom golf clubs, handmade fly rod, etc. But when you can get a 1 MOA rifle for under a grand, and a 1/2 MOA rifle costs two, three, or ten times that, it's hard for most of us to spend that kind of cash for a half inch that the deer will never notice.

I still love to read about custom guns; there's not many things out there that are made so much better than they have to be just because the builder's pride in his work demands it. Hopefully Savage or somebody will produce a takedown bolt rifle for the rest of us. Keep it up, Dave.

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

You actually don't have to pay the prices of a rifle marked Kenny Jarret or Mark Bansner to own a custom. Right here in or near Cody, WY there are several custom rifle makers who equal the craftsmanship of the well known makers for much less money. Some of them have been putting togather rifles as long as Jarret and Bansner combined. Bear in mind that I have nothing against either of these fine rifle makers and am just using them as convienant examples since Petzal mentioned their names first. I have examined their wares and have shot them, you can buy equally good custom rifles for less. I can even offer a web site or two if anyone is interested.
Custom rifles are created most likely for personal satisfaction but I can assure you that most Wyoming hunters don't give your rifle a second glance when they meet you on the trail. They will check out your big bull elk or inquire about the lack thereof if they heard you shoot and don't see any results. Likely they will be far more interested and impressed by your horse than any rifle you might be packing including one from Echols. Perhaps this sort of example is not even important and doesn't really matter in the whole scheme of things. Its as simple as if you have the money and desire build a custom, if you are lacking either aspect buy a factory rifle and be happy. Either will work well.

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from davidpetzal wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

To O Garcia: The truth no longer eludes you.

Just for the record, I'm not a believer in CRF or full-length extractors. My Kenny Jarrett .30/06 is an intact Remington 700 that was just rebarreled, and had at least 5,000 rounds through it with the first barrel, and never failed to feed or extract. Not once.

Warren Page's .375 Weatherby (on which he actually burned out three barrels) was another untouched Remington (actually a 721) that never failed.

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I'm on my 3rd barrel on my Remington 700 and never had a single problem. This 700 has been trough harsh conditions from the swamps of the Southeast to the Deserts of the Southwest to the Arctic Circle and never failed once!

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from Zermoid wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Why spend all that money on a perfect gun that you will have nothing to tinker on?
Aren't most if not all gun nuts also tinkerers? I love to get a new (to me) ued gun to tinker on, fix this, change that, ad this. God forbid someone lays a rifle in my hands that will shoot a 5 shot group thru 1 hole at 100 yds with almost any ammo! Where's the fun in that?!

I'll take a factory Savage, or any other gun for that matter, that has minor problems over any "custom perfection rifle" any day.

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from New Age Bubba wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Why not start another less controversial topic, like the best rifle caliber?

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
have you ever asked a high-dollar custom rifle builder to ehrm, 'build' you a left handed clone of the Remington Model Seven from bar stock?

You know, because a left handed Model Seven is something Remington should have built, and 2nd, just to see their reaction to the request?

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Has anyone ever seen a Hummer with brush marks.

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

Has anyone ever seen a Hummer with brush marks.

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from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Learned a couple things over the years.

W C Fileds one of my favoriet sooth sayers said.
Womwen are like elephants ,. I like to look at em but I wouldnt wanno own one . ; ) ( asume he included hunting in that statement) and custom rifles : )

From various achetechts I have known and an egnineering background,. I learned form sooner or later follows fucntion,..not the opposite.

And then there is art,.. which is a subject that has always confused me.

In buisness there is what is called the law of demminishiong margial return . which means essentially the more you spend the less you get per dollar unit.

What ever a unit ends up to be. Satisfaction ,.. arrogance ,.one upsmanship,.. what ever.
I think custom guns incorperate all of the above.whcih liley then take them out of the realm of any true appreciation on may part.

Thusly if you toss all that in life's blender and still decide you need a true custom gun .
Well hell ,. get one .

You are probably a man / woman of taste and decermment .
or,... someone who either made or inheriteed enough money to do what ever the hear desires .

My criteria is,.. will the gun of my most recent desire let me get the job done ( kill the critter ) better more humanely.

Which takes me back to trigger, stock fit and recoil.
If you can manage the recoil.
Meaning it does not affect your shooting in a negative way ,if the trigger is right for you, and the stock allows you comfortable shooting assuming decent optics.
You should be able to keep most shots within two inches.
Few,.. weather a custome rifle is involved or not can do better,,specally in the field

So how much deminishing marginal return ( pain in the wallet ) are yo willing to endure ? YUK YUK

Just my 2 cents

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from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

oops soory for double post

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

While I do agree with the above statement that some custom bits of old are now standard, and that more of that will happen in the future, the opposite has also happened.

Several rifle manufacturers also have their own "custom" shops, where they can select parts, fine tune triggers, and other small tasks that can make a ordinary factory job work just a bit better. Remington has one. My question is; why? If it's not much more money, and just a bit of work, why don't all rifles have the "special" trigger job?

Guns are getting like computers, cars, and other electronic devices. There's the base model, then the one with what you really want and/or need to function optimally. My beloved Remington group likes to have several models... One with smoother action, one with a nice stock, one with a decent scope, one with iron sights, but try to get them all on one rifle? Ouch.

To me, a super custom rifle is great for bragging rights, and to show off at the field. You're either a good shot or not usually with or without it. The "law of diminishing returns" does apply. $4000 to go from a half-inch group to a third-inch group? Fine European walnut stock personally carved by Baron Von Krupp? An action blessed by the Dali Llama? What's the limit for performance while being reasonable?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Bee

I'm trying to find some chrome spinner rims to customize my four wheeler. Seen any in Georgia?

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from Andrew Ferraro wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

There is a huge difference between collecting guns and hunting. I don't want to "invest" in a $10,000 rifle, but I think the semi-custom shops are a great idea for a special occassion (like a 40th birthday) and yes- I hope my wife is reading this post. What's my best bet for a light 308 to carry on drives?

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from ishawooa wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

SL for the most part I think you are correct with your comments. The exception is I know quite a few people who indeed did become rich selling guns and associated products. Some rather wealthy. A few live nearby.

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from New Age Bubba wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Here's what makes this a complicated issue, at least to me: you can buy a moa rifle out-of-the-box for under $1,000, so what are you really getting for $10,000. I suppose it's the difference between a Ferrari and a Chevy/Ford--one is a work of art disguised as a tool and the other is just a tool.

Sadly I can only afford a factory gun (maybe if I had spent more time in the office, like my boss wanted), but I can appreciate the custom guns and the satisfaction they provide.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

WMH,

Yes, believe it or not on my last trip to the ATL I saw several such "vehicles"... How about a set of these? Check out the link:

http://www.streetdreams.org/photo/showphoto.php?photo=172

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from fng wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

thank you, master ishawooa! indeed I believe I will take your advice. To be honest, Im young, have no kids, and make a fair bit of money. When would be better to buy stuff that you will always want and treasure!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mike

Mike D,
So what's your point.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

That anything you can get in a $4,000 custom gun you can get in a $800 factory gun. And if you pay a couple thousand, the factory gun will be more pleasing to me to look at, because it won't have a plastic stock. It's not necessarily the case that anyone in particular would share my preference for wood. But the craftsmanship and effort that goes into a properly made wooden stock is much more impressive (to me) than some molded plastic thing made of some space age polymer.

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

f I had $10,000 laying around, I'd use it on a couple of out of State hunts. $10,000 piece of fine workmanship is worthless if you can't use it! Kinda like living in the Desert owning a Snowmobile!

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

One more thing, you get what you pay for! A couple of weeks ago in Wal-Mart, I ran into a Gentleman who bought a Remington 700 BDL 7mm Rem Mag and toed it with the cheapest scope Wal-Mart had and yes he said, the big one did get away!

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

toed, FAT FINGERS STRIKE AGAIN!

TOPPED!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I might buy another rifle someday, but only after every rifle I own currently has a premium piece of glass on it.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal, glad to know the accuracy specialists do listen to the buyer. I wasn't really worrying about the chamber, actually it was about the extractor, esp if you happen to want your rifle built on a CRF action.

Some reasons for wanting a custom rifle (regardless of stock material or price)
-rare caliber (say 9.3x64 Brenneke or 8x68S) or a wildcat
-you're a youth, or a youth-sized guy, or a lady, and you want the rifle to actually fit you, but you don't want any of the compact models being peddled by Remington, Ruger, etc. because the buttstock just doesn't look right for your taste, you want the rifle to be properly proportioned
-if the rifle is for a really specialized application, like an ultralight, super accurate, mountain-ruggedized sheep rifle that you happen to want in, for example, a really cool Shilen DGA action
-beauty
-just because

Often, the last reason comes first.

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from Gritz wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

First off, I think this is a GREAT post. This is the tension point of all of your readers because they either come here to listen to you talk about rifles they will never own or they come here to rag on you about how upity you are for talking about the rifles no one could afford. I personally am very happy with my factory rifle and my wife would probably cry more than I would if I emptied our bank account on "another gun?!" But something I really could use direction on is quality, custom flint lock rifles. I put together a beautiful cap lock rifle a few years ago and I really love this gun. Besides looking beautiful I can go to the range, have a blast and spend less than 30 bucks for as much as I want to shoot (lead balls are cheap). I got my first buck with it last year and now that I know that it really works I would like to move to a nice, solid, professionally finished rifle in a flintlock. I am really hyped but if I am going to spend the money on this gun, which will be on display in my home, I would like to get something that is not mass produced and sold by sporting goods stores. I am looking for a good, Pennsylvania rifle with a 1-66 twist and at least a 33.5 inch barrel. If anyone has any good resources for connecting with American producers I would love to hear it.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Controlled Round Feed is a common affliction to those who listen to Mauserchester fans too much.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Beekeeper

That's what I'm talkin' about! Pimp my ride!

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from Douglas wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Gritz,
I too love a fine muzzle loader. Check out Jim Chambers flintlocks website for a kit.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Bee, well put, wish I'd said that. The 'smith assures me I'll see my new toy this year. It shows up, rest assured of pictures. Regards....

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

As with any hunting rifle, quality will prove to be its own reward, and economy will prove to be expensive in the long run. :- chuck hawks

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from Gunslinger wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

There ae4 typesn of firearms. Cheap ones, high dollar guns: Those that shoot to point of aim and thoe thatdon;t.,When youn find such a gun hang on to itas few available.As someone stated, why don;t Rem and etc make all their guns quality fiearms at a fair price, I got both,cheap and high $.Somemshot better with brandXAmmo,others shot beter with another Brand bullet.Me, I'll take the Rem 700 and best Ammo available.Secondly I will take the MArlin XL7 for haras hunting i 270

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from Ozark Hunter wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

When you have a Kool-Aid budget, you must make the best what you have! Three things you can do to the rifle you do have to improve it, glass bedding, specialized recrown the muzzle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsg-Yt6t-HM) for the type of bullet you will shoot and type of use and replacing the trigger assembly with a quality trigger assembly made by Timney Triggers (http://www.timneytriggers.com/). Recon if I had Davids job, I probably go insane admiring fine workmanship. But for now, I make the most out of what I have. One thing to consider, with the new advancement on the “AR” platforms with cartridges large enough for Water Buffalo and Elephants accuracy and dependability is enhanced for one major reason is for there is no stock to worry about proper bedding.

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Gritz,
Bill Evans at Ultracoatingsinc.com of KCMO builds beautiful flintlocks when he has time. My Lancaster style flinter was made by Bingham in Ohio in 1993. I love it's Siler lock, Davis triggers, Getz 39 ich swamped barrel and curly maple stock with engraved brass patch box. But the gun was prone to hangfire now and then until Bill worked his magic on the touch hole liner. Lost contact with Bingham years ago. You are right about flinters being cheap (and fun) to shoot. You can see the longrifle on page 9 of my photofiles by clicking my username and opening the files. Bill knows at least one other Longrifle builder that I know of. If you want a flinter that isn't factory made get in touch with Bill.

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from Gritz wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Thanks for the info. I might not actually pull the trigger on ordering a custom flint lock just yet but it is amazing to look at them, calculate, dream, daydream, and dream some more. Who knows, maybe I will dream enough about it that I will "accidentally order one in my sleep." At least that will be my excuse to my wife.

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from O Garcia wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

When you buy a custom rifle or shotgun or even handgun, don't think of it as an investment, because with few exceptions, its value will depreciate. Beautifully made guns, even though we consider them works of art, are not paintings or sculptures or rare wines. If you're Average Joe, your custom gun has little collector value. Unless it is a Holland & Holland, Westley-Richards, an original Rigby or some other London brand or maybe a David Miller, it will sell for less than you bought it. If your name is John Wayne, Chuck Yeager, Joe DiMaggio, Jack O'Connor or God forbid, Rosie O'Donnell, obviously people would like to buy your gun, even at astronomical prices in an auction. (Sorry for the Rosie bit.)

Financial reward is no reason for buying a custom gun.

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Got word ER Shaw has shipped my rifle. Should get here in a few days!

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from Gunslinger wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I think its time to change the subject also and let us Southern guys who want to hunt the Rockies at a affordable price.So far not been abe to do so unless you pay a trespass fee for l.000 plus and camp out. Cost about 750.00 for gas to drive out, 3 guys go and l sleep l keep the driver awake,switch every 200 miles or so. Now buy the tags for Elk and der,anothr 650.oo. Food about 300.00 ad odds and ends.So you spent nearly 2500.oo.Nowgta guided hunt and we talking 5-10K bucks ut you still got to fly or drive out. The price is now about out of reach of the average Joe. Guns,all will shoot well, accuracy depends on the shooter. A custom job (have one) and a few Rem 700's when I go west I take a Rem 700 in 30-06 and a 25-06 and a 44-40 side arm. O you can spend thousands on stuff that will not improve the gun at all,few really bad guns slip by the inspectors. My biggest complait has always been the trigger, but now thats being taken care of with adjustable ones. Beauty, buy a Walnut Stocked useage by a Syn. With a custom job, you can spend till you run out of $ with fancy engraving, but will not make the gun shoot any better.My Custom job was special built in Italy and use now and then,but it was built for a Ariian hunt on Mausr action with dble setrigges and some engravig,but wth open sighs,my old eyes now requie scoped guns and I wll not scope this gun period.It's my show and brag gun.For good huntng,the 700's go to the feld, 24" bbls and Nikon scopes, will put 3 shots at 200 yds that a l/2 dolar will cover if I'm right on the hold.. There many good guns out ther now that will not break th bank.Take the Mosseberg, Marlin,T/CVentura, with a fair scope and you can buy the combo for about 350.600 .00 dollars and will shoot as well as most of us can shot out to 200 yds. A few ys back was in MT , sawthsi dandy 4x 4 on 2nd ridge, I estimated tobe l75 yds, no time to ange. I held on hair line and oe shot and down he went. Then I ranged the animal and it was 345 yds. Had I ranged him prior to the shot, I would have passed him up.That was with theRem 700 in 30-06 using Scirocco's .afew days later i kileda Lope at 325 yds with the 325 yds, and in that flat sagebrush it looked to be about 200 yds,but the guide who was driving,said when he stops shot. Here at home a 200 yd shot is a rarity, most are about l50,even some at 75 yds. Pratice enough that you know wherr your gun will hit and you will be ok, but you must pratce.I use a MArlin 22 Wm to pratce after i check the 0 on my hunting guns, then I check the zero once I get to the hunt camp,you better, because the luggage handles will try their best to ruin your prize rifle.Use the best Ammo you can find, whats a 3-4 dollar bullet when you spend 5K bucks on a one shot deal,and thats all you gonna get as a rule unless you break him down. Good hunting, shot often and straight

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from Gunslinger wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

The cost I stated above all depends on MPG, type of food, (I love Steak roasted) and the dozen litle thing yo never thought of. A hunt out in the West s no cheap hunt evena do it yourself hunt.I waited 30 ys for my first hunt,(l993) now have been ll times and pray one more in store for this old 75 yr old man. There will be more game in years to come, if the gam Comm will alow us to kill some Cougars,Wolves and bears.Where I hunt,I can tell a lot lessgame now than 20 yrs ago, and last year was the worst ever, too many wolves, and Cougars. A Cougar passed withing 20 yds of my wife that was trailing 2 small does.There would have been one less Cougar had I saw it, but was gone befro I could get in positon.o

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from BigBboy25 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I've had three custom rifles put together and none of them have cost $10k. They all have Jewell Triggers, Hart or Krieger Barrels, McMillian Stocks and remington 700 actions and were built by one of the best gunsmiths in the U.S. Truman Wilson, he's built 4 rifles for 1000 yard benchrest and with those four particular rifles shooters have broken 5 world records at the Pennsylvania 1000 yard club. I've never had any problems with my rifles and they all shoot under 1/2 MOA. Mr. P makes some good points but I don't think price determines the final product. You must buy good components and hire a good gunsmith, but I think you can get one hell of a rifle for under $10K.

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from Proverbs wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

For the posters who disdain (or pretend to) custom guns: Why bother to say so in this blog?

For the pretenders: If you are really Gun Nuts, I truly hope you are able to someday own a fine custom rifle. You will derive a pleasure out of it that is understood best by fellow Gun Nuts. And it has nothing to do with ego.

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from SL wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

"For the posters who disdain (or pretend to) custom guns: Why bother to say so in this blog?"

Why bother to say anything about anything in a blog?? Some talk of how sweet it would be to own a custom gun, while others say that it makes very little difference shooting wise these days whether you shoot a custom gun or a production gun. You can spend $10,000 to fondle your rifle and ego while I will spend $500 to $1,000 to use it without worrying about it or how much money I shelled out for it. The title of the blog is "why you should (or should not) by a custom rifle" if you haven't noticed.

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from Bernie wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Part of my endearment of custom rifles revolves around the talents of the stockmakers, barrel-makers and other artisans who put such a work together--something someone as ham-handed as I am could never do. Same sentiment goes to the makers of handmade knives.

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from yohan wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

WEEEEll,.. Sd White Tail hunter
Asssuming that title is not ment to imply a caucasion house of ill repute

I will in the future make all and every effort not to get your undies in too much of twist . YUK YUK

It is however true that Im ususally in a hurry (just my nature) which is why I like to hunt and fish,and or shoot.
As those activities for what ever reason slow everthing down. Couldn't care less if I never golf again.
( your a golfer right ? )

Thusly your sensitiveness,..while I have a certian background. What I am is what is commonly referred to as a stock broker.
My practice is somewhat narrow by most or typcial standards however .
Whch means Im not in the pit yelling buy or sell.
That said it dosent hurt to be fairly adept with numbers in either venue.
I am also further involved in real estate here and there.
However what I am not is a practicing engineer nor do I manufacture stuff.Not to say I won at some point if iy makes sence.

Truth is most engineers as well as certain members of the medical community just plain pi$$ me off.
So I dont hang with many of those dudes.
A certain group physicians I also find have the tedency to think their feces smells like strawberry yogurt and as you can imagine.
I dont have mcuh to do on a social level with that group . Alhough some are clients. Go figure hugh ?

Not a great speller but not terrible either.
I have big hands,. XL glove fits but its pretty snug . Big hands = big fingers. Most of which have been broken due to amuature boxing for 20 + years, which dosent make em smaller .Amazingly enough though ,. no arthitis.
So, pressed for time I will ( occasionally ?) hit more than one key.
Which goes a long way at times to giving the appearance im just under the US Army I Q limit,which I think is about 80.
Rest assured however I have a little more juice than that.

Also if it counts ( meaning money is at stake) have "people" who work for me,. who type.
I send emails to people I know and who know me, but have then, the bennifit of spell check.
Which also goes some distance to elevating my supposed IQ to the inteded user.

In any case it is not my life goal to casue you stomach cramps.
Yet becuase you seem to have the ability to act or talk more from opinion than fact.
Im not gonna get too upset if you have some difficulty with my "pelling gamer or sentse stukter" YUK YUK

Thusly I will appologise in advance for any future stress I cause you.
I do however sympathise with you in that you appear to marying a woman who either has a shoe fetish or is very vian and self centered.( or God forbid both ? )

Maybe one of those sex and the city wannabe'babe's .??
As I usually date women some what younger than myself .
When see that comin ,. I feint right, then left,. then do a spin ( breaking tackle move) and dodge out the door.If I cant do that I have some one call me with an emergency situation : )

Good luck with that pardner.

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