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#3748758 - 02/01/10 09:30 PM Custom rifle makers Best?
bonefish Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 395
Loc: TN
Have had a local gunsmith put together a semi custom rifle and had some issues with it. I may purchase a high end custom with an all around caliber such as 300 win. There are some real expensive options such as Borden, McMillan, Nesika Bay, Ed Brown and some others. Is a named custom/semi custom the safe route to go for a super accurate gun with good customer service? Might step down a little in round to 280AI. Cooper is another option that would save a bunch of money. I unfortunately do not plan to own a bunch of rifles, just want one real good one to shoot at deer and possibly elk. Thanks.

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#3749112 - 02/02/10 05:21 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
DigitalDan Offline
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Registered: 05/01/04
Posts: 20712
Loc: Yankeetown, Fl
You've opened the door wide for a fun filled thread. Before it gets too crazy you might want to define more clearly the parameters you can deal with, like weight, money, whether you want stainless, CM, synthetic or wood, barrel length, etc, etc. There's a fair number of very talented 'smiths here at 24 Hr that might help you with your endeavor.
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#3749656 - 02/02/10 08:30 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: DigitalDan]
CCCC Online   content
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Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 3972
Loc: New Mexico High Country
I had might as well step into the fray before it gets very thick, so this is worth approximately 2 cents. There are quite a few excellent and accurate rifles around here, some semi-custom, some nice miltary conversions and some pretty much as they came from the manufacturer. After having worked with all of those for a long time, must say that if I were going to buy a good hunting rifle today and were looking for the best functioning and most consistently accurate rifle for the amount of dollars spent, it would be the new Savage with accu trigger and accu stock. You can spend a ton more to get some fancy features and a more custom look, but not likely to get improved performance over the Savage - and maybe not as good.
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#3749700 - 02/02/10 08:42 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
doubletap Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 5012
Loc: Atlanta
I suppose it depends on which you prefer and what accuracy level you require. You mentioned Cooper for the cost savings. Before you decide, you should go to a Cooper dealer and check out some of the test targets. I've seen some with 3 shot groups between 1/4" and 1/2" with cartridges suitable for most hunting (like a 30-06). If you really want a full custom, go for it. I've spent more than the cost of a Cooper on a custom that didn't look any better or shoot any better than a Cooper.


Edited by doubletap (02/02/10 08:43 AM)
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#3750206 - 02/02/10 10:52 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: doubletap]
TimZ Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 284
From the list of makers you cite, it sounds like you are leaning more towards a synthetic stock than a wood, which makes things a bit simpler.

Would suggest keeping open the option of finding a donor action, then you can send it off to someone like PacNor for a barrel and action blueprinting, then order yourself the McMillan stock of your choice and that is pretty much it.

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#3750394 - 02/02/10 11:40 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: doubletap]
mathman Offline
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Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 20324
Quote:
I've seen some with 3 shot groups between 1/4" and 1/2" with cartridges suitable for most hunting (like a 30-06).


Aren't Cooper's test targets shot in a 50 yard tunnel?

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#3750435 - 02/02/10 11:53 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: mathman]
heavywalker Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 10082
Loc: 40 Years too Late
I think they are shot at 42 or 46 yards.

Cooper is a good option and will be a fine rifle and exelent shooter. Going the custom route will give you more of a selection of what you want your rifle to be it will cost more and be about the same as far as accuracy.
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#3750478 - 02/02/10 12:06 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
gene270 Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 09/27/08
Posts: 1777
Loc: virginia
If a custom gun is what you want i think you will find you get more for your dollar looking at a nula for 2995.00
or bordens basic rifle starting at 2995.00

both outfits are straight up top notch people to deal with
and one thing with nula is they give you a 30day money back gaurantee if not satified

gene

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#3750489 - 02/02/10 12:11 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
Mark R Dobrenski Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 04/19/01
Posts: 28277
Loc: Bozeman, Montana
Lots of ways you could go, and some of the ways will involve more money than you really need to delve into. I'd most likely go the way of finding a good smith via a good reference from someone you know and trust.

Then I'd get a good action (70 or 700) and a good barrel and a good handle and have him/her do the work for you.

While I've never had either Redneck and or Mickey Coleman from the fire do anywork for me I've heard so many fine things about them that I'd surely consider talking with them.

I'm thinking you could and should be able to have one built from these guys that shoots lights out and in a cost effective manner.

Lastly if you don't wish to go that way then I'd have Melvin (another fine fella) build you one of his NULA's.

Dober
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#3750522 - 02/02/10 12:19 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Mark R Dobrenski]
peepsight3006 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 3814
Loc: Utah
Set your parameters first If 1/2 MOA will get you by, then some of the higher end factory stuff will do. Just about any 'smith here at the fire can do better as far as wood stocks than you get from OTC crap, but if one tiny hole at 200 for 10 shots doesn't light your fire, then a factory rifle with a decent stockmaker to finish up is the way I'd go. JMHO

Wayne

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#3750910 - 02/02/10 01:59 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: mathman]
doubletap Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 5012
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: mathman
Quote:
I've seen some with 3 shot groups between 1/4" and 1/2" with cartridges suitable for most hunting (like a 30-06).


Aren't Cooper's test targets shot in a 50 yard tunnel?


I don't know if that is correct. I either didn't notice the yardage on the test targets or it isn't shown. The salesman in the store said 100 yards and since I wasn't ready to buy right then, I didn't question that.
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#3751213 - 02/02/10 03:09 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: doubletap]
Ton264 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/22/10
Posts: 66
Loc: Southern, India
By far, the three BEST gunsmiths for Model 70-type action hunting rifles are:

1. D'Arcy Echols

2. Gene Similion

3. Mark...what's his last name? He works with the two above...

Unfortunately, they are also among the most expensive.
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#3751246 - 02/02/10 03:16 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Ton264]
300MAG Offline
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Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 5247
Loc: PITTSBURGH, PA
#3 = Mark Penrod

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#3751314 - 02/02/10 03:28 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: doubletap]
heavywalker Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 10082
Loc: 40 Years too Late
Originally Posted By: doubletap
Originally Posted By: mathman
Quote:
I've seen some with 3 shot groups between 1/4" and 1/2" with cartridges suitable for most hunting (like a 30-06).


Aren't Cooper's test targets shot in a 50 yard tunnel?


I don't know if that is correct. I either didn't notice the yardage on the test targets or it isn't shown. The salesman in the store said 100 yards and since I wasn't ready to buy right then, I didn't question that.


Your salesman is misinformed there is no yardaged marked on the target so many people assume that the target are shot at 100 yards. Call cooper and ask them how far they shoot there test targets and don't let them BS you they will eventually tell you that the target is shot somewhere in the 46 yard range. Most people will just assume that the target is at 100 yards because that is what we normally measure the accuracy of our rifles at, but that is not what cooper uses.
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#3751381 - 02/02/10 03:45 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: heavywalker]
teal Offline
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Registered: 08/13/03
Posts: 22632
Loc: Missing, Presumed Dead
I've seen it called 50 yards at Sheels...
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#3751624 - 02/02/10 04:34 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
Mako25 Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 10/18/09
Posts: 16718
Loc: TX
I Send an action to Pac-Nor, with a check for around $600.00, a note with desired contour and caliber, wait 'bout six-weeks or so, and Wa-la - accurate custom.

It's as close as I can come anyway.

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#3751839 - 02/02/10 05:14 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Ton264]
MontanaMan Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 8993
Originally Posted By: Ton264
By far, the three BEST gunsmiths for Model 70-type action hunting rifles are:

1. D'Arcy Echols

2. Gene Similion

3. Mark...what's his last name? He works with the two above...

Unfortunately, they are also among the most expensive.


You left off David Miller...........easily the equal of Echols, the best of the 3 you mentioned.

MM

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#3755316 - 02/03/10 03:00 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: MontanaMan]
AdkHunter Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 08/15/04
Posts: 606
Loc: Adirondack Mtns. NY
Since I bought my 30-06 NULA my 20+ other hunting rifles have pretty much become safe queens. Light weight, very accurate with factory ammo and just feels right to me. I couldn't ask for anything more.
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#3755510 - 02/03/10 03:53 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: AdkHunter]
cumminscowboy Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 2997
Loc: Herriman UT
I owned factory rifles for years, then decided I wanted to go custom, what I found is a rifle even a factory one that will shoot .5 moa is a special one and don't think every custom you have built will get there unless its a truck axle barreled custom, I am talking standard hunting rifles here. I went custom because I wanted more accuracy. I got mixed results, including a custom that didn't turn out that great and another one that shoot great with ONE load.

its pretty depressing once you own a tikka, you start to get pissed at all the money you have in customs.
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#3755523 - 02/03/10 03:57 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Ton264]
Gringo Loco Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 07/04/06
Posts: 4661
Originally Posted By: Ton264
By far, the three BEST gunsmiths for Model 70-type action hunting rifles are:

1. D'Arcy Echols

2. Gene Similion

3. Mark...what's his last name? He works with the two above...

Unfortunately, they are also among the most expensive.

What about Charlie Sisk?

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#3755552 - 02/03/10 04:04 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: MontanaMan]
Huntz Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 5274
Loc: N.E.Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: MontanaMan
Originally Posted By: Ton264
By far, the three BEST gunsmiths for Model 70-type action hunting rifles are:

1. D'Arcy Echols

2. Gene Similion

3. Mark...what's his last name? He works with the two above...

Unfortunately, they are also among the most expensive.


You left off David Miller...........easily the equal of Echols, the best of the 3 you mentioned.

MM


Kenny Jarret!!!!Da man.
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#3755576 - 02/03/10 04:11 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Huntz]
BobinNH Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 28136
Originally Posted By: Huntz
Originally Posted By: MontanaMan
[quote=Ton264]By far, the three BEST gunsmiths for Model 70-type action hunting rifles are:

1. D'Arcy Echols

2. Gene Similion

3. Mark...what's his last name? He works with the two above...

Unfortunately, they are also among the most expensive.


You left off David Miller...........easily the equal of Echols, the best of the 3 you mentioned.

MM



One thing for sure....you will never go wrong with any of these four guys.
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#3755616 - 02/03/10 04:26 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: BobinNH]
utah708 Online   content
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Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 5986
That is assuming you want what they build. They all built their reputation in a fairly narrow niche. If you want a McSwirly/ Remington clone/wildcat I would come up with a different set of names. But for Win M70s, that list would go a long ways (including my kids' inheritance.)

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#3755620 - 02/03/10 04:27 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: utah708]
Godogs57 Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 1632
Loc: Georgia
Kenny Jarrett.....if accuracy is your game.
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#3756120 - 02/03/10 06:23 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: mathman]
Bigbuck215 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 12743
Loc: Billings, Mt and proud of it ...
Originally Posted By: mathman
Quote:
I've seen some with 3 shot groups between 1/4" and 1/2" with cartridges suitable for most hunting (like a 30-06).


Aren't Cooper's test targets shot in a 50 yard tunnel?


From Cooper's website. My understanding is that rim fires are shot at fifty yards but center fires are from 100.

Based on our popular “Varminter” with the addition of the Montana Varminters "Buick holes" and the proven strength of laminated wood, the Varmiter Laminate is an instant hit. Available in our Model 21, 22, and 38. All Varminter Laminates are single shot bolt action rifles that present superior accuracy in a variety of standard and wild-cat cartridges guaranteed to shoot 1/2" 3-shot groups at 100 yards (test target proving rifle accuracy included with every Varminter Laminate). Also available left handed.
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#3757655 - 02/04/10 07:30 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Bigbuck215]
DMB Offline
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Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 13436
Loc: Grayling, MI
Duane Weibe
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#3757991 - 02/04/10 08:58 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: DMB]
atkinsonhunting Offline
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Registered: 03/04/01
Posts: 6954
Loc: Filer, Idaho, USA
The term "Custom Rifle" has been degraded over the last few years with the stainlees steel and plastic market..Those IMO are simi custom rifles and they bring as much as $10,000 but for the life of me I cannot imagine how other than some folks believe that price is the ultimate indicator of value and in some cases it is but this isn't the place.

The cost of a true custom rifle is mostly in the wood and the craftsmanship of that build. same applies to metal work..

Most of the high dollar SS and plastic guns I see cost about $1800 to build with a few exceptions that may be higher in production cost, but my question is are they better, will they shoot better..A simple custom quality $400 ss barrel with a good $400 plastic stock on a Rem 700 $400 action stuck together in glass will shoot mighty tiny groups and were at $1500 with all the tricks plus labor, so I don't see the high dollar modern stuff...I can see a lot of value in a a traditional wood stock, that is expensive wood (that is also another story)and labor intensive and skill that took maybe 30 plus years to develope, that is "custom"...

I know, the new kids, the 1000 yard snipers, on the block are thinking I have lost it, maybe I have, but if so , I earned the right. smile smile smile and its only my opinnion.
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#3758502 - 02/04/10 11:28 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
Kodiakisland Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/03/01
Posts: 3328
Loc: AK..CO..MO..CO..EU..AR..next??...
Originally Posted By: bonefish
Is a named custom/semi custom the safe route to go for a super accurate gun with good customer service?


From my experience, it is a safer route, but there are no guarantees. A buddy and I both had work done by one of the "top" smiths that at the time always had guns featured in Shooting Times and other such magazines. The guns were expensive, but hey, you pay for what you get, right? We both ended up sending ours back to be fixed. Customer service was very poor.
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#3766406 - 02/06/10 09:54 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Huntz]
284LUVR Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 9248
Loc: Two Dogs Holler West Virginia
Originally Posted By: Huntz
Originally Posted By: MontanaMan
Originally Posted By: Ton264
By far, the three BEST gunsmiths for Model 70-type action hunting rifles are:

1. D'Arcy Echols

2. Gene Similion

3. Mark...what's his last name? He works with the two above...

Unfortunately, they are also among the most expensive.


You left off David Miller...........easily the equal of Echols, the best of the 3 you mentioned.

MM


Kenny Jarret!!!!Da man.



Sort of the who's who of what you see in the shiny pages but there are many guys out there that will build you one that shoots better for MUCH LESS.

http://benchrest.com/hammonds/hunter_rifle.html
Quietly turning out some of the most accurate hunting rifles available.He ain't a people person on the phone but then ya didn't call for a kiss did ya.Over 30 world records in benchrest and that quality is built into every hunting rifle.
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Blued steel & iron sights.

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#3766499 - 02/06/10 10:13 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 284LUVR]
teal Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 08/13/03
Posts: 22632
Loc: Missing, Presumed Dead
Really hard to find a guy who can't build a great rifle if you ask around just a little.

Greg Tannel, the Biesens, Charlie Sisk, Mike Bryant, etc.
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#3768064 - 02/06/10 06:09 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 284LUVR]
brooksrange Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 06/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: USA
For me, it's not about shooting better, it's about a better rifle. I'd have to agree with those that say that those guys make a good rifle great.

The old man biesen was also very good in his prime and made my uncle a 270 Winchester that was kept in the family for 20 years before he sold it without asking me if I'd like to buy it. I think he sold it for 2K, about what it cost him at the time, but way under what it would be worth today.
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#3768241 - 02/06/10 07:02 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: peepsight3006]
bobkoch Offline
Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 33
Loc: ramsey, mn
try cooper rifles they are kind of semi custom and shoot very well for under $2000
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#3768343 - 02/06/10 07:25 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: mathman]
bobkoch Offline
Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 33
Loc: ramsey, mn
I think they are but i have a cooper 6.5x284 hunting rifle and i have shot with 140 grain smk 5 bullets touching at a 200yds
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#3769454 - 02/07/10 07:15 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: atkinsonhunting]
Woodchuck Offline
Member

Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Texas
Ray-

You have not lost it, just identified reality.

Many many so called custom "wanabes" can do nothing more than pour glass into a plastic stock.

It has to be wood for a start.
Brownell, Ottmar, Kennedy,Beison,Goens are a few who set the stage years ago.

Woodchuck

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#3769590 - 02/07/10 07:50 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
Eremicus Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 18881
Loc: Placerville,CA,USA
After having three rifles built for me, I have to say that I'm very happy with them.
You can get somebody like Pac-Nor to put your choice of a barrel on your action and they shoot really well. Far better than I really need. I did that with my first two.
But to do it really well, you need to find a guy that has alot of experience in building the type of rifle you really want and need. I used such a person to modify my first two and to build my 3rd.
For example, I'm not interested in the last word in accuracy. While it's lots of fun shooting groups under .5 MOA with a light sporter, I'd much rather have a rifle that goes bang under the worst of conditions and a scope that will hold it's zero under such conditions. The two are not at all the same sort of rifle build, trust me.
To my mind, a custom, or customized rifle is one that better suits your needs than one that I can buy off of the rack. Just what those needs and desires are, are up to you and your pocket book.
Beware of doing this however. I was convinced that only one would do. Now I have three and I've customized a couple of others quite a bit. It's is an aquired, very expensive addiction. E

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#3769618 - 02/07/10 07:59 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Eremicus]
RDFinn Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 16379
Loc: Bernardsville, NJ
Plus one to what E said

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#3769657 - 02/07/10 08:08 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Woodchuck]
458Win Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 2458
Loc: AK peninsula
Wood is only the half of it - If you have even seen exactly what D'Arcy Echols or David Miller ( or Smithson, Heilman, Wiebe, Borden, Satterlee, Paul, Martini, et al ) do you would see that they can easily put in as many hours with the metal work as the stock maker. That is why a synthetic stocked Echol's or laminated Miller rifle costs what it does.
Like in any field there are plenty of folks copying the same style of rifle and cutting costs by simply re-barreling a Rem-700 clone and dropping it in an after market stock and often these rifle will shoot just as well but if 100% reliability over the long run is your goal then a lot of folks in the know choose rifles by the top end builders.
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Anyone who claims the 30-06 is not effective has either not used one, or else is unwittingly commenting on their marksmanship.

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#3769659 - 02/07/10 08:09 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: RDFinn]
LIV2HUNT Offline
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Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 932
Well said E, custom is in the eyes of the beholder!
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#3769824 - 02/07/10 08:59 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: LIV2HUNT]
RDFinn Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 16379
Loc: Bernardsville, NJ
Along the lines of what Phil just said, there are alot of rifle builders out there who are switch overs from custom machinists and they can build one hell of an accurate rifle. But if something isn't just right, it's time to seek out the metalsmith who knows how (and why) to make a rifle feed and function correctly. Today, if I were going the super accurate SS/Synthetic route where nothing short of stellar accuracy and function were acceptable, Jim Borden would be my man.

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#3769846 - 02/07/10 09:04 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: LIV2HUNT]
butchlambert1 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 4674
Loc: Poetry, Texas
You are very correct Phil! I'm sorry though as I don't see Sisk and Jarret worthy of this crowd. Jump on me if you want, but until you have actually handled and shot them, you wouldn't understand. That was not directed at you Phil.
Butch

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#3769896 - 02/07/10 09:19 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: butchlambert1]
458Win Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 2458
Loc: AK peninsula
There are a lot of very talented gun builders out there who make solid, reliable rifles that an average working man can afford and for the majority of us that is all we need. One aspect that is seldom mentioned when buying any custom rifle is to find out exactly the type of hunting experience the builder has. Because they make a super accurate rifle that works for sniping deer across a beanfield does not mean that that same rifle will hold up in Africa or Alaska.
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www.grizzlyskinsofalaska.com

Anyone who claims the 30-06 is not effective has either not used one, or else is unwittingly commenting on their marksmanship.

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#3769922 - 02/07/10 09:26 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: atkinsonhunting]
Savage_99 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/01/03
Posts: 12765
Ray,

I agree with you that to us a 'custom' is a fine rifle with a walnut stock. Perhaps indeed a plastic stocked rifle can cost to win some match however my heart is with the beauty of the fine traditional rifle.



Besides the artisans mentioned above is a masterpiece by Jim Kobe. Its so good that this great art lives on.

Link
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#3769932 - 02/07/10 09:31 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: butchlambert1]
RDFinn Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 16379
Loc: Bernardsville, NJ
Why do you say this about Sisk and Jarrett? I'm asking cause I don't know what it is you are referring to.

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#3770122 - 02/07/10 10:22 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: RDFinn]
butchlambert1 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 4674
Loc: Poetry, Texas
RD,
These things have a way of getting out of hand on the net. I don't want to go there. It would serve no purpose.
Butch

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#3770128 - 02/07/10 10:24 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: butchlambert1]
RDFinn Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 16379
Loc: Bernardsville, NJ
Probably shouldn't have then, but thank you anyway. FWIW, I have heard many stories, thanks to the net, about Jarrett sheep rifles and his lack of understanding about them and how they should function. But there again......

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#3773053 - 02/08/10 06:37 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: RDFinn]
DMB Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 13436
Loc: Grayling, MI
James Anderson and David Christman.
_________________________
Don Buckbee

JPFO
NRA Benefactor Member
NSSA Life Member







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#3773489 - 02/08/10 08:52 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: DMB]
Mule Deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 33222
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
To follow up on what Phil posted, D'Arcy Echols spend an average of 80 hours on each Model 70 Classic action alone, making sure everything works perfectly. For instence, his ideal (though not always reached) is to have the action feed empty cases for the round its chambered in. He also essentially rebuilds the trigger, squaring and honing all applicable surfaces and replacing the factory pins with ones that fit.

In addition he replaces the bottom metal with a magazine that's the perfect width for the round in question, and fits a custom scope mount that is machined the support the entire length of the scope tube.

That's just a few of the things that go into a "plastic" Echols Legend, and are part of the reason they cost so much. They are not just any aftermarket barrel screwed into a Rem. 700 action and dropped into any synthetic stock.

I love fine walnut as much as the next guy, and have several rifles that are custom-stocked with really good wood. But a custom walnut stock does not turn a pre-64 Model 70 into a custom rifle, anymore than dropping a 700 into a McMillan makes it a custom rifle. But it IS a Model 70 with a custom stock.
_________________________
John

The ultimate concern of a rifle loony is rifle trivia. And why not? What else is as distracting from the really important concerns of everyday life?

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#3774188 - 02/08/10 12:03 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Mule Deer]
Ralphie Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 1526
Loc: NW Wyoming
Today he may be most widely known for his Legend rifles, but D'Arcy's Classic rifles are second to none. And that includes the list of the great walnut stocked riflemakers someone posted above.

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#3776040 - 02/08/10 06:55 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: AdkHunter]
sir_springer Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 1510
Loc: Cranbrook, BC, Canada
If you want to do some research, I have a fairly extensive list of links to gun makers, both regular and custom, on my blog site, RHS of page...

http://fishingnhunting.blogspot.com/

Some of them will have you drooling like a baby.

smile

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#3776074 - 02/08/10 07:03 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Ralphie]
Mule Deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 33222
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
Ralphie,

Yep. There was even a time when I considered ordering an Echols Classic. Then I decided to spend the money on a couple of hunst instead.
_________________________
John

The ultimate concern of a rifle loony is rifle trivia. And why not? What else is as distracting from the really important concerns of everyday life?

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#3783121 - 02/10/10 02:57 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Mule Deer]
458Win Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 2458
Loc: AK peninsula
I love fancy walnut as much as the next guy but basically a stock is simply a handle with which to hold a rifle. All that fancy wood, shadow lines and moldings are simply BLING that adds nothing to how well the rifle functions. That is the function of the metal work - and who well the stock fits the user.
_________________________
Phil Shoemaker
www.grizzlyskinsofalaska.com

Anyone who claims the 30-06 is not effective has either not used one, or else is unwittingly commenting on their marksmanship.

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#3787621 - 02/11/10 06:45 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Mule Deer]
bonefish Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 395
Loc: TN
I have been away from the site. I appreciate all the responses. I would love to have a nice wood stocked gun but am likely going to only do a synthetic mid caliber gun. 7mm or .30 . Likely will do another 280ai 300 wm is a possibility. Still am wondering if a Borden or similar is better than a much less expensive Cooper. Thanks for the responses. Once again this will likely be my only centerfire rifle for some time. Also plan on upgrading to a nice scope.

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#3787634 - 02/11/10 06:49 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 458Win]
bonefish Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 395
Loc: TN
458Win where in SW AK are you? I spent a couple of summers in King Salmon. Your name is familiar for some reason. Thanks Craig

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#3791472 - 02/12/10 07:29 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
458Win Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/04/05
Posts: 2458
Loc: AK peninsula
click on our web site below for more info.
Our homestead is 62 miles S of King Salmon
_________________________
Phil Shoemaker
www.grizzlyskinsofalaska.com

Anyone who claims the 30-06 is not effective has either not used one, or else is unwittingly commenting on their marksmanship.

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#3792761 - 02/13/10 07:41 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 458Win]
DMB Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 13436
Loc: Grayling, MI
Phil,

You have a rifle or two done by Lon Paul that have some nice stocks on them. I sure like them..

Don
_________________________
Don Buckbee

JPFO
NRA Benefactor Member
NSSA Life Member







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#3792815 - 02/13/10 08:00 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: DMB]
TC1 Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/28/02
Posts: 5671
Shane Thompson
Steven Dodd Hughes
James Anderson
Duane Wiebe
Ralph Martini

in no particular order are my favorites. All build rifles that are functional and accurate plus they add the "Bling" a custom rifle should have.

Terry
_________________________
Well, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

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#3798353 - 02/14/10 07:55 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 458Win]
bonefish Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 395
Loc: TN
Phil,
Becharof area is beautiful place. I used to fish down there a bunch. Mostly Featherly, and some other small streams. Ugashik narrows is one of my favorite places on earth. I saw that you listed rainbows down there on your website. Do you find them in the Becharof drainage area. I never saw one down there. Just dollies, grayling, lake trout and perhaps char. It looks like your place is on the opposite side of the lake from Pulik? I never knew there were any permanent cabins down there.
Craig

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#3799836 - 02/15/10 10:15 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: butchlambert1]
temmi Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 06/09/06
Posts: 9704
Loc: Texas
I am not sure where you are… but I had Kerry O’Day at MGA Arms build my .338WM.

Frankly my rifle is just what I wanted… and better since he gave me the guidance (not Pressure) to consider some aspects I would have missed.

I have known him since the early 90’s and he is a fine person and great to work with and VERY HONEST!

He has also tuned all my son’s rifles and has done consistently excellent work and delivered when he said he would.

He is located in Houston Texas and his website is included below.

http://www.mgarmsinc.com/MGArms/Welcome.html

BTW I DONOT work for him!
_________________________
That which does not kill us makes us stronger

Friedrich Nietzsche

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#4313368 - 08/09/10 12:13 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 458Win]
CanadianLefty Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 604
Great thread.

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#4313423 - 08/09/10 12:34 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: CanadianLefty]
JimBobwsm Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 08/05/08
Posts: 337
Loc: Georgia
Tim McWhorter. Most accurate rifles I have ever seen.

www.mcwhorterrifles.com

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#4313538 - 08/09/10 01:23 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: JimBobwsm]
crittergetter Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 05/28/07
Posts: 4892
Loc: Dallas,TX
Karl at kampfeldcustoms.com,I can't understand why no one mentioned him sooner.EXCELLANT gunsmith and 1 of the FINEST people to deal with.He'll answer any questions you might have.He builds a rifle the way you want not what he thinks it should be.
Jim at Borden rifles is also 1 of the finest smiths and customer service is 2nd to none.
High dollar but Mcwhorter builds fine rifles also.

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#4313796 - 08/09/10 03:25 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: crittergetter]
utah708 Online   content
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 5986
There are so many different categories of custom builders that trying to assign "best" is meaningless. Here is at least a partial list of categories with an example builder in each category

Remington clone action
Jim Borden

Artistic/Elegant
Duane Weibe

Long range
Shawn Carlock

Tactical/sniping
Surely somebody else knows better than I

100% Functional no-holds barred safari rifle
D'Arcy Echols

Super-light
Lex Webernick/Rifles, Inc.

Other categories could certainly be added, and before anybody gets their panties twisted up, the name I listed is an example, not the one and only.

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#4313958 - 08/09/10 04:26 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
mehulkamdar Offline
Member

Registered: 12/23/04
Posts: 78
Loc: Chicago IL
"Best" would be subjective, but there are a lot of very talented gunmakers in the USA. A plug here for my friend Dave Norin. Some of the biggest British names get Dave to work his magic on some of their guns (his metal finish work is as close to the old London and Birmingham guns as it gets) and he is also the editor of the ACGG journal. Dave does most of his work on traditional actions (Mausers and Winchester 70s) in walnut stocks with case hardening and rust bluing.

Go with any reputable gunmaker and you will have a true treasure. Good hunting!
_________________________
The Ark was made by amateurs. Experts made the Titanic.

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#4314069 - 08/09/10 05:05 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 458Win]
dave7mm Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 02/05/01
Posts: 6152
Loc: pa
Originally Posted By: 458Win
I love fancy walnut as much as the next guy but basically a stock is simply a handle with which to hold a rifle. All that fancy wood, shadow lines and moldings are simply BLING that adds nothing to how well the rifle functions. That is the function of the metal work - and who well the stock fits the user.

+1
Was on a Alberta hunt several years ago.Guy from New York city had a gorgeous walnut stocked Heym bolt gun.I seem to remember he had 7 or 8 grand in the thing.
Had a bad ice storm.Weather took a massive chit on us.Had a hard time even getting around.He ended up falling on his rifle and just dinging it up something awful.By the end of the hunt his rifle looked like crap.
Mine looked like crap when I started the hunt and you couldnt see the extra dings after the hunt was over.
Bottem line.
Its a tool.
A workmans tool is going to get used.
I just could not bring myself to abuse something that pretty and feel good about it.

Dwight Scott, BR gunsmith.
Tom Meredith TM Stockworks

dave
_________________________

Only accurate rifles are interesting.

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#4314245 - 08/09/10 06:10 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
Ken Howell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 28889
Some of the best don't belong, and some who belong may not be the best, but the American Custom Gun-makers' Guild is a good place to start looking.

A good question to ask any member is which other members he recommends. Those guys are pretty critical of each other's work, ethics, etc.

http://www.acgg.org

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#4314259 - 08/09/10 06:17 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Ken Howell]
TC1 Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/28/02
Posts: 5671
I've had my last 3 built by ACGG members. Very good advice.

Terry
_________________________
Well, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

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#4314756 - 08/09/10 09:52 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
1minute Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 15350
Loc: Burns/Hines, Oregon, USA
In my mind a true custom rifle is not the simple assembly of off the shelf parts and a paint job. All have to be meshed with the upmost precision including the stock build, bedding, and finish. One simply does not buy a drop in stock if the maker never handled the metal. One should go in for several fittings as the work progresses, and when finished, it should effortlessly shoulder and be pointed on target with no effort.

I've had a few rifles assembled (and they are shooters), but am working on what is my first real custom stock. I went through the safe and picked the best aspects from over a dozen units and am putting them into this stock. I drew lines, measured, and remeasured for about 3 months before a saw ever touched the plank. I'm still working on fit and finish, but I can pick an object, close my eyes, shoulder it, and it's right on spot when I open my eyes. Another year, and I should have it finished. A 6.5 x 55. Sure hope it shoots because I have a ton of my time into it.


Edited by 1minute (08/09/10 09:55 PM)
_________________________
1Minute

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#4314841 - 08/09/10 11:37 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Mule Deer]
EDMHUNTER Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 324
Loc: Lockport Il.
Originally Posted By: Mule Deer
To follow up on what Phil posted, D'Arcy Echols spend an average of 80 hours on each Model 70 Classic action alone, making sure everything works perfectly. For instence, his ideal (though not always reached) is to have the action feed empty cases for the round its chambered in. He also essentially rebuilds the trigger, squaring and honing all applicable surfaces and replacing the factory pins with ones that fit.

In addition he replaces the bottom metal with a magazine that's the perfect width for the round in question, and fits a custom scope mount that is machined the support the entire length of the scope tube.

That's just a few of the things that go into a "plastic" Echols Legend, and are part of the reason they cost so much. They are not just any aftermarket barrel screwed into a Rem. 700 action and dropped into any synthetic stock.

I love fine walnut as much as the next guy, and have several rifles that are custom-stocked with really good wood. But a custom walnut stock does not turn a pre-64 Model 70 into a custom rifle, anymore than dropping a 700 into a McMillan makes it a custom rifle. But it IS a Model 70 with a custom stock.


Is it hard to make a gun feed empty shells? I can do it on my Penrod custom Model 70 with no problems.

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#4315333 - 08/10/10 07:59 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Gringo Loco]
temmi Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 06/09/06
Posts: 9704
Loc: Texas
MG Arms Kerry O’Day http://www.mgarmsinc.com/index.html


For my money (literally) it is Kerry O’Day at MG Arms http://www.mgarmsinc.com/index.html.

I have worked with him for at least 20ish years and he has done everything from accurize my sons rifles to build my 338WM.

All work has been just as advertised, accurate and rugged.

Great folks, Great work
_________________________
That which does not kill us makes us stronger

Friedrich Nietzsche

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#4315377 - 08/10/10 08:17 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: EDMHUNTER]
Mule Deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 33222
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
EDMHUNTER,

Empry-case feeding depends a lot on the cartridge, and some on the individual action. Even Model 70's vary enough that not all will feed the same.

I once had a VZ24 98 Mauser action that, when I had it rebarreled to .30-06, fed empty cases perfectly, even though it was originally barreled in 8x57. But not all military 98's will do that.

Many actions will also feed empty cases from one side of the magazine but not from the other--or not feed cases from the bottom of the magazine.
_________________________
John

The ultimate concern of a rifle loony is rifle trivia. And why not? What else is as distracting from the really important concerns of everyday life?

Top
#4317577 - 08/10/10 10:09 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Mule Deer]
greydog Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 2480
I have to confess to having always been more concerned about how well the rifle would feed loaded cartridges. Enough so that I always test with complete cartridges and don't much care how well the rifle might feed empties. See, I've been hunting and target shooting for nearly fifty years and am unable to recall a situation where I thought an empty case was the right choice for the shot I had to make.
When it comes to custom gunmakers, there are, literally, hundreds of them whose skills impress me; a lot. GD

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#4317615 - 08/10/10 10:43 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: greydog]
gmsemel Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 5425
Loc: East Haddam, CT
Well If I had the money, I would have D'Arcy Echol's build me a Legend in 300 H+H and say good night. Or A 7mm Remington Mag. Either would be all one could ask of a hunting rifle for North America. There are some truly gifted craftsmen around. And there is one for every budget too. Dollar for Dollar the best value in a hunting rifle is Mel Forbes ware's.
_________________________
"Any idiot can face a crisis,it's the day-to-day living that wears you out."

Anton Chekhov



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#4317658 - 08/11/10 12:09 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
kaboku68 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 03/27/06
Posts: 947
Loc: Alaska
There are a lot of very good gunsmiths out there.

I have a different view of what I would like.

1) Sterling Davenport- He makes a classic rifle of the highest standards that a regular Joe can afford. Everyone that I have looked at was flawless. It is hard to find a custom maker who hasn't laid at least one turkey. I really want to find one in 338 Winchester Mag. I don't have one and would like one of this flavor.

2) Bolliger Mountain Riflery- They are just so nice. I think that this is the direction that Weatherby should have gone. Notice how many used Mark Vs are for sale. They are heavy but they are nice. You never see these for bargain basement prices but with the economic rough patch some are for sale for some good prices.

3) Mel Forbes- He makes a superior lightweight rifle for the tool process. He would be the guy that I would go to for a custom sheep rifle in 264 Win or 270 Roy. It may not be this year but it will be ahead.

4) Jules Labatchini(sic). I also do want a Jules rifle in 270 or 257 Roberts. I know that he has passed but I would like to find one during a time that I am flush.

5) Mike Connor- He used to be in Juneau. I don't know if he is alive. He knew his way around a Model 70 big bore. I wouldn't look away from his work.

7) Doug Turnbull- I wouldn't mind a 475 Turnbull in a lever for another moose and brown bear gun. Someday I will go to Africa. It wouldn't be a bad gun to take along. They look nice as well.

I don't know if I would pay for a Miller, a Echols, or a Hagn when you can almost buy an English Double Rifle for one of their customs.

Sincerely,
Thomas

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#4317666 - 08/11/10 12:44 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: kaboku68]
BobinNH Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 28136
This is like trying to identify the world's most beautiful woman....it simply can't be done smile

One reason is that there are varying degrees of "custom",and the skill sets are markedly different between,say, a Jim Borden,and a Dave Norin,Duane Wiebe,Steve Heilman, etc. These skills may overlap and converge at some point, but you wind up with markedly different rifles at the end of the process.

As to "most accurate", I doubt anybody can lay claim to that any more either,at least in a hunting rifle.The techniques of getting a Rem 700 clone(even a M70 and others) to shoot lights out is pretty common today.Less common are smiths who can take a rifle and make it function perfectly,every time.

Not too long ago there was really "one" type of custom rifle and if you considered anything other than a Wiebe, Biesen,Goens etc you were headed in the wrong direction....starting in about the 80's the number of guys out there capable of that quality work proliferated;I remember attending the ACGG show in Vegas a couple of times in the 80's and was shocked at how many really top quality makers were out there.

I think this trend has continued to this day.There are many fine wood/metal/ accuracy smiths to choose from.

Just a comment on wood vs synthetics:Wood can of course vary all over the place,and I'd be the last to say that a wood stock is tougher or more durable than a good synthetic,but I have owned quite a few customs by top makers,and one of the characteristics I noticed about them is that the things never changed point of impact, nor did they stop shooting very well,even though some of them got thoroughly soaked from rain,ice,and snow, and treated pretty rough over the course of a hunt.

Point is there is a world of difference between a green factory stock,and a well cured hunk of French cut properly,laid out,bedded,and sealed by a top maker.How they do it I don't know,but I actually shot the barrel out of a 280 built on a Mauser action by Kevin Campbell,and the rifle never once required any rezero.So, just because a lot of them are pretty does not necessarily mean they are fragile to any degree,and can be completely trustworthy hunting tools.They can handle some pretty rough treatment.


Edited by BobinNH (08/11/10 01:04 AM)
_________________________
Just because I'm not listening...doesn't mean I'm not paying attention.

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#4317727 - 08/11/10 04:11 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: BobinNH]
TC1 Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/28/02
Posts: 5671
Well said.
_________________________
Well, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

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#4317793 - 08/11/10 05:15 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: JimBobwsm]
DMB Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 13436
Loc: Grayling, MI
Originally Posted By: JimBobwsm
Tim McWhorter. Most accurate rifles I have ever seen.

www.mcwhorterrifles.com




He's an outstanding gunsmith, and the rifles he builds are exceptional.
_________________________
Don Buckbee

JPFO
NRA Benefactor Member
NSSA Life Member







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#4318037 - 08/11/10 07:04 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: greydog]
Mule Deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 33222
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
greydog,

D'Arcy tries to get empty cases to feed because he has found that if a rifle feeds empty cases, it will feed any loaded round with any shaped bullet flawlessly as well. And some of his customers are into different-shaped bullets.
_________________________
John

The ultimate concern of a rifle loony is rifle trivia. And why not? What else is as distracting from the really important concerns of everyday life?

Top
#4318240 - 08/11/10 08:24 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: greydog]
dave7mm Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 02/05/01
Posts: 6152
Loc: pa
Originally Posted By: greydog
I have to confess to having always been more concerned about how well the rifle would feed loaded cartridges. Enough so that I always test with complete cartridges and don't much care how well the rifle might feed empties. See, I've been hunting and target shooting for nearly fifty years and am unable to recall a situation where I thought an empty case was the right choice for the shot I had to make.
When it comes to custom gunmakers, there are, literally, hundreds of them whose skills impress me; a lot. GD


+1
Im thinking a person ought to know what bullet or bullets there thinking about usuing and have the gun set up accordingly.
Feeding empty cases to me seems like a good case of mental masturbation.
I absolutely need to know that the loaded rounds I have in my hand will feed.
Empty ones not so much.

dave
_________________________

Only accurate rifles are interesting.

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#4318313 - 08/11/10 08:46 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: dave7mm]
Mule Deer Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 33222
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
Well, for one thing D'Arcy's customers often change their mind about what bullet they want to use. Plus the vast majority are globe-trotting hunters who may end up using whatever ammo is locally available, because their ammo with the "right" bullet didn't show up.

So D'Arcy makes damn sure the rifle will feed anything, and has found that feeding empty cases is the best test. His rifles have a reputation of being absolutely foolproof, which is why his waiting list is very long--for rifles that cost $14,000.

Now, you may think his customers are fools, and that's your prerogative. But they don't think so.
_________________________
John

The ultimate concern of a rifle loony is rifle trivia. And why not? What else is as distracting from the really important concerns of everyday life?

Top
#4318354 - 08/11/10 09:03 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: butchlambert1]
leftycarbon Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 04/08/04
Posts: 3132
Loc: Mid Atlantic & Northern Colora...
Butch-Phil,

I agree it all starts with the metal. Precise chambering, action tunned for 100% reliable feeding & ejection, and timed right. lastly precisley bedded into your choice of stock...wood or plastic. Several smiths get it mostly right but it takes a dedicated craftsman to put it all together in one package.

A rifle that doesn't do it all, to me is almost worthless no matter how pretty it is.

Lefty C

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#4318359 - 08/11/10 09:05 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: AdkHunter]
JohnMoses Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 05/23/09
Posts: 18213
Loc: Mississippi
Save a bunch of dough and buy a Cooper Jackson Hunter or Excaliber rifle. Spend the rest on the best glass you can buy.




The 4 I have shot have been well put together and super accurate.

JM
_________________________

www.pronghornsling.com

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#4318402 - 08/11/10 09:19 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: Mule Deer]
dave7mm Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 02/05/01
Posts: 6152
Loc: pa
I dont think there fools at all.
If I had the resources to own a 14000 rifle.I'd most likley have one of D'Arcy's.
All kinds of people have all kinds of ideas about what they think is right.And what one guy thinks is a POS is another guys little piece of heaven.Everyones MMV.
Heck people think im nuts because im a S&B fanatic.
I typically spend 2 to 3 times on the optic what I spend on the rest of the rifle.
I like benchrest gunsmiths as I figure that at the very least you'll get a decent chamber job.I've found BR smiths to be pretty anal about everything they do.And that includes function.
Its a formula thats worked well for me for quite a while now.


dave
_________________________

Only accurate rifles are interesting.

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#4318421 - 08/11/10 09:26 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: dave7mm]
300MAG Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 10/23/06
Posts: 5247
Loc: PITTSBURGH, PA
If you got the cash, I say go for it.

I have never seen a Brinks truck following a hearse!!!

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#4318458 - 08/11/10 09:38 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: 300MAG]
JohnMoses Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 05/23/09
Posts: 18213
Loc: Mississippi
But I've seen some po ass relatives following one. LOL wink grin
_________________________

www.pronghornsling.com

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#4318562 - 08/11/10 10:10 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
FlaRick Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 3353
Loc: South of Georgia
Originally Posted By: bonefish
Have had a local gunsmith put together a semi custom rifle and had some issues with it. I may purchase a high end custom with an all around caliber such as 300 win. There are some real expensive options such as Borden, McMillan, Nesika Bay, Ed Brown and some others. Is a named custom/semi custom the safe route to go for a super accurate gun with good customer service? Might step down a little in round to 280AI. Cooper is another option that would save a bunch of money. I unfortunately do not plan to own a bunch of rifles, just want one real good one to shoot at deer and possibly elk. Thanks.
Bonefish, I have a Davenport and a Cooper. However, my advice is to buy a Sako 85 in 30-06, put a Swaro scope of your choice on it, and call it a day. Rick
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#4318656 - 08/11/10 10:42 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bonefish]
TomSmith Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 12/03/07
Posts: 876
Loc: NJ and FL
One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the famous gun smiths have a long back-log of work. Could be well over a year for some. Just getting a custom barrel made, by the barrel maker, can take a few months.

With the times they way they are, right now there are lots of really fine custom rifles on the used market. If you aren't terribly picky about the details, you could save yourself a lot of time and money if you searched around a little for nice used custom. A lot of times these guns were safe queens and haven't seen the light of day, so you coul be getting a practically new gun for a fraction of the price.

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#4318798 - 08/11/10 11:42 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: TomSmith]
JRC280 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 147
Loc: South Carolina
I have a Cooper Jackson Game in 280 Rem. It is the most accurate gun I have. Looked at customs and went this route and am very pleased. Go Cooper with high end glass.

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#4318808 - 08/11/10 11:47 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: JRC280]
JimBobwsm Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 08/05/08
Posts: 337
Loc: Georgia
Yeah but.....Mr. Cooper voted for Obama. Remember?

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#4318826 - 08/11/10 11:53 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: dave7mm]
RDFinn Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 16379
Loc: Bernardsville, NJ
Originally Posted By: dave7mm
Originally Posted By: greydog
I have to confess to having always been more concerned about how well the rifle would feed loaded cartridges. Enough so that I always test with complete cartridges and don't much care how well the rifle might feed empties. See, I've been hunting and target shooting for nearly fifty years and am unable to recall a situation where I thought an empty case was the right choice for the shot I had to make.
When it comes to custom gunmakers, there are, literally, hundreds of them whose skills impress me; a lot. GD


+1
Im thinking a person ought to know what bullet or bullets there thinking about usuing and have the gun set up accordingly.
Feeding empty cases to me seems like a good case of mental masturbation.
I absolutely need to know that the loaded rounds I have in my hand will feed.
Empty ones not so much.

dave


Dave, of all the folks who have chimed in on this topic, I would have thought you would have been more understanding of the guy who insists on owning one of D'Arcy's rifles. You seem to be very demanding of your riflescopes to the point that most don't understand or appreciate. Sounds like the Echols owners and you would have some common ground.


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#4318827 - 08/11/10 11:53 AM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: JimBobwsm]
JRC280 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 147
Loc: South Carolina
Mr. Cooper is gone now.

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#4318856 - 08/11/10 12:06 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: RDFinn]
dave7mm Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 02/05/01
Posts: 6152
Loc: pa

Originally Posted By: dave7mm
I dont think there fools at all.
If I had the resources to own a 14000 rifle.I'd most likley have one of D'Arcy's.


Originally Posted By: RDFinn
Sounds like the Echols owners and you would have some common ground.


All so true Mr Finn.


dave
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Only accurate rifles are interesting.

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#4318867 - 08/11/10 12:12 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: dave7mm]
RDFinn Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 16379
Loc: Bernardsville, NJ
Sorry Dave, I missed that one.

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#4319096 - 08/11/10 02:00 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: RDFinn]
utah708 Online   content
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 5986
I have met a couple of D'Arcy's clients in the shop--they by no means have the bearing of fools.

If I had $14K, I would not be buying one of his guns. A portion of the expense is in having his shop cover every last detail, including scope mounting, accuracy work, etc. I can do--and enjoy doing--that work for myself. His customers are often non-looneys who want turnkey perfection.

Now if I had $25k for a rifle, getting one of his wood stocked guns is an entirely different matter.

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#4319116 - 08/11/10 02:09 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: utah708]
DayPacker Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/16/09
Posts: 1905
Loc: Front Range, Co
A NULA comes close to being the world's most beautiful woman.
_________________________
Time spent hunting is not deducted from one's lifetime.


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#4319193 - 08/11/10 02:41 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: DayPacker]
utah708 Online   content
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 5986
But just a bit thick in the waist.

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#4319217 - 08/11/10 02:48 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: DayPacker]
bxroads Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 09/06/02
Posts: 4378
Food for thought, here's a list of problems I've had with various gunsmiths. A lot of the problems were from gunsmiths recommended in this thread (to be clear, NOT Jim Borden). These issues are off the top of my head, I'm sure I could come up with more. I've had to ship the completed rifle back to the gunsmith (or to another gunsmith due to total lack of confidence in the first) to fix some boneheaded oversight more times than not.

Paid for the action to be trued only to later discover that it had not been touched

Burs in the chamber causing sticky ejection (requiring the use of a rubber mallet to open the bolt)

Barrel grossly off centered in the barrel channel

Trigger grossly off centered in the trigger guard

Absolutely no fitting of the trigger guard/floorplate in the stock, just drop it in and if it doesn't fit....oh well!

The barreled action not oriented correctly in the stock (ejection port aligned with cut out in stock, tang not buried in the stock nor bedded to high, etc.)

Trigger firing upon bolt closure

Magazine not clearing the stock (rifles are bedded without the magazine box installed and when everything is put back together the box bottoms out in the stock causing all sorts of tension in the arrangement)

The follower catching on the bottom metal thus not seating completely down in the belly of the bottom metal and not allowing the last round to be shoved down into the magazine

The bolt handle recess in the stock not being properly relieved causing the bolt to no fully close

Sloppy bedding with an unbelievable amount of tension

Sloppy coating of metal. Finish pealing off even before I take it out of the box.

Sloppy painting of stock like my 5 year old did it

Barrel cut to the wrong length, wrong contour, wrong twist

Wrong stock and wrong LOP

Stock broken in the recoil lug area because they cut away to much stock material when relieving the lug area for bedding

Returning the rifle with a scope mounted that was not mine

Caliber spelled wrong on the barrel



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#4319485 - 08/11/10 04:47 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bxroads]
MontanaMan Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 8993
Originally Posted By: bxroads
Food for thought, here's a list of problems I've had with various gunsmiths. A lot of the problems were from gunsmiths recommended in this thread (to be clear, NOT Jim Borden). These issues are off the top of my head, I'm sure I could come up with more. I've had to ship the completed rifle back to the gunsmith (or to another gunsmith due to total lack of confidence in the first) to fix some boneheaded oversight more times than not.

Paid for the action to be trued only to later discover that it had not been touched

Burs in the chamber causing sticky ejection (requiring the use of a rubber mallet to open the bolt)

Barrel grossly off centered in the barrel channel

Trigger grossly off centered in the trigger guard

Absolutely no fitting of the trigger guard in the stock, just drop it in and if it doesn't fit....oh well!

The barrel action not oriented correctly in the stock (ejection port aligned with cut out in stock, tang not buried in the stock nor bedded to high, etc.)

Trigger firing upon bolt closure

Magazine not clearing the stock (rifles are bedded without the magazine box installed and when everything is put back together the box bottoms out in the stock causing all sorts of tension in the arrangement)

The floorplate catching on the bottom metal thus not seating completely down in the belly of the bottom metal and not allowing the last round to be shoved down into the magazine

The bolt handle recess in the stock not being properly relieved causing the bolt to no fully close

Sloppy bedding with an unbelievable amount of tension

Sloppy coating of metal. Finish pealing off even before I take it out of the box.

Sloppy painting of stock like my 5 year old did it

Barrel cut to the wrong length, wrong contour, wrong twist

Wrong stock and wrong LOP

Stock broken in the recoil lug area because they cut away to much stock material when relieving the lug area for bedding

Returning the rifle with a scope mounted that was not mine

Caliber spelled wrong on the barrel




To have those problems with what sounds to be semi-customs, synthetic stocked rifles is ridiculous, even more ridiculous if they were with wood stocked customs.

You really should put up the names..........I'd never again use anyone who did any one of those things, so I'd feel not compunction about listing the names.

MM

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#4319912 - 08/11/10 07:09 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: MontanaMan]
bxroads Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 09/06/02
Posts: 4378
I'd rather not list names but if anyone wants to know if its a smith that they're considering to use, PM me and I'll let you know if I've had experience with them.

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#4320067 - 08/11/10 07:58 PM Re: Custom rifle makers Best? [Re: bxroads]
2muchgun Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 02/25/05
Posts: 11807
Loc: Michigun
Sounds like D+D.........
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