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Precision Rifle on a Budget Part 2

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Ok, so in Part 1 I researched the cheapest way to build a sub-moa rifle, built the thing, painted it, and now was the time of truth; the actually testing of whether it was sub-moa or not…

While there are other match grade choices out there, It turned out that the only “good” ammo I had available with me was Hornady’s excellent .308 150 grain SST.   I would have preferred a 168 gr., but there was virtually no wind and I was conducting the standard, gun magazine, “100 Yard Results” test at a local range.  I stabilized the rifle with sand bags, removed the bolt, and zeroed the scope by witnessing through the bore.  I then, as per ranged rules, checked the zero at 50 yards, and proceeded to the 100 yard range to zero again and start coating the insides of the bore with ammo.  The first few groups were just over 1.75 inches; interesting, but nothing to get excited about.  Keep in mind that the stock trigger leaves a little to be desired, and that the scope is a fixed 10x power $200 scope, not a 40x power $3000 designated bench-rest scope.  After a few more similar groups I decided to break the action back out of the stock, making sure that it was mated properly to the bedding area, sand had not found its way in, and torqued back to 60 inch lbs.  After some dry-fire and a few more warm up groups the rifle produced this nice one, shown hear in a blurry photo taken with the only means available at that time (a very-not-latest generation iPod Touch).

Sub-MOA at last!  (Less than .75 inch Center-to-Center, and just about 3/4 MOA)

Sub-MOA at last! (Less than .75 inch Center-to-Center, and just about 3/4 MOA at 100 Yards)

To improve accuracy I will eventually glass bed the action, and probably send the trigger somewhere to get worked on/upgraded.  I would also add that getting some loads with 168 gr. Seirra Matchking Hollowpoints tailored to this specific build would probably produce a better group, but I don’t think I could expect much more from a $1000 base rifle and $200 scope, as it is now.  I have to also point out that there are so many factors when it comes to accuracy in a precision rifle build that I could have spent months, and many more rounds downrange to improve accuracy.   The point of this build was to verify a proven recipe; a good base rifle and quality components, along with money spent in the correct areas, will, for the most part, land you a accurate rifle for less money than you thought.

I would also like to remind the reader that many of the parts used on this system were recommended by John McQuay at: http://8541tactical.com/budget%20precision%20article.php.   

While it is simply an accurate “beater” rifle I can loan shooters and maybe compete locally with, and I am not planning any upgrades at the moment, I would still like to suggest some for the benefit of the reader.

  • Improve the trigger!  The stock one is what I feel is the largest limiting factor in this specific build.  Either get a new one, or get the stock one upgraded.
  • -A higher quality scope.  The Bushnell used in this build was amazing for the price, but there are better options out there when not limited to a budget experiment.
  • -Talor a handload and experiment for that “perfect round” your rifle finds.

Get out there, try it, and be safe!


Precision Rifle on a Budget Part 1


We have all seen those $3,000 tactical rifles in the gun magazines that all shoot sub-moa groups at 500 yards and dream of them as we sleep at night. (Well at least I do…).    This is pretty much how my “Precision Rifle on a Budget” project got started.   My Budget??   $1000

While there are many different manufacturers that produce these stock and sometimes custom rifles, there are a few features that are common to most every precision build:

  • Quality Free Floated Barrel
  • Quality Stock (one that can free float the barrel)
  • Quality Trigger
  • Quality Rings and Base
  • Quality Scope

These are the basic features that are needed for a sub-moa rifle build, but there are countless other jobs that can be done to a rifle to further enhance its accuracy potential.  Some custom precision rifle builders will go as far as to “true” the bolt and action.   Having all of this work done at custom shops would generally end up costing as much as buying a quality stock rifle in the first place.  As an experiment, I wanted to create a build loosely following a recipe I found at John McQuay at http://8541tactical.com.  By the end I wanted to end up with a reasonably accurate sub-moa rifle that I could compete with and that would cost me less than $1000…

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