Custom Bolt Action Precision Rifle Build (Part 5) | Gunsmith Selection: Longrifles, Inc.
I received my phone call yesterday that this rifle’s barreled action is complete at the gunsmith and headed back my way! I decided I needed to get this post together on my riflesmith selection before it arrives. Otherwise else I’ll be too ‘giggity‘ to write this post well, wanting instead to move on to other things like shooting instead of writing!
If you haven’t been following the series, the first post is here, and you can follow along from there. I have been chronicling just about every equipment decision in this build and if this is your first glimpse of it, you’ve started off near the end. So do yourself a favor and go back and check them all out when you are done here. Every installment in the series is linked at the end of this post.
All these complementing pieces that I’ve gathered do a man absolutely no good if they aren’t properly assembled by a rifle artist/engineer, more commonly known as a gunsmith. I have taken up countless hours making sure I wrang out the exact performance standards I am looking for with each component selection of the build, but it is all for naught if your gunsmith isn’t up to snuff. This is not the place to just haul your gear down to the nearest guy with a lathe and bickering over price, though deals can be had.
There is really only one way to select a gunsmith, and that is on his reputation amongst discerning customers and shooters that have been around the sport long enough to have seen builders rise and fall and know what to look for. If someone who shoots for a living (at hajis, paper, or steel) will give someone a recco, it’s a good time to start listening. That isn’t to say you need to pick the oldest, longest running rifle builder around, there are new people doing great things in all industries every day. But if you can garner the opinion of folks that shoot, see the results on paper or in the field of multiple builds from multiple gunsmiths, you’ll start to get an idea of the lay of the land. There are lots of quality gunsmiths for the picking, and as long as you find one of the good ones, you should be a happy camper.
This was perhaps the hardest decision for me, as I am not in the ‘circle’ of custom rifle builders, nor anyone else that happens to be in that circle as well. This might be starting to sound boring, but The Hide was once again my resource here. There are so many great builders out there that I don’t want anyone to think that the one I chose is any better another top tier builder, as I said, I’m the amateur here. Therefore, I’m not going to share what other gunsmiths I considered, and instead just let you know that I chose Chad Dixon’s LongRifles, Inc. to be my craftsman of choice.
In the few months that I had been putting this build together in my mind and in gathering parts, I was always trolling the gunsmithing sections of various forums. I wanted a builder that was energetic, passionate, and active in advancing the craft and Chad obviously fit that bill. But what intrigued me most about LongRifles, Inc. was the company’s constant quest to improve. Improve its processes, equipment, and workforce. In this strive, you also see LRI going out and trying new things, and using modern CNC equipment to perform tasks performed with simpler lathes and the like for over a century. In other words, taking on challenges and pushing the envelope. One example of this is the stock bedding block, skim surfacing, bedding replacement they have begun. Check it out, they are the only place doing this as of this writing and they are seeing excellent repeatability.
Of course, there are the more concrete things that let you know someone has their shit together like “rifles that have won Olympic, World, International, and National level competitions in International Smallbore, Smallbore Silhouette, Prone, Highpower, and International Long Range (Palma).” The guys working in that shop are winning, and that says a lot.
LongRifles, Inc. operates under a very simple philosophy; build a great gun and deliver excellent customer service.
It starts with modern CNC manufacturing blended with the hand crafted skill reserved for fine gun making. It ends with a genuine interest in making your project a reality.
The result is a custom rifle as unique as the individual that owns it with a fit and finish that distinguishes itself wherever it is taken.
This is not a company driven by large production manufacturing. At LongRifles Inc, quality will always take priority over quantity.
More than a business…
The work I had completed by LongRifles Inc. included having the barrel blank fit and threaded for the receiver, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, cut to length, threaded at the muzzle end, LRI “we test on animals” logo, and the JEC Customs muzzle break timed and profiled. I also ordered a thread protector in case the muzzle break ended being ‘not my thing,’ and had the barrel fluted with 7 straight flutes. After all that was complete, the whole thing was sent to the paint booth for a finish in Cerakote Coyote Tan, including the scope rings and base to match. I can’t wait to see it when it arrives, but I’m awaiting the unveiling just like everyone else.
I had this work done, including return shipping and insurance for a great price as part of LongRifles Inc’s Sniper’s Hide Spring 2013 Group Buy. If you are reading this, follow that link, the deep discounts offered may still be there. Chad organized the Group Buy as a way to offer discounted services by streamlining his work-load and controlling the extremes of individual customization to drive down variability. For example, participants were limited to only Remington 700 actions, which could be factory actions needing accurizing, or custom clones. The work as part of the group would only apply to barrelled actions. No stock work, scope mounting, trigger work, etc. In doing so, the boys at LRI were able to maximize their run time on the machines and minimize changeover. With such a large quantity of rifle’s coming through the door, not having to change and re-calibrate equipment for different jobs really helps keep things moving.
If you are interested in ‘how’ some of these tasks are completed, checkout the ‘Process‘ section of LRI’s website for some pic-heavy informative walk-throughs of common work.
I have no doubt that I will be thrilled with the quality of work LRI will provide. I know that this rifle will outshoot me for a long long time. I hope when I shoot the barrel out, I’ve improved enough as a marksman to know it!
The remainder of this post will be told in pictures and videos that detail the level of craftsmanship available from LongRifles Inc. These pictures are all found in LRI’s 2013 Group Buy Post, their Bolt Fluting Group Buy Post, or on their own website. As always, click for High-Resolution. Enjoy the beauty.
As always folks, if you enjoyed the read, or have anything else to say, please let me know in the comments. I’d be interested in any opinions on my component selection so far. If you would like to read the rest of the series as it is published, on the right hand side of this page, please type in your email to follow the blog, or like the Facebook page for updates as posts become available.
Thank You Again, Look for more soon. And thanks to everyone who has come across from The Hide and elsewhere to follow along, you guys have helped me with this build immensely.
While you are here, check out some of my liberty-centered political posts available here.