Building a Shepherd Firearms Rifle Using Gunstruction

For the enthusiast of the modern sporting rifle, many hours are typically spent scouring the internet searching for information about your next build or a modification you’d like to make to your favorite rifle. For me, this is an enjoyable process that helps me lose myself in all the technical details of the newest and neatest parts and pieces. To feed that addiction, I have become enamored with the virtual rifle builder tool known as Gunstruction.

GunstructionUsing an advanced rendering engine, the Gunstruction application runs in the browser of your computer or can be used on mobile platforms via an application download. Within the builder, parts are available from many popular manufacturers and they can be joined together to create the gun of your dreams – all in a virtual world. What’s even better is that you can share your “build” with your buddies or save it for later reference when it comes time to build the real thing.

The application allows you to test the fit, and see the results of close to any configuration from most mainstream manufactures. A running total of your build price at MSRP is calculated and links to buy all the items used are provided directly from the application. You can even add colors from Duracote, custom hydro-graphics, or any combination of the two. The team at Gunstruction do a fantastic job keeping up to date on the newest items that hit the market and the latest
build trends as they become available. The rotatable, 360 degree 3D model makes it quick and easy to visualize the final product. It also allows you to make any last minutes changes prior to spending your hard-earned cash.

GunstructionWe took an opportunity to explore building a rifle in the application using parts available and some new items from Shepherd Firearms. Let’s take a look at our virtual build that we created in Gunstruction. The purpose of this build was to create a rifle that would be used for 3-gun and steel matches. With that in mind, we wanted to build something as accurate as we could get while keeping it at the lowest weight possible. We chose parts according to the stated goals from industry leaders based it around the Shepherd Firearms receiver set.

GunstructionIf your unfamiliar with Shepherd Firearms, you should definitely put them on your radar. They’re a family owned business based in Indiana that’s bringing a fresh approach to the mid to upper end rifle market. The machine work on their receiver set is amazing, the tolerances of the parts are very precise, and it’s visually appealing. We based our build on their Elite AR-15 Upper and Lower Receiver Combination. Our set came to us in “Sniper Grey” Cerakote. I don’t think that excited would be the correct word to use when picked the parts up from our local FFL. Amazed would probably be a better fit. The best part about them was that in the Gunstruction application, they looked just as good as they did in person.

We grabbed our build sheet from Gunstruction and went to the Rainier Arms website and got to work ordering parts. Once all the part were in hand, it was off to the painter. We are fans of the darker color of the Sniper Grey Cerakote, however our painter had other ideas. Carey Lewis of HiCaliber Manufacturing wanted to go with the lighter grey called Tactical Grey to more closely match the concept we built in Gunstruction. He masked off and left the original darker grey around the Shepard Firearms logo on the lower, which gave the gun a unique two-tone paint scheme.

GunstructionWith our pile of parts now painted, we had the crew at HiCaliber assemble the rifle into a finished piece. One important item of note is that the estimated weight of the rifle in Gunstruction and the actual weight of the built rifle were within a tenth of an ounce of each other. That’s pretty impressive! Our rifle tipped the scales at a svelte 6.8 lbs with optic. It’s not the lightest rifle made, but the rifle has a heavy profile, match grade barrel and match bolt carrier group so we can’t complain. We couldn’t wait to get the gun off to the range and test fire it!

GunstructionWe grabbed MOTUS Contributor and fellow gunslinger H.P. Lefler and headed out to the MOTUS testing facility to get our first impressions and test firing. Our conclusion was very positive. The rifle is confirmed at .52 moa at 100 yards. It’s also very light and fast with quick trigger reset.

GunstructionWhile I won’t go into all the details here of the specific parts used, I urge you to take a look at the build in Gunstruction and review it for yourself. It’ll allow you to get familiar with their website and it might even inspire you to start your own build. The goals of our build were definitely met and we’re very pleased with the final results. While we could have easily built the rifle without using Gunstruction, it proved itself to be a great utility. We could make changes, explore different options, and get realtime price and weight updates all in one location. Look for more details on this rifle in the future as it’ll be used in upcoming editorial. In the meantime, check out Shepherd Firearms and Gunstruction. Get started building you dream rifle and let’s see it come to life!

AUTHOR

Clint Terrill

As an avid off-road enthusiast and former board member of United Four Wheel Drive Associations, he has traveled much of the backcountry in the US and tackled some of the most famous trails. A lover of the outdoors, he can usually be found tracking upland birds with his trusty pointing dogs or chasing the underwater species with a rod and reel. While his current foray into precision rifle and competitive pistol shooting keep him occupied on the range, he can still be found in the wilderness chasing down the next challenge.

All stories by: Clint Terrill

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