Saturday, August 21, 2010


Every so often, I get the hankering to build a rifle. When this muse gets under my skin, I know exactly what I want.

Savage short action, with a varmint taper barrel, chambered in .243 Winchester with a 1:8 twist. A good stock, probably a Bell and Carlson Duramaxx. Good trigger, probably an Accutrigger if I can find an action with an accutrigger, or a Timney or Rifle Basix if the action doesn't have an Accutrigger. Swift scope.

In short, a poor man's target rifle. What would I use it for? I'd like to lay on the line with the rifle mounted on a bipod and shoot targets 300 yards away. Or set it up on the bench and let the grandkids learn about such things.

The funny thing is, I've got rifles that will do all these things, but I want to build a rifle. I haven't done it yet, but the hankering keeps coming back.


Anonymous said...

Yield to your hanker, there is no more satisfaction than planning and building something you desire. An achievement that cannot be matched by settling or conpromising


Rivrdog said...

Your choice of the .243 Winchester is perfect. You might get a few more yards out of a .25-06, or a few more out of one of the smaller Weatherby Magnums, but that's not what you're after.

BTW, I go to Boomershoot out in Idaho, and while there, shoot at 4" targets at 385 yards. I've become familiar with the ballistics of the .243 out that far, and it works just fine. It's practical limit is around 550 yards, because past that, the bullet is in it's terminal dive and the holdover is too much for your scope.

My .243? A Winchester Model 70, 80's build, ordinary hunting rifle, can pick them up used for $350-400. For a scope, I use a Nikon Pro-Staff 3X9X40 built for the .300 Win Magnum. The bullet-drop compensator in it works just fine for the .243.

You'll find that Sierra 100-grain boat tails are the best accuracy loads, propelled by medium powders like IMR 4831 at a barely compressed loading, no crimp.

I've found that Federal Fusion ammo in the 95-grain boat tail, is as accurate as the handloads. It's expensive, but it's good to know there's factory ammo that good.

I like shooting my various short-range carbines, but when I start into the 1 MOA work at at 400 and more yards, that's when I get real satisfied with results. That's REAL riflery.

Pawpaw said...

Rivrdog - Have you tried Reloder 22 with 100 grain bullets in .243? My hunting Model 10 loves that powder and those bullets. I picked up a bunch of Hornady 100 grain blems a couple of years back and load them hot with a recipe I found over at I'm getting over 3100fps with wonderful accuracy. No pressure signs, no extraction problems. That load is now my go-to load for that rifle.

Rivrdog said...

I haven't tried Reloder 22. Might just be worth my while to buy a can and give my .243 load a new twist.

What bullet are you using?