.308 Short Rifle Build

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  • .308 Short Rifle Build

    .308 Short rifle project

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    The Base Rifle

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    This rifle started life as a Remington 700 Tactical with 16.5 inch barrel chambered in .308 WIN(Factory id 8553.
    From the factory these rifles ship with a Hogue synthetic overmoulded stock in a colour called “ghillie green” which is actually more of a grey colour. This stock itself is actually surprisingly good in some ways, for example it is pillar bedded. However it is fairly flimsy in the fore-end area and will flex and touch the barrel causing poor consistency off a bipod.
    The rifle has a heavy profile 16.5 inch barrel which has a 1/10 twist rate and is factory threaded 5/8x24 and comes with a thread protector with aggressive knurling for easy removal etc.

    The action appears to be a standard 700 but from what I could tell seems to be a bit smoother in both bolt lift and operation than other models I have used. The finish on the barrelled action is a matte black oxide finish that is even and looks good however there was some excess on the exterior metalwork and bolt body that wiped off with an oiled rag and actually helped to smooth up the bolt operation even more.

    The trigger is the X-Mark pro trigger which has good and bad points. the good being that it had no creep, the bad being that it is heavy and adjusting it as per the instructions seems to have little effect. I have spoken to other owners who have concurred that the adjustment screw does not make the trigger much lighter if at all. Also if you do loosen the screw it protrudes out of the trigger and is very annoying.

    Components and assembly
    For this build I wanted to keep costs low but not compromise on quality and be left wanting to change things. So with that in mind I shopped around on forums and other places to get cheap parts.

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    The first thing that had to go was the Hogue stock , to replace that I put a wanted add on a few forums for a HS Precision take off stock from a 5R or 700P or a bell and Carlson m40 style stock. I was contacted fairly quickly and got my hands on a 5R take off stock for under $300. This stock has a fairly vertical grip, beavertail fore-end, aluminium bedding block and is very light so suited my purposes well.

    Another component I had that I wanted to use was a Badger Ordnance Embedded Fore-end Rail(EFR) that I installed myself at home using a mill and a few hand tools, I then bedded it into the fore-end. The reason I wanted the EFR on this build was a good mounting point for my Go-Pro camera and I like to think I will get my hands on some NV gear at some stage. I also think it looks great which is important being that this is a hobby to me so I may as well do what i want.

    The stock had 2 studs at the front and one rear, I removed the 2nd stud from the front and the rear stud and replaced them with loops that I had left over from my Tikka T3 Tactical. The reason for this is I use slings with HK style snap hooks and it means I don’t have to use sling swivels to hook them on.

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    At this stage I decided to paint my stock in a camo pattern using scrim net overlay and 2 different paint colours being Dulux metal shield finish Bushland from bunnings and Humbrol Acrylic spray for models Olive Drab available at most model shops (use Tamiya as a substitute).

    You may be thinking that these don’t sound like paints designed for this purpose such as durakote, cerakote or even Krylon. Well that’s true but I like the fact these colours (especially the Dulux) match our climate well and will “break in” with use. I like to change my paint occasionally and don’t take it to seriously. As long as you tape up where you don’t want paint there isn’t really anything that can go wrong. If you don’t like it than you can just strip it back and start again or paint over it.

    I painted the Barrelled action just using the Bushland dulux paint and it turned out really well, very even and smooth looking.

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    While the stock was drying I fitted a picatinny rail with 20MOA of forward cant (requirement for LR work with a 308, especially with a 16.5 inch barrel). The rail I used was purchase from Queensland Gun Exchange and is part of their “pro Hunter” range. This is a fairly cheap line of components however in this case I was able to verify that it has 20moa of cant by comparing to my Spuhr mount(zeroing with both and finding left over MIL adjustment).
    The finish looks good and it mounted up solid without any gaps etc. What more can you ask for. I used blue loctite on the rail screws.

    After the paint had been left overnight I assembled the stock, action and bottom metal (Factory BDL hinged floorplate) with no issues and torqued the action screws. Something i like to do is witness mark the screws to the bottom metal so I know if there is any movement.
    For this build I had 30mm A.R.M.S throw lever rings and a vortex PST 4-16X50 MIL/MIL scope which will be replaced soon by a more appropriate (size) Bushnell 3200 Tactical 10X40 MIL/MIL.

    The total weight with the scope unloaded is 4.9KG

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    Range Report

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    I took the rifle to Belmont SSAA and initially sighted in at 50M and then 100M. Using 155GR NRAA Match ammo I have 20.8 Mils free on my elevation turret from Zero.
    Accuracy wise I managed to snag a 0.6 MOA group from a PRS tripod on a bench but most were sitting around 0.8 MOA which is more than acceptable for a rifle that will be used for field shooting and not competitions very often.

    Modifications to follow
    I will be putting a small brake/ flash suppressor on the rifle. I am considering the Badger Ordnance Micro FTE as well as a few others.
    I also will change the floorplate for a DBM setup that uses AICS mags, currently i am looking at the Pacific tool and gauge stealth DBM.
    A trigger is definitely in order, I am looking at rifle basix amongst others but am hoping to see a cheapie crop up on usedguns or a forum. I would even like a Rem trigger (prior to X-mark)
    I tend to use a bipod often and I refuse to even bother with anything less than a Harris so I am going to wait and buy a Harris 6-9 swivel hopefully with notched legs.


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    I think short barrelled rifles in the right calibres can be a very useful multi purpose tool. Although i will admit that this rifle is not perfect for any 1 discipline or situation it does tick a lot of boxes as an all rounder that is handier than most tactical rifle builds which makes it useful in many more situations.

    You can put together a cheap enough rifle and still use good quality components if you shop around and have patience. For example, Just because you have $50 in your pocket now does not make it smart to buy a Chinese bipod when you could make do for a while, save up and buy something that won’t give up on you. Post wanted adds on forums and you will be surprised what people don’t want.

    I will admit to having expensive taste and one of the best things to come out of this as far as my development as a shooter is concerned is that i don’t need everything to be top dollar to have a good rifle. The HS precision stock off the 5R rifle for example is widely discarded and yet it fits this rifle perfectly.

    My advice for anyone new to putting together rifles and customising their setups is to just give it a go. Use common sense and if in doubt ask. But mostly HAVE FUN. And if its a shorty build wear hearing protection.

    Components used;
    • Remington 700 SPS Tactical (8553
    • HS Precision PSV096? (off Rem 700 5R)
    • Badger Ordnance EFR
    • Strikemark Go Pro mount
    • Pro Hunter 20MOA Rail
    • A.R.M.S 30mm Rings
    • Tikka T3 Tactical stock sling eyelets
    • Triad Tactical Stock pack
    • TAB Gear Sling

    Thank you for reading

  • #2
    Good write up mate, the lil fella has come up a treat.



    • S12A
      S12A commented
      Editing a comment
      Cheers JJ

      great to see you here mate

  • #3
    I have been doing a bit of load dev for this rifle which i have posted a topic abount in the reloading section.

    During that time i noticed my picatinny rail had come loose.
    After tightening the rail down i continued to fire however on return home i noticed that the tops of the screws into the action had seperated from the body leaving nothing to anchor the rail down. This was the case with 2 of the screws and the other two broke as i removed them.

    I went into Queensland Gun Exchange today and without the slightest hint of concern or suspicion (i didnt have receipt) they replaced the rail onto my rifle in store with brand new unit and also gave me the old one back for a spare.
    In my opinion that is fantastic customer service and they have provided me with great service everytime i have been there and via phone and email.

    So thanks QGE!


    • #4
      Neil and Scott from QGE, service with a smile.



      • Guest's Avatar
        nuthead commented
        Editing a comment
        nice S12A - I've always liked the way short rifles look (and handle from a ute)

        if you want a surefire brake I have one for sale if you like them


    • #5
      What the intended use for that rail all the way upfront?

      As a lover of a hard hitting short rifle it almost looks like you could develop a scout concept? After the disappointment of the Ruger GSR I'm almost ready to try a short rifle scout such as the Savage 10 fcm scout.


      combine that with the rarco 10 round DBM and your in business


      • S12A
        S12A commented
        Editing a comment
        The rail up front intended for a night vison device but i use it for a camera at the moment

        Dbm is in the future for sure , i am a huge fan of having as short of a barrel as possible and this rifles intended max range is 800m although it could reach out to 1000 with the right loads

    • #6
      I'm looking at NV gear atm. I'm thinking gen2+

      if you buy something be sure to post a review


      • #7
        Thats a real nice build. It'd probably do pretty well at the tactical/practical type matches as well as your intended field use.

        I recommend Jewell triggers. If you get a B709 and find a dealer in the USA to source one for you it'll be heaps cheaper than trying to find one here.


        • S12A
          S12A commented
          Editing a comment
          cheers mate, i will look into jewell a bit more then!

      • #8
        Superb job - Thanks for sharing it
        "For it is the doom of men that they forget"


        • S12A
          S12A commented
          Editing a comment
          cheers Druid , much appreciated.

      • #9
        Mighty swish there young fella. Hopes to see more from you as time goes on. Love the 'Skippy' on the stock.

        Here's 'Whispering Jack'.... one of my stubbies, built by a fella on here called Subbie.

        Attached Files


        • S12A
          S12A commented
          Editing a comment
          Jed, that is a very nice looking shorty... those nightforce scopes are the right size and power for something like this. good stuff all round

      • #10
        Shoot yesterday at QMRC


        • Guest's Avatar
          lashman commented
          Editing a comment
          Fantastic build. Cheers for the write up!

      • #11
        Great looking rifle and a great write up.


        Thanks alot.

        I have the SPS with the 20 inch barrell. Now it seems 3 and a half inches too long.


        • S12A
          S12A commented
          Editing a comment
          cheers fellas,

          Tallahassee , its a fun handy rifle but its by no means an LR rig, its a weird rifle to shoot but im getting used to it

        • 7he Nut
          7he Nut commented
          Editing a comment
          Very good write up, and looks very nice as well!

      • #12
        Very nice work there. As for triggers a Jewel would be the best option or a Timmeny running second place. Only difference is the Jewel is a bit more flexible with trigger weight, If I may suggest as for a bipod go with an Atlas as they are by far the best money can buy and come with cant and pan.

        10 Thumbs up!




        • S12A
          S12A commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks doc

          Swapped out the trigger for an older style remington trigger which is heaps better
          Im not really an Atlas fan, I agree they are well built but I find them slow. I am a parker hale bipod fan but use a lot of harris'

      • #13
        Just a note on short barrel shooting for the el-cheapo truck gun I made from a Vanguard.

        I did a 16" barrel and shooting out of a car even nobody needed hearing protection with it outside the window.

        Seen here next to my 22" Howa. It has a Jnr stock as well as a 16" barrel.

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        • S12A
          S12A commented
          Editing a comment

          Added Grip to forend and grip areas , used body filler and made it rough while applying it, once it dried i used sandpaper to knock the sharp bits off.

          hit it with some arctic style camo for something different, swapped out scope to my Falcon 4-14X44 FFP MIL/MIL in Larue mount.

          Also added Atlas Forend rail.