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  • Budget Precision Rifle Build Series

    This has been requested from a number of folks:

    http://www.8541tactical.com/budget%2...%20article.php



    Budget Precision Build
    by John McQuay
    03.04.11

    Hardly a week goes by when I am not asked the question "what is a good beginner rifle". This question arises over and over. The answers given usually only lead to more questions.

    This will be the first installment of the Budget Precision Rifle Build. We will be starting with a factory fresh Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD. The first steps will be installing and zeroing the optic. We will then progress through getting the most out of the factory platform. Once we have documented the accuracy the basic rifle is capable of, we will begin upgrading components until the system has reached its accuracy limit.

    The goal of the series will be to demonstrate to the new precision shooter a point he can start at and a path he can follow to hone the rifles accuracy as his capabilities grow.

    Where to start?

    There are many rifles on the market today that will fill the need of a beginners platform. Our intent was to choose one that will allow for almost unlimited improvement. I also wanted to choose a system that I was intimately familiar with. When building any rifle system for competition or real world use you have to emphasize its strengths and reinforce its weakness. After looking at offerings by Savage, FN USA, Winchester and others I settled on the Remington 700 for the first series.

    The Remington 700 has been with us for a very long time. It has been the selected platform for Marine Corps, Navy and Army Snipers in one form or another since Vietnam. It has served hunters and outdoorsman for longer than that. While it is not without its drawbacks, it is a very well rounded platform. The Model 700 is generally accurate out of the box and has limitless potential for modification. Almost every variety of stock, trigger and scope mounting options can be sourced to truly customize the rifle to the shooter and the purpose. You can go from relatively cheap to insanely expensive with a couple clicks on the internet. Moreover the Remington 700 is a rifle that is familiar to any shooting school in the country. Experienced Armorers and Gunsmiths are readily available just about anywhere you go.

    Caliber?

    When selecting a Model 700 for the build we looked at three main factors. First was the caliber. The Model 700 is offered in a staggering selection of calibers. Since the purpose of the "Budget Precision" build is tactical competition we need a caliber that is capable of "banging steel" to 1000 yards and excellent precision at 100 yards. While the .223 Remington is a great caliber for close and intermediate precision, it falls short at greater ranges.

    There are some excellent long range calibers out there. Some favorites are the 6.5-7mm barrel burners. They are flat shooting and cheat the wind. There are only a couple problems with them. It is hard to find a factory rifle with the correct chamber and the right twist for the heavy long range bullets. It is also hard to learn on a rifle that may only get a couple thousand rounds before it needs a new barrel.

    Our caliber choice for the "Budget Precision" build is the .308 Winchester. It is also known in military circles as the 7.62NATO or 7.62x51mm. This cartridge has been around for a long time. It was introduced by Winchester in 1952 and adopted by NATO two years later. It is most notably the cartridge the M14 was built around and has been used in High Power competition for quite some time. It is an inherently accurate caliber. Every ammunition manufacturer I am aware of loads some variation of a "match" .308 product. Federal, Hornady, Black Hills and Corbon all have match ammunition that is capable of extreme accuracy in the proper rifle. You can walk into almost any gunshop in the country and find match ammunition on the shelves. When the new shooter finally makes the leap to reloading the .308 Winchester has piles of reloading data ready to go. It is fairly easy to workup a load that will be accurate and long on barrel life.

    Model?

    Once we narrowed to down to platform and cartridge, the choices got a little easier. Our goal was to start with a rifle on the low end of Remington's offerings. This would allow for a low entry cost and room to modify the rifle to the shooter. Very frequently a shooter will purchase a rifle and then quickly replace the stock for one that fits them better. A large percentage of a factory rifle's cost is in the stock. When looking at the bottom of the line Remington 700 SPS-V and comparing it to Remington's Premier Police rifle, the 700P, the only substantial difference is the stock. The SPS-V comes with an injection molded plastic canoe paddle. The 700P comes with a fiberglass and aluminum H&S Precision stock. If the shooter knows they will be replacing the stock, then it is only prudent to save some cash and get the lower end rifle.

    Our choices came down to the 700 SPS-Varmint, 700 SPS-Tactical and 700 SPS-Tactical AAC-SD. Each of them offered their own advantages over the others. The SPS-Varmint comes equipped with a 26" 1:12 twist barrel. This means that the bullet will make one complete revolution for each twelve inches of barrel length. The 1:12 twist barrel is ideally suited to the 168gr Sierra and other similar match bullets. It will shoot heavier bullets as well, but you start to get to the edge of the rifles intended performance envelope. The SPS-Tactical comes with a 20" barrel and a 1:12 twist. The shorter barrel sacrifices a little velocity but allows for easier handling and a smaller package to store and transport.

    The SPS-Tactical AAC-SD is equipped with a 20", 1:10 twist barrel. This is a first for Remington in the Varmint Contour barrels (as opposed to the lighter hunting weight). The 1:10 twist is theoretically better suited to 175gr and heavier bullets. The 175gr Sierra Match King is a favorite for long range shooters. The shorter barrel makes it portable while still having enough length to propel factory ammunition to 1000 yards with reasonable velocity remaining. The SPS-Tactical AAC-SD also comes from the factory with a threaded muzzle. This allows for the attachment of a number of devices including brakes, flash hiders and sound suppressors.

    All three of our options come from Remington with injection molded, plastic stocks. The SPS-Varmint comes with a standard black or green plastic version. The SPS-Tactical and AAC-SD come with a Hogue Overmolded stock with aluminum bedding pillars. Most shooters will replace these stocks as soon as funds allow, so they were not really a factor in the deciding process.

    The Winner.

    When the pros and cons were added up the Remington SPS-Tactical AAC-SD came out as our winner. The 20" barrel is totally sufficient for 1000 yard tactical competition. The shorter barrel means less weight and an easier time maneuvering through obstacles. The 1:10 twist should let us accurately shoot 175gr bullets and experiment with some heavier, sleeker bullets in the future. The threaded muzzle will allow us to later attach a brake or sound suppressor without the added expense of a gunsmith's time. The cost is negligible when compared to the other options.

    The Testing.

    One of the goals of the build series is to document the accuracy improvements of any changes. This should give the reader a better idea of if the increase will be worth the expense. Some changes will be ergonomic and won't have a great deal of impact on accuracy, but will increase the bond between shooter and rifle. It's much easier to shoot a rifle accurately when you are comfortable on it.

    For now, the goal is to fire four to five, five shot groups at 100 yards after each change. This is a great enough distance to show meaningful change, but close enough to prevent wind from muddying the results.

    The Process.

    Along the way we are going to try to concentrate on the project as a total package. We want to explain why we do some of the things we do and how to do them. Hopefully you enjoy and benefit from the process.

    We will post each new stage below with a link to the full article of review for that addition. We will also have accompanying videos for some of the stages.

    Check the website for continuing stages:
    http://www.8541tactical.com/budget%2...%20article.php
    Last edited by Blackdog F4i; 03-23-2011, 06:11 PM.
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
    8541tactical.com - Ammo Wallets

  • #2
    One minor point :-). The 260 rem is a strong performer, and not a "barrel burner". Lumping all 6.5 cartridges into that category is painting with a broad brush :-). The 260 rem essentially duplicates the trajectory of the 300 win mag with a lot less recoil.

    Bill
    Just pay your dues, and be quiet :-)

    Comment


    • #3
      Define budget?
      Any views or opinions presented by this prenomen are solely those of a burlesque author and do not necessarily represent those of a LEA or caementum couturier.

      nom de plume

      This is the internet- take all information with a grain of salt. Such could be valid and true or could be typed just for playing devils advocate.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by willbird View Post
        One minor point :-). The 260 rem is a strong performer, and not a "barrel burner". Lumping all 6.5 cartridges into that category is painting with a broad brush :-). The 260 rem essentially duplicates the trajectory of the 300 win mag with a lot less recoil.

        Bill
        Notice I didn't single the .260 out. However off the cuff I am not aware of one in the $600 price range that offers a heavy barrel and a proper twist for long range shooting.

        Remington is working on a .260 version of the AAC-SD, but only the barrels are currently available. You cannot buy a completed rifle. Hopefully that will change. Regardless you are still not going to get the mileage out of a .260 that you will from a .308. If you are learning to drive, you don't need a Formula One car. Replacing engines before you learn to shift isn't great on the wallet.

        A later portion of the series may focus on a caliber change.
        Last edited by Blackdog F4i; 03-24-2011, 11:19 AM.
        "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
        8541tactical.com - Ammo Wallets

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ryker View Post
          Define budget?
          $1000 was the goal for the initial project.

          As we go along it will get more expensive, but the goal was to be able to shoot a tactical match for under $1K excluding ammo and non-attached accessories.

          Each subsequent Stage will get more expensive, but that is going to be geared to demonstrating where your money is best spent.

          Now bear in mind this series concentrates on equipment. Once the shooter gets the first level of the budget build completed, the biggest improvement will come from learning to shoot the system to it's potential.
          Last edited by Blackdog F4i; 03-24-2011, 11:15 AM.
          "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
          8541tactical.com - Ammo Wallets

          Comment


          • #6
            Best.Thread.Ever

            Comment


            • #7
              I only mentioned the 260 because I have a customer that had me build him about 3 rifles in that chambering, after hearing him rave about it for hours and hours I did some looking into it, and his enthusiasm is NOT raving by any means :-).

              Saami recommended 1/9 twist for 260.

              The 7.62 nato has a heck of a lot of momentum as a precision rifle caliber...and the 223 has made some inroads into that for urban uses....but yep it looks like the off the shelf offerings in other than those two calibers are slim.

              One good thing about the 223 is that you can more readily use it to hunt varmints, which is excellent precision rifle training.

              Life is one big compromise :-).

              I do agree working up a SHOOTER is far more important than working up a LOAD :-). Mis reading the wind, or not noticing that something blocks it for the final 1/3 of the bullets flight will have FAR more impact on POI than 1/4 moa of accuracy will.

              And dead consistent POI (bedding, bedding, bedding) is the most important aspect of a tactical and or varmint rifle IMHO. One test of the overall consistency of a package (did I say package? hehe) is that it does not place groups with different bullet weights all over the target, if it is doing that....something is wrong that needs fixed.

              I hope you include a video showing how to check for proper bedding by alternately tightening and loosening each of the action screws. Not all of the HS stocks are "good to go" from the factory from what I hear, some are drastically improved with a few dabs of steel bed.

              Bill
              Last edited by willbird; 03-24-2011, 11:50 AM.
              Just pay your dues, and be quiet :-)

              Comment


              • #8
                The AAC-SD comes with a Hogue stock and it's most definitely NOT properly bedded.

                We will be replacing the stock in another installment.
                "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
                8541tactical.com - Ammo Wallets

                Comment


                • #9
                  While I am partial to tactical carbines, I have always wanted to get into long range competition shooting. Thanks for this thread and the research that goes into it.

                  I just googled the rifle and found Bud's Gun Shop has it for $595.00 with free shipping. I was surprised at the lower cost for the rifle, and it may be in my budget within the next year or so.
                  sigpic
                  Originally posted by Smurfette
                  Lord have mercy. You're about as slick as the business side of duct tape.
                  Originally posted by DAL
                  You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Awesome thread! This is hobby I'm getting into and a budget build is 6 months away. Thanks for starting me down the right path! I look forward to the project.
                    "Just when you think you know all the answers, we change the questions."
                    -"Rowdy" Roddy Piper

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you for putting the time and effort in to this.
                      This is for all you parents that like to put your kids names on the back of your mini-vans.

                      STOP IT! There are predators that will use that information against them!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I hate you....now I want a new toy..

                        Picture the conversation 5 minutes ago ..

                        Me "Hey sweetie, you know the tax refund we're getting soon.."

                        wife" Yes..."

                        Me "What about getting something like this" (Displays thread pic)

                        Wife "Oh for F#@$s sake"

                        Not good at 0926hrs....perhaps I should have picked my time better
                        "Well, I never had an invisible friend when I was young, but I'm sure that if I did, it would be Constable Smiley."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Eastside View Post
                          Not good at 0926hrs....perhaps I should have picked my time better
                          The best time is usually after you have already acquired the new toy and provided the sweetie with a dinner date.
                          "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
                          8541tactical.com - Ammo Wallets

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Blackdog F4i View Post
                            The best time is usually after you have already acquired the new toy and provided the sweetie with a dinner date.
                            Yeah, but my wife never takes me to a dinner date after buying herself a name brand hand bag or pair of shoes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Very cool

                              I've been planning on putting together a model 700 build for a few years now...I had settled on the 26" SPS Varmint in 168gr/308 loads. This article has me thinking, but I think I will have equal success with the Varmint.

                              I am open to other ideas though, as I have zero experience with long range shooting.
                              Last edited by _XD_; 03-27-2011, 11:58 PM.

                              Comment

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