Budget precision rifle options? Custom rigs for a mid-range budget

In the short time since its introduction, the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) has become established in the shooting industry.  While there have been precision rifles in similar setups available for years, what made the Ruger unique, was it price point; it’s fairly reasonable when compared to rifles that can easily cost more than $6,000.  Ruger allowed more shooters into the precision rifle party- good for them!

While I applaud their efforts, marketing, and innovation, I believe shooters with a little work can build and customize their other rifles on the market to end up with a precision rifle that does as much, if not more, for less than or the same amount of money as the RPR.  Let’s take a look at some of the budget rifles Rifleshooter.com has built up.

What makes the RPR different from many of its competitors isn’t the fact that it is a rifle, there are plenty of accurate rifles available for far less money, it is the use of a chassis system that allows the end user to to use AICS style detachable magazines and change the fore-end and stock to customize their rifles.  There are many aftermarket chassis and stocks that offer this flexibility to end users.   Perhaps the best way to build a gun on a budget is to start with a factory barreled action and add the desired stock or chassis system to it.

The criteria for our budget rifle?

  • Detachable magazine system
  • Sub MOA accuracy
  • Exceptionally crisp trigger
  • Cost under $1400 without optics, mounts or bipods

Budget Rifle #1- Custom Savage Axis

This custom savage axis is a neat little rifle.

axis in lss 2

I sourced the MDT LSS and Timney trigger direct from the manufacturers.   The other parts came from Brownells.  Let’s look at the cost break down less rings, bipod and optic (prices are April 2016):

Total cost $928.  If you are recycling some parts from your AR or buy some of the items used, you’ll save even more. While $928 puts you at a price point on par with a Remington 700 or a well equipped Savage 10, those rifles aren’t running a customizable chassis system with an AICS style magazine.  Retail price in my area for a Ruger Precision Rifle is $1299 plus tax, this custom Axis is nearly $400 cheaper.  That is a lot of money left over to invest into optics or buy ammunition.

How does it shoot?  This gun likes the 168 and 175 grain Sierra MatchKing (SMK), the top target below is at 100 yards, the bottom at 700.  You’ll note the occasional flyer, however the gun does manage to maintain average accuracy around 1 MOA.

Saveg Axis 308 100 yard groups lss

savage axis 308 HV at 700 yards 168 SMK

Budget rifle #2- Custom Remington 700 SPS

6 creedmoor rem 700 3

This rifle started off life as a Remington 700 SPS Varmint.  The rifle cost just under $500 after rebate and shot 1/3 MOA at 500 yards.  We decided to trick it out some more.

95 TMK 243 win at 500 yards

Sure, it hammered in 243 Winchester, but we like to experiment around here.  The barrel was set back and chambered for 6 Creedmoor, metal parts Cerakoted MAGPUL flat dark earth and the barreled action was seated in a Grayboe stock.  Grayboe is a new company, started my McMillan Fiberglass Stocks.  The Grayboe (front) has the same basic shape as the McMillan A5 (rear, green) but costs significantly less.

Looks good doesn’t it?

Price wise how did we do without optics or accessories? (Prices as of 8/2016)

$1,248- the labor was on me for this one.  If I left it a 243 Winchester, which is great cartridges, you’d have one heck of a nice gun without the added cost of resetting the barrel and cutting a new chamber.  I have no doubt you could easily find a local gunsmith to help you with a project like this.

The rifle is finished off with the following parts:


6 creed 107 smk bullets with box

Budget rifle #3- Savage Model 10 FCP-SR

MDT LSS Savage 10 2

This Savage Model 10 FP-SR didn’t shoot so well from the factory.  The Accu-stock wasn’t very good for accuracy and the internet was NOT happy about how poorly the rifle shot.  I pulled the barreled action and sat it in an Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) LSS and the rest was history, this gun was a hammer!

Total cost?

Total cost of the bare rifle, $1,145.  Not too shabby for a gun that shoots the 168 grain SMK 1/2 MOA!

savage 10 lss 168 gold medal best group

So there you have it, three customized rifles for a mid-range budget that offer precision and style for similar money to off-the-shelf offerings!

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