Steven Rinella, the host of the hit TV show the MeatEater, uses a Carolina Custom Rifle. Below Rinella answers a few questions about why he loves his CCR and the many advantages it offers him in the field verses using a factory rifle.

What are the biggest advantages on going custom vs. using a factory rifle? Compare this rifle to your favorite rifle you used to carry in the field.

The biggest advantage of going with a custom rifle is that you can help design the exact gun you want and you can be sure that it’s going to perform as expected. Until I got a custom rifle, I always had some problem with what I was shooting: good handling rifles with poor finishes; durable rifles with sloppy triggers; straight shooting rifles with safety mechanisms that slide forward too easily or detachable magazines that need to be secured with duct tape to keep from falling out. That kind of stuff used to drive me absolutely nuts. Now that I’m shooting a custom, I don’t have these frustrations. On my rifle, everything works flawlessly.

Explain how your CCR has made you a better hunter?

My CCR has made me a better hunter because I have utmost confidence in it. I know exactly what the rifle is going to do, how it’s going to shoot. And I know that it’s a better shooter than I am. As we all know, confidence is essential to doing anything well, particularly hunting. That I can rule out mechanical error and equipment uncertainty allows me to focus on doing my job, which is to keep calm and carefully pick my target. To put this another way, my rifle is a gun that I can work with, rather than against.

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Many shows you see on television today show extreme long range shots. Why don’t you take them?

I don’t have a specific policy with regards to long range shots. Basically, though, I like to take shots where I know I’m going to kill the animal cleanly with accurate placement, and where I’m certain that I’m going to find the downed animal if it does make a run before dying. Any shot that meets those requirements is cool with me.

What is your favorite thing about your Carolina Custom Rifle?

I can’t name just one favorite thing, so how about five? I love the way it looks; I love the way it handles; I love the way it shoots; I love they way it holds up to abuse and foul weather; I love the guy who built it, and the way he stands behind his products with an unconditional guarantee. Maybe that’s six things, but you get the point.

How important is matching your scope and custom ammo in the overall performance of your CCR? Describe that process.

For me it’s been essential. Dave did a careful job of wedding my rifle with a scope and then helping me understand and utilize the scope’s adjustable elevation turret. That made me a better and more confident shooter. He also worked up a load that performed well in my rifle from an accuracy standpoint but that also met other criteria of mine. My family eats a lot of game meat and I have concerns about lead in our diet. Dave took this into consideration and helped me select a good bonded bullet that limits shrapnel and still performs on a wide array of game. My other concern was that I might be hunting antelope one week, elk the next, and black bears after that. Dave built me a round that matches a wide array of hunting targets and circumstances. And he didn’t just stop there. Dave stays in touch to make sure things are going well with my rifle and ammo. When I have questions or concerns, he’s happy to offer suggestions and make corrections. He’s a great guy who loves to make good products.

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What caliber do you prefer?

Right now I’m a big fan of the 7 mm Rem Mag because of its versatility. But I like a wide variety of practical rounds, ranging from the .270 WSM to the .300 Win Mag. If it shoots well and drops big game cleanly, I’m all for it.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>