Gunsmithing Favorite bolt gun actions

ratton

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 21, 2009
705
94
61
Nevada
What are your favorite aftermarket bolt gun actions (ie Stiller, Surgeon, Bighorn, Skunkworks, Bat, Badger, Templar etc) and why (quality, tolerances, accuracy, price etc)? Thanks in advance
 

TEAMSENDIT

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 22, 2008
2,942
24
41
whidbey island
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

for what i do (tac matches) i prefer the skunkworks and templar actions both are maded by defiance machine. just prefer the options on the skunkworks alittle better aw magwell, true drop in 700 fit.

if it were for f class or target shooting those would be great but i love the bat 3 lug action single shot. i have not owned one but felt numberous and wow they are nice. alittle to tight of tolerance for tactical stuff and harder to fit after market onto but man they are nice
 

bignada

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 30, 2009
308
0
37
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

Sako TRG and Winchester 70.

TRG is built to custom level tolerances, but in production with ready availability of parts. These actions (except TRG22) will interchange bolt bodies and they are parts available. Best option for a switchbarrel rifle. Best trigger of any tactical rifle. (Do any of the Rem 700 clones actually block the firing pin? or allow field adjustment with allen wrenches?) Superb choice for Super Magnum ctg builds. Firing pin is field serviceable in seconds.

Win 70 is hardly custom, but has the features needed. Great & durable trigger, not encased so easily cleaned. Great firing pin & safety design. Short Action is somewhat longer than the 700SA so more versatility for bullet seating etc.

Nice to have the integral scope rail that some of the customs offer.
 

Spuhr

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 25, 2009
1,131
48
50
Sweden
www.spuhr.com
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

In My opinon is it extremely preferable if the action have integral rail. I cannot see any reason at all why a custom action not have it as the number of customers who uses their actions with open sigths are easaly counted. I like trg actions but there is à number of others that is nice to
 

GRIM

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Dec 21, 2009
454
1
56
Wisconsin
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

I'll toss my 2 cents in - love my rifle built on a Big Horn Arms action.
 

cal50

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 6, 2009
1,395
10
Ohio
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

Winchester or Remington with the winnie my first choice.

Sorry but they are my favorites and proven on the range and in the field. Not a dig on the custom guys but I have never needed anything unique or special the others could not deliver.
 

hoguer

The Dude
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 26, 2009
1,080
5
Central Valley, CA
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

I have a custom Jense Precision rifle, and the action is sourced from Defiance Machine, the same as Skunkworks and Templar. I was told that for precision, you cannot incorperate the rail into the action due to the milling specs. they cannot get as precise of a true to the OD on the action that has a rail built into it. That is the reason that a lot of high end rigs have stayed away from it.
 

223ai

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 28, 2006
1,091
12
Texas
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 300sniper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">my personal preference is a trued remington 700.</div></div>

Why? I'm honestly curious. It seems like a builder with your skills would prefer a custom action.
 

eli polite

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Mar 9, 2010
1,308
30
46
delaware
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

this may be out of left field but i had a 700 and i liked it but after i bought my tikka i sold the 700. i did have my gun smith do some work on the tikka. but i had him do the 700 as well and i just love the tikka.

t3 tactical .308
 

300sniper

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 17, 2005
3,438
17
Greenwood, Ca
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JPipes</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 300sniper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">my personal preference is a trued remington 700.</div></div>

Why? I'm honestly curious. It seems like a builder with your skills would prefer a custom action. </div></div>

they do everything i need them to do. i'm not paying for bling features that in reality don't help win a match.
 

Spuhr

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 25, 2009
1,131
48
50
Sweden
www.spuhr.com
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

Ffhouge

That is a funny explanation.
A number of the winning bench rest actions have incoorporated rails and they seems to shoot well enoug. That being said sniping doesent require the same amount of Accuracy as their sport, but instead a tremendous amount of constancy. Thoug its very easy to get away from the screw on rails i cannot see any reason not to.
I have seen enough loose scopekilling rails to not see them as any practical benefit.

Håkan
 

BlackOps Tech

Still The Head Skunk
Commercial Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

I understand what you're saying, but I don't think you'll see a loose rail with most custom actions (that have been properly designed) where the rails are not integral. All of my actions use six, 8-40 screws (the "Miitary" uses five) and two, 1/8" dowel pins. The Surgeon uses 8-36 screws and dowel pins as well (IIRC, they're slightly smaller than 1/8"). When properly torqued, I don't believe a loose rail will be a problem. I appreciate actions with the integral rail (Surgeon 591, BAT, etc.), but just because the rail isn't integral doesn't automatically mean there will be issues with loose rails.
 

300sniper

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 17, 2005
3,438
17
Greenwood, Ca
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Spuhr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">In My opinon is it extremely preferable if the action have integral rail. <span style="color: #FF0000">I cannot see any reason at all why a custom action not have it</span> as the number of customers who uses their actions with open sigths are easaly counted. I like trg actions but there is à number of others that is nice to </div></div>

manufacturing costs.

i've only been shooting precision rifles for a little over ten years now but i have never had an issue i could blame on a scope base being loose or shifting. i don't think i have even seen a separate scope base cause someone to lose a match that i've been at.
 

gamma

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jul 14, 2009
456
2
53
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dagger</div><div class="ubbcode-body">What are your favorite aftermarket bolt gun actions (ie Stiller, Surgeon, Bighorn, Skunkworks, Bat, Badger, Templar etc) and why (quality, tolerances, accuracy, price etc)? Thanks in advance </div></div>
Defiance machine actions are absolutely awesome in every way and the company itself really knows how to treat customers in every way. Lovelly people Glenn and Lisa.
 

scotharr

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 8, 2005
1,744
25
Scottsdale, AZ
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

Different actions are optimized for different types of shooting. There are so many good choices out there, you need to narrow your criteria down. What type of shooting will it be used for and what particular features do you find important. Here are some questions to answer:

What happens if "el custom action shop" goes out of business? Will I be able to get spare parts?
One-piece bolt?
What is the action optimized for? Benchrest, hunting, highpower?
Which extractor/ejector style do I want?
Firing pin tip diameter?
Do I value the Remington "3 rings of steel?"
How many lugs do I want on the bolt? Do I understand the differences?
Stainless or Chromoly? What are the pros/cons?
Target port or Remington port?
Full-round bridge or Remington Bridge?
Integral Rail and/or recoil lug?
Do I want Remington trigger compatibility?

My choice today is Defiance Machine. I'm still waiting for him to make an action with integral rail and lug.
smile.gif
 

Spuhr

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 25, 2009
1,131
48
50
Sweden
www.spuhr.com
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

Skunkworks


We fully agree just the abscence of integral would not
a problem. I use a number of guns personally with no inegral rail.
However when investing in a new Gun and spending big money i cannot see any reason to not choose integral as its a defenite advantage and a better solution than the opposite.






Håkan
 

scotharr

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 8, 2005
1,744
25
Scottsdale, AZ
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Spuhr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Skunkworks


We fully agree just the abscence of integral would not
a problem. I use a number of guns personally with no inegral rail.
However when investing in a new Gun and spending big money i cannot see any reason to not choose integral as its a defenite advantage and a better solution than the opposite.

The worst problem i have seen with loose rails are the danish army that are using Trg 42 rifles with original picatinny rails screwed and pinned to the top of the action. They have reached an outstanding 100 percent failure rate on their 5-25 Schmidt & Benders due to loosening rails.

Håkan </div></div>

Many actions makers poo poo the idea of an integral rail, but I think that's just because it is extra work/cost. I use JB Weld to glue my rail and screws to the action: that seems to work pretty good so far.
 

BlackOps Tech

Still The Head Skunk
Commercial Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Scooter-PIE</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Spuhr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Skunkworks


We fully agree just the abscence of integral would not
a problem. I use a number of guns personally with no inegral rail.
However when investing in a new Gun and spending big money i cannot see any reason to not choose integral as its a defenite advantage and a better solution than the opposite.

The worst problem i have seen with loose rails are the danish army that are using Trg 42 rifles with original picatinny rails screwed and pinned to the top of the action. They have reached an outstanding 100 percent failure rate on their 5-25 Schmidt & Benders due to loosening rails.

Håkan </div></div>

Many actions makers poo poo the idea of an integral rail, but I think that's just because it is extra work/cost. I use JB Weld to glue my rail and screws to the action: that seems to work pretty good so far. </div></div>

Good points indeed and Scooter is correct....Manufacturing cost is a concern especially when a lot of shooters don't mind holding their rails on with screws/pins.

What I've noticed (while dry fitting my builds) when it comes to rails is that there are numerous low quality rails on the market. If the radius on the bottom of the rail doesn't properly match the top of the receiver, or the rail rocks fore and aft, it will come loose eventually. This problem is why many have resorted to bedding their rails (as Scoot mentioned). Using a poor fitting (steel) rail without bedding also leads to stressing the receiver.

I have recently rejected seven picatinny rails in a row that didn't properly fit the top of the receiver and they were all meant to fit a Rem700 SA. So if the rail comes loose, I would question the quality of the rail. I guess the reason I've never had a rail come loose is because I don't knowingly mount a low quality rail (Please know that my comments about low quality rails isn't meant to start a conversation that could lead to bashing any particular rail manufacturer)

Spuhr has an obvious fix to this problem by avoiding the separate rail issue altogether, and his approach certainly makes sense, but I've found that it's possible to solidly mount a rail with screws/pins, without having to bed it in place, and have it stay put. In my opinion, bedding a rail in place is masking the real problem....
 

coelk

Private
Full Member
Minuteman
Nov 22, 2009
65
0
41
Colorado
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions


260.jpg


I went with a Bighorn Arms action made right here in my native state of Colorado. The action is very rigid and the machining is first rate. Shooting a 260 with a muzzle brake, I am not worried about the scope base working loose. Bighorn Arms = Money well spent!
 

Clark

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jul 4, 2003
2,661
81
WA the everblue state
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Spuhr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
The worst problem i have seen with loose rails are the danish army that are using Trg 42 rifles with original picatinny rails screwed and pinned to the top of the action. They have reached an outstanding 100 percent failure rate on their 5-25 Schmidt & Benders due to loosening rails.
Håkan </div></div>

I have ~ 100 centerfire rifles in various project stages.
I take gunsmithing tools to the range and help other shooters at the range get thier rifles sighted in.
Fully 50% of my problems and other people's problems at the range are that the screws [that clamp the scope base to the receiver] are loose.

It is much more common with two piece bases than one peice bases.
In reaction, I have come up with a process to allign the bases with each other and the bore, while being bedded in epoxy. The screws are coated with release agent during the bedding process, but afterwards, the screws and screw holes must be cleaned of release agent. The screw are then torqed with Loctite 242 [red bottle, blue fluid].
I have never had this shoot loose.
I have never had 6-48 screw break or strip. I am still waiting for 8-40 retrofit to be needed.

The 22 rifle fire rifles never shoot loose.
The combination that shoots loose is big cartridge, light rifle, heavy scope.
 

300sniper

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 17, 2005
3,438
17
Greenwood, Ca
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Clark</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
I have never had 6-48 screw break or strip. I am still waiting for 8-40 retrofit to be needed.
</div></div>

same here. my .284 still uses 6-48 screws and has never let me down. it started life as a 300 win mag with a couple thousand rounds through it and the base never shifted. i won't poo-poo on someone for up-sizing to 8-40 screws, pins and/or epoxy, i just haven't found the need for it yet.

if i was selling rifles, i absolutely wouldn't want them coming back because of an issue. i would go the extra mile to ensure that anything that could go wrong doesn't. in that case, 8-40 screws and pins would probably be in order. for myself on my personal rifles, i haven't seen the need.
 

Calibur6918

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 9, 2010
136
0
35
Central Fl
Re: Favorite bolt gun actions

All i have owned is 2 rem 700. I guess ignorance is bliss. I would really like a Badger SA M2008.