(Preface: There's a lot of questions in here.) As a kid, I was always the one who'd pay no mind to his Lego directions and instead build something his own way. I'd give my Hot Wheels cars new paint jobs and chop up my GI Joes to reassemble them anew. Now that I've been turned on to firearms and hunting, I see the tendency raring its head in this arena, too. Trouble is, what I'm trying to teach myself seems to be scattered all rather piecemeal across the internet. So, I might be skipping something important without even knowing it. Mind helping me fill in the missing pieces? Keep in mind this is all a theoretical exercise at this point; I just don't have the funds to put anything together yet. But that's not stopping me from gameplanning! And, given the specifics of what I'd like to have as a dream rifle, using something off the shelf isn't available. Custom parts are an inevitability. I have in mind an all-weather medium bore woods gun for Roosevelt elk and black bear in the Coast Range and Cascades (and maybe some Rocky Mountain elk and hog if I go to the other side of the state). I'm deliberating between .358 Winchester and .338 Federal with stainless actions and barrel, all set on a mannlicher stock (synthetic, likely laminate). Given that I'm looking at rarer calibers (probably the right time to get into handloading, eh?), there are only a few companies that sell them in stainless to begin with. For my price range, it looks like Ruger would be the only option. Would my best option be to find a Ruger and acquire a custom stock, then get a local gunbuilder to put it together? If I'm unable to find a Ruger to build off of, find one with a shot-out barrel, or otherwise just want to take the difficult road, what are the steps then? Do any short actions work as long as they get mated with the correctly chambered barrel? If this is the process, does it just come down to finding a base gun to take the action, trigger, and magazine setup out of, then pair it with my choice of barrel and stock? If so, what are the advantages of specific actions? I've heard the Mausers are the king of all actions (can I find them in stainless and short action?), and Remingtons are plentiful, and some folks like the tang safety on the older Rugers (but I keep hearing consistent complaints about their accuracy). Speaking of barrels, can something explain contours? I've read that for practicality, a contoured varmint barrel is about as heavy as you want to go. Does the mannlicher fullstock start alter what contours I'd need to look at? Thanks for making it all the way through the post here. I appreciate what knowledge you can share.