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Best Gunsmiths, Actions, Barrels & Stocks: What The Pros Use 2012

Meet The Pros

2013 Precision Rifle Series LogoThe Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is a championship style point series race based on the best precision rifle matches nationwide. PRS matches are recognized as the major league of sniper-style rifle matches. At the end of each year, the scores from 15 different matches are evaluated and the top 50 shooters nationwide are invited to compete head to head in the PRS Finale Match. The info below is based on the equipment those pros brought with them to the most recent finale. This is a great set of data, because 50 shooters is a significant sample size, and this particular group are also considered experts among experts. Thanks to Rich Emmons for allowing me to share this info. To find out more about the PRS, check out What Is The Precision Rifle Series?

Update: These are the results from a previous PRS finale. To see data based on the more recent PRS finale, click on one of these:

Best Precision Rifle Gunsmiths

Most Popular Rifle Builder Gunsmith in 2013 Precision Rifle Series PRS

Gunsmith/Rifle Builder # of Competitors Website
Surgeon Rifles 10 SurgeonRifles.com
G.A. Precision (GAP) 9 GAPrecision.net
Center Shot Rifles 3 CenterShotRifles.com
Louisiana Precision Rifles 3 Website was taken down
(no longer taking new customers)
Parry Custom Gun 3 ParryCustomGun.com
Spartan Precision 3 SpartanRifles.weebly.com
ZG Custom Rifles 3 Tony McCollum, tony@master-builder.net
Accuracy International 2 AccuracyInternational.com
Beanland Custom Rifles 2 BeanlandRifles.com
Francis Kuehl 2 Francis Kuehl’s PRS Profile
Newman Precision 2 NewmanPrecision.com
Phoenix Custom Rifles 2 PhoenixCustomRifles.com
Score High Gunsmithing 2 ScoreHi.com
Tim “Moon” Roberts 2 Moon’s GAP Alumni Page
American Precision Arms (APA) 1 AmericanPrecisionArms.com
Crescent Customs 1 CrescentCustoms.com
Gradous Rifles 1 GradousRifles.com
Phil Hayes 1 Phil Hayes Facebook Page

Finish by Rifle Builder Gunsmith in 2013 Precision Rifle Series PRS

In the chart above, you can notice there are a lot of Surgeon & G.A. Precision (GAP) rifles, and both shops are known to turn out rifles that are extremely accurate. But one thing I noticed is 50% of Surgeon rifles represented finished in the top 10. In fact, there are only 3 Surgeon rifles that finished outside the top 20.

Surgeon Rifle Finishes vs Competitor Population Distribution

Now in the chart above you can see the distribution of where Surgeon rifles finished compared to the distribution of the total population (i.e. 57 shooters total with 10 shooters in the top 10, 10 shooters between 11-20, and 37 shooters 21+). You can see the Surgeon distribution is much more heavier weighted to the green and even yellow sections than the red, which indicates a strong, positive correlation between shooting Surgeon rifles and a lower place finish. That just means this data indicates that if you shoot a Surgeon, you’re more likely to place well. I’ll add a disclaimer that this is a small sample size and obviously the individual shooters could impact the results. Even if that is the case, there are still more of the top shooters choosing Surgeon rifles than any other.

One note related to Surgeon rifles is that Wade Stuteville ended up #1 the 2012 Precision Rifle Series, and he is currently leading the 2013 season as well. Wade is a dominant force in the practical/tactical competition scene, finishing in the top 10 of just about any competition he enters. He has won 4 of the past 5 matches at Rifles Only. Wade is also the General Manager at Surgeon rifles. That might be part of the reason why they build really accurate rifles … they are top notch shooters themselves. Here is an interesting shooter spotlight on Wade that is worth reading: http://www.precisionrifleseries.com/posts/view/4f84fe7673a2b50001000004

Best Precision Rifle Action

Most Popular Rifle Action in 2013 Precision Rifle Series PRS

Although there were only 10 rifles built by Surgeon in the competition, there were 27 rifles sporting Surgeon actions. One thing that differentiates Surgeon actions from others is an integral rail. That added metal should theoretically cause the action to be a little stiffer, and cuts down on the amount of moving parts and screws you have to worry about coming loose to throw off your zero.

Finish by Rifle Action in 2013 Precision Rifle Series PRS

There didn’t seem to be a strong correlation between action and where the shooters finished.

Best Precision Rifle Barrel

Most Popular Rifle Barrel Manufacturer  in 2013 Precision Rifle Series PRS

Barrel Manufacturer # of Competitors Website
Bartlein 27 www.BartleinBarrels.com
Krieger 20 www.KriegerBarrels.com
Brux 6 www.BruxBarrels.com
Benchmark 1 www.Benchmark-Barrels.com
Rock Creek 1 www.RockCreekBarrels.com
Shilen 1 www.Shilen.com

Finish by Rifle Barrel Manufacturer in 2013 Precision Rifle Series PRS

Although there were 7 more Bartlein barrels than Krieger, there were more Krieger barrels in the top 10. You can see there is more green and less red in the Krieger column than the Bartlein column. This difference wasn’t statistically significant (i.e. you probably shouldn’t draw too strong of a conclusion from this) … but it was worth mentioning.

Best Precision Rifle Stock

Most Popular Rifle Stock in 2013 Precision Rifle Series PRS

These are the stocks used by the top PRS competitors, but keep in mind these are mostly practical/tactical style matches where competitors may be required to hike with their rifles and all equipment for miles in a given day. So they typically tend to have a concern for both weight and precision. These are not benchrest stocks. You may notice how few AI stocks there are, compared to McMillan. That is likely related to the style of matches, and not that AI stocks are less accurate. (Full disclosure: Having said that, I’m a McMillan guy.)

Other “What The Pros Use” Articles

This post was one of a series of posts that look at the equipment the top 50 shooters in the country use. Check out these other posts:

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About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. His engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and ability to present technical and complex information in a unbiased and straight-forward fashion has quickly caught the attention of the industry. For more info on Cal, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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