Building a Custom Remington 700 .308 Tactical Rifle
Who doesn’t love a heavy barrel .308?
Our receiver for this project is a Remington 700 short action that had been coated by Fail-Zero with their EXO Nickel Boron coating. Previously used to evaluate the TAC21 chassis system, we decided to build a heavy barreled .308 rifle with it.
We elected to head in the direction of an M40ish build- meaning we like heavy barrels, flush cups, UNS mounts and olive drab stocks. Tactical rifle, precision rifle, pick a name…The idea of this project it to end up with a rifle that we could use for a number of tasks, from local tactical rifle matches, mid range F-class (no muzzle brake), unknown distance shooting and to employ at various training programs. While you can certainly build a specialized rifle for each one of these disciplines, we wanted something with a little more versatility. Why 308, and not 260 or 243? We wanted the the ability to use off the shelf match ammunition.
We elected to equip our rifle with a 24″ #7 Shilen select heavy barrel, McMillian A5 stock and Surgeon bottom metal. The #7 profile is heavy, but not obscenely so. Balanced with the McMillian A5 stock and a quality optic, the rifle has mild recoil and will not punish the user.
Building a bolt action rifle requires quite a few steps. We decided to break this down into blueprinting the action, lapping the bolt lugs and truing the bolt face, threading and chambering the barrel, crowning the barrel, finishing the rifle and reassembly. For the sake of this article, we will be primarily focused on the more skilled steps in the process, so the initial disassembly and final reassembly are not covered in detail. Both of these topics are covered elsewhere on this site.
We ordered the following parts and supplies from Brownells:
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Blueprinting the action
In order to blueprint the action, the trigger assembly, bolt stop, ejector and firing pin assemblies need to be removed. The steps required to accomplish these tasks are shown here. Once the parts are removed, the action can be trued, or blueprinted.
Threading, chambering and crowning the barrel
Crowning the muzzle
Finishing the rifle
Prior to heading to the range we completely reassemble the rifle and conduct a function check. Critically, we verify the trigger is safe and properly functioning and that head space is correct. The McMillian A5 stock supplied by Brownells had been inletted for Surgeon bottom metal by McMillian. For our test firing session we selected a Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14x50mm optic held in Badger Rings on a 20 MOA Badger base. Ammunition was Federal factory 168 grain Gold Medal Match Ammunition.
Test firing was conducted from the prone position on the mat shown in the photo above. The Harris Bi-pod was placed with the legs forward of the wooden curb shown, on the sand. A Triad tactical tapered rear rest was used. The trigger was set to break at 3.5 pounds.
For a new gun, with factory ammunition, we are fairly pleased with the results. Our first group at 100-yards with rounds 3, 4 and 5 measured .509″. Our second five-round group, with rounds 6-10 measured .688″. While we would like to see better results with this, we are happy so far considering the range conditions and brutal mirage that was obscuring vision. Average accuracy from this gun from our initial session was .645″, with the largest 5-round group measuring .739″. We plan on working up some hand loads and heading back to the range in the near future.
UPDATE 9/28/14- I’ve shot the rifle quite a bit and accuracy has improved. I’ve managed quite a few 1/4 MOA 5-shot groups at 200 yards. Below is a ten-shot group I shot at 100 yards from my pack, no bipod. Here is a post I did on a new brake installation, How to cut and crown a rifle barrel and install a brake
A special thank you to Brownells for supplying the following:
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