Build a Bolt Action Rifle – Remington Model 700 in .308

I remember, albeit through a rosy lens, the formative days of my long range shooting interest. These were the days when I learned about the daunting nature of precision handloading and five hundred yards seemed like it may as well be as far away as Mars. I fondly recall the first time I rang steel at a thousand yards and the trials I had to pass to get there. These articles have special meaning to me in that they are, to a degree, the realization of a youthful dream and the heavy heart of a lost passion.

When I began this project there was a clear aim in mind: build the best Remington 700-based rifle as I could using a method that was easily accessible to you, my audience. I wanted to do this in a way that allowed a challenge for a beginner that was more involved than building an AR. Almost everything in this article can be had from my great friends at Brownell’s, including the barreled action I used.

Build a Bolt Action Rifle - Remington Model 700 Action in .308
Build a Bolt Action Rifle – Remington Model 700 in .308

U.S.A.-( This project started innocently enough, as most do, and eventually became the complete gun you see here. I was talking to a few guys I know around the gun counter before Thanksgiving and things just went from there. My friend behind the counter lamented the general nuisance of his patrons to me time and again, but the conversation he had with a young and enthusiastic customer while I waited left him with a struck nerve. The customer was a young man and in him, as he walked out discouraged, I saw my young self.

My friend gave me a look of exhaustion. “I just don’t know why anyone would ever buy a bolt action in today’s world. You can build an AR that is more accurate with less cost and it will be a better gun. I just wanted him to understand that an AR is better than the bolt action he wanted.”

I smiled. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you that the customer is always right?”

“Josh, you know that that’s not true when it comes to guns.”

“I suppose. Why is it that gun stores are the only place that tells people what they should want? Imagine going to a restaurant and having the waiter tell you what food to eat because he knows better.”

“Not the same thing.”

“That guy wants a bolt action. He wants to build a gun like in the books he reads about snipers and heroes. He wants to embody something ideal to him, not buy what may be best. Guns have culture and not everything needs to make sense.”

“Guns should be practical.”

I looked around at the racks and racks of guns around us and gave him a sly glance. “If practical was the only thing that sold, you’d be out of business.”


I decided right out the gate that this project would need to be in a .308 Winchester as it is, aside from .30-06, the greatest American rifle round ever made. As a kid I always valued the .308 for both power and versatility when compared to other available options and it is one of my favorite rounds.

This project was to be a semi-custom build and I wanted to build something like I had when I was younger, long before the days of chassis guns. I wanted it to have the features of a hunting rifle while offering a set of traits that could be easily used at the range and offer accessibility to people wanting to build something similar.

To accomplish this, Brownell’s supplied me with a barreled Model 700 action in .308 Win with a 20” heavy barrel and 5/8-24” threaded muzzle. This setup was pretty much ready to rock and, because I didn’t have to headspace the barrel, it would offer me an easier build. I would strongly recommend this barreled action as a solution to a home bolt gun builder. There is some deception involved when people talk about the ease of building an AR at home. The barrel on an AR comes with what is called a barrel extension where the bolt locks in. This area on the gun is delivered pre-headspaced and is sort of like a disembodied receiver. The 700 action’s ‘barrel extension’ is the receiver itself so, in my mind, it is not so different than an AR build in terms of general difficulty.

Headspacing a bolt action is a daunting task to a new builder. I recall my earliest attempt at getting a Savage barrel off of the action and the painstaking effort of headspacing the new one. It was so new to me then. I was terrified of the gun blowing up! Looking back at my inexperience made me chuckle while writing this. I probably checked that chamber depth fifty times before I felt confident it was correct.
With the action in hand, I cleaned it up and removed the factory trigger.


I wanted to do a more traditional stock on this gun than what I had originally intended on doing. If I had intended on going straight for a chassis or something more modern it would take away the fun of bedding. Yes, bedding a rifle is more difficult and frustrating than most people have the time and patience for, but it can yield great results if done correctly and is a worthy challenge for the hobby builder.

I received a new stock from Grayboe, a young stock company that is already making waves with the quality of their products. The particular model that I received is called the Terrain, a mix of modern ‘tactical’ and classic hunting lines. Grayboe is to traditional stocks as Sig Sauer is to 1911 pistols. Classic lines and respect of tradition are ever-present, with new advances and great materials used in place of old methods. Grayboe is worth a look to anyone who wants to buck the chassis trend and do so without breaking the bank.

Along with the stock I received a Grayboe-recommended bottom metal set from Mesa Precision Arms. This is a great addition and allows the use of any AICS-type magazines. For the uninformed, the AICS-type mags have become a standard for modern bolt actions and there is no reason for any current rifle to lack in this department. The nice thing about a detachable magazine, aside from the ease of reloading, is that it doesn’t immediately distract from traditional lines. Rifles like the British Enfield had detachable magazines well over one hundred years ago and considered classic, not tactical.

Along with the stock I received a Grayboe-recommended bottom metal set from Mesa Precision Arms. This is a great addition and allows the use of any AICS-type magazines.
Along with the stock I received a Grayboe-recommended bottom metal set from Mesa Precision Arms. This is a great addition and allows the use of any AICS-type magazines.

Brownell’s supplied me with MarineTex to bed the rifle with. MarineTex is an epoxy that has exceptional strength properties and essentially bonds with the stock material to make a perfect footprint of the action. The theory behind bedding a rifle like this is that it allows for a custom action-to-stock fit, thus removing any ability of the action and stock to shift or otherwise move around during firing. This then translates to an increase in the overall accuracy of the weapon.

When I showed some friends the process of bedding, they were overwhelmed. The prospect of putting what is essentially glue into a gun is a foreign concept to many new shooters or those who grew up shooting AR-type rifles. This came as no surprise, as most of modern gun building is like building a LEGO set and offers less complexity than many said toys.

The prospect of putting what is essentially glue into a gun is a foreign concept to many new shooters or those who grew up shooting AR-type rifles.
The prospect of putting what is essentially glue into a gun is a foreign concept to many new shooters or those who grew up shooting AR-type rifles.

The first step in this process is to lightly sand the interior areas of the stock to increase the bond with the MarineTex. Use the bedding epoxy to fill small gaps and fit parts like the bottom metal to the stock precisely. I use olive oil cooking spray as a release agent on the stripped action and metal parts. A light spray is all it takes and the surface should show a thin coating. Obviously one should avoid spraying the interior of the stock as this would defeat the purpose of bedding.

The light oil spray will generate no problems with the curing of the epoxy. From there it is a walk in the park. With the trigger and all internals removed, I applied the MarineTex generously on the contact areas in the stock and simply screwed it all together. The epoxy will squeeze out in some areas, but luckily MarineTex has a long cure time. I cleaned up with water and paper towels and let it set.

After I let it sit and cure, I removed the action screws and cleaned up the metal parts. Remove excess material from the stock with sandpaper or a hobby knife. Knocking blobs and edges off takes only a few minutes and you don’t necessarily have to go crazy with it.

I double-checked all the fit and finish and decided that I had a great fit. In my next article, I finish building the rifle using more great parts from Brownells and take the dream gun of my youth out to the range and field.

Special Thanks to

  • Brownell’s
  • Hornady

About Josh WaynerJosh Wayner

Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan.

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Family that took in Parkland shooter being sued

I found this story particularly disturbing for some reason. James and Kimberly Snead are the couple who allowed the killer in the Parkland school shooting to move into their home after his mother passed away, roughly ten weeks before the attack. Now, after most of the stories from that tragedy have been told and their world was turned upside down, two families of victims of the shooting are suing the Sneads. (LA Times)

The Sneads, who say they felt sorry for their son’s 19-year-old friend after he was left orphaned, have already been named as defendants in two civil lawsuits connected to the Feb. 14 attack at the Parkland school.

One is a wrongful death claim filed by the estate of 18-year-old Meadow Pollack. The other is a negligence complaint filed by the parents of Anthony Borges, the 15-year-old who survived five bullet wounds.

The Sneads anticipate they will be named in more lawsuits in the coming weeks and months. They say they fear the litigation will rapidly drive them into bankruptcy and they don’t have the money to even hire an attorney to defend them.

“We’re like many other families in America today. We live paycheck to paycheck,” James Snead said in an interview Thursday.

The linked article has a fairly complete summary of what’s publicly known about the Snead’s history with the shooter. They’d only taken him in less than three months before the attack. Though lots of people had known about problems at the shooter’s home when he lived with his mother and had noticed many red flags, the Sneads insist that nobody told them anything other than the fact that the shooter had been depressed about his mother’s passing and had been in some fights at school.

As far as the social media postings, the Sneads are apparently not technically savvy. They knew the shooter had guns and had asked permission to bring them to the home, but Mr. Snead insisted he had to have a locked gun safe to keep them in, which he did. And the shooter apparently managed to stay on his best behavior at the house.

Putting myself in their position, it just seems a bit unfair that people are piling on to sue them and drive them into bankruptcy. It’s not as if the other families are going to get any money out of them. They rent the house and have very little in the way of savings. Some of the families are suing the estate of the shooter’s mother which I suppose is reasonable enough. They’re also suing the Sheriff who froze up at the scene of the crime. Before long they expect to sue the school and pretty much everyone else in the state government.

But why sue the Sneads? They took in a kid they perceived as being in crisis (as well as being a friend of their own son) who had just been left orphaned. Sure, he turned out to be a monster, but they were still only just getting to know him. This doesn’t really sound like justice to me.

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The Tesla Model 3 has a serious problem with the most important part of the car

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Former Education Secretary Calls For School Boycott Over Gun Control

When someone gets named Secretary of Education, you tend to think they’re someone who takes education seriously. After all, it’s not one of those cabinet-level positions that result in presidential aspirations, as a general rule. The only real reason I can see to take the job is that you care something about how people are educated.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not stupid enough to believe no one uses the office for politics. I’m just saying that they tend to believe their politics in the context of education are necessary for whatever reason.

With the idea that educating kids matters to these people in mind, let’s think about what it means when a former education secretary calls for a boycott of schools until gun control is passed.

After the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas on Friday, former Obama-era secretary of education Arne Duncan said it would be a good idea for students to stay out of school until gun laws are reformed.

“This is brilliant, and tragically necessary. What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?”

Duncan said his own family would be willing to participate if it was possible to make it happen.

“My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?” He said.

Duncan also told the Washington Post that he was “open to different ideas” but that he was “not open to doing nothing.”

“It’s wildly impractical and difficult, but I think it’s wildly impractical and difficult that kids are shot when they are sent to school.”

Well, that’s it. That’s the dumbest damn thing I’m going to hear this week. Yes, I know it’s only Tuesday, so it’s probably premature to make such a pronouncement, but I’m going to make it anyway.

First, only a complete moron would think that parents would allow their children to completely boycott school over something like gun control. The vast majority of the population aren’t gun control zealots who eat, breathe, and crap gun control. Even many of those who support gun control measures are, at best, lukewarm on the topic. Duncan really thinks people will risk their children’s future in order to score some political points?


Of course, I’m OK with anti-gun families doing it. It means my kids won’t have to deal with their idiot spawn while getting an education. Not that there’s any reason to worry. Duncan makes this right as schools are letting out for summer. By the fall, no one will even remember his crap.

But also note the typical anti-gun idea that the only “something” that can be done has to be some kind of gun control. They’re not willing to talk about other alternatives to keeping kids safe. It simply has to be something that will restrict the rights of average Americans while doing nothing to address these kinds of shootings.

Keep in mind that Duncan is speaking in response to the Santa Fe High School shooting, a shooting where absolutely none of the proposals being pushed by the anti-gun extremists in the media would have stopped the attack from happening. Not a single, solitary one.

Gun violence protective orders? They weren’t his guns.

Requiring people to be 21 to buy long guns? The kid stole the gun from his father.

Assault weapon ban? He used a pump-action shotgun and a .38 revolver.

What, pray tell, should “do something” look like? Whatever it is, I can tell you that it’s not going to work. It won’t work because people like Arne Duncan are focused on the tool used rather than the behavior that triggered it. They’re not interested in looking into the minds of these people. They might learn that guns aren’t really the problem, then.

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A new Noah’s Ark for the galaxy?

Since we’re moving forward with privatizing space exploration at a rapid pace and Elon Musk thinks he’s going to have somebody on Mars in the next decade, people are already looking ahead to what comes after. I don’t mean Jupiter or Saturn. I mean… way out there. We need to get off this rock eventually and out to the stars, but we still don’t know the answer to the big question. Is there anybody out there or is Earth the only place where life arose? The broadest consensus among scientists these days seems to be that the galaxy almost has to lousy with life. But there are still some in that field who aren’t so sure. If the rest of the galaxy has no habitable worlds we’re in a lot of trouble.

Now there’s one scientist who wants to hedge our bets and make it far more likely that we’ll find other worlds with life on them. How? He wants to send the life there ahead of us. I first saw this story at Mysterious Universe, but it’s popping up in a few other places as well. And the man with the plan is no kook from some Reddit forum. He’s mathematician and theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson. You might recognize his name as the guy who came up with the Dyson sphere.

So how does Dr. Dyson plan on seeding the galaxy with life? Read on.

Dyson is back in the news this year with a new proposed technology the English-born visionary believes could seed life throughout the universe. Dyson calls his idea the “Noah’s Ark Egg” and describes it as a “way of making space colonies highly cost-effective.” In an interview with influential science fiction author Neal Stephenson and Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of the theoretical research center Institute for Advanced Study, Dyson outlined his vision for sending the eggs out into the cosmos in order to spread the Earth’s biodiversity to distant exoplanets and speed up the colonization process:

The Noah’s Ark Egg is an object looking like an ostrich egg, a few kilograms in weight. But instead of having a single bird inside, it has embryos — a whole planet’s worth of species of microbes and animals and plants, each represented by one embryo. It’s programmed then to grow into a complete planet’s worth of life. So it will cost only a few million dollars for the egg and the launch, but you could have about 1,000 human beings and all the life support, and all the different kinds of plants and animals for surviving. The cost per person is only a few thousand dollars, and it could enlarge the role of life in the universe at an amazingly fast speed.

I understand that somebody operating at the level of Freeman Dyson deserves an audience when he proposes a plan and I wouldn’t brush him off lightly. If the technology to do something like this is actually going to be available in the next few generations I’m sure mankind will consider taking on the project. But should we?

If you’re approaching this from the assumption that most of the stars only have dead, rocky worlds (hopefully with some water) circling them, I can see the appeal. Why not give life a leg up and kickstart it with something we’d probably recognize when we eventually arrive? And if you could land actual people there somehow in embryonic form (?!) then we’d definitely know what to expect.

But here’s the other disquieting thought. If there is life on many of those rocky worlds, should we really be crashing arks full of all manner of Earth organisms on them? To answer that question, think about the reverse scenario. If a space egg crashed somewhere on Earth and spilled out a bunch of alien goo and wriggling things, you’d be running away as fast as you could and calling the CDC hotline. Truly alien organisms, particularly of the microscopic kind, could turn out to be lethal and the native lifeforms, including us, would likely have zero natural defenses against them. It could be the pandemic to end all pandemics.

Do we really want to do that to the life of whatever sort that’s evolved on some other world? It just seems like a rather poor way to introduce ourselves if, by chance, there’s other intelligent life out there someplace.

For a bit more perspective on Dyson and how he approaches these heavy questions, check out this short video where he explains why he sees no conflict between his Christian beliefs and the scientific work he engages in. (He also knocks Einstein for turning science into a religion.)

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Erskine College sends off graduates

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USA Today Celebrates Santa Fe High School Killer’s Guns As ‘Less Lethal’

What happened Friday at Santa Fe High School is horrible. With 10 people dead and another 10 wounded, it’s an absolute tragedy. Without school resource officers acting as they did, with one of them among the wounded, it could have been much worse, possibly worse than Parkland.

However, another tragedy reared up in the aftermath. That tragedy was USA Today‘s take over the fact that the killer didn’t use an AR-15.

The opening of this…article:

The attack at a Texas high school Friday echoed the all-too-familiar horrors Americans are accustomed to seeing on the news. But two details set it apart from the list of other recent deadly attacks: explosives and the less-lethal weapons used.

Now, keep in mind that the term “less-lethal weapons” actually has a definition. They include things like pepper spray, tasers, and beanbag shotgun rounds.

None of those were used by the killer in Santa Fe. No, he used a shotgun and a .38 revolver. Those are very lethal weapons. Shotguns and .38 revolvers have accounted for quite a few people being very dead through the years. The Remington 870 is an extremely common shotgun and is used by numerous law enforcement agencies and the United States Armed Forces. It’s also used by numerous other militaries throughout the world.

If it wasn’t lethal, I doubt these folks would be using it. In fact, the use by so many militaries could easily make this one a “weapon of war.” In fact, the term is more applicable for the Remington 870 because it’s virtually identical in functionality to those sold to the military. It’s more applicable to the 870 than it is the AR-15, truth be told.

But because it wasn’t an AR-15, it’s somehow better.

The fact is, in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, the shotgun is a very versatile and deadly weapon, especially within the confines of a building like a school. It could be argued that it’s even more deadly in such circumstances than an AR-15.

As for the .38, the only real downside to a revolver is round capacity. There’s absolutely no argument to be made about revolvers being less powerful, less deadly, than a semi-automatic pistol. The .38 round is in roughly the same ballpark power-wise with the 9mm round. Only a complete fool (or USA Today reporter, but I repeat myself) would consider it somehow less lethal.

While folks like me regularly recommend against revolvers, it’s not because of the round. It’s the capacity. After six shots, you have to reload. That’s it.

What this really boils down to is that these weapons, especially used in such a deadly attack, don’t conform to the narrative. They shatter it. They prove that literally every anti-gun measure being pushed post-Parkland would do nothing to actually stop these attacks. This also shows that would do little to nothing to even minimize the casualties.

The one thing that did minimize casualties was school resource officers who engaged the shooter, injured him, and convinced him to surrender before there was further bloodshed.

In other words, it was a good guy with a gun.

And their guns were just as lethal.

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