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To build a precision rifle or upgrade what I have

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Bixster_inc, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. Bixster_inc

    Bixster_inc Member

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    First off I don’t compete (yet) but I figured this is where the people who’d know best congregate.

    Second, I want to be able to say I can hit a target, well, at 1,000 yards. Currently I can only boast 440 out of an AR10.

    I bought a Ruger precision rifle in .308 when the gen 2’s came out because I overheard some guys that do compete griping at the local gun store that these “$1,300 rifles are keeping up with us right out of the box”. Unfortunately I didn’t hear the part that it’s the 6.5 cm model not the .308 that they were talking about. I understand that there is also a lot of skill required to shoot 1,000 as well.

    My question is do I have a custom rifle built for $6,500+ or can I upgrade the Ruger and be happy with it? If I chose to stick with the Ruger I’d buy match barrel from Krieger or the likes chambered in 6.5 cm, swap the optic for at least a Vortex Razor HD gen ii 5.5-27, replace the trigger group with a Timney and pretty much be done minus maybe a bipod upgrade as well.

    Cost difference of about $2,500 between the projects but I’d rather do something right for once and enjoy it rather than take the cheap route and wish I’d done it differently.

    Any input is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    You can pretty easily upgrade the RPR.

    I just re-barreled mine with a Bartlein 5R in 6mm SLR a few weeks ago. Was not all that hard, was a little expensive between the barrel, reamer, go/no-go gauges, dies etc. An "off the shelf" upgrade barrel should be cheaper. Everything else I've already done to it: Timney 2-stage trigger, Seekins rail and Area 419 Hellfire Brake. I've got about $1450 total in the upgrades. I already had a Razor, decent mounts, Atlas Bipod.

    It's now a solid 1/2MOA rifle (few loads .35) for 5 shots, nothing I've tested in it so far has gone over .8 MOA.

    Total cost with optic is now at $4503. So far I'm pretty happy with it.
     
  3. Bixster_inc

    Bixster_inc Member

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    Yeah I don’t have the skill set to machine a blank and since quite a few of the more well known barrel companies are making ready to roll barrels for it that’s the route I’ll take.

    Not sure if that means I still have to have a gunsmith install it or not.

    All I’ve done to mine thus far is put a 17” MI handguard and swapped the beard butchering stock it came with a Magpul PRS.
     
  4. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    It's really DIY. All you'll need is a decent AR15 barrel nut wrench, bench vice, set of go/no-go gauges and a torque wrench. All together about a 45 minute job. Hardest part was getting the OEM barrel off.

    Plenty of videos on line to show you how to do it.
     
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  5. Bixster_inc

    Bixster_inc Member

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    Aside from calibers sounds like we’ll end up with about the same gun. Do you feel like your rifle is comparable with a from ground up custom rig?

    I’m guessing there’s a bit of a weight difference but seeing as how I plan to shoot prone or from a bench, weight isn’t an issue.
     
  6. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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  7. Bixster_inc

    Bixster_inc Member

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    Well hell, I’m not trying to keep up with a semi-auto so I guess that settles it.

    Maybe when I hit the lotto I’ll build an AI.

    Thanks for the link.
     
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  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    You don’t need to spend $6,500 to have a competitive rifle.

    Bartlein barrel = $380
    Smith to chamber, thread, and muzzle thread = $300
    APA Lil’ Bastard = $200
    Defiance Deviant = $1250
    MPA chassis = $1100
    Jewell HVR = $220
    Vortex/Seekins Rings = $100
    Vortex Razor = $2500 (far less if you’re LEO/Mil)

    That’s all in for a match winning capable rifle for $5k. A guy can buy a Burris XTR or Bushnell XRS or DMR for far less cost and knock a grand off of that price. Buy a KRG Bravo instead of the MPA and knock off a few hundred more. Buy a Bighorn Origin instead of the Deviant and save $400 more... Put you all in for somewhere around $3000.

    Going the other way, you can but a $3000-4500 kahles or S&B on top in a Spuhr Mount and run a J Allen chassis, a Proof carbon wrapped barrel, and a Bix n’ Andy and find yourself spending $10,000+, but still not shoot any smaller or hit any more targets than the list I offered above.

    Personally, I don’t recommend customizing the RPR. There are some really impressive scores coming from RPR’s in production division, but guys aren’t winning national level matches in open classes with them, even rebuilt. I like my RPR for what it is, but I certainly wouldn’t use it as a platform for customization at the extent you’re talking above.

    The .308win RPR will happily bang steel at 1,000, no modifications at all. It shouldn’t be any secret, but it seems to escape most folks - on a calm day, or tail/headwind, any RPR off of the shelf should be able to hit an IPSC or 24” gong at 1,000yrds for any shooter who has a good BC and a known MV. I’ve taken guys with zero experience and $350 700 ADL’s or even 6.5 Grendel AR’s out to 1,000 on their first day ever shooting. It’s really not as magical as guys make it sound. The .308win recoils way, way too much for games at 1,000yrds, and losing the target in the scope every shot is a major detriment to anyone wanting to spot for themselves. I do shoot with a guy at monthly club matches who does incredibly well with a 308win, but he’s a big dude, shooting a braked can, and he doesn’t place very high.
     
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  9. z7

    z7 Member

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    There are options for you. Do you like the rpr? Or do you want a custom gun?

    The rpr can shoot as accurately, and a 308 will teach you things about the wind and recoil management a 6mm won’t

    If you want a custom, get a custom. With the chassis available today you can order up a barreled action from LRI or PVA and get it in two or three weeks, drop it into an MPA chassis and put a quality scope on top and you have a gun every bit as capable as the top shooters

    I am using a 308 in prs club matches and have been placing in the top 20%, but my gun, optic and ammo are top notch. I still struggle in places where the guys with a 6 dasher just free recoil, but I have fun and learn as i struggle

    If you like the rpr and want to upgrade it, start with the optic and trigger, then shoot it at a local competition

    If you are unhappy with the 308 rd, call PVA or LRI and order a RPR prefit and a big fat muzzle break in whatever caliber you want

    If you have the itch and the budget for a custom, so it and don’t look back, you will smile everytime you shoot it
     
  10. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    i wouldn't dump a bunch of $ into the ruger. use it like it is. replace the bbl if you want. it's a solid entry level gun but you're not going to turn it into a higher end gun.

    this is what i'd recommend
    https://www.stutevilleprecision.com/product-page/e1036-r0207 $4500
    plus that vortex you listed
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    All you have to do is wear out the .308 barrel. By then you will know what you need, be it a new barrel in a new caliber or a whole new rifle.
     
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  12. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    Which is pretty much the route I took. Bought my RPR in .243 on sale for a little over $900, then shot it for close to 1500 rds before re-barreling.
     
  13. z7

    z7 Member

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    The only problem with that is a 308 barrel can last a LONG time (3k 5k, 10k rounds [Frank Gali of Snipershide has a AI 308 with 12k rounds on it that holds 1" groups at 100yds]).

    I would recommend shooting the RPR as is, get some experience, maybe put 1k rounds or so down range at local matches, stretch the legs out, get a good app for your phone (trasol or applied ballistics, ballistics AE etc.) and gather dope, correct your app to the point that real world shooting matches the app's predictions out to 1000yds with the 308.

    after you figure out if you like the RPR or want something different, go for it. the good thing with the RPR is that you can take the 308 barrel off when you want, and if it has some life left (still shooting pretty good before you took it off) save it for a rainy day. you might want it later and you don't need a smith to put the barrel back on.
     
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    12000? Wow. But then I have seen it said that a barrel is ready for replacement when it is grouping 50% larger than new. And these days an inch IS 50% more than new.
    A friend is a good enough shot that he can tell a .308 FTR barrel is headed downhill around 2500. Out of the game, I am selling him mine with 822 on the clock and hope he can get enough more to be worthwhile. His XC rifle was ok for 4500 but fell apart from one day to the next.
    I saw a .308 go to pot one day at a recorded 4600. The shooter got out his very nice FTR and cut loose. It would not hold the six foot backer at 1000.

    And 4000 rounds is not a lot these days. Many shooters are rebarrelling every season.
     
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  15. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    As someone from a pistol background, I just love this answer. I would never have thought of it (again, in pistol world, barrel wear isn't really a big deal unless you're doing something crazy... the barrel may wear out about the time the frame/slide interface goes to heck and a lot of other stuff breaks), but it makes total sense.
     
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  16. Bixster_inc

    Bixster_inc Member

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    Forgive the ignorant question but if I were to strip the Ruger essentially down to the chassis and action while replacing the barrel, brake, trigger and optic with higher end components how would it not perform similarly to a precision rifle made with same stuff?

    I feel like I had this discussion with my AR’s when everyone wasn’t impressed unless you had a Noveske or DD brand rifle. I built all mine out of “lower end” stripped uppers/lowers but used higher end components and in my opinion ended up with better guns for less $$$.

    With all the anti semi auto laws enacted here I’ve developed an interest for bolt guns and don’t know a whole lot so I’m not trying to argue.
     
  17. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    To some extent yes but the ruger is about the same price as a decent action so why would you do that?
    I don’t think it’s comparable to ars. I did the same for the most part and built almost all of my guns on essential arms lowers
     
  18. Bixster_inc

    Bixster_inc Member

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    So I might be better off leaving a .308, swapping out the goofy brake it came with, add a Nikon black x1000 scope and maybe put the Timney trigger in it. I don’t think I’ve got more than 300 rounds through it so it’s got it’s whole life ahead of it.

    While I play with that I can give more thought to what I want to do.
     
  19. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Nope. It would be just as expensive to do that - nearly - as build a custom rifle, and the results wouldn’t end up quite the same. At the end of the day, the bolt is still built for a $350 rifle, and the action and chassis are still built for a $900 rifle. It’s not on the same level as true custom precision rifles.

    Guys do completely rebuild RPR’s, and guys do quite well with them in precision rifle competitions. But none of the top 100 shooters in the PRS in any given year - NOT ONE - in the history of the game have used an RPR. It’s a low cost, entry level rifle - not on the same level as a Surgeon, Impact, Defiance, AI, etc. I believe the only factory actions which have made the finale are trued Remington 700’s and AI’s - which, in fairness, AI’s hardly count as factory rifles.

    If a rebuilt RPR COULD win, someone WOULD be winning with one. But they aren’t.
     
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  20. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    Eh I prob wouldn’t go that far. I think I could make the top 100 with an rpr. Prob the top 50. But it would take the fun out of it

    I know dudes have made the finale with savages

    Mostly I agree with you though
     
  21. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    Bixster, have you shot the RPR to see what it’s capable of? Personally, I would shoot it to see what it could do. If you really feel you need something better, then buy something better.

    You will never be happy with the RPR if you have already decided it isn’t good enough.
     
  22. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I would believe there are top 100 finishers who COULD finish top 100 even while using an RPR, but there hasn’t been one in any year for which I’ve seen a loadout list. I don’t recall seeing Savages in the loadout lists, but I wasn’t looking for it the way I was the Ruger, and readily agree - I could believe it has happened with a Savage just as easily as believe it could happen. But the fact so few factory actions of any ilk have ever made it is enough to describe the differentiation between a rebarreled factory rifle and a pure custom rifle.

    Same paradigm applies to benchrest games as well. 20+ years ago, plenty of blueprinted factory actions were present at any national level match. Today? Eh, not so much. If factory rifles were really getting so much better than they were in past decades, catching up to custom actions, we would see less customs, more factory rifles.

    But we don’t.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like my RPR. But I don’t have any delusion that it’s the same as my Defiant or Surgeon just because I screwed a new barrel out front.
     
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  23. Allen One1

    Allen One1 Member

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    Bixter
    If you aren't playing the game yet my advise would be "get in the game". The RPR in .308 can play and you will learn a lot about the game, and if you like it enough to invest even more money in it. Just add a good brake, atlas bipod and some high quality glass, all of these components can be moved to the next platform so you are not out anything with this investment. 80% of the game is the shooter and not the gun as most people think. You can get a lot of help from the other match shooters along the way and you will be better at choosing the right equipment for your needs. Stop listening to the guys at the gun store!
     
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