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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone...

I'm new to all this so please go easy on the newbie...

I'm in the planning stages of my first rifle project. It's intended purpose will be for varmints, coyotes and whitetail.... ON A BUDGET. I'd like to stay close to the magical $1000 range. So says the commander in chief. Although I may be able to sneak a couple hundred extra out of my penny jar. ;)

I chose .243 due the laws regarding minimum deer caliber here in Minnesota. I realize there are more suitable varmint calibers, however this will be a "crossover" gun of sorts. A heavy barrel and deer hunting usually don't go hand in hand, but I usually shoot a muzzleloader and IF I do ever rifle hunt, I'll just have to pony up and hump the extra weight.

My preliminary plans are to pick up a 700 VLS model in .243, change the stock over to one from Bell & Carlson, maybe some trigger work and, of course, decent optics. I have a few questions maybe you folks can help me out with...

- Since I'm going to be changing stocks anyway, is it possible to buy just a barreled action from Remington?
- Are there any other methods or accurizing I should be looking into?
- I've found a couple scopes from Mueller that I believe will do the job, what do you personally think of their optics?

This may be my first of many posts regarding my first build, so I beg of you.... Go easy on the new guy. :)
 

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Hi  mnmoosehunter. Welcome aboard. I like you wanted a good varmint rifle that I could really reach out there and touch some Groundhogs. I was using a 204 Handi Rifle for most of the summer but it really did not have the accuracy or knock down power past 300 yards that I desired. So I decided on the 243 SPS that I picked up for $525.00. Dicks sporting goods have them on sale right now for $480.00 and there is a $30.00 rebate on them also. This rifle is a real shooter and I have shot 3 shot groups that measure 7/8'' at 300 yards. You can check my other posts on this rifle if you like. The funny thing you should bring Mueller up. I have a 8.5x25x44 Mueller Tactical on it and feel it is a great scope. I would like you to consider one thing though. If you are looking for a cross over rifle from Varmint to deer please consider the 260. I sure wish I had and have looked into sending my rifle back to Remington to have it fitted with a 260 barrel. They said they would do it for $300.00. Many here think it would be foolish to do such a thing to a rifle that shoots this well. After much consideration I agree with them. The great thing about the 260 is you can load it down to 85 grain bullets for varmints and up to 150 grain bullets for deer. I really think it is the best of both worlds. Let me know what you decide Dale.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
DALESCARPENTRY said:
Hi mnmoosehunter. Welcome aboard. I like you wanted a good varmint rifle that I could really reach out there and touch some Groundhogs. I was using a 204 Handi Rifle for most of the summer but it really did not have the accuracy or knock down power past 300 yards that I desired. So I decided on the 243 SPS that I picked up for $525.00. Dicks sporting goods have them on sale right now for $480.00 and there is a $30.00 rebate on them also. This rifle is a real shooter and I have shot 3 shot groups that measure 7/8'' at 300 yards. You can check my other posts on this rifle if you like. The funny thing you should bring Mueller up. I have a 8.5x25x44 Mueller Tactical on it and feel it is a great scope. I would like you to consider one thing though. If you are looking for a cross over rifle from Varmint to deer please consider the 260. I sure wish I had and have looked into sending my rifle back to Remington to have it fitted with a 260 barrel. They said they would do it for $300.00. Many here think it would be foolish to do such a thing to a rifle that shoots this well. After much consideration I agree with them. The great thing about the 260 is you can load it down to 85 grain bullets for varmints and up to 150 grain bullets for deer. I really think it is the best of both worlds. Let me know what you decide Dale.
Hi Dale...

Thanks for the welcome!!! Long time lurker, first time poster. VERY informative sight!!!

Dale, I'm really glad you chimed in as it was your rifle, along with range time with my buddy's .243, that gave me the inspiration for my project. Trust me when I say, I've been second guessing myself on the caliber issue for a while now. And after thoughts of building a dedicated varmint rig AND picking up a deer rifle were shot down HARD by my better half, the 243 has, in my opinion, exactly what I'm looking for. Don't get me wrong, the .260 would probably pull 50/50 duty a whole lot better. However, with this build, I'm leaning a bit more towards the varmint/predator side.

After seeing the SPS having a much lower initial cost than the VLS, and knowing it's in for a new stock anyway.... I think we have a winner in the barreled action category! Did you happen to do any mods to the trigger?

Regarding the Mueller scope... How did you arrive on the scope you chose? I'll have to double check the laws here in Minnesota, but I was sort of leaning towards the models with illumination. Your thoughts?

So many questions, so little time. Gotta run for now...

Dan (aka: Mnmoosehunter)
 

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I have not modified the trigger yet. It does break like glass and no creep at all but I still feel it is to heavy for me. My smith will do the trigger job for $25.00 I just have not got around to it yet. The way I arrived at the Muller scope that it wears is from a lot of reading. I have read many many posts on the Mueller scopes here and else where. I even read a couple reviewes from here and elsewhere and no one had a bad word to say about them so I figured I would give it a try. I am one of those people that see no need for an imulated recticle. I had a piece of crap BSA with one and could never remember to turn it off so it was dead most of the time anyway. I really could not be happier with this rifle and I know there are people out there that pay thousands of dollars for a rifle that shoots this well. Dale
 

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At what distances are you expecting to shoot varmints? I shot Pdogs for some years with a sporter 22-250 and didn't feel unduly handicapped. I did graduate to a VSS in 22-250 but in Pdog shooting, you're not humping no 15# rifle and scope around. You're driving to a spot (maybe a short walk) and then setting up and shooting. The reason I started out using a sporter model was because I started out shooting ground hogs in the east.
Needless to say, you buy what you want but IMO the only reason to buy a .243 is to have it barreled into a .260 or a 7-08. And I have been there and done that.
Oh, fyi, I don't think Remington sells barreled actions.
 

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I am not sure myself about the Rem actions. I know you can buy them from some auction sites but I think they are about $350.00. I think you would be better off buying a new SPS or a used 700 short action rifle. Then you could at least part it out and recop some of the money toward re-barrel. He is also wanting a crossover deer rifle so the 22-250 may be a little light. Dale
 

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I had the same rifle built 2 years ago , I was ready to step into the custom rifle world but like you wanted a double duty rifle . I am a huge remington 600/660 fan and have been for years and thats were my project started . First thing to do is you have got to find a awsome gunsmith to built this rifle dont wast time and money on guys who arnt worth it , the good ones are backed logged for atleast a year . there are plenty of guys just selling rem 700 actions benchrest central , varmints den , 6mm br .com , and there around 350-400$ for the short action , now you have to get on the list for a barrel , hart, lilga , kreiger , shilin and your going to be waiting some are out 12 weeks !! then dont go with the bell stock , get a nice HS 700 factory take off stock , the police one is awsome and short , set you back from 150-200$+ , barrel a good 300+$ then that sloppy rem action will have to be blueprinted square the reciever face , true the threads , lap the bolt ...ECT !
looking at a really good job 300$+ now the chamber i chose the lapua 6mm br no turn neck 1-12 twist hart barrel #4 countour 25" out and this rifle is a HOUSE OF FIRE , i shoot 65 grn all the way to 100grn and it just loves the 85grn bullets and thats what i shoot all my deer with the 6mm br to me is the best round it doesnt matter what combo you feed it it will shoot and perform its a no brainer round and yes you can get it to feed in a shorty rem action . if you dont reload then just stick to a factory gun but youll be missing alot of fun .
scope wise leupold 6x18 is the way to go good for deer 6x and varmints 18 x
think it out long and hard but youll be happy if you go custom
good luck in your super cool venture i hope it all works out perfect for you

oh dont forget loose the factory trigger and get a jewel trigger

later
chris
 

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Like the fellow that kissed the cow said, "to each his own". If I wz shooting deer and varmints, I wouldn't begin to go to the trouble and BS xpppcbr sez he has in order to shoot a deer or a varmint. If I was into some serious bench rest competition I might but I wouldn't be using a factory action as a platform.
If you're going to that much trouble, and really all xpppcbr is doing is farming the work out to this smith and that smith, you're better off going to a custom smith and telling him what you want and having him build it for you as a one off.
 

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ok beemanbeme
If you read what he was asking for he wants the 1000$ rifle , i shoot bench rest and if he wants a 1000$ rifle it doesn't start for him with a 1000$ action .
even a predator action is costing 700$ for a action. is he wanting to start out with that action ?
no he was looking 700 action as a doner but you should know a rem action isnt straight and if your going to spend the grand and your wanting a quality hybrid rifle then he would start with a 700 action just because there are so many parts for it .
i have a bench rest rifle built on a xp-100 action sitting in a McMillan hv stock and it shoots right with my friends Farley actioned 6ppc Farley. so i dont have the 1000-1200 for a bench rest action i shoot a xp action all blueprinted and it shoots with the Farley witch is a superior action
Stolle pandas he has also and its with them , if all the work is done by a good smith then you will have a straight shooting rifle .
I see it this way you can spend the x-amount of dollars on a factory rifle that will give hopefully a MOA group or you can spend the same + and have a rifle that will shoot all the time in the 2's and 3's
i shoot both 6mm br and 6mm ppc and the new 6.5x47 and i did have a 30 br that was the cats ass
its not BS just a guide to what to look for and to aim for, 1000$ is enough to start a very nice rifle off and running and almost complete .
and to the farming off to my smith yes . he has shot benchrest for years and has built me fine quallity rifle that shoot why not quallity smith quality parts = quality rifle!
chris
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I appreciate all the info here, but simmer down there, fellers. I didn't mean this thread to raise the ol' neck hackles. ;)

I've already decided on the .243 caliber for two main reasons. First, it's the minimum caliber allowed for deer here in Minnesota and still a great round for varmints and predators. Second, my buddy who happens to be another .243 shooter and I, are also going to get into reloading to save costs. Equipment, tools and supplies all cut right down the middle.... Sounds like a win-win to me.

Sure, there are better calibers tailored to deer as well as varmints and predators. I'd love to have one of each, but that just ain't gonna happen this time around. This baby has to pull double duty, like it or not.

A full out custom rifle, right off the bat would be FANTASTIC!! I just don't think my $1K will get me there. Remember that also has to include decent optics. I realize the 700 action isn't perfect. However, I think it will be a fine shooter out of the box. And when finances permit, maybe a little custom work will get thrown in to make this good rifle even better.

So.... that being said, what should I start saving my pennies for as far as custom work? Bedding? Trigger? What's the biggest bang for my buck?

Thanks again for all the info thus far!!!
 

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well i would say barrel . get you a good barrel and have the stock bedded and a trigger job
then really all the $ are going for a good barrel

barrel, pillar bedding , and a new trigger or just have your worked on and the rest goes tword the scope
 

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Before you can decide where to spend your money, you need to get a rifle, unless you are going to have one built from the ground up. For $1000, start with an off the shelf rifle. A Remington SPS or SPS Varmint is a good place to start. The trigger is not bad, stock decent and with luck you will have a quality barrel. Buy your flavor of the SPS, let how much you are going to carry it decide which one. Get a base/base set, and rings, and the best quality scope you can get for the money spent (you can spend over a $1000 for a scope). I would get a quality scope of no more than 12X or 14X for double duty. Clean the rifle inside and out and relube. After you get your scope solidly mounted, break in your barrel. I always break in mine by polishing the bore, unless already hand lapped. Remington barrels are forged. Take it to the range with the ammo you intend to use. Sight in the rifle, cleaning between shots. For that regiment, follow the rifle makers recommendations or if you have favorite way, do that. If after the break in period and sighting in you are unsatisfied with the resulting groups, try different ammo. If you have exhausted all of these possibilities, you can decide if you want a new trigger, new barrel, bedding, etc. Only after you have tried every thing (cartridge wise) can you decide if some thing needs replaced, or fixed. You can not fix what is not broken. Keep in mind that replacing triggers, stocks and barrels are not cheap. On a Remington, to replace the barrel with a quality barrel and have it fitted will run some where around $500. A quality replacement trigger some where from $100 -$200. A quality stock will run from $200 up to over $500. If you decide to start replacing parts on the rifle, you start crossing into the custom realm and big bucks. Just my 2 cents
 

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I think LaOtto222 has hit the nail on the head. In another forum, a fellow was "bragging" about ordering a new rifle and having it shipped directly to his smith to have all sorts of work done to it. I thought that wasn't the smartest move he could have made. Without shooting it, how could he know what needed to be done.
Perhaps your winter project could best be researching the different kinds of Remington rifles. It is the vogue to bad mouth Remingtons but I have had very good luck with mine. Things I have learned are: A trigger job is obligatory. The Remington trigger is a good one and can be adjusted to a very crisp 3# (or a little less but that's what I like for hunting) but they come from the factory with a lawyer attached and break at around 87#. Remington makes a good barrel. I don't believe in barrel break-ins. Not like Laotto222. I've tried it both ways. What I do is when I get a new rifle, I take it apart and look it over for anything that doesn't appear right, make sure everything is tight, there are no errant wood chips or such to disturb accuracy and then, using a bore guide, give the bore 500 strokes of JB paste. Every so often, during this ritual, I clean the JB out and start over. When this is done, I mount an old T10 Weaver I have on the rifle and start my load development. If it's just a hunting rifle, I may just mount a hunting scope, cobble up some decent ammo, and go hunting but usually, I don't like to be rushed.
Anyway, only after I've shot it, do I have a baseline of information about how I'm going to get the best accuracy from the rifle.
The scope is where you are gonna have a real head ache. Trying to pick the right one that isn't too big for the one use and big enough for the other. I would think that a 4x16 would be max. But the higher the power, the bigger and clumsier the scope so, like I said, that's a hard call. There is a lot of brand loyalty among scope users that usually produces much more heat than light. My take is there are a lot of medium priced scopes on the market that will get the job done. I even know a fellow that shoots bench rest with a BSA on top his rifle. After he got everything else, that's all he could afford. His only complaint is the cross hairs are too course. My only suggestion is to go to a big box sporting goods store and have them line them all up and look thru them. I hate the 50mm Obj lenses. They have to be mounted too high, they contribute to rifle cant, and they make a rifle look like something from "men in black". Others swear by them.
You are goning to keep us posted as things go along aren't you? 'else we won't have anything to argue about during the long winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
After I pick up my rifle I will put in a bit of range time to see just how good of a shooter it really is in "stock form". I'm very close to "pulling the trigger" on the rifle purchase, however a nice rifle without optics could be a tad tough to shoot with any accuracy. ::) Let's talk optics...

As this rifle will be pulling predator/varmint duty as it's primary task, deer being secondary, my thoughts have been to go with more of a "long range" type scope rather than one based more on deer hunting. My original plan was to go with a Mueller 8.5x25x44, or something along those lines. I've seen great reviews and it seems to fit my budget quite nicely. Now for a bit of a twist... I have a line on an honest "dang near new", Leupold Vari-X III, 4.5x14 with adjustable objective. It's a few dollars more than the new Mueller, but it's also within budget. This Leupold is off a Browning .270win that has had no more than 10 shots fired through it. I know the guy that owns it and he would never sell me any "junk".

With my varmint/predator shots being in the 200 to 500 yard range, and deer shots in the 100 to 200 yard range. I know I can dial each scope down for deer. However, should I be concerned that the Leupold is down on magnification as compared to the Mueller for predators and varmints?

Or will the Mueller be to much for deer at the ranges specified?

I know the Leupold is a great scope from what I have read, and I'm tending to lean it that direction. Great deal and a trusted seller. One the flip side, if it's not the best choice for varmints, maybe the Mueller would be the better fit...

Which direction would you take?

Thanks...
 

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I would go with the 4.5x16 in a heartbeat. 16x is a lot of magnification. I've shot an awful lot of Pdogs with a 10x scope. I hunted Col and WY for a number of years and, as far as big game was concerned, never saw a need for the "moon telescope" type scopes that some folks outfit their rifles with. On the big end of my rifles, I used a 300 WM with a 1.5x5 on it and a 7mag with a 2x7. When I graduated to a 22-250VSS I put a 6x24 on it but I wasn't trying to use it as a hunting scope.
Its happened to me and every year after the season you'll read tales of woe about a fellow that missed out because he had his scope cranked up to 8 or 9 and couldn't track or pick up a deer. It takes a lot of practice to spot a deer at a high power setting. Depending on the power, the field of view at 100 yards can be only a couple of feet.
I'm not familar with the Mueller so I can't commet on it but the Leupold is a pretty good piece of glass. I assume the Mueller also has an AO. While it's not really needed for huntng, when you start shooting at small targets waaaay out there, it is. A 500 yard Pdog should be a piece of cake with a 16x glass with an AO. A 100 yard deer with a 8x might not.
 

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I kind of have the same problem. As you know I have the 8.5x25x44 Mueller you spoke of. It really is a good long range scope for Groundhogs and such. The problem is it would not be much good in the woods at closer ranges and I realize this. I have been looking at the Burris scopes with the ballistic mill dot recticle's and also the Nikon Buckmaster's BDC recticle in the 6x18 power range. This way I could use the scope for both Deer and Groundhogs. The I have also kicked the Idea around about getting two sets of Warne quick release rings. They guarantee they will return to zero.http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...m_cat=N/A&cm_pla=N/A&cm_ite=netcon&hasJS=true Then I could get a Burris or a Nikon 3x9 scope with a BDC recticle and swap out scopes depending on what I am hunting. I kind of think I will go the later way because I don't want to give up any of the power of the scope during Groundhog season. Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #18
beemanbeme said:
I would go with the 4.5x16 in a heartbeat. 16x is a lot of magnification.
The Leupold I'm looking at is a 14x not a 16x. Will the difference of 2x be a big deal? I took a peek at this little gem of a scope last night. It is MINT!!! Doesn't even look as if it's been mounted!! I'm a rookie when it comes to high power optics so any and all assistance is greatly appreciated!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
DALESCARPENTRY said:
I kind of have the same problem. As you know I have the 8.5x25x44 Mueller you spoke of. It really is a good long range scope for Groundhogs and such. The problem is it would not be much good in the woods at closer ranges and I realize this. I have been looking at the Burris scopes with the ballistic mill dot recticle's and also the Nikon Buckmaster's BDC recticle in the 6x18 power range. This way I could use the scope for both Deer and Groundhogs. The I have also kicked the Idea around about getting two sets of Warne quick release rings. They guarantee they will return to zero.http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...m_cat=N/A&cm_pla=N/A&cm_ite=netcon&hasJS=true Then I could get a Burris or a Nikon 3x9 scope with a BDC recticle and swap out scopes depending on what I am hunting. I kind of think I will go the later way because I don't want to give up any of the power of the scope during Groundhog season. Dale
Hi Dale...

Thanks again for your insight!! I'm not sure if I would go the "two scope" route myself. To me, it seems as that's just one more thing to go wrong. With this being my first real "base" for a "kind of custom" build, I want to eliminate as many of my possible problems from the get-go. The versatility of having to scopes would be great!! however, I think I'd like to keep that variable out of the equation. At least until I get comfortable with the new gun.

What are your thoughts concerning a 14x max on a P-Dog scope? In your opinion, is that enough?

Thanks again folks for your help!!! It is mucho appreciated!!!
 

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I don't hunt Pdogs but I do hunt Groundhogs. On the real long shots I really enjoy the extra power it just makes it easier for me. This is just my opion but for me 14 max power would not be enough. You will have guy's here say that is plenty and they have shot Pdogs with a lot less. All I can say about that is good for them and am glad they can get the job done with a lower power scope. I have a much harder time shooting small targets with a low power scope than I do with a high power scope. This is just my opion again but I think 16 max power would be a minimum if I planed on long range shooting. I say this because I sometimes turn my scope down to that power to see through it better on medium range shots like about 250 yards or so. Dale
 
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