Custom Hunting Rifles

  • I need help with a idea that I've been kicking around for awhile.

    Like the title says I'd like to have built two custom hunting rifles, the idea being they cover my bases for all big game, I might ever have the opportunity to hunt in North America, with the exception of the largest bears. The intent is to be "one (two) and done."

    Ideally I would have waited a few months to start on the first one, as I don't have any Wapiti hunts planned in the near future, and my current hunting rifle is more than capable of taking deer at reasonable ranges, but I foresee a major run on the gun/component/ammo/accessory market in the next 3 weeks, so I'd like to get the big stuff laid in for these builds.

    Big picture, for the first option I'd like a shorterish rifle that I can crawl through brush with and bring up quickly if I need to, but still be able to reach out and touch stuff at a respectable distance (500-600 yards), when I get to the clearing in the brush. I'd like to keep the weight under 8.5-9 pounds scope and all. This rifle wouldn't get used on anything larger than deer and pigs.

    For the second option, I want to go with a larger, longer range rifle. This would be the one I'd take for wapiti, moose, sheep and deer at way long range or anything else. Barrel length is a non issue to me for this one, as is a little extra weight, but I'd like to keep it at or under 11 pounds

    I've got a couple ideas as to what I want to do, but I'd like to get input from the group regarding my choices.

    First off cartridge, I've narrowed it down to four options. For rifle one I'm thinking either a 6.5 Creedmoor or a 7mm-08 possibly ackley improved. Both should work well in barrels 22 inch or shorter. Obviously the 6.5 has better sectional densitiy which lends itself well to killing things but the 7mm offers a wider range of hunting bullets and weights. I bring this up because I worry about the 6.5 once the switch to copper only bullets occurs.

    Option two is either 6.5 SAUM or a 7LRM. Again this is for Elk, moose or other game at long ranges. Obviously the 7LRM wins in terms of energy and ballistics, but the SAUM brings sectional density to the table, the ability to run a shorter barrel and awesome barrel life.

    For actions I'm thinking the deviant hunting actions, all the good features of a custom competition style action, but a reduced weight thanks to the slimmed down rail.
    I kicked around titanium actions to further trim weight, and a few other options that lack the integrated rail. I've never put hands on one so I am open suggestions.

    Barrel manufacturer isn't important to me as long as its one of the major ones. I'm not too keen on carbon wrapped barrels, I'd prefer to have a larger stainless one fluted. 22 inches on the shorter gun I'd like to push 140's at 2750, and 27+ for LRM or 24 for SAUM on the second one.
    I don't have a good feel for contour, does anyone have a chart with actual pictures?

    For stocks I'm thinking manners EH series. I want a mountain style stock with the high comb fixed cheek pieces to reduce weight. I'm going to want to put a larger objective scope on at least one of these. I have no experience with mcmillian stocks or others, but I'm open to them as well.

    I'll go with hinged floor plates for the both of them, with appropriate wyatt mag boxes. Probably williams made trigger guards.

    Scopes can be addressed when I have the rifle parts off at the gunsmith.

    For my "order of ordering" parts I'm thinking I buy the action, barrel, stock and then other parts. I wasn't in the market back in 2012 when we had our last shortage, so I'm not sure what will dry up first. I know of a couple places that have close to what I'm looking for currently in stock.

    Thanks as always

  • Man, this is right up my alley, and I have some very good suggestions for you!
    I think you've got the calibers figured. Nothing better for your two roles than 6.5 Creedmoor and 7LRM.

    Action wise, I would steer away from the Defiance. They run the bolt body to receiver fit way too tight and the most recent actions I've had in the shop have had terrible bolt lift from improperly fitting fire control groups. I've got one on a match gun that I made run really nice by meloniting it and then polishing .0015" off the bolt body diameter. Not real ideal for a $1400 action.
    I've been using Lone Peak receivers this year and they have been phenomenal. Enough clearance to allow them to run dirty yet not be sloppy. The bolts come standard melonited so they are hard, slick, and corrosion proof. The new generation Razor has an integral recoil lug, 8-40 base screws w/ pins, fluted bolt, M16 extractor, plunger ejector, removable bolt knob, side bolt that bottoms on the receiver and not the roll pin (think Stiller), and are cut for Wyatt's extended box mags. A fine feature set for $1100. On top of that, the owners are top notch, stand-up dudes that have treated me very, very good and stood behind their product with any feature requests and issues I've seen.

    Barrel is simple here, if we order it, it's a Benchmark. I have no reason to go elsewhere. They cut a #5TS contour for me that finishes at .750" muzzle diameter at 26", what I consider minimum barrel diameter to hang a can on a 26" magnum. These weigh 5# as a blank. After chambering, cutting muzzle, and fluting they usually come in around 4 1/4. I put this contour barrel on more hunting rifles than anything else. To cut weight on the 6.5, you might look at a #4, which is basically a factory magnum sporter contour. .650" at the muzzle.

    I too really like the Manners EH1. However, I refuse to wait 9-13 months for a custom stock, only to have it show up not right. McMillan has seen all of my business this year. Custom orders take 3 1/2 - 4 months and show up spot on perfect. Plus, they're carrying a huge inventory of stocks that are ready to go out the door.
    In the McMillans, we use a lot of Game Scouts, Game Wardens, and A3's. I can get a Game Warden Edge(Carbon Fiber) w/ adjustable cheekpiece and it weighs under 3#, the non-adjustables come in at 2#.

    Hawkins Precision Oberndorf floorplates are my go-to hinged floorplates. Adjustable flat spring on the latch ensures that the floorplate will never come open under heavy recoil and the latch stop is adjustable to ensure everything lines up and looks good after cerakote.
    Andy Hawkins also makes an awesome set of Hybrid rings for hunting rifles that include a level and 25moa of cant for $125!

    6XC on a Lone Peak Razor, McMillan Game Scout, 26" #5TS, Hawkins Hybrid rings, Hawkins BDL, and NF 5.5-22 - weighs 10.25#

    Super clean Hawkins Oberndorf BDL and Hawkins T27 guard screws. IMG_20161017_083454206_zpsdxqa1ndz.jpg

    This an adjustable game scout that we painted in MultiCam. Give you an idea of the adjustable comb anyways. Only difference between a Game Scout and Game Warden is the Warden has a slightly larger forearm.

    Hope this helps in some of your decision making. I would love the opportunity to put these rifles together for you and look forward to further discussion of your specifications.


  • Better view of the Hawkins Hybrids. They also incorporate 1/8" dowel pins that interface with the pin holes in the receiver to help them stay put!

  • Beauty, one of these days I would love to get a rifle exactly like that in 7lrm or 7Rem Mag for hunting.

    But no time so, unfortunately.

  • Travis beat me to this one. ... and he said everything I was going to say anyway.

    TS Customs builds some of the most amazing hunting rifles in existence. You wouldn't believe how many pictures of dead stuff laying next to his rifles get posted this time of year.

    LISTEN to the man Ragnarnar. You'll save yourself a TON of anguish and grief. Listen to him, have him build those rifles for you, and they will do everything he says they will.

    Then if you want the best optic you can possibly get for them, call me to get a Tangent Theta TT315M w/GenIIXR reticle. You'll never look for another optic for them in your life.

  • @tscustoms said:

    Man, this is right up my alley, and I have some very good suggestions for you!
    6XC on a Lone Peak Razor, McMillan Game Scout, 26" #5TS, Hawkins Hybrid rings, Hawkins BDL, and NF 5.5-22 - weighs 10.25#

    Travis! Clutch with the info! Something like this rifle is exactly what I had in mind.
    This is why I don't bother with other sites.

    Two follow up questions.
    Is 26 inches adequate for a 7mm LRM to realize its full potential? I'm given to believe that its a very efficient chambering, but I have no experience.
    Do you keep your #5TS barrels on hand in a 8 twist? What sort of lead time are we looking at if not?

    I'll reach out to lone peak and order up a long action/Mag bolt face in the next week, as well as ordering up a McMillian if they have it stocked.

    Hopefully I can have it to you before christmas.
    Thanks again

  • We've run 7LRM down to 22 inches, and it's extremely efficient. A 26" barrel is certainly adequate for it.

    I'm sure Travis can source a Lone Peak for you. Heck, he can probably source everything for you if you take the recommendations above.

  • I don't think I'm ready to move this moment on the build, I need to save a little more money for the rifle scope and all the accessories and reloading equipment required. I just wanted to have the parts tucked away for when I am. This whole thing is precipitated by the upcoming run on gun parts that usually follows an election.

    That said I'll ping Travis in a couple days and see what this will run me if he does it all.

    Also Fucking California ruins it for me if I do it that way

    If I order the action DROS it to me, then send it to Travis, who sticks all the other parts on it (doesn't matter if he provides them or not) and ships it DIRECTLY back to me I pay sales tax on the action only. 9.75% on 1100ish dollars, so roughly 110 bucks.

    If Travis sources the parts, builds it and sends it to my FFL, who DROSes it to me I get slapped with the total price of the rifle and his labor. Figure 4000 total as a really rough number, so roughly 400 bucks.
    This is how they justify stealing from me if you care. Basically because TS Customs is a business I have to pay tax.

  • Buy the action from Travis...ship it to paperwork...ship it back to Travis. Would that legally work?

  • Probably, but I'm not an expert. The only reason they do this is as an excise tax on firearms.

    I'll look into it. It'll probably be cheaper to have Travis do it all anyhow even with the taxes.

  • Those Commiefornia taxes and rules suck!
    Just let me know as it gets closer, we'll get something figured out on the parts.
    I prefer to order the majority of the parts, as I know exactly what I'm getting that way. Especially with the stocks and the myriad of inlet and hardware options.
    I do keep a good inventory of the #5TS 8twist 7mm barrels.
    PM or email me with a few more specifics and we'll get some pricing and time frame put together.

  • If we end up doing the optic, I can just send that over to Travis and he can mount that up for you too.

  • If you find the right FFL and Travis sends you a seperate invoice for the receiver you can get away on not paying sales tax on the whole thing. I believe your in SoCal so I don't know of a FFL there, however I know of one in NorCal, plus he only charges $25 for the transfer.

  • 43aBOZA.jpg

    Travis just finished up last week. I'll post some more photos when I get to play with her in person.

  • Looks nice! Can't wait to see the results.

    can you list all the specs?

  • @rhyno


    The action is a Lone Peak Razor LA
    7 LRM 26 inch 8 twist barrel in the #5TS contour. That's a Hawkins three port brake on the end, which will have to do until I get someplace that lets me have a can. I'm also going to have to start hunting with ear pro now.

    McMillian Game scout stock painted "coyote ambush" with spacers to make my comically large 14.75 inch length of pull. Travis talked me into the adjusting cheek is piece, which was probably smart and will offer some more flexibility if I ever need it.

    Hawkins hinged floorplate, with the Wyatt extended box magazine so I can load heavy bullets long.

    Then obviously bedding/paint and a couple other small things like rails and flush cups.
    By my math it's gonna weight 12 pounds out the door, but I'll throw it on a scale when it's fully loaded.

    It's gonna wear the Hawkins hybrid rings and a scope yet to be decided. I'm thinking about getting ACI too, because the plan is to hike to the top of a hill, glass around, then taking my time getting set up and shooting from there.

  • If the razor is like the fuzion as far as bolt lift goes you'll be in love.

    Sounds like a nice rifle, the adjustable cheek piece is a must have IMO (now)

  • @rhyno said:

    Sounds like a nice rifle, the adjustable cheek piece is a must have IMO (now)

    Anything that Travis touches seems to turn out that way.

    I had to have a talk with myself and remind myself that 12 pounds isn't that heavy. I was actually worried about the weight of the cheek piece.....

  • @ragnarnar Good looking rifle,Be looking forward to a range report.I'll bet it will be a tack driver.I can't wait for Travis to finish my build.

  • @ragnarnar
    Beautiful rifle.

  • That is one sweet looking rifle. Congrats.

  • Still waiting on a range report.I know that rifle has got to be a tack driver.Travis don't build a rifle that can't shoot.

  • @steelbanger
    I live in the Peoples Socialist Republic of California, so theres a ten day waiting period for all firearms transfers. The soonest I can get it will be this Saturday . They must figure this will be the gun I'll use when I finally snap, nevermind the other two dozen or so already in my safe, so they make me wait.

    Other than the couple pictures I posted which Travis sent to me, and the ten minutes or so I got to play with it while doing the DROS papers I haven't seen it either. I'm still waiting on dies, brass and a few other things too. Hopefully I'll be able to get my ducks in a row and have that range report and load development (with shitty hornady dies too, so it won't really count) for you in a month or so.

    I will say however, that LPA razor is amazing. I'm legitimately in disbelief of how little effort it takes. I thought it was broken at first its so light. The bolt lift while cocking it is almost the same as running the action with the hammer already back. I'm not sure if that how it comes or if its something Travis did, but its like nothing else I've ever touched. It makes my Surgeon 591 feel like garbage.

  • Yea that's what I thought when I played with a lone peak arms Fuzion at the training.

    It was truly an eye opening and jaw dropping experience and I have to have one.

    Also did you need to move out of California before they figure out how to find that $400 billion dollar healthcare bill.

  • @ragnarnar said:

    I live in the Peoples Socialist Republic of California, so theres a ten day waiting period for all firearms transfers.

    But governor moonbeam said that all you have to do is drive into Nevada or Arizona to purchase a gun. Thats why all these criminals have guns. Its the free states fault.

  • @ragnarnar I know how ya feel bro,I live in Nj and the gun laws suck.I think your state is worse then mine with its bullshit laws.I hope you get your rifle soon.Good Luck

  • I despise our gun laws. I can buy as many long guns as I want on the spur of the moment and take them home...but if I buy more than 1 handgun in a 5 day period the FFL is forced to send my name and info to the FBI. It is not illegal...just monitored. I would rather avoid any more monitoring than I already I carefully purchase handguns at least a week apart.

  • I know its been awhile since this thread started. Just wanted to update whats going on with this rifle.

    So at first I had problems. I made a thread asking what I should do to sort it out. @tscustoms was great through the whole process sending replacement parts to try and when I ran out of options on my end he was quick to take the rifle back to check personally.
    Long story short, the reason for my misfires is that I'm an idiot. The new brass I was working with was about 10K short, so it would slide forward in the chamber if it wasn't jammed. Unfortunately for me I had to ship the rifle across the country twice so Travis could figure this out for me. He also refused to take my money for shipping or his time; its rare to find someone who will stand behind their product like that.

    After fireforming the gun now runs like a clock.
    150 rounds in and a few cleanings I'm finally able to find time to do some preliminary load development. @orkan who was great with advice when he was setting me up with components had suggested I start at 69 grains of H1000 with the berger 180VLD. A rough OCW test gave me this group and 3005 FPS at 70.1 grains. Keep in mind this is without any fine tuning.
    Needless to say I'm beyond thrilled.
    I do have a tiny problem however, and I'm hoping someone can diagnose it for me. I can't eliminate the last 2.5-3.5K of runout from my sizing process.
    I'm using a whidden die with a .309 neck. Loaded ammo is .313-.314 OD neck dimension. The chamber is tapered .323 to .3224.
    I've tried the expander ball in the die at various heights and failing there I tried expanding on a mandrel in a separate step. No dice.
    At this point I'm considering neck turning, to eliminate some thickness and prevent oversizing and also to even the necks up some. I'm halfway wondering if its a matter of a die that got warped during heat treatment, and that's where I'm introducing the runout.
    This is a picture of the rifle as it is today. Thanks for reading.

  • Your die could be the entire cause of the runout, or it could be a ton of other factors combined.

    Measure the neck wall thickness around the perimeter of a few cases. I bet you'll find variance from side to side. Use a good mic, and good technique. Neck turning is required to get this fixed.

    However, two and half to three and half thousandths of runout measured on bullet ogive is nothing to worry about. That's well within tolerance for good ammo. You're going to spend a LOT of time and a lot of money getting consistently better than that.

    Now if you're talking about seeing that much runout on the neck, then yes, that's something that should probably be looked into. Still not severe, but might be able to be improved.

  • Very nice rifle narnar.......
    as to the runout issue I use a Lee collet neck sizing dies and a Redding body dies and get excellent results. I also believe the neck die will flow brass when sizing, evening the neck thickness.

  • @mamalukino said in Custom Hunting Rifles:

    I also believe the neck die will flow brass when sizing, evening the neck thickness.

    Explain this.

  • The neck is sized around a mandrel, squeezing the brass causing it to even out. There is very little to no lengthening of the brass in this process.

  • Thank you for the replies.

    For clarity the runout is on the case neck. I haven’t measured loaded rounds on the bullet. My intent is to eliminate the runout as I move down the line.

    I pulled out the micrometer and sure enough there’s a thou and a half of neck thickness variation.
    I’ll probably clean up the necks 50% or so to see if that does anything for my runout and if not I’ll send the die back to whidden to get checked out.

  • @ragnarnar I think you'd benefit from neck turning.

  • @orkan

    Who’s the next best option for a neck turner following 21st

  • Would you recommend a full neck turn or just a 50% or so clean up?

    Feel like I should add more to this.
    I just performed a detailed examination of a couple more cases. Some of the walls near the case mouth go down to the .013x range. That seems like too much to remove.

    I stack small washers on the micrometer static tube/ball thing; that way the case mouth rests at the same level every time. I can adjust height by removing or adding them.

  • @tackyp said in Custom Hunting Rifles:
    @orkan Who’s the next best option for a neck turner following 21st

    Were I to buy one to try right now, it would probably be the sinclair 4000.

    @ragnarnar said in Custom Hunting Rifles:
    Would you recommend a full neck turn or just a 50% or so clean up?

    If I'm going through the trouble of neck turning, I'm going for as close to uniform neck dimension as possible, within the thickness range I'm looking for. Sometimes you can get that by just going 30-50% removal. However, in my experience, 80% or more is required to get uniform thickness around the circumference of the neck.

  • @orkan

    Thanks. I’ll order a cutter up and see what I can manage.

  • Also, and I do realize this is a long shot, but does anyone have any load data or even a starting point for 168gr-class solid copper bullets?

    I’m thinking I’ll probably start at 70 by the half grain looking for pressure unless someone can suggest something better.

  • @ragnarnar Seems like an alright plan.

  • Did a quick work up with 168 LRXs once. 7 mag though. Let me look for it.

  • @tackyp
    No need. I tried it today with the same bullets and H1000.

    Pressure at 72 and wipe at 72.5

    I think there’s a node in the 70.2-70.8 range. Velocity looks mid 3000’s.
    I’m jumping 60 thou
    1-8 twist

  • Ok, I had a chance to do some more work with the 7LRM.

    Before I get into the nittty gritty I just need to restate that Travis is a genius. This rifle shoots like a laser beam. If I do my part the rifle will put 180 VLD's into a group under a quarter inch with ease.

    To work on this concentricity issue I took 30 pieces of brass, left ten of them unturned, turned ten of them down to .015 and the last ten down to .0145.
    The .015 gives me about 50% of the neck turned and the .0145 gives me about 90% of the neck turned. I'm unwilling to go much further than this due to brass life concerns.

    Loaded them all with the same 70.5gr H1000/180VLD load and shot them for groups. (While its unrelated, I got the best result with the unturned brass. I suspect I'm the limiting factor here because the .0145 groups were the next best.)

    Took them home and checked them for concentricity. Out of the chamber the unturned brass gives me the best result, about 1.5 thou eccentric. The two neck turned batches give me about 2 thou eccentricity. (again not sure why this is the case, it seems counter-intuitive to me)

    After sizing, I had introduced runout up to the 2.5 to 3 thou range. This leads me to suspect the die itself being the culprit because of the 30 pieces I never was able to get a piece of brass to have less than 2.5 thou TIR.

    The only other thing I could see it being at this point is a matter of me oversizing, because the brass comes out of the chamber around .319-.320, gets sized down by the die .309 and then takes the bullet about .311. However it seems to me that random chance would give me at least a single piece of brass in that 0-1 thou runout range were this the case.

    As always, I'd appreciate some input and guidance. Unless anyone can think of something else to try I think I'm going to give Whidden a call tomorrow and see what he has to say about getting the die checked and replaced.