8541 Tactical - Custom VS. Factory Actions - MDT Mention

Posted by Eric Drake on 2023 Aug 29th

8541 Tactical - Custom VS. Factory Actions - MDT Mention

'Mail Call Mondays' on the 8451 Tactical Youtube channel is packed with great information delivered by the host, former USMC Sniper John McQuay. In this video, John answered a question from a listener about custom actions. The listener asked how much having a custom action on a bolt-action rifle affects your accuracy and how important it is to have a custom action over a factory action.

According to John, most accuracy comes from the barrel and how the chamber is cut, though that can be negated with a loose or sloppy action. John notes that most modern factory bolt-action rifle actions are built well enough to hold up with regular use and can be quite accurate; however, certain common factory actions can have tolerance issues with bolt engagement. The overall useability and abundance of parts for factory rifle actions make them a good choice for most shooters who want to use a rifle in multiple ways, such as general shooting and hunting. Factory action may also be easier to service and maintain. For example, if a shooter loses the bolt or breaks an extractor on their stock Remington 700, they should be able to replace these parts quickly.

Terminus action in an MDT ACC Chassis System. Photo Courtesy of 8541 Tactical.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, custom rifle actions are usually overbuilt (in a good way), may be stronger, and have different bolt face options for different calibers, bolt orientations, coatings, and weights. Custom rifle actions have tighter tolerances, are smoother, and certain actions can accommodate locking mechanisms for specific high-end barrel systems, providing a more precise barrel-to-action fit than a common mass-produced rifle action. Custom rifle actions are also often made with higher quality steels and materials than factory actions.

In 8451 Tactical's video, the general answer to the viewer's question was loosely put: "If what you have works, and you are capable of shooting accurately with it, stick with what you've got." The shooter, barrel, ammunition, and trigger largely contribute to a rifle's accuracy. As long as your rifle action is within tolerance and headspaced correctly, you should be able to shoot accurately at distance, depending on your caliber. Consider a custom action if you want tighter tolerances and enhanced capabilities or features.


Check out the 8541 YouTube Channel for more precision rifle content! 


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