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Top Rifle Gunsmiths: What the Pros Use

Choosing the gunsmith that you’ll trust to chamber your rifle is critical. This article will share which gunsmiths the very best precision rifle shooters in the country turn to for their competition rifles.

It’s especially important with this topic to start with a balanced perspective: If a gunsmith is on this list, they are clearly capable of building a bolt action rifle that is competitive at the highest levels. That’s both objective and obvious, right? What if a gunsmith isn’t on this list? That does NOT mean they’re second-class, but also just because someone is a “gunsmith” doesn’t mean they can build a world-class, precision rifle. Not all gunsmiths are created equal! Like all professions, some folks outperform others, because of attention to detail, level of experience, tools/equipment they use, processes they’ve established, and frankly whether they have the internal drive to always improve and hone their craft. So just because a gunsmith lives in your area, doesn’t mean he is the best – that is a bias we should be aware of. Also, just because someone ended up on this list doesn’t automatically make them better than others – that is another bias we should be aware of.

Okay, with that out of the way – let’s dive into the data!

Most Popular Gunsmiths Among Pro PRS Shooters

There were actually around 67 different gunsmiths represented among this group, but almost 50% of those were only used by 1 shooter. Because of how long the list was, I limited the chart below to the gunsmiths used by 3 or more of the top shooters surveyed. However, I provide the full list of gunsmiths that shooters listed on the survey later in this article.

Best Precision Rifle Gunsmith

On the chart above, the various colors represent where a shooter landed in terms of season rank in the PRS. For example, black indicates shooters who finished in the top 10, the darkest blue is people who finished 11-25, and the lighter the blue, the further out they finished in overall standings. The chart legend itemizes the ranks each color represents, but basically, the darker the color, the higher the shooter’s overall ranking.

Stuteville Precision

Stuteville Precision was the most popular gunsmith among these top-ranked shooters, representing 15 of these shooters. That included 2 shooters in the top 10 and a total of 6 in the top 50. Stuteville was also the most popular gunsmith when I last did this survey 5 years ago (see the data), so they were able to hang onto that top spot.

Wade Stuteville

Stuteville Precision is owned and operated by Wade Stuteville, who was the 2012 PRS Season Champion and a true OG legend in this sport. Before Stuteville Precision, Wade was a founding partner, designer, and General Manager at Surgeon Rifles, who built hundreds of high-end, custom rifles each year. When that operation was moved from Oklahoma to Arizona, Wade decided to stay in Oklahoma and open his own shop, Stuteville Precision. Wade also partnered with Tate Streater to design the Impact Precision action, which dominates the PRS world (see the data). Frankly, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more knowledgeable about precision rifles in the world than Wade Stuteville. That’s why so many of these top shooters put their trust in him for their barrel work.

Walls Rifles was the next most popular gunsmith, with 11 shooters from this group of top marksmen, including 1 in the top 10. Joe Walls is the man behind Walls Rifles. Joe previously did gunsmithing under the name Exodus Rifles, but over the last few months, he launched Walls Rifles. Like Wade, Joe is another OG legend in the PRS. Joe Walls has been one of the top shooters in the PRS since its inception around 2012. He placed 11th overall in that inaugural 2012 season, he’s placed in the top 5 in the season standings multiple years since then, and he is also STILL represented among these pro shooters in this year’s survey! Joe finished the 2023 PRS Season ranked 129th in the Open Division and is ranked 8th in terms of lifetime PRS points. There can’t be more than 5 guys total that have been performing at a pro level from 2012 all the way through 2023, and Joe is among them.

There were 9 shooters that said they did gunsmithing on their rifles themselves. Wouldn’t it be cool if you had the equipment to do that?! These were all people who didn’t run a gunsmithing business.

Chad Heckler PRS Shooter

5X5 Precision was the 3rd most popular gunsmith, with 9 of these top shooters sporting a barrel that he chambered, including 2 in the top 50. Chad Heckler is the owner of 5X5 Precision. Chad has a mechanical engineering background and is a world-class PRS competitor. Chad won the 2021 AG Cup, which is the match with the highest cash payout annually (meaning the competition is extreme). He has finished in the top 10 in overall season rankings multiple years and landed 24th overall in the 2023 PRS Season Open Division. Chad is also the host of the Miles to Matches podcast alongside Francis Colon.

5X5 Precision Group Size

5X5 Precision hasn’t been around long, so it’s impressive how quickly they climbed to be one of the most popular gunsmiths among the pro-level shooters in the PRS. So, where does the name “5X5 Precision” come from? Here is what Chad told me: “The term ‘5X5’ is rooted in the communications within military forces through WWII to mean ‘I understand you perfectly.’ The first number represented the signal strength of radio communication, and the second number represented the signal clarity on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. While the term 5X5 is not used much anymore, it is synonymous with ‘Loud and Clear’ – meaning the best possible transmission of communication and understanding. My customers are asking me to make something very specific, and it must meet their expectations for performance and reliability. I named the company 5X5 Precision because I want them to know that I understand them perfectly and I plan to deliver something that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Preece Precision also had 9 shooters represented among these top 200 ranked shooters in the PRS Open Division, including 1 in the top 10. Garret Preece is the Master Gunsmith and owner of Preece Precision, and he also competes, placing 141st in the 2023 PRS Open Division. Preece Precision is based out of Ogden, Utah, which is just north of Salt Lake City.

Next up, we have GA Precision (GAP), with 7 shooters represented and 2 of those in the top 50. GAP has been on this list of gunsmiths the top pro PRS shooters have been using longer than anyone else, all the way back to the inaugural year of the PRS in 2012 (see the data). They were the most popular gunsmith among the pros for several years in a row and always has several shooters represented. GA Precision is a household name in the precision rifle community, so I doubt they need more of an introduction.

Brian Allen PRS Shooter ATeam Precision

Brian Allen of ATeam Precision built the rifles for 7 of these top-ranked shooters, including 2 in the top 50. Like some of the others, Brian is an accomplished PRS competitor who has been ranked as a pro-level shooter since 2014, with his top finish at 5th overall in the 2017 PRS Season. Brian is based in northeast Louisiana.

TS Customs had 6 shooters represented among these top PRS competitors, including 1 in the top 50. TS Customs is owned and led by Travis Stevens in South Dakota. TS Customs was one of the top gunsmiths the last time I published this info, and I covered them in detail in that article. Travis has placed in the top 20 in the PRS Season standings in prior years. Travis is one of the younger gunsmiths on this list, but as the entire industry seems to be moving over to computer-controlled equipment that needs a programmer as much as an operator – being from a younger, tech-savvy generation could be an advantage. Travis went to gunsmithing school but also went to school for CNC programming. So, TS Customs is a “full CNC shop.” Travis has invested in some advanced equipment and tools, including an 8,000-pound Doosan CNC Lathe. It’s not just the equipment that is advanced though. TS Customs is very agile as a company, with a typical turnaround time on a custom barrel of just 2-3 weeks.

Travis Stevens at TS Customs Chambering Barrel on CNC Machine
Keith Baker PRS Shooter

Keith Baker of ICE Rifles built rifles for 5 of these shooters, including 1 in the top 10 and another in the top 25. Keith Baker has shot 140+ PRS matches and has more lifetime PRS points than any other shooter – by a long shot! So, he is another OG legend in the PRS world. And Keith is still winning national-level, two-day matches – including a win just a couple of months ago at the 2024 MDT Frostbite. Keith is the Head Gunsmith and Design Engineer at ICE Rifles, which stands for Innovative Competitive Engineering. If you asked Keith why you should choose ICE Rifles, here is what he says, “A rifle built by ICE Rifles is a rifle built by me. I will use my experiences, my obsession with detail and dedication to quality, and my drive to constantly evaluate, innovate, and advance to build the best rifle and equipment I can. Every time.”

Roberts Precision Rifles also had 5 shooters represented, including 1 in the top 10 and another 2 in the top 50. That is another name that has consistently been on this list of top rifle gunsmiths for 10 years. Aaron Roberts is the gunsmith behind Roberts Precision Rifles, and he’s got an extremely impressive resume, including an extensive military career followed by becoming a lead instructor at the world-renowned Blackwater Training Center and the Captain of the Blackwater Shooting Team. He’s one of those guys who has a high attention to detail and demands a lot out of his firearms – which sounds like the making of a great gunsmith! Roberts Precision Rifles is based out of Spring, TX.

RIP Precision Rifles had 4 shooters represented out of this group, including 1 in the top 25. RIP is based out of Leander, TX. It is led by Wes Ripley, who has 20+ years of experience in custom firearms design and manufacturing. Wes is also one of these top 200 ranked shooters, finishing 2023 at 130th in the Open Division.

Mark Gordon - Short Action Customs

Short Action Customs (SAC) also had 4 rifles represented, with 1 of those finishing in the top 50. SAC was founded by Mark Gordon in 2009, and they’ve been a mainstay on this list since 2014. A couple of years ago, Mark approached me to help him analyze and publish a ton of bullet jump data that he’d gathered over years of building rifles and testing loads (see the bullet jump research here). I got to know Mark as we worked on that project together, and I’ve never met anyone with the same passion and obsessive approach to optimizing every facet of the rifle system. He is extremely intelligent and brings a methodical and creative approach to troubleshooting issues and identifying root causes. For example, one rifle that SAC built had occasional flyers. Through an exhaustive process, Mark eventually found that it seemed to be related to inconsistent ignition. By simply swapping the trigger, the bullets suddenly all went into the same hole. But, many gunsmiths would have stopped there – the rifle now shoots, ship it, and move on! Instead, Mark bought a rail gun, rigged it up with high-speed sensors, and used his electronic target system to evaluate a variety of triggers in order to understand what it was about a trigger design that caused inconsistent ignition. It wasn’t good enough to know that it worked or even have a theory as to why; he wanted to get to the bottom of it and prove it with data and a scientific process so he could avoid that problem from ever cropping up again on a rifle with his name on it. That is a perfect example of Mark’s relentless and unconventional approach to his craft of building precision rifles. For more examples, just go to the SAC YouTube Channel and watch his videos about processes and products they’ve developed.

Ben Gossett AG Cup Champion Army Marksmanship Unit AMU Gunsmith

And I have to point out that the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) had 3 shooters represented, including 1 in the top 10 and another in the top 25. The gunsmith at the AMU is Ben Gossett, who has been high up on the leaderboard in the PRS for several years now. Ben won the 2022 AG Cup in dramatic fashion by cleaning all of Day 3. That is the match with the largest cash payout of the year, and it only includes the top pro shooters. So, the stages are designed to challenge those top-tier shooters, meaning they are hard! They have tiny targets and tight times, and Ben Gossett earned the nickname “Mr. Clean” by literally hitting every target on every stage of Day 3 to win the AG Cup! You can watch Ben killing it on the Shooting USA episode below:

Ben is the gunsmith who chambers AMU rifles. While virtually all of these other shooters are doing this as a hobby, the AMU guys are competing as their full-time job. So I would bet that group of shooters is very demanding, but clearly, Ben does a great job on their barrels and setting up their rifles.

Other Gunsmiths Used By 3 Shooters

Here are the other gunsmiths that were represented by 3 of these top 200 ranked shooters in the PRS Open Division:

Other Gunsmiths Used By 1-2 Shooters

Here is the remaining list of gunsmiths that were provided by 1 or 2 of the shooters who finished in the top 200 in the 2023 PRS Open Division:

  • Alamo Precision
  • Altus Shooting Solutions
  • Area 419
  • AxisWorks
  • Base Camp Customs
  • Billet Precision Rifles (Lane Shelley)
  • Bix’n Andy
  • Blue Mountain Precision
  • Buffalo Creek Precision
  • Caliber CGR
  • Central Utah Precision Rifle
  • Deep South Tactical
  • DI Precision
  • DW Customs
  • East Texas Accuracy Outfitting
  • Eazor Precision
  • Elite Accuracy
  • GCP – Gulf Coast Precision
  • Harless Precision
  • JE Precision Shooting
  • KI Precision
  • Kinport Peak Rifles
  • L3 Rifles
  • Manzella Precision
  • Masterpiece Arms
  • Meredith Rifles
  • Precision Shooting Services
  • Quantum Gunworks
  • Red Beard Gunworks
  • River City Rifles
  • Rollin Rifle Works
  • Rubicon Precision
  • Sage Country Rifles (Steve Eames)
  • Salmon River Gunworks
  • Sawtooth Rifles
  • Snowy Mountain Rifles (Zane Kuhn)
  • South Texas Armament
  • Southern Precision Rifles
  • Straight Jacket Armory
  • Swift Creek Rifles
  • T-Box Barrels
  • Team Summit
  • Unknown Munitions
  • WAR Rifles
  • West Texas Ordnance (Clayton Smith)

Pre-Fit or Custom-Chambered

One of the interesting trends in gunsmithing is related to pre-fit barrels, which are basically barrels that are pre-chambered for a specific action and can be installed by the end user. If you aren’t sure what a pre-fit is, I’d highly recommend you read this article: Pre-Fit Barrels: Everything Your Gunsmith Wishes You Knew.

Here is a look at how many of the 200 top-ranked Precision Rifle Series shooters are running pre-fit barrels compared to a barrel that was custom-chambered for their specific action:

Pre-Fit Barrels For Precision Rifle

35% of the top-ranked shooters are using a pre-fit barrel, and 65% said their barrel was custom-chambered for their specific action. There were 3 guys who placed in the top 10 in the overall PRS season rankings who said they were running a pre-fit on their competition rifle: Austin Orgain, Austin Buschman, and Kyle Mccormack. Those 3 guys represent 3 PRS Championships and a World Championship, so they aren’t just top shooters – they are the best of the best. And those guys are choosing to run pre-fit barrels! I don’t personally know all of the top shooters, but I do know those 3 guys and can say they are extremely competitive. They want to win more than most people can understand. Don’t get me wrong, they are very nice guys who help other shooters – but if they thought a pre-fit barrel was hurting their precision one bit, they absolutely wouldn’t be running them.

So, it is clear that pre-fit barrels are accurate enough to win matches in the PRS. In a recent interview, I asked Austin Orgain, “What kind of precision are you looking to get out of a rifle before you have the confidence to take it to a match?” He said, “At least 0.5 MOA at 900 yards. If I’m checking it on a really windy day, I mostly just look at the waterline and mostly ignore left-to-right dispersion. I don’t want anything that has more than 2-3 inches of vertical at 900 yards.” 3 inches at 900 yards equates to 0.32 MOA. I also asked Austin Buschman what kind of groups his competition rifle shot, and he said his average 5-shot group was probably around 0.1 mils, which is 0.34 MOA. While their answers were different, it’s funny they were both around 0.32-0.34 MOA. Now, are pre-fit barrels accurate enough to win a Benchrest match? Many might argue no, but that’s not my area of expertise, so I’ll stay out of that argument!

Let’s slice the data another way that will provide insight into how many of those top gunsmiths are chambering pre-fit barrels, at least according to what the shooters said on my survey. The chart below shows every gunsmith that had 3 or more shooters represented among this group, and you can see the breakdown of how many shooters said they were running a pre-fit or a barrel that was custom-chambered for their rifle from each gunsmith.

Pre-Fit Barrels vs Custom Chambered By Gunsmith

It looks like every barrel from Stuteville Precision was a pre-fit, which was Wade’s plan when designing the Impact action. TS Customs also had 100% pre-fit barrels. Most of the others were a mix of pre-fit or a barrel custom-chambered. There were also several gunsmiths where none of the shooters using them said they were using a pre-fit.

Finally, we’ll slice the data one more way to provide some insight into where the guys running pre-fit barrels finished in terms of overall rankings. Were all the guys running pre-fit barrels lower in the rankings? Again, the data below is limited to those gunsmiths who had 3 or more shooters represented.

Most Popular Pre-Fit Gunsmith

When The Man Running The Company Shoots Competitively

You probably noticed that many (if not most) of these gunsmiths also compete at a very high level in the PRS. That isn’t a coincidence. It reminds me of an article that I read in SNIPER Magazine back in 2014. Here is the excerpt:

_______ heads up _______, and he loves to shoot. I’ve run into him a few times at various matches around the country and always walk away impressed that a guy with a gun company is out there field-testing his products in perpetuity. I don’t know what his ammo budget is, but I’m envious. … Competitive shooters often take time off work and spend an entire weekend thrashing themselves and their equipment while trying to shoot small targets from various positions as quickly as possible. They will shoot substantially more rounds in training and competition than the vast majority of law enforcement officers and military service members will in uniform. Often, competitive shooters also pay for everything themselves. These are very devoted and demanding people. _____ built his reputation and his company by selling these people rifles. If there was the smallest problem, he heard about it. … It is the ultimate way to test and develop products.”

While that article was actually talking about John Paul of JP Enterprises, you could have just as easily filled in the blanks with many of the names on this list. That’s the truth!

One of my very closest friends recently started shooting PRS and NRL Hunter matches, and he’s already run into some rifle issues. He has owned high-end, custom hunting rifles for years, but he recently told me, “I’ve never run my rifles this hard – not even close.” He’s now firing several hundred rounds, out for multiple days in the dust and wind, and expects his rifle to perform perfectly every time he gets behind it – as he should! While he’s owned the rifle he’s now using in competitions for years, as he started competing, he is quickly finding all the weak links in his rifle system. I believe you should absolutely expect a lot from your rifle, but that doesn’t mean all rifles can perform at this level. In fact, most can’t.

The truth is we are a very demanding crowd. We put our rifles through a lot, and we expect them to be perfect. We might be the hardest group to sell rifles to! If we have problems, the gunsmith is going to hear about it. It’d certainly be a lot easier to sell expensive rifles to rich hunters who might only fire 5-10 shots per year out of it. Most of those guys can’t shoot tiny groups at 800 yards – so even if the rifle was off, they wouldn’t know it!

It seems evident that the people who serve this crowd of shooters the best are competitive shooters themselves. They know what we demand from our rifles, and that first-hand knowledge allows them to provide that level of performance to their customers. Like Chad Heckler said about 5X5 – gunsmiths who shoot competitively understand these pro shooters perfectly, and they’ll deliver something that meets or exceeds their expectations.

So, for those on this list who have built their reputation on serving a crowd of shooters like us – I tip my hat to you! 😉 Well done, fellas!

Coming Up Next

If you enjoyed this content, there is more to come! Over the next few months, I’ll be publishing a ton of data on what the top precision rifle shooters are using. Check out the other “What The Pros Use” articles that have already been published.

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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. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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  1. I take your point about rich hunters who only fire a few rounds each year and are not great shots, and that’s certainly the case for some customers, especially compared to a competition customer.

    Now, allow me to offer a counterpoint. When was the last time a PRS competitor paid 10, 20, or even $50k or more to enter a match? That’s often what some hunters pay for a trophy guided hunt that may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity depending on the tag. What if you’re in the high mountains on a sheep hunt, or miles in the backcountry after elk or caribou? What if you’re in a foreign country? There’s no one else to borrow gear from or make repairs, which is the case at most PRS matches.

    That rifle MUST function. It must function if it’s dropped, frozen, rained on, or knocked over by a pack animal. What if that customer forgets their custom handloads? Is it a cartridge that they can buy off the shelf and will the rifle chamber and perform well enough to do the job with factory ammo?

    One of my most valuable customers is a professional guide in NM. He uses his rifle not only in his profession, but to ensure that clients get their animals if their equipment is not up to standard. It is a “hard use” rifle even though the round count is nowhere close to what a competitive shooter puts downrange.

    I’m a gunsmith and I’m also a PRS competitor and a hunter. The designs may be different, but a rifle for a serious hunting customer or guide requires the exact same attention to detail and peformance. A gunsmith is not long for this business if he thinks he can hide poor workmanship from a serious hunting customer.

    • Excellent points, Jason! Very interesting perspective. It is certainly true that the risk per shot is much higher with hunters. It’s nuts what the price of some of those hunts get up to, so there is a lot riding on a rifle performing in that scenario.

      I whole-heartedly agree with your comment about “A gunsmith is not long for this business if he thinks he can hide poor workmanship from a serious hunting customer.” We can probably even remove the “from a serious hunting customer” off the end. There are lots of bad things that come with the internet, but one great thing is it doesn’t allow poor gunsmiths to continue for very long. Word of mouth travels very quickly in the shooting community. That can be a great thing for those gunsmiths who just got started and are doing outstanding work, because they could have more business than they can get to within a few months – where that word of mouth and reputation used to take years to establish. But, if someone is turning out crappy work or won’t stand behind their product and make it right – then word travels fast about that, too. We all have to be careful to not believe every crazy person with a keyboard, but if there are a couple of people who had the same bad experience with a gunsmith – he can’t continue to pull the wool over people’s eyes very long these days because of how fast word travels these days. I’m old enough to remember life before the internet, so that has been a welcome change and helps us have more confidence in our gunsmith choice.

      I will say most of the hunters that I know that aren’t also competitive shooters can’t shoot tiny groups at long range. I’ve begged a few to let me teach them for one day, because I could help them become a much more effective hunter. Now I’m not saying they don’t own equipment that is capable of grouping at distance. Many of them absolutely do! So that is the group that I was referring to. Those guys who don’t shoot enough or know enough to put 10 shots into a pie plate at 800 yards also don’t have the confidence to know if a “flyer” was because they pulled the shot or it was the rifle. That kind of ignorance coupled with low skill/knowledge can cause the rifle’s owner to always blame themselves instead of the rifle, even when it might legitimately be the rifle (or the ammo). A gunsmith would likely never get a phone call about a rifle from that guy. In contrast, all of these guys know when it’s the rifle. It’s just way different when you’re selling a product to a guy who is going to fire several thousands of rounds each year.

      But, I totally agree with your thoughts about the stakes being so high and the rifle needing to perform when you paid $50k or more for a hunt. I’d bet a customer would come back pretty hot if he finally got on that Marco Polo sheep in Tajikistan and his rifle wouldn’t fire. Not much you can do half-way around the world! Oh man, I’d lose my mind! 😉

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


      • One question that I would like to see asked of the shooters with “self” built rifles……


        Why invest the time in the shop and resources in equipment when any of these top builders can obviously build a winning rifle at a relatively reasonable cost compared to buying all the necessary tools and equipment.

        The answers would certainly be interesting as it seems this segment is growing, especially among top shooters.

      • Hey, Jason. That’s a valid question! Honestly, I hope to own a lathe one day and do that myself – so I started to give you my answer, but I figured that isn’t what you were asking for.

        Austin Buschman was the shooter in the top 10 that said he chambered his own barrel, so I sent him your comments and asked why he did it. Buschman said, “I basically do it as a hobby. I enjoy using a lathe.”

        I’d bet that might be similar for a lot of these guys. They enjoy tinkering or think of it as another hobby, similar to reloading. I shoot competitively, but I also enjoy writing and teaching about it – that is a related, but different hobby. Spinning up barrels could be similar. Or maybe some guys like to shoot competitively and bass fish (totally unrelated). Many of us have multiple hobbies – some are related to shooting and others aren’t. Lathes are expensive, but so are bass boats! 😉 Most of us reload, but we certainly don’t have to in order to be competitive anymore. In fact, some of the guys at the VERY TOP don’t reload. They buy ammo from Clay’s Cartridge Company and use that in matches. But, many of us like to tinker. There is satisfaction that comes in competing with ammo you made, and I’m sure it is similar if you win a match with a barrel that you chambered yourself.

        I’d also bet there are some guys that just like the flexibility of being able to go spin up a barrel for whatever they want whenever they want it. I know you’re a gunsmith, so you have to admit that is pretty nice! Now its probably not worth the cost of all the equipment, but it has to be nice.

        And there might be a couple of these guys who believe in the adage, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” But, like reloading – just because you did it yourself doesn’t mean it’s objectively better than what you can buy. While I’m not talking about top-level competitors, I’d bet the average reloader can’t load ammo that is better than match-grade factory ammo these days. They probably BELIEVE it is better, but if we did a double-blind test of their finely-tuned handloads compared to Berger match ammo or another top brand, their group size and their SD would be objectively larger. When I did my massive 6.5 Creedmoor factory match ammo test, I found some that had single digit SD’s out of two rifles over multiple boxes of ammo! I heard this saying one time that I think sums up my point here: “I have seen some really ugly babies, but never met a mom who thought they were ugly.” We’re often emotionally blinded when it comes to our own creation.

        Great question! Hope this gives you some perspective on that.


  2. Hi Cal

    Another interesting article . For anyone looking for a gunsmith to work on their rifle they now have a very detailed list to pick from.

    Years ago I trusted a young gunsmith to work on my gun and it turned out badly. Now I only use highly recommended people and have mostly got it down to one person I really trust.

    Your information on pre-fit or a barrel custom-chambered was also very good stuff to know.


    • Thanks, Paul. I had a similar experience early on. The rifle shot well, but the younger gunsmith had bad recommendations for the action – that ended up costing me a lot to fix and then eventually replace.

      I think of this as a handy shortcut to get to a rifle without regrets. If you use one of these gunsmiths, it reduces the risk that you won’t be happy with your rifle build. It doesn’t mean there aren’t others that are good – but you have to do your homework yourself to vet them. I’ve personally used a good number on this list over the years, and never regretted any of them.

      The pre-fit trend is certainly interesting to watch. There are a lot of strong opinions about it, but it’ll be interesting to watch the trend over time. I’d bet they get more popular as time goes, but that’s just a guess.

      Thanks for dropping the comments!

  3. As always, thanks for the research, glad to see my Smith on the list. Maybe you could do one on reamers, guessing there’s a lot to be learned. Thanks

  4. Mare Lambrechts

    Hi Cal,

    Thanks for another great article, so was the previous one.

    Keep well,


  5. Link is wrong for S&S Precision, its this one.