Is it Worth It? Combo or Custom, Which is it for You?

I have been called a “gun snob” on more than one occasion and it really doesn’t bother me. In fact, to be truthful, I kind of take it as a compliment.  I have earned that label due to my firearm choices. Although I do have a few stock pieces most of mine have been customized or been built to my specifications. My rifles and optics have to be reliable or they do not stay in my repertoire. I tolerate no room for error where my life or the lives of others depend on my equipment.


It only makes sense, when you go and buy a new suit you get it hemmed to fit your inseam and arm length—you simply don’t walk the extra length off the pants. The same goes the length pull on a long gun. I have them cut or extended to fit me. There’s nothing flashy or extravagant about it, this is about fit. My main hunting rifles have been tailored exclusively for me. They are nothing overly fancy but each are good, quality, working guns. Even my custom builds aren’t really priced out of reach. With most quality rifles being within a stone’s throw of the $1000 mark, spending in the $1500 range for customization isn’t really out of line, especially on something that is going to work.

To me, the quality of workmanship on a custom or upgraded firearm far exceeds most of the quality control that we get from the average gun maker today. I do not feel that this is the manufacturer’s fault alone, if we as consumers demanded more in terms of quality from the manufacturers, they would have to respond with quality products.


I find it somewhat concerning that a lot of new shooters/hunters are talked into rifle and scope combos for far less than a quality brand name scope costs alone.  I have spent more on iron sights alone than some of these rifle/scope packages cost. They are led to believe that there is enough quality in the mounts and optics to head out hunting. To be honest, they do work sometimes but based on my experience with combos, there can be a substantial return/failure rate.

These packages are typically composed based solely on profit margins.


I wouldn’t and didn’t put my wife or my daughter behind one when they started hunting. I watched for a quality rifle on the used market and being on budget I wasn’t able to buy the exact scope that I had wanted, but I still put a Leupold on it. Not the variable that most people want, but a fixed power scope nevertheless.  I may have given up some features and magnification but not the robustness that Leupold is known for.  My confidence in the product comes from decades of use across the planet in all conditions imaginable.

Bottom line, there are no free lunches, you get what you pay for but of course there will always be exceptions to this and every rule.

Combo or Custom, Which is it for You?