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MOA Part 2 - A deeper dive into factory vs custom

In our first MOA video, we wanted to see if a Browning factory rifle could hang with a custom rifle, which it could. Now the question is what do you really get with a custom rifle and is it that much better? That's what we answer in MOA part 2. 

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If you'd like to check out our first MOA video the link to it is here


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SETH D. - posted 4 weeks ago on 07-23-2018 10:32:00 am
Big Wonderful Wyoming

I just messed around on Gunwerks website and built a couple of rifles I will not be buying anytime soon (pending the lottery shining on me). Each one was over $10,000 and several were over $13,000. A new production factory Mauser 98 from Mauser here in Germany is about $9000, and it was made on a CNC machine (just like Gunwerks), is not finished by hand (unlike Gunwerks), has zero accuracy guarantee, and the stock wouldn't survive any hunt that would barely scratch the surface of what a Gunwerks rifle could handle. The 98 has no options at that price point, a scope and mounts would be whatever else you wanted to put on it, but was not included in the price.
The 98 has no loads built up for it, and no mention of accuracy. I don't really aspire to own a new 98 Mauser, Blaser, or high end Sauer, why would I when we have better gunsmiths building a better product in Wyoming.

Nate F. - posted 1 month ago on 07-04-2018 05:23:13 am

I believe mass production should be tempered to the degree that it aligns really income goals to all factors associated with production and prioritizes quality-of-living for each person that effects any <a href="">do my paper | essayPerks</a> given process and materials. Mass production and talk about holder objectives, innately ingest elements of "quality" in product and worker.
Ray P. - posted 2 months ago on 06-14-2018 09:42:29 pm
Parker, Colorado

Gunwerks has developed and marketed a quality brand via their commitment to craftsmanship in the "systems" they sell, their commitment to excellence in the training courses they have developed, and their staff's down-to-earth approachable attitudes.

Yes, I own a couple of Gunwerks rifles - and I own a bunch for good factory rifles too; i.e., Winchester, Remington, Savage, Kimber, Montana Rifle Company, etc. I use my Gunwerks rangefinder, along with their ballistic calculator, to make shooting my factory rifles even more effective.

Good optics, good triggers, "consistently good ammo," and learning to dope wind by shooting a lot, will make a factory rifle a predictably good shooting experience. With the Gunwerks rifles, a lot of that is already taken care of, so all you need to focus on is the fundamentals, and of course, the wind.

Good video goHUNT.

SETH D. - posted 2 months ago on 06-14-2018 05:48:22 am
Big Wonderful Wyoming

I enjoyed the video, but thought it was slanted back towards Browning.

Comparing optics to vehicles is like comparing apples to banjos.

Davidson's sell a system, their rifle without their tuned ammo and optics are just a custom rifle. They get a premium on building a system, and I think if you have that kind of money it is probably worth it.

I have actually never fired an X-Bolt or a A-Bolt, I have no idea about them. There are a lot of factory rifles that would do 80% of what a Gunwerks rifle will do for $750-2500.

There used to be a joke about Kimber going around that you had to buy 2 or 3 Kimber 84's at a time and then pick the one that would shoot and feed. I know if I buy a Bergara, Tikka, Savage, Howa or whatever I can get to 1000 yards with the right scope and handloads.

Here in Europe they having a saying about the scope being the most important part of the equation, even in Gunwerks that rifle is like 20-30% of the math, the ammo is probably another 40% and the rest is the optics.

I pluralize optics because I think you need to have a way to account for distance, and dial to the target. So it requires a scope, a range finding device and a ballistic solver.

As an F-Class shooter, Gunwerks sells what I spent years putting into my rifle as their package. I think this is exceptional and if you have the money to make this work all the better.

But like Aaron says in the video, you still have to go out and shoot your rifle and learn wind.

Dustin F. - posted 2 months ago on 06-13-2018 05:19:29 pm
Carmel Valley, CA

Great discussion. Nicely produced. Props to your sound editor:) Thanks for digging into the details and making these manufacturers better known. The details most definitely justify higher costs—that is with performance prioritized. I think communicative-clarity of the design and manufacturing process helps separate value levels and can cultivate shared respect in the industry. From a strictly "competitive" stand point, Gunwerks is crushing in this category. I respect the thoroughness and styling puts into their system. They have tediously paired their manufacturing skills to requirements needed for long range, precision rifle production which includes pleasing aesthetics. As Aaron Davidson elicits, the degree of tediousness has limits to the ability for scaling/mass production.

I think mass production should be tempered to the extent that it aligns it's income goals to all factors associated with manufacturing and prioritizes quality-of-living for every person that effects any given process and material. Mass production and share holder objectives, innately consume parts of "quality" in product and worker.

Artisan scale, consideration of materials sources, and effect on other local business need more support these days. And, I agree with Aaron's wording. When you design for all relevant long range and precision factors you indeed create a "system". Everything can be more clearly understood with the lens of systems;) Absolute attention to detail and integrating those details to obtain optimal quality and performance in all production categories is the mark of excellence.

Browning's design inputs on the x-bolt pro look good in the lower cost semi-custom rifle category. It's seems their experiential years of mass production have overcome the consuming appetite of "scale". More details about how a business conducts it process and interact as a business is always important; and that's why I love watching these type of videos—one gains insight;) From a cost sensitive position x-bolt pro is on my list. From a heirloom, precision standpoint, Gunwerks is on my list. Thanks for your contribution GoHunt!

Donald B. - posted 2 months ago on 06-13-2018 11:09:26 am

Lance V. - The problem with falling in love with ballistic coefficient, and I was guilty of that for many years, is that BC does not kill animals, sectional density does. When I was an artillery officer in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, the heaviest projectile had the least wind probable error. Don't remember the BC of the 105 mm, 4.2", 155 mm, 175 mm or the 8" projectiles, but I was in love with that 190 lb. 8" projectile.

Ryan C. - posted 2 months ago on 06-13-2018 09:43:57 am

All these guns shoot better than I do.

Chris G. - posted 2 months ago on 06-13-2018 07:57:51 am
Cypress, TX

Fantastic video! I would love to see more content like this. Being a mechanical engineer, I've been fascinated with Gunwerks since their Best of the West days. (When did Aaron go all grunge?)
I like to think of the comparison as this: if your standard Remmy 700 is a Ford, then your Browning Xbolt Pro is indeed a Ferrari. But all you get is the car. If you want to properly stretch it out on a track, you need a lot of extra stuff. You need wheels/tires, race suit & helmet, truck & trailer, race fuel, etc. Whereas, what Gunwerks is selling you is a complete F1 race team. Every component on that F1 car has been scrutinized & engineered to near perfection to get you the greatest performance, and everything works together in perfect harmony.

Sean B. - posted 2 months ago on 06-13-2018 06:05:04 am

These have been 2 great videos and I've enjoyed them. There seems to be more and more production line rifles coming out with the MOA guarantee, but I agree with Chet. It's not likely any of them can achieve that easily. I have 2 "budget" level rifles that I won through raffles at DU events. A Savage Axis .243 that came with a Bushnell scope, and a T/C Venture in .280 that I put a Vortex Viper HS-LR on. The Savage, I've had great luck with and it has been a tack driver right out of the box. My T/C on the other hand, I'm still struggling with multiple combinations of everything to get less than 3MOA at just 100 yds. Either way, for the most part, I don't buy into "cheaper" rifles being just as accurate as a higher dollar Browning or Kimber, and especially not as accurate as your top of the line custom guns. As for Browning not offering the MOA guarantee...they should. If Savage and T/C can offer it for $400, why can't they for $1,200-$2,000?
In the end for most people, myself included, it will boil down to your own budget and you'll end up making whatever you can afford work for you as best you can.

Chet K. - posted 2 months ago on 06-13-2018 03:54:16 am

I made a similar comment in the MOA part one video, but I think it is worth repeating here. Custom rifles are generally guaranteed to shoot 3/8 MOA, 1/2 MOA, 3/4 MOA, or sub-MOA, whichever the case may be. With some limited exceptions, most factory produced rifles have no such guarantee. Sure, it is possible for a production rifle to shoot sub-MOA, but all of them? Not likely. 90% of them? Still unlikely. Why? I suppose (without pretending to know) that tighter tolerances lead to tighter groups. Moreover, I think it is telling that Browning does NOT offer an accuracy guarantee on the X-Bolt Pro Long Range. If Browning is so confident that their X-Bolt Pro Long Range rifles are capable of sub-MOA performance, then why does it refuse to offer an accuracy guarantee? You decide...

Lance V. - posted 2 months ago on 06-12-2018 08:20:57 pm
Coeur D Alene, ID

Donald - A smaller bullet with higher BC will have less wind drift. If you shoot a 175 gr .308 bullet with the same BC as a 280 gr .338 bullet they will have the same wind drift. If you shoot a .308 cal bullet with a higher BC than the .338 bullet the .308 will have less wind drift.

Donald B. - posted 2 months ago on 06-12-2018 07:44:16 pm

Less wind deflection with a smaller cartridge? What has he been smoking?

Lance V. - posted 2 months ago on 06-12-2018 06:34:49 pm
Coeur D Alene, ID

Casey - We’ll said. I’m on my 3rd scope on my Winchester Model 70. I’ve gone through so many iterations with this rifle but now that I’ve gone through it I think I can build another rifle easily.

It’s really about a shooting system when you extend the yardage. You need a good handle on your BC, know your muzzle velocity with small variation, know your environment with a Kestrel, range with a good rangefinder, and firing solution from those inputs. Even if a guy can shoot .25” at 100 yards, can you hit a deer at 613 yards on the first shot?

Casey Alves_10208669660671292
Casey A. - posted 2 months ago on 06-12-2018 06:25:58 pm
Port orange Florida

I love Aaron, so down to earth. I always found shooting kinda like car racing. You can drop big bucks on a new Porsche GT3 and go racing off the showroom floor. Or you can buy a base model mustang/Camaro V8 for a lot less and spend time and money upgrading suspension, engine and wheel and tires. I have a Savage 110 from Walmart that now shoots 800 yards. But I’ve replaced the stock and it’s had 4 different scopes and ring combos. Plus an endless amount of ammo testing. There’s something to be said for the journey of getting there. All on how you value time.

Lance V. - posted 2 months ago on 06-12-2018 06:00:56 pm
Coeur D Alene, ID

OK video but I think it’s a little slanted. I do think it’s possible to get extremely good accuracy from a factory gun, as Applied Ballistics showed. Sending the gun to Applied Ballistics and having that company tune maximum accuracy out of the rifle is about as good as you can get. I don’t think the average hunter has a chance on doing that. Brian Litz literally writes the book on long range shooting and is an extremely accomplished shooter.

I think this video downplayed the importance of that difference between a factory gun and a custom rifle package gunwerks is selling. There is a huge knowledge base there, from understanding ballistics, environment, muzzle velocity, ballistic coefficients, handloading etc. That’s a lot of what they’re selling and I think it’s a good product.

I have spent years trying to master that difference, from hand loading trying to reduce extreme muzzle velocity spreads and SD, using temperature stable powders, reading environmental conditions, using and throwing away different chronographs, etc.

I don’t own a Gunwerks rifle but I can tell you the few $1000 difference in price between the factory gun and custom gun package I’ve burned through in ammo, reloading equipment, range trips; etc.

FWIW - The example Browning used on group size with the wrong twist rate was kind of ridiculous. Rifles have been made with SAAMI spec chambers and rifle twists as standard for the caliber. Ammunition manufacturers consider the SAAMI specs and twist rate of standard rifles in calibers they are manufacturing ammo for so their ammo will be stabilized in most rifles of a given caliber. For example, .308 Win rifles have been historically made with 1:12 twist barrels and that would not be sufficient to stabilize around 190 or 200 gr and heavier long range designed projectiles. Therefore, you’ll see most shelf ammo built in for long range (long, high BC bullets) around 175 gr or so for 308 Win so it can be stabilized.

Newer, high BC long range bullets are requiring faster twist rates than in past years and I see browning is addressing that. I saw the .300 Win Mag has 1:8 twist whereas standard in older rifles is 1:10. I think they’re overselling it though.

My “custom” gun is my first whitetail rifle from growing up, rebarreled with a Broughton 1:10 twist barrel, glass bedded action, extended magazine well for longer bullets, topped with a night force 5-20 x 56 SHV scope.