If you were going to scratch build a rifle?

Mark W.

I have the tooling and skill set to build almost anything but a rifled bore. As I approach retirement I am wondering about scratch building a rifle. I have seen some beautiful examples of rifles made by home craftsmen including a dead ringer for a Marlin model 39.

At one time I was all set to build a .40 cal 44" barrel Ohio Squirrel rifle but had to sell the components to pay bills. (it would have been more of an assembly as the only thing I would have done from scratch it carve the stock)

Any way ruling out so called Black Rifles as I have no real interest in them. If you could build a rifle from scratch anything from a Single Shot break action or rolling block to a Lever or Pump or even semi auto. What would you like to give a try to.


If it was me I'd build a mauser 98 action like one of these Prechtl ones:


If you do any engraving these look great when engraved as well.
Then I would make a full length stock for it out of black walnut.

There will be ton information about them and barrels

Like if I could replicate the engineer's mauser that I used to have I would love to

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Building a gun from scratch has never been easier. You start with a capable 3d plastic printer. Many well tested firearm designs on the web for you to download to your printer. Things like Glocks, Browning Hi-Powers, CZ Scorpion EVO's are already coded into a file. Not to mention innovative public domain designs like a 9mm carbine called the FGC-9. Even barrel making is accomplished by 3d printing a jig to electrochemically etch out the lands and grooves from the innards of a piece of pipe. You don't really need to set up a button rifling jig on your lathe.

If you need a metal part of something, look up lost plastic (PLA) casting in a sand mold.
Depending on the part being casted, you could do the final machining on your casting with something like a CNC Ghost Gunner.


I’d love the skill set and tooling to do up custom barrels for bolt actions. As well as skills and tools to do up bolts or bolt heads.

Id love to be that someone who made a bolt action, in pistol calibers like 9/40/45/10, that isn’t $2000.


How "from scratch" are we talking, here? Sounds like you can do literally everything but rifling the barrel so.... Assuming the entire thing would indeed be homemade, I'd buy a .50 blank as long as they make em and go to town designing and machining a monster bolt action rifle, possibly in a wildcat .50bmg parent. I'd spend a good long while finding juuuuust the right piece of wood with a beautiful grain. This would be a left handed model because, you know what, it's custom "for me" and nobody else. Who knows where else I'd take it from there


Hagn actions are very nice single shot falling blocks, these are made by a small manufacturing business, (i.e. similar actions are not outside the realm of a skilled machinist)
hagn action.jpg

The Farquarson actions have been around for a very long time and have been re-made by a lot of guys

Here is a pair that my dad, (Darwin Hensley) had that he sold to a client of mine. I was able to build the stocks for them several years ago. The wood was sooo nice. If I remember right they were 450/400 and a 300 H&H when completed.
farq2.jpg farq 3.jpg farq 4.jpg TrezStock_02.jpg

They are an exceptional action, if you like single shots...
Look up the American Custom Gunmaker's Guild for ideas...
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I would vote for a Remington rolling block of some sort. The variations are infinite, and the raw materials are relatively cheap. Actions are not hard to find, and the military versions are virtually a diem a dozen. These can be milled and shaped into sporter configurations or left as is. If you're lucky enough to find an original sporter action so much the better.

Wood choices and configurations are almost infinite too, and reproductions are available from several sources.

While I have some skills, I'm not sure I'd trust myself to make anything complicated than this.


Sorry, couldn't resist.:D

I'd either look into a falling block or even a break open action. A break open would probably be the most simple, straightforward rifle to make.

If I had real skills and machinery, a bolt action repeater would be what I'd pick.

Either way, to say that "I built this from scratch" would be one of the most satisfying statements one could make.
Might I go so far and suggest making your own wildcat cartridge to go along with it?


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