Rifle building advice

tatemyers33

Beginner
Feb 6, 2021
9
0
I have a 6.5 creedmoor that I use for hunting purposes here in Utah but want to get something around the .30 cal range for elr shooting and larger game. I have never built a rifle before but want to piece one together. Is there any advice on cartridges/manufacturers/gunsmiths/ etc or any tips or tricks anyone has picked up? I was looking into a 300 PRC for example but am open to lots of cartridges. Would prefer one that has energy to take game to 700 yards and elr shooting to 1500 just for fun. Or if you have parts that you would be willing to sell me let me know.

Thanks,

Tate


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Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,816
144
First things first...
Need to know your budget!
Use this as a guide, as it will be your reality check when it comes to pricing the components on your wish list, versus your desires.
Then you need to prioritize what you desire versus what you absolutely want/can't live without:
1) Action (dependent upon cartridge chosen);
A big consideration here is going to be what you're intended purpose is, as compared to your shooting experience, hunting style and what and where you intend to hunt. You stated that you have a 6.5 CM and are contemplating a 300 PRC. If you have no experience with larger cartridges, you will want to try some out before making the commitment to building this desired rifle, as there is a significant difference in recoil and weight that this rifle may weigh, and if you have neither shot or carried one in the field, you may end up being disappointed in the final outcome of what you think you want. Do your homework before making the commitment to building a rifle and it could save you a lot of money and disappointment!
If you have already done this and know what you are getting into, then great! There will be no surprises once you have that dream rifle in your hands and are lugging it around the mountains of Utah after that dream elk, mule deer or other big game.
2) Barrel (length, twist, contour, etc.);
3) Stock;
4) Trigger;
5) Etc. (sights, rings/bases, muzzle brake/suppressor, after market magazines, sling swivels, mounting system for bipods, recoil pad, finish, and the list can go on...)

I have found after building 10+ custom rifles, that it will usually cost more than some rifles that may be available on the market that are very close to your wish list. Does it need to be a custom, or semi-custom?
For me, being a lefty with an affinity to odd-ball cartridges, I am often forced to go the custom, or semi-custom route, to obtain my next desired firearm. And each build has been for a specific purpose (e.g. brush hunting moose/bears to mountain hunting sheep/goats, to open plains for antelope, to general deer hunting)

Before making your final decision, try out as many rifles similar to what you are looking for before committing to your build. This will help guide you towards what you think you want, and what you may find out that you do, or do not, want or need. Ask your friends, or even other shooters at your local club. Buy some ammo so that you are not burning up theirs, trying out their rifles. It is a cheaper and more realistic way to fully realize what you are researching than going by other people's subjective opinions, as they are different than you, have different experiences than you, and have different desires than you.
If you can afford it, take a long distance shooting course, where they supply the rifles so that you can try different configurations and cartridges/calibers. This will give you the best perspective as to what "you" are looking for. And this will help ensure that your rifle build will be exactly what you want and need.
You may also find that those companies (e.g. Gunwerks, EOL, Fierce, Christensen Arms, etc.) may already be building the exact rifle that you are looking for, where they have a warranty on their finished product.
 

Ridgerunner665

Handloader
Oct 28, 2008
2,429
11
Don't rule out 7mm rounds... even the plain vanilla 280 Remington, but there's also 280 Ackley, 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm STW, etc.

Nothing at all wrong with 30 and 338 calibers, but they do tend to come with increased recoil over 7mm.

If I were building one today, it'd be a 7mm Rem Mag.

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tatemyers33

Beginner
Feb 6, 2021
9
0
Ridgerunner665":2z4b715u said:
Don't rule out 7mm rounds... even the plain vanilla 280 Remington, but there's also 280 Ackley, 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm STW, etc.

Nothing at all wrong with 30 and 338 calibers, but they do tend to come with increased recoil over 7mm.

If I were building one today, it'd be a 7mm Rem Mag.

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Do you think it is worth building a 7mm if I have a 6.5? Ethically it makes me wonder why I would need two rifles with such similar diameter rounds. I guess the 7mm mag could throw a heavier pill with more energy though.


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HodgemanAK

Beginner
Oct 23, 2020
184
50
tatemyers33":3ececzw2 said:
Do you think it is worth building a 7mm if I have a 6.5? Ethically it makes me wonder why I would need two rifles with such similar diameter rounds. I guess the 7mm mag could throw a heavier pill with more energy though.

Bore size isn't particularly indicative of cartridge effectiveness on game.

A 7RM is considerably more powerful and versatile than a 6.5CM. If there's a drawback to the 6.5CM, it is the cartridge's relatively low muzzle velocity.

While MV isn't everything, it's something...and not to be discounted lightly in a hunting rifle.

I've had good success on game up to caribou with the 6.5CM. But as much as I like it, it can get outclassed in a hunting rifle in a hurry. A magnum 7mm or .30 is a much more emphatic killer, especially on game bigger than deer.
 

rjm158

Handloader
Oct 15, 2009
531
12
Would a 6.5 PRC be enough cartridge for your intended purpose?

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tatemyers33

Beginner
Feb 6, 2021
9
0
rjm158":316wpghl said:
Would a 6.5 PRC be enough cartridge for your intended purpose?

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If I did that do you think I could just get rid of my creedmoor?


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Ridgerunner665

Handloader
Oct 28, 2008
2,429
11
tatemyers33":38a3oor1 said:
Ridgerunner665":38a3oor1 said:
Don't rule out 7mm rounds... even the plain vanilla 280 Remington, but there's also 280 Ackley, 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm STW, etc.

Nothing at all wrong with 30 and 338 calibers, but they do tend to come with increased recoil over 7mm.

If I were building one today, it'd be a 7mm Rem Mag.

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Do you think it is worth building a 7mm if I have a 6.5? Ethically it makes me wonder why I would need two rifles with such similar diameter rounds. I guess the 7mm mag could throw a heavier pill with more energy though.


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Yes...

You can get 7mm bullets up to 195 grains, they require at least a 1 in 8 twist barrel, and barrel length matters too... no less than 26 inches for a rifle such as you're describing... those bullets have EXCELLENT ballistic coefficients.... they'll do you well for 1500 yard targets, or hunting.

For hunting.... I use the plain vanilla 160 AccuBond in my 280 Ackley and have laid deer down a little past 800 yards with it... there are bullets better suited to hunting at those distances though, the AccuBond is a pretty tough bullet for those low velocities and its BC is good but not great... I've stuck with it because I'm quite familiar with how it flies, and I have enough of them to last me a lifetime.

Hornady makes some good ones, Berger makes some good ones, Nosler makes the ABLR also which I have messed with a little (168 grain) but haven't shot anything with them yet.




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Ridgerunner665

Handloader
Oct 28, 2008
2,429
11
Keep the Creedmoor!!! It's real beauty is that it's easy to shoot well... light recoil...that is a VERY good quality to have in a rifle.

A 7mm will not replace the Creedmoor, it'll just pick up where it leaves off.



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Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,866
81
I have built many rifles over the years. In all honesty you can’t build a better rifle than Seekins makes for a hunting rifle in the sub 2k range. I would get a Seekins havak in 300 win or 300 PRC and get as good a glass as you can afford.


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SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,232
385
tatemyers33":6d0ei4it said:
I have a 6.5 creedmoor that I use for hunting purposes here in Utah but want to get something around the .30 cal range for elr shooting and larger game. I have never built a rifle before but want to piece one together. Is there any advice on cartridges/manufacturers/gunsmiths/ etc or any tips or tricks anyone has picked up? I was looking into a 300 PRC for example but am open to lots of cartridges. Would prefer one that has energy to take game to 700 yards and elr shooting to 1500 just for fun. Or if you have parts that you would be willing to sell me let me know.

Thanks,

Tate


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Here’s my thoughts on building.

I want a final rifle weight in mind. A target for a bare rifle and a targeted scoped rifle. Then I work backward from there. I’ve seen a whole lot of rifles that usually come out heavier than expected only to see the new owners love shooting them on the range but grabbing old trusty for hunting because the new, super accurate custom is 10+ lbs and isn’t real handy.

Once I have a target weight I look for an action, barrel and stock that fit within those weight limits along with mounts and the optic I plan to use.

As for cartridge, a 7 magnum or 30 magnum really covers the anticipated usage you described. I shoot a decent sized 7 mag as my light all a rounder since I can run it without a brake and still keep rifle weight in the 8lbs scoped range. A bigger 300 needs a brake for me to shoot comfortably and they usually need a bit more weight.

Figuring out what you’re going to be using it for is the main thing, then being realistic with the build. Some nice rifles like the Proof and Seekins are pretty darned nice and are quite the bargains once you start to look at the cost of barrels, stocks, triggers, actions, machine work, etc.

It is fun to piece one together and get the finished rifle but spending some time with a scale, pencil and paper will save you a lot of heartache in the end.

Chambering is another area you want to take some time with. If you wanna shoot specific Bullets from within the confines of a magazine box, some dummy rounds and speaking with a great smith about throating the rifles correctly from the get go can save a lot of back and forth postage money being spent for a chamber job that doesn’t do what you want.

Good luck with it.
 

Songdog

Handloader
Apr 6, 2009
878
2
Thebear_78":2rlpyq4q said:
I have built many rifles over the years. In all honesty you can’t build a better rifle than Seekins makes for a hunting rifle in the sub 2k range. I would get a Seekins havak in 300 win or 300 PRC and get as good a glass as you can afford.

He ain’t lying.....

When we’re talking “game to 700”.... are we talking deer.... or are we talking elk? Them’s two different ballparks.
 

IdahoCTD

Handloader
Nov 4, 2004
2,482
29
I've killed a lot of elk with calibers from 6mm to .416. I generally kill 2-3 a year. The same analogy of no replacement for displacement from the car world applies here. Everything else being equal a .30 will kill elk better than a 7mm. A .300WSM is a great low recoiling round that is used for 1000yd competitions because it's crazy accurate. The 300PRC is essentially a 300wm with a long throat. The PRC has about 2 grains more capacity but in all practical purposes that equates to less than 25fps. A .30 Nosler with good brass will get to the next accuracy node or about 50-75fps more velocity. I've shot elk to 660yds with my 300WSM's and 1080yds with my 300wm. I don't typically try to shoot far but I do it when needed. The 1000+yd shot was because my hunting buddy wanted to shoot a elk over 1000yds. He missed and I killed mine. That isn't something I would of done otherwise. I practice to 1000yds fairly often but I prefer to shoot as short as possible.

What has been said about figuring out the weight and working backwards is a good way to do it. Also you can see if your wallet will allow those choices. One thing that most people have trouble with when getting too light is recoil management. The hotter a cartridge the harder it is to shoot as the gun gets lighter. It's not just tolerating the recoil, its hold, shooting position, etc. Bad habits show up with high recoiling light rifles.
 

Johnly

Beginner
Dec 12, 2020
49
15
If you are truly looking for a long range rifle, visit a benchrest match and see who is building the winning rifles. That's what I did and the outcome was well worth the effort.
 

seokladuckin

Beginner
Mar 21, 2021
198
2
Johnly":f5c58wuh said:
If you are truly looking for a long range rifle, visit a benchrest match and see who is building the winning rifles. That's what I did and the outcome was well worth the effort.
What did you build?

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seokladuckin

Beginner
Mar 21, 2021
198
2
IdahoCTD":tiicdvk7 said:
I've killed a lot of elk with calibers from 6mm to .416. I generally kill 2-3 a year. The same analogy of no replacement for displacement from the car world applies here. Everything else being equal a .30 will kill elk better than a 7mm. A .300WSM is a great low recoiling round that is used for 1000yd competitions because it's crazy accurate. The 300PRC is essentially a 300wm with a long throat. The PRC has about 2 grains more capacity but in all practical purposes that equates to less than 25fps. A .30 Nosler with good brass will get to the next accuracy node or about 50-75fps more velocity. I've shot elk to 660yds with my 300WSM's and 1080yds with my 300wm. I don't typically try to shoot far but I do it when needed. The 1000+yd shot was because my hunting buddy wanted to shoot a elk over 1000yds. He missed and I killed mine. That isn't something I would of done otherwise. I practice to 1000yds fairly often but I prefer to shoot as short as possible.

What has been said about figuring out the weight and working backwards is a good way to do it. Also you can see if your wallet will allow those choices. One thing that most people have trouble with when getting too light is recoil management. The hotter a cartridge the harder it is to shoot as the gun gets lighter. It's not just tolerating the recoil, its hold, shooting position, etc. Bad habits show up with high recoiling light rifles.
Yep this.

With that said a 300 RUM is a great , powerful round , a friend has one that a lot of people has borrowed to go elk hunting with, it will absolutely shoot a .250 inch group every time. Has a CDS Leupold on it . If you don't mind the recoil, it's dead meat ..

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