I certainly understand the desire to have a custom rifle. The ability to pick everything from the stock to barrel length to the cartridge means the customer gets exactly what they want in one high-quality package.
The good news is that I finally found a custom rifle company that builds guns offering much more performance than the sub-$2,000 price tag indicates. Everyone wants the best value for their dollar, and most talk about finding that one sweet deal where you make out like a bandit. Alamo Precision Rifles (APR) out of Hurst, Texas, is the only custom rifle builder I’ve found where the customer always gets a smoking deal. It’s a tough balancing act to pull off, but these guys are getting it done.
NO MAGICAL PIXIE DUST
One of my pet peeves is when you ask a detailed question about how a manufacturer achieves some performance goal, and the response is along the lines of, “… there’s a complex and proprietary process … .” That’s just another way of claiming to possess some special sauce to justify running the price through the roof.
I first heard about APR through an old U.S. Army buddy. We served in the 82nd Airborne Division together as infantrymen, and you never forget the guys with whom you’ve shared exquisite misery. I bumped into Mike last year, and he told me that he was handling media relations for a few companies in the shooting industry. APR was one of them.
I asked Mike if they had a good product and if they were treating him right. Good products in and of themselves are risky for review because the company can always be run so poorly that they alienate customers and won’t be around for long. The fastest way to know what kind of company you’re dealing with (after checking out their stuff) is to find out how they treat the people with whom they do business.
Mike said the rifles were excellent and the company was treating him right. He also said they didn’t try to sell hype. That was all I needed to hear before requesting a loaner rifle for review.
While I waited for the rifle to show up, I checked out APR’s website. The rifle coming for review was their Ranger model. Once I saw that the rifle’s price was $1,825, APR had my full attention.
Building a quality custom rifle for less than $2,000 is a big deal. The places where most go wrong is putting a cheap polymer stock on the rifle, using oddball actions and/or using mediocre barrels. Some custom barrel brands are better known than others, but the U.S. is fortunate to be awash in quality barrel manufacturers.
I could tell immediately that APR got all the big muscle movements right. They are the first company that I’ve seen to successfully achieve the ideal balance between quality, custom components and