Regular guy assembles TL3, doesn't kill self

NFAJohn

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Decided to go down the prefit barrel worm hole and I gotta admit I wish I had done it years ago. Being a lefty is always kind of a pain in the ass because while everything is usually available, it's either more expensive, the wait times are longer or both. I recently got the itch for a new rifle and did a little rummaging around online and low and behold Altus had everything in stock. I mean action, barrel vise, barrel wrench and manners EH1 lefty. This checked all the boxes for the light weight hunting rifle I was wanting to build. I talked all the parts over with Mike and decided to take the plunge. Mike was awesome, he took time to walk me through magazine compatibility, trigger selection and had some small part of the stock modified to accommodate something specific to the TL3 for $75 dollars. I'll be a returning customer with Altus for sure, great customer service, seemed to genuinely give a shit and awesome communication via email after purchase.

Assembly was incredibly straight forward. I watched all the youtube videos I could find, read alot online and decided that there was basically no way I could fuck this up. I bolted the barrel vise down in my shop, put a little grease on the barrel threads, clamped down the barrel using a leather glove to protect the finish, spun the action on, installed the action wrench, dialed 85 foot pounds on the torque wrench and torqued it home. The whole process from installing the vise to cracking open a cold beer to admire my work was about 45 minutes. Honestly I was kind of pissed that it was so anticlimactic, if you can dial a torque wrench you can torque an action onto a barrel.
I wound up with
Left hand DLC TL3
20" Proof 1:8 6.5CM
Manners EH1
Trigger Tech Diamond
Vortex 3-15X42 Razor HD LHT Mil

TL3-1.jpg

TL3-2.jpg


I got to admit at this point I was prettttty happy with myself, this is the first rifle I've ever put together where weight was taken into consideration prior to the build. I don't intend to scale any mountains to shoot some goat, but carrying my 19 pound 300WM and a yeti cooler to the blind is a real bitch. The glass was another unknown to me, I had read about them, but never handled one in person. It checked a lot of boxes and I was able to get a pretty good deal on it through Brownells so I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm pleasantly surprised at how nice the scope is. I have previous experience to Nightforce ATACRs, NSXs, S&B and Steiner glass so I would say I have pretty high expectations in an optic. The biggest complaint I had read is that the turrets are mushy, I would say that while they arn't the crisp clicks of an ATACR they are more than serviceable for a hunting optic. Light transmission in the evenings has been good looking across the pasture in the back yard, the ATACR on my win mag pulls away from it right at dark, but that is after legal shooting light anyhow. The biggest thing is that the Vortex weighs about 1/2 of what my ATACR does. The trigger tech trigger is an absolute joy, this is the first one of them that I've had, normally run Jewells, but not anymore.

So hows it shoot? Well this morning right after a conference call I rolled down to the farm with a few boxes of Prime 130gr. On the way, I stopped by my smith's shop and we checked the headspace with a set of GO/ NO GO gauges and everything looked right. With the confidence that I most likely wasn't going to be loosing an eye today I set up a cardboard box at 100 yards.

First three shots went sub 1" and I nearly shit my pants.
TL3-3.jpg

TL3-4.jpg


Shots 4-10 I did run a patch with Kroil oil on it between shots and there was very little on the patches

Shots 11,12,13 went around 1/2''
TL3-5.jpg

TL3-6.jpg


So at this point I'm feeling pretty damn good about things. Rifle is hammering, trigger is great, optic is exceeding my expectations and the barrel is cleaning up really well. I finished off the box of 20 getting the zero established. The last two rounds I fired went right into the center of the page reinforcers. I had one more box of shells with me and I decided to take a poke at the steel in the back. It's 568 from the end of the driveway to the ipsc steel in the back. Now the batteries in my chrono were dead, but I put an estimated muzzle velocity of 2760 into my kestrel and it advised a 3.5 mil hold. I'll be honest I didn't even measure the wind, it was from my 7 oclock so I just held 3.5 mils and left edge. I was super stoked with what I saw down range after the last shot was fired.
TL3-7.jpg

TL3-8.jpg

For leaning on the tailgate using a rear bag and just letting it rip I wasn't mad at the group at all.

My big take away from all this is that prefits are awesome and I was silly for fighting it for so long. With minimal mechanical aptitude a person can spin up a rifle in a week as opposed to waiting for a gunsmith to get to you in line. NOW don't get me wrong, I have a ton of respect for the smiths out there that produce amazing handcrafted guns and when my 300WM is due for another tube it's going to sit at my guys shop until he gets around to it. I understand that the stars may have aligned just right in this case and yep those are three round groups, but I'm more than satisfied with the outcome of jumping in and trying prefits. I didn't even manage to blow myself up and I saved some time and money, it's a win in every direction.
 
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bgrav321

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As someone who has long contemplated doing what you just did and is a regular guy too, I really appreciated this post.

Given the purpose of the build, what was the total weight as pictured and about how much do you have into it?
 
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Steel head

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    I’ve put together both my rifles with a couple of barrels on both.

    It certainly wasn’t difficult.
    My nucleus is possibly getting it’s third barrel this week.

    Trigger fitment is usually the only hang up with assembling.
     
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    NFAJohn

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    As someone who has long contemplated doing what you just did and is a regular guy too, I really appreciated this post.

    Given the purpose of the build, what was the total weight as pictured and about how much do you have into it?
    Total weight was 9.8 pounds.
    20762322-1253-4E7F-B98D-2250C368536F.jpeg

    I made good savings purchasing the barrel new from the PX and if AG composites would have had a stock ready I’d have shaved another 400 off there. My wife was really impressed I put it together for 3300 bucks 😉
     

    NFAJohn

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    Trigger fitment is usually the only hang up with assembling.

    I was sold on using a Jewel, but Mike talked me out of it. I’ve got several rifles that use a jewel, but on his recommendation I went Trigger Tech as he stated they worked well with the TL3. Zero issue so far, limited round count and all obviously time will tell.
     

    Greg Langelius *

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    Beautiful rifle, great targets; bravo.

    Wait until you get around to building AR's.

    It's addictive.

    I live a life of frustration because I have to keep telling myself, no more, no more, no more....

    So far, I'm in remission...

    So far...

    Greg
     
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    Fret

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    Congrats on the successful build! Yup, prefits are great. Started with 2 Savage actions last fall and have added two TL3s. Planning on building another TL3 soon. I think it only takes me about 20 minutes to switch barrels.
     
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    EN2722

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    Man! That's awesome! Congrats on a solid build!

    I recently purchased a TL3 from Altus and I also had the same experience. Great communication and customer service was more than I expected. I'm just awaiting my PVA shouldered prefit in the mail to finish it off!

    This will be my third TriggerTech and I'm not sure I would shoot anything else at this point. Which model did you go with?
     
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    NFAJohn

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    Congrats on the successful build! Yup, prefits are great. Started with 2 Savage actions last fall and have added two TL3s. Planning on building another TL3 soon. I think it only takes me about 20 minutes to switch barrels.
    Thanks for the kind words. It’s unfortunate how easy these are to build, hopefully my daughter can get a good scholarship lol

    ARs are a sickness into and of themselves, I’ve whittle myself down to just SBRs at the moment. Silly handy for shooting pigs.
    666DE8F3-4140-4709-A2F8-3336A748F011.jpeg
     

    NFAJohn

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    Congrats on the successful build! Yup, prefits are great. Started with 2 Savage actions last fall and have added two TL3s. Planning on building another TL3 soon. I think it only takes me about 20 minutes to switch barrels.
    Thanks for the kind words. It’s unfortunate how easy these are to build, hopefully my daughter can get a good scholarship lol

    ARs are a sickness into and of themselves, I’ve whittle myself down to just SBRs at the moment. Silly handy for shooting pigs.
    View attachment 7368847
     

    Greg Langelius *

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    I go the other way with a pair of 24" Stag Model 6 Super Varminters, a 20" PA-10 308, a 16" M4gery, and a pair of 6.5 Grendels, 20" and 24".

    'Nuff fer now!
     
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    NFAJohn

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    Man! That's awesome! Congrats on a solid build!

    I recently purchased a TL3 from Altus and I also had the same experience. Great communication and customer service was more than I expected. I'm just awaiting my PVA shouldered prefit in the mail to finish it off!

    This will be my third TriggerTech and I'm not sure I would shoot anything else at this point. Which model did you go with?
    Wound up with the Diamond. It’s set right around a pound and on my trigger gauge it breaks at the same weight as my Jewell, but it damn sure feels lighter. Very very very impressed with the trigger. Much agreed on Altus, I almost passed because the action was cut for AW mags, but Mike took the time to walk my ignorant ass through mag compatibility. Always been a BDL bottom metal fan, glad I went this route, it fed great today.
     
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    EN2722

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    Wound up with the Diamond. It’s set right around a pound and on my trigger gauge it breaks at the same weight as my Jewell, but it damn sure feels lighter. Very very very impressed with the trigger. Much agreed on Altus, I almost passed because the action was cut for AW mags, but Mike took the time to walk my ignorant ass through mag compatibility. Always been a BDL bottom metal fan, glad I went this route, it fed great today.

    I'm also putting a Diamond on my TL3. I assume no issues with the cock on close that others have reported? I think it may be Origin specific, but not sure.

    I was in the same boat about the AW mag cut at first until I received some education! You do not know, what you do not know!
     

    ForgeValley

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    Are you very sure you didn't clamp the barrel down so hard you separated the CF from the steel internally?? It usually manifests after your first box of 20 or so. The CF literally starts to flake off in sheets. 😱





    I'm kidding man, great job! My first build was a TL3 as well.
     
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    NFAJohn

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    I'm also putting a Diamond on my TL3. I assume no issues with the cock on close that others have reported? I think it may be Origin specific, but not sure.

    I was in the same boat about the AW mag cut at first until I received some education! You do not know, what you do not know!
    I didn't have any issues today with the trigger. I was surprised how well it fed and that the bolt worked smoothly feeding from the box mags. My previous experience with magazine feeding had left me a little apprehensive about trying it again, but good to go this go around.
     
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    NFAJohn

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    Are you very sure you didn't clamp the barrel down so hard you separated the CF from the steel internally?? It usually manifests after your first box of 20 or so. The CF literally starts to flake off in sheets. 😱





    I'm kidding man, great job! My first build was a TL3 as well.
    Thanks bud, clamping down that barrel was the only part that made me nervous. I just knew that as soon as I leaned on the wrench that barrel was going to shatter or look like a backlashed baitcaster. If she goes tits up at rounds 24 I'll know why now :ROFLMAO:
     

    MNhunter1

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    From a fellow southpaw, very nice looking rifle and congrats on the assembly! Is that the Highland camo?
     
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    Superjet

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    Sweet rifle, as a lefty I had the same issues and came to the same resolution. I now have a TL3 an Origin and 4 barrels between the two of them, be careful :cool:
     
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    The D

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    Not gonna lie, I almost expected an Onion article in here

    Edit: Good job on the rifle too, it looks great. And your avatar is awesome...brother
     
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    reubenski

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    Altus has got to be the number 1 retailer in the USA. Their customer service, the amount of product they have in stock and accuracy of in stock numbers, and in-stock email notifications. I've shot at Core and their retail store is tiny, I don't know how they manage and process so much inventory. But they do. Stuff ships same day with a hand written thank you on the invoice. There are threads on here about how its okay in this industry to be way behind, 8 mo on delivery of items, small businesses struggling to keep up with demand. And Altus is just quietly blowing everyone else out of the water.

    Congrats on your build. I think ordering some bolt gun parts and screwing them together in a short evening just eclipsed AR building in ease.
     

    NFAJohn

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    Altus has got to be the number 1 retailer in the USA. Their customer service, the amount of product they have in stock and accuracy of in stock numbers, and in-stock email notifications. I've shot at Core and their retail store is tiny, I don't know how they manage and process so much inventory. But they do. Stuff ships same day with a hand written thank you on the invoice. There are threads on here about how its okay in this industry to be way behind, 8 mo on delivery of items, small businesses struggling to keep up with demand. And Altus is just quietly blowing everyone else out of the water.

    Congrats on your build. I think ordering some bolt gun parts and screwing them together in a short evening just eclipsed AR building in ease.
    I honestly only called because when I saw the left handed stock and action in stock I was like, there is no fucking way that is accurate. When a person with ownership interest answers the phone and then proceeds to not only confirm that it's in stock, but to text you pictures of the actual example your going to receive what more could you possibly ask for? I spent about an hour absolutely picking Mike's brains about all things prefit and just bullshitting in general. Multiple times Mike paused the conversation to go back into the warehouse and physically hold something before promising that it could be delivered. Altus done fucked up and will be the standard that I'll hold others against when it come to inventory status online vs whats actually on hand.

    100% agree that with the advancements in manufacturing tolerances, screwing together a bolt gun in the garage eclipses building an Ar in ease. It's gonna be a cold day in hell before I put a rem action, stock and barrel blank in a gun case and ship it off to wait for 7 months again.
     

    MnMWC

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    Great read... just had a very similar experience with Altus and prefit Defiance Ruckus/Proof/Manners package as well. The owner did a fantastic job explaining everything and what I needed. I would highly recommend both Altus And prefits. Combo has been a solid 1/2" performer with factory ammo
     
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