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Ever since I was a kid, I geeked out on precision rifles. I would take my Marlin 880 SS .22LR out almost every day and focus on tight groups and crazy shooting positions.

I got pretty good considering it had a terrible trigger and I shot the cheapest ammo available. I remember getting frustrated when I had perfect sight alignment, trigger control and  breathing, but still didn’t hit the point of aim because the equipment itself wasn’t designed for precision.

Not much has changed since those days, other than now I can afford to buy equipment that’s designed for precision and if I miss the shot, I know it’s my fault.

Let’s dig into the components and the hands that went into creating the perfect .223 bolt action rifle for my given application and modest budget.

Alamo Precision Rifles Ranger chambered in .223 with a Grayboe Renegade stock, X-Caliber barrel, and US Optics MR10.(Courtesy Mike Semanoff)

Alamo Precision Rifles Ranger chambered in .223 with a Grayboe Renegade stock, X-Caliber barrel, and US Optics MR10.

I met the guys from Alamo Precision Rifles at a media event and was immediately sold on their product. What initially sold me was the passion and knowledge of the owners Jason Davidson and Robert Waggoner.

There are a lot of quality rifle smiths out there, but I chose to work with Alamo Precision because of the people behind the brand and the value they bring to the market.  Now 3 rifles deep I’m glad I made the decision to work with Alamo from the beginning.

alamo precision rifle .223 build
APR Ranger with Grayboe Renegade and US Optics MR-10 (Courtesy Mike Semanoff)

Trued Factory Remington 700 Action

Alamo took this factory Remington 700 action and gave it a full overhaul. Trued, fluted bolt, cleaned up the raceway, and bushed the firing pin. This action is almost as smooth as a higher-end custom action. No binding, grinding, or hang-ups on this thing in a couple of years of use.

Since I had this built, Alamo since released their G2 custom action as a true Remington 700 clone that comes in under $900. The intention was to create a basic action that included all off the features that that Alamo was adding to a factory Remington 700 action and bring it to market for a similar, all-in price point.

My next build will absolutely be based on the Alamo G2.

The Grayboe Renegade Stock

I selected a Grayboe Renegade stock for a number of reasons. First, I’ve always loved the classic A5 profile and the Grayboe Renegade is an exact A5 clone. The build quality on the Grayboe is excellent with its aluminum pillar bedding, solid fiberglass/epoxy construction, and textured paint finish.

This stock weights and feels just like a traditional fiberglass stock, but is half the price and Alamo Precision had one in stock. Performance in the field is just as expected for a fiberglass epoxy stock with minimal flex and a great natural feel.

Alamo Precision Rifles 223 rem barreled action, 20 inch fluted X-Caliber barrel, Grayboe Renegade stock and DBM, US Optics MR-10 Scope and ZROdelta Dloc-SS bipod. (Courtesy Mike Semanoff)

20-inch fluted X-Caliber Barrel

Up until ordering this rifle I’d ever heard of X-Caliber barrels, but the guys at Alamo Precision swear by them and I trust their judgment. Since then I’ve come to find out that X-Caliber is a relatively new company but they’re a stacked deck in relation to equipment and experienced personnel.

X-Caliber is located in a hot bed of high quality barrel manufactures in northern Montana which includes Proof Research, McGowen Precision, Montana rifleman, and Dracos barrels.  When Montana Riflemen has relocated to Huntsville, Alabama, a lot of their experienced talent stayed behind to complete the X-Caliber team.

I’m not sure what their secret sauce is but this barrel shoots. During load development, a majority of my groups were sub .5 inch with the sweet spot being .30 on 5-shot groups.

The Timney Calvin Elite Trigger

Prior to building this rifle built, I had the opportunity to tour the Timney facility in Pheonix. I’ve been to a lot of machine shops and this facility was hands down the cleanest I’ve ever been in.

State of the art machinery, super-friendly staff, organized production, and I actually got to meet Calvin himself. Over the past couple years of use, this trigger consistently breaks at 2 lbs. and has never left me wanting for anything else.

The US Optics MR-10

The US Optics MR-10 with a 1.8-10x power (the current model of this scope is the B-10) provides a great balance of field of view and magnification for the medium ranges I’m playing in. The clear glass, reliable adjustments in the knobs, and robust construction is a win for this build.

This is not an inexpensive scope and there are a lot of high quality optics out there. But I like that US Optics is based here in the US and that it just works, every time I take it out.

The Final Product

Gathering all of the best components that fit the budget is half the battle. All in, I have about $3800 in this rifle. That includes an $1800 optic of glass and the bipod.

The other half is using a quality gunsmith to make sure everything comes together with perfect tolerances and attention to detail. When I first met Robert from Alamo Precision I knew I had a win.

Robert has a deep passion for what he’s doing and a healthy case of OCD when it comes to precision. That’s exactly what I want in a rifle builder. Looking closely at this build you will see the quality inside and out.

5 shot groups at 100 yards with 69gr Barnes Match Burners (courtesy Mike Semanoff)

It’s one thing to have a good looking rifle and another to have something that is a real performer in the field.  The key is to have both. This rifle has been a shooter from day one. 3/8 inch 5 shot groups are the standard with hand loads and military surplus shoots the great as well. I probably shoot more military surplus then I should but it’s inexpensive and gets me hitting 600 yards without much thought.

Alamo Precision Rifle build
M-855 at 600 yards with variable cross wind (courtesy Mike Semanoff)

This .223 “trainer” is the rifle I take to the range more than any other. It’s cheap to shoot, extremely precise, has low recoil, and is kid-friendly. Whenever I press the trigger, I know it’s my fault if I miss and I really couldn’t ask for anything more.


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  1. Their shop is 3 miles from my house. I love going there, great group of people to work with.

  2. Another sales pitch disguised as an actual informative topic.
    Let me just crack open the old wallet and get you 4 grand so I can plink 223’s……

    • And for all that precision you got what 2moa at 600 due to the cartridge limitations?

      Nice setup but I can see putting this much money into a 223.

    • I don’t have $4k either, but I certainly enjoyed the discussion of the build and the first hand experience with these manufacturers/vendors.

      • You can tell by the way it’s written that this wasn’t just some guy interviewing a manufacturer, there is too much specific data and its formatted in a way that tries to make you feel like the shop owners are pioneers in the field. Typical sales pitch.

  3. 3800 is not in my budget, nor any of my shooting buddies budget. For that much, I’d best be able to drive it to work or do something productive with it. .223 is legal in my state for deer but I have many other more suitably chambered firearms for that. I tinkered with my 308 ruger american, get sub moa out of it with roll my own rounds for less than your optic. That would be a “budget build”

    • There are youtube videos of folks ringing steel, 1000 yards to a mile away, using a Ruger American Predator in 6.5 CM that costs less than $400.

  4. Got no use for 223 &. the next yahoo that shows up at the hunt club thinking they are going to use it on deer will be banished for ever. Spent the last two days tracking wounded deer that would have been down with better a caliber .

  5. My $300 Remington 783 in .223 shoots as good as this rifle. That’s with 69 Grain Sierra Match King HPBT…

  6. You could also spend $500 on a zastava bolt gun whose rounds will drift just the same amount in the wind. And you’ll get a classy wood stock.

  7. I bought a Mossberg MVP Patrol .223 (actually chambered for 5.56 NATO) some years back and fitted it up with a medium priced Bushnell scope. Total cost somewhere just short of $700. At 100 yards I can do groups as good as what’s in the photos all day long with whatever ammo is on sale. Haven’t had an opportunity to try it at 600 yds., but for $3800 I don’t really need to know.

  8. “I puts a BSA 3.5-30x50mm on my stock Ruger ‘mercan and a caldwell bipod and it shoots MOA all the way out to a thousand MOA! I shot so many MOAs that the MOA police are gonna come and find me and confiscate my rifle. It’s MOA ALL DAY. Did I mention the MOA?” ~ Letter from poortown (paraphrased)

    • Let me one up that with a $200 TC Compass 243 threaded barrel with muzzle brake, shoots 1/2″ groups all day at 100 yards, with a cheap $300 used nikon scope….. I just get to have more toys with the thousands left over that I saved for the EXACT same performance lol. This is not a matter of being poor, it’s a matter of using your brain.

  9. Hasn’t anyone else seen the newsspecial called Remington under fire? With the model 700 and it’s faulty trigger design that’s killed people on accident? Serious question Why would anyone build on a 700 action is beyond me. That ruger American Action though…

    • Ruger American action is pretty whack other than the bolt throw. Shit is so rough from the factory that it sounds kind of like a zipper zipping when you run the bolt or even your thumb nail along the bolt. The real budget build action is quite obvious, Savage 10/110. There’s a reason most everyone has copied the barrel nut design. There’s a reason Savage has consistently had a reputation as being one of the top brands for out of the box accuracy. Add in that this action has been around, won plenty of Palma and F class matches, and has enough aftermarket support for a build to be worth while, it’s a no brainer.

  10. Dude will seriously get embarrassed by the average out of the box Savage model 10, 12, or 16 in .223. As far as nicer rifles, he’d also be quite sick after shooting against a Sako, Bergera, or Tikka. All of these rifles have a proven track record of shooting as good (or better) than this abortion of a build at a fraction of the cost. $3800 for a .223 build on a factory Remington 700 action is one of the most retarded things I have heard of in a while. His accuracy for the money is just icing on the cake. This is the level of derp only matched by things like Agency/Zev Glocks. Or the insanity of Gucci rifles like Kobalt Kinetics ARs.

  11. Funny how one guys ‘budget build’ is another guy’s ‘you must be retarded!’.

    It pretty much applies to any hobby though.
    I remember watching all the car shows on Saturdays (anyone remember ‘The Power Block’?) and they’d be like “today we’re gonna build a low-budget 11 second Street sleeper” and the first thing they do is order a $10,000 crate engine.

    • Considering that he only spent 2k on the rifle itself, that’s not outrageous. Probably could have shaved 3 bills from the total by opting out of cerakote. A guy couldnt touch a Cooper at that price.

  12. Thinly disguised ad. I’m a target plinker and have no trouble doing same groups with a plastic stock Savage 12 and low end target scope. Guess the target audience is designer sunglasses and Range Rover crowd

  13. So, the “budget” is that he put $2K into just the gun, $3.8K total; not that the gun was a “budget item” that folks with tight fiscal constraints could potential afford. Title vs text is a bait and switch.

    The article is still a good read for going from point A to B but I feel many readers like me will be disappointed with the “budget” as a waste of our time.

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