The shape and size of a stock

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, I’ll venture into an area where style and function can clash violently. Also, because every person is built differently, the things I say will not apply equally to all people. That is not to say they are untrue or vague enough to just be opinions; but because of differences in our bodies, each of us will have slightly different needs, and sometimes they won’t even be that slight!

1903A3 Springfield
As most countries do, the United States has a rich tradition of fielding infantry rifles with “one size fits none” stocks. I could criticize all of the Mosin Nagants or the K31 Schmidt-Rubin rifle of Switzerland, but I don’t need to look any farther than the dear old M1903A3 that was the last gasp of the famous Springfield rifle used at the start of World War II. The pull of this rifle is a ridiculous 12-3/4 inches in length that guaranteed to sock anyone in the kisser when the big round goes off. As if that weren’t enough, the stock also drops away from your face steeply to get a running start at your cheek when the recoil begins!

Even men of very small stature find the Springfield stock uncomfortably short. The spin doctors at the arsenal dreamed up an excuse: “The stock is designed for men wearing field jackets and winter uniforms.” Ha, ha!

[Parenthetically, I will say that two vintage U.S. battle rifles have had stocks of decent proportions -- the 1917 Enfield (the American Enfield) and the Garand. Both have acceptable pull lengths and good pistol grips. The Enfield's comb is a little low, but overall, it's a rifleman's stock. The Garand is as close to stock perfection as the United States ever came in the 20th century -- in my opinion. That's in spite of having a short pull of 13 inches.]

The Soviets said their Mosin stock had its short pull because “The Soviet Union is comprised of many different countries with soldiers of widely varying stature. The rifle was designed to fit as many different men as possible.” Again — ha, ha!

Why the Swiss skimped on the length of their buttstocks and dropped their combs so low is a mystery to me, because they do not have nearly the problem the Sovs did with ethnic differences. In sharp contrast to the too-short K31, their model 1911 rifle had a stock of more correct proportions.

What these nations really mean is that they build their battle rifles on a budget, and the bean counters thought the savings of an inch or two of wood, spread over millions of stocks, was worth it. Besides, making soldiers miserable is a time-honored right of passage.

Good stock equals reduced recoil
When I bought a German-made Mark V .270 Weatherby Magnum rifle for hunting, I was prepared to be laid low by the recoil. I had recently suffered with a Remington 788 in .308 Winchester caliber that about knocked me flat every time it went off. So, imagine my shock to discover that the Weatherby, with its more powerful belted magnum cartridge, did not kick as hard as the Remington! It actually kicked a lot harder, but the straight lines of the Weatherby stock coupled with the very shallow slant toward the butt kept the comb firmly in contact with my cheek the entire time. The rifle didn’t have the opportunity to get a running start at my face when it went off. I wound up loving the gentle Weatherby that others, who don’t know it, regard as a monster!

I was about 24 years old when this discovery took place, and that was when I started paying attention to the shape and size of rifle stocks. I found that I liked a pull (the distance from the center of the butt to the center of the trigger blade) of 14-3/4 inches, which is a tad longer than most other men my size (5’11″ at the time). I guess my arms and neck were a little longer than the norm for my height.

What I’m trying to tell you is that you may not have the same body dimensions as me, but we will both do better with a stock that is straight versus one that drops low at the toe. And we will also do better with a stock that has the right length of pull for our frames — whatever that may be.

Correct length of pull is hard to measure
There’s an old method of measuring the correct length of pull on a rifle. The butt is rested on the crook of your arm and the trigger is supposed to come about halfway up your index finger when the finger points straight up.


This is the traditional way people measure the correct length of pull on a rifle. It works after a fashion, but only by holding the rifle offhand will you know for sure.

Hooey! This old method is ingrained into most shooters at a tender age, but I find it often doesn’t work. A better way to find the right length of pull is to shoulder the rifle and see how easily your trigger finger finds the trigger blade and your hand finds the pistol grip.

What fits feels good
Blog reader Kevin Lentz once asked me if I’d ever had a rifle whose stock fit me well. He knows that because I test so many different air rifles all the time that chances are that most of them don’t quite fit me. I answered him that my Weatherby was the best-fitting rifle I ever owned, and he understood — because he also owns a Mark V Weatherby in .300 Weatherby Magnum.

As far as airguns go, the TX200 fits about as well as a Weatherby. It has a very vertical pistol grip that invites a good hold, and the flat forearm helps stabilize the heavy rifle. The butt drops a bit far, but the TX recoils so soft that it doesn’t matter.


The TX200 has a very high comb. The stock drops quite a bit, but the low recoil and high comb combine to cancel that.

So, where does this leave us? Well, if we know that length of pull and the drop of the stock are important, it seems that we should be able to design stocks that fit us well. Enter the Air Venturi Bronco!

Air Venturi Bronco
Several years ago, I became exasperated by all the air rifles that were near-misses for stock fit, as far as I was concerned. I knew from conversations with other airgunners that what the world really wanted was another Diana 27. But Diana only wanted to make powerful spring rifles that were hard to cock.


The Bronco has a western-style stock with a high comb, no cheekpiece and a straight wrist.

The other airgun many shooters wanted was the Beeman R7, but for one-third the current price — the old five-cent cigar thing. There were long debates on this blog about whether this or that HW30 was equivalent to the R7. Remember that?

One day, I was sharing my feelings with the president of Pyramyd Air. I lamented that a company like Mendoza that made accurate barrels and good triggers didn’t have a nice youth airgun we could sell. That was when he told me that they did, indeed, have a youth airgun, but that it was too ugly to sell. I asked him to send me his sample, and a few days later I had it in my hands. It was called the Bronco. [Note from Edith: I always thought Tom made up that name. Now, I find out he didn't. What other things is he taking credit for that are not deserved?] It was exactly what I was looking for, only it had a stock so ugly that you needed a tetanus shot just to hold it!

The Bronco was an RM10-barreled action in a stock that had a huge kidney-shaped cutout in the butt. It was a stock by Salvador Dali that could only exist in an acid-trip fantasy, yet Mendoza had somehow managed to turn it out for real. The pull was just over 10 inches, as I recall.

Remembering the success of the Beeman C1 carbine, I suggested to Pyramyd Air that we have a stockmaker build a Western-style stock and that we make other changes to the powerplant at the same time. I was tasked with getting the stock made, and I found a custom stockmaker to do the work. We produced a stock in American maple that had a strawberry blonde finish and a 14-3/4 inch pull. I fell in love with it; but when we discussed the project at Pyramyd Air, we decided the stock had to be shorter to accommodate older kids and adults, alike. We settled on a 12-3/4-inch pull. The blonde finish was kept, though many people disliked it.

Mendoza took the sample we sent them and produced a gun for us to examine. A couple small changes were made to that prototype, and we were done! The result is the Air Venturi Bronco that you see today.

What’s good about the Bronco is that the comb is high without needing a Monte Carlo profile or a raised cheekpiece. It comes up to the shoulder fast and naturally for most shooters, and the sights are right in line with your eyes when your head is erect. Also, you don’t have to hold your head in a different place to use a scope. That’s the advantage of a straight-line stock that has very little drop at the toe.

The classic stock
Many times, I’ve mentioned the classic stock in the past. What is it? What makes it classic?

A classic stock is one that has a straight comb with no Monte Carlo profile. The stock line is very straight, so the toe doesn’t dip very low. That allows the recoil to be transmitted in a straight line instead of in a downward angle when it first comes back, then it rotates off the shoulder to rise upward and hit your cheek.

A classic stock has a pistol grip in a place where you can grasp it when holding the rifle to your shoulder. Many larger air rifle stocks, such as the one on the Hatsan Torpedo 155, have pistol grips — but their proportions are too large for 95 percent of the population, with the result that the shooter cannot grasp the grip when holding the gun normally. The grip is set too far to the rear and out of reach for most people. A TX200, in contrast, has a pistol grip in exactly the place where most shooters’ hands expect it to be. The result is that the rifle seems to fit better and is easier to hold, even if the shooter isn’t aware of the reasons why.

The Hatsan Torpedo 155 has a large drop at the toe of the butt, plus the comb is also low, despite being a Monte Carlo profile. The result is a hard-kicking air rifle.

Perhaps the best example of a classic air rifle stock I can give you is the wood stock that comes on the RWS Diana 34 breakbarrel. There’s no Monte Carlo comb and the pistol grip is in pretty much the right place.

For an even better example of a classic stock done right, you need look no farther than the Ruger M77 rifle. While their pistol grips come back a bit too far, these stocks are about the best ones on today’s market. Sako of Finland is another maker that had a remarkable line of good stocks in decades past; and in recent times, they’ve taken the classic proportions and put them into synthetic stocks. And I must include the iconic Winchester model 70 in the small list of classics.

No thumbholes
A classic stock does not have a thumbhole. Instead, the pistol grip is proportioned so well that it feels good in the hand. I personally don’t like thumbhole stocks because they usually prevent my thumb from being placed where I like it. On the whole, I do find that most thumbhole stocks fit better than most non-thumbhole stocks. That’s because most of those stocks without thumbholes are cut with the wrong angles and proportions.

A Western-style stock like the one found on the Bronco and the Walther Lever Action rifle is not a classic rifle stock. The straight wrist isn’t as easy to hold as a well-formed pistol grip. But the Western-style stock does fit more people better, because there are so many classic-cut stocks that miss the mark.

The bottom line
I wrote this article for those new airgunners who are researching airguns to buy right now. The size and shape of the stock plays an important part in how well your gun will fit; and that, in turn, affects how much you enjoy shooting it. Don’t just buy an airgun based on the velocity, because that will lead you astray. Unless the gun also fits you and feels good, it will not do well in your hands.

If you don’t know how different guns feel, you might try visiting a gun store or pawn shop and try a few different rifles for their fit. Your friends may have different guns than you do…so try on some of those to see which ones fit you better. Yes, you can even try firearms and transfer their fit over to air rifles. If you have no other frame of reference, this will at least give you a starting point. And don’t forget to read everything you can about the fit of a good rifle, because this is an area that will never stand out but will make a big difference in how much you like or dislike a particular rifle.

45 Responses to “The shape and size of a stock”

  • mechredd Says:

    I just had a dealing with a too short stock today. I built a home defense, and tactical match 12ga Remington 870 off a stripped receiver, and put a 13 inch stock on it to keep it compact. The stock has a pistol grip and feels comfortable and balanced, but the comb is very low. While shooting it for the first time today I found its kick to be horrible even though it has a reasonably soft recoil pad. It kicks much harder than my full size 870 that I use for bird hunting. Its low comb also caused it to constantly smack my cheek, no matter how tight I held it. My next project is going to be grinding a better recoil pad and installing a padded cheek riser on that stock. I could just go with a traditional stock, but that would defeat the purpose of a compact firearm.

    I guess my custom 1377 is going on hold for a while.

    • Bob from Oz Says:

      From what I have read cheek slap is due to not enough pitch. Try putting some washers under the top screw that holds on the recoil pad. About 1/4″ or so.
      Cheers Bob

  • Ernest Says:

    mechredd,

    Have you looked at the Choate Mk V Adjustable LOP stocks? They have spacers you can remove to shorten, or add to lengthen the length of pull. I had them on a Mossberg 500 & on a Remington 870. Since the Mossberg receiver was 1″ longer than the 870s, even with the spacers removed and recoil pad in place, it was still to long for me to easily work the action, so it got traded off.

    On another note, more on the topic at hand, I do find it interesting that the subject was discussed today, as I was looking at the Bronco this past weekend and had wondered about the Target Pro version http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Air_Venturi_Bronco_Target_Pro_Air_Rifle/2709 outfitted with more of a pistol-grip styled stock like you see on many Anschutz-style Target Stocks and Biathlon rifles these days.

  • /Dave Says:

    BB and Edith,

    Pretty sure that it should read “Blog reader Kevin Lentz…”, not Lengtz…

    /Dave

  • Victor Says:

    Length of pull is important, but so is overall balance. I like the distribution to be such that some weight hangs at the front for stability. However, I really hate it when it’s too heavy up front. If a rifle is too heavy up front, then you need something like a hook butt-plate to keep from falling. With my bad back, I need rifles to be lighter upfront than before.

  • J-F Says:

    I love thumbhole stock, they seem to fit me well. I also like a short pull on my stocks, I find it easier to shoot accuratly than longer ones, in fact I like carbines more than full size rifles.

    On another note, Edith the last few days blog menu is gone from the PA main page again.

    J-F

    • Edith Gaylord Says:

      J-F,

      I’ve notified IT about this issue. I don’t know if it was wiped off only since Airgun Academy was offline on Sunday or if it was wiped before then. I suspect it was the former.

      Thanks,
      Edith

      • Edith Gaylord Says:

        J-F,

        Just heard back that the blog menu was deliberately removed from the home page because of problems with the Airgun Academy servers. Apparently, they were having intermittent problems and opted to be proactive and remove the menu. It should be back in place sometime soon.

        Edith

        • J-F Says:

          It’s not like it’s super important to me, I just click the days blog and if I have something to look for in a previous blog I just use the current blog menu.
          But thanks for the update, it’s greatly appreciated, it’s nice to know that someone is listening to us.

          This story happened to a fellow Canadian airgunner, it’s cool to see there’s still some good people working in big companies:

          So i’ve had my F1 for a while now and it starting giving me trouble. It would see 1 out of 3-4 shots.
          Looking on the web site, I figured I could go and upgrade to a F1 master for $40. I’m within 20min of the Mississauga, Ontario shop, so I go…. Front door is locked??…. around to shipping I go. I didn’t get the name of the guy but he proceeds to tell me the $40 upgrade is a “mail it in, we fix yours” kinda thing. Dammit! After talking for a bit, he looks at mine…. long story short, he changes a lens… we go into a back room where he fires a 760 over it…. tells me its “off” a bit…. re-calibrates it and says ” here ya go”. Heres the good part…. NO charge!
          Awesome! I know we’re not all able to drive there but its good to know they’re willing to help like that.

          And that’s my “feel good” story of the day.

          J-F

  • aljoh Says:

    Sorry to go off the subject here but I am desperate for help.

    I am trying to find the blog or blogs where BB talks about how to setup/install scope levels (bubble) on rifles. I tried searching for “scope level” and “cant” and get nothing returned. I know how to use scope levels just don’t remember the proper installation procedure for a scope mounting. I am trying to mount levels on a Air Arms TX200, Airforce Talon SS, and Benjamin Marauder.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Al Johnson

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Al,

      There are some good articles on Pyramyd Air’s articles page. Here are some links:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/article/All_about_scopes_Part_1_January_2005/19

      http://www.pyramydair.com/article/All_about_scopes_Part_2_February_2005/21http://www.pyramydair.com/article/All_about_scopes_Part_3_April_2005/22

      Now, as far as mounting a scope level, if you have one that clamps into the scope rails there is noting more to0 do. Just put it on the gun and you’re done.

      I will assume that you don’t have one of those levels but something else. If it attaches to the scope tube, you have to level the gun first, then mount the level so the bubble is in the center. level the gun by aligning either the horizontal or vertical reticle with a distant straight line. The edge of a house or building will work. Then keeping the gun in the same position, rotate the level around the tube until the bubble is centered.

      That’s all there is to it.

      B.B.

      • aljoh Says:

        BB

        Thanks for the help, here is what I went through:
        I do have a rail level and used it to set up my 3 guns with scope mounted levels the way you described to me in your kind reply. I then shouldered all of the guns and none of them felt right. Then I realized that I have been shooting with a right hand “cant” for the last 60 years.
        Off came the rail level and on went a gun clamp (vise?) to hold the gun steady with my right hand “cant” (maybe 4 or 5 degrees?) dialed in. Then I set my scope reticule level and set my scope level to reflect the way I set my reticule. Now the guns felt right again and I was happy. Thats when I wondered if my way was right and posted my question to you. Since receiving your reply I have now gone back and re-installed the scope levels on all of the guns based upon the reading from the rail level (back to where I started!). I guess I will have to learn to shoot with zero cant after all these years.
        Physically, can you explain why my way with the rifle canted would not work?

        Thanls BB for all of your patience and help.

        Al johnson

        • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

          Al,

          I am definitely not the firearm or airgun expert that folks like BB, Kevin, BG Farmer or others are that have been shooting for 20 plus years and have made the sport a serious study and part of their life. I can only say that if your cant is repeatable and you do better than installing the scope perfectly level with the stock, I don’t know that there’s a reason to change. It’s all about consistency as far as I have determined. It will mean that a scoped rifle of yours will only be able to be shot accurately by yourself – your “zero” will be particular only for you. I think you’ve set yourself out a tall order to relearn to hold a rifle differently than you’ve been doing for 60 years.

          There is an article on “cant” and how a canted rifle shoots differently from the level rifle and if you want, I’ll go search for that in the archives.

          FRed DPRoNJ

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Al,

          You don’t have to change! If you can repeat your cant every time, it can be just as accurate as a “level” gun. The key to accuracy is the gun is always at the same angle — not that it is always level.

          Find a way to repeat your cant perfectly and do that.

          B.B.

    • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

      Al,

      off-topic requests are always welcomed on this blog. Here is a bit of a shortcut for finding articles and “how to” items – go to the main web page of Pyramyd Air and page down to the bottom. Look for “articles” and click on that. There are a bunch of blogs that BB (Tom Gaylord) has written that are stored there for easy use.

      Regarding mounting scopes, here is the link for “part I”. The links for parts II and III are also provided at the bottom of each article or blog:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/article/All_about_scopes_Part_1_January_2005/19

      Let us know if you need more help on finding any particular article. Most of us fight to help each other and the info is usually correct.

      Fred DPRoNJ

      • aljoh Says:

        Fred,

        Thanks for the help, obviously I still have a lot to learn about shooting accurately.
        Please see my reply to BB if you are interested in what I went through.

        thanks again,

        Al Johnson

  • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

    When I first started shooting in the ’70′s, the outdoor range I would go to had a trap range. One Sunday, someone’s 10 year old was hitting clays as if he was a ranked shooter. He was using an inexpensive 410, single shot gun. His father was so proud, he gave his son his, I believe, rather expensive shotgun to try. The poor kid didn’t hit a clay after that. My friend who had gotten me into shooting and was watching th show with me, said quietly, “the gun doesn’t fit him”. A good fitting stock is more important than just feeling comfortable, at least in the case of that kid, and I learned something back then.

    Fred DPRoNJ

  • David Enoch Says:

    BB,
    I grew up reading my Dad’s American Rifleman and Guns and Ammo. I remember the pictures of the guys shooting the military rifles with their elbow held high. I thought that was neat and that’s how I shoot. What I have noticed is that when you raise the elbow, the position of your grip becomes more horizontal and that your length of pull becomes shorter. You can see that just by acting like you are holding a rifle and rotating your elbow up and down and watching how your grip moves from vertical to more horizontal and how the trigger finger moves forward and back. I think the reason the guys shooting the military rifles used the high elbow was that it makes your grip fit a straight gripped stock better. So, how you hold your elbow when you shoot will effect your preferred grip angle and length of pull.

    One of the most uncomfortable guns for me to shoot is the Marauder. Something about that stock just isn’t right for me. The gun with the best grip angle for me is the Belgium Hyscore 801 with that long swept pistol grip. Put that stock on a Diana 27 and I would have perfection.

    I shot My USFT Hunter this weekend. It is the most fun to shoot PCP I have ever used. I just love that swivel breech and exposed hammer. I wish more guns were made like that.

    David Enoch

  • Jim in KS Says:

    B.B. -
    You are correct that stock fit is important, not only for the comfort of the shooter, but for accuracy. However, doesn’t the intended shooting position, along with the angle of the pistol grip, also come into play when determining the proper length of pull? For me, a more upright grip works with a slightly shorter length of pull for upright shooting, while a stretched out grip works with a slightly longer length of pull for prone shooting. Your thoughts on this?

    Jim in KS

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Jim,

      Yes, the shooting position is very important to fit. An offhand stock may feel bad off a bench, and vice-versa. Usually the offhand stock requires the shorter pull.

      B.B.

  • Mike Says:

    British No. 4 rifles can be had with different stock lengths. That said, most have the “S” or short stock. I have only seen this on the No. 4 Mark II’s but the stocks would fit the Mark I’s too.

    Mike

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Mike,

      Now that is something I did not know! Is there a mark on the stock that tells the length?

      My No. 4 fits me pretty well, so I assume it isn’t a short one.

      B.B.

      • Mike Says:

        The short one’s I have seen were marked with a “S” on the Mark II’s. The one I have with the longer stock is not marked at all. It was make in 1954 and probably went into war reserve storage since it’s condition is almost new.

        Mike

    • Matt61 Says:

      Speaking of the stock of the No. 4 Mk I* reminds me that if there is a mistake to be made with an old surplus gun, I will probably make it. When loading my first clip into my M1, I released the bolt and got M1 thumb (though never since). And after ejecting the last dummy round, I peered into the breech to look at the clip, pulled the charging handle back a tiny bit, and almost ejected the clip into my face.

      As for the No. 4, I couldn’t wait to make the bolt fly on rapid fire and on round two or three, I smacked myself right in the safety glasses with the rear of the bolt. But oddly enough, I’ve found that I can place my cheek two inches or so further back on the stock and shoot fine without feeling unnatural.

      Matt61

  • duskwight Says:

    B.B.

    Stocks are a great trouble for me – I’m a big guy with relatively small hands, so I had to upgrade my hands.dll to have stocks made to measure.
    And concerning stocks I think that if you don’t mind in a week I’m going to write an article on accurizing Gamo CFX. My trusted shillelagh became veeery unstable – 5 years of constant shooting played a bad melody on its fixture. Gamo’s metal is a bit softer than needed, so front right screw became a bit loose, and I had to re-bore it from M5x0.8 and tap M6x1 thread. Next will be reworking the stock. I think I’ll make some photos and write an article on that. In my opinion re-tapping for larger diameter will make it more stable. I see if I can recommend this procedure to anyone owning CFX and wanting to accurize it.
    Please don’t think that I forgot about my project – it’s still my first priority, but there’s a benchrest competition 07/07 so I plan to do some little domination in springers and maybe even walk on somebody’s toes in PCP ;)

    duskwight

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      duskwight,

      You go ahead and write about whatever you want to. We’re interested in everything here.

      B.B.

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    BB,
    I think stock fit is very important to correctly line up sights consistently, so thanks for putting some time on it.

    By “drop at toe”, however, you mean rather “drop at heel” don’t you? The heel is the top part of the butt, adjacent to the comb, while the toe is the bottom portion. I suppose the drop at toe has some effect, primarily on butt height and secondarily stock pitch (the angle of the butt with regard to boreline, which is a big factor, perhaps the biggest, in recoil), but the drop at heel is more directly related to the “drop at comb” (vertical distance from sight-line to position where cheek meets the comb — very individual, which is why it is not often quoted).

    I think we have discussed LOP and recoil several times — I respect your experience, but I am also dubious that much of the desire for longer LOP these days is more than a “mine is bigger than yours” type of thing, and I think that many new shooters, esp. airgunners, are handicapping themselves with excessive LOP’s. There may be some justification on centerfires for less drop and more LOP, but (offhand) accuracy is normally better with shorter LOP and more drop. Look to the Schuetzen type rifles for examples of that.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      BG_Farmer,

      I did mean drop ate the toe. Where the toe goes, the heel follows.

      Concerning pull length, believe me it isn’t a macho thing. Short rifles just feel wrong to me, and 95 percent of all commercial rifles are too short.

      I do use a shorter pull offhand. A 12-inch pull works well for me, but I can adapt to something even shorter than that.

      B.B.

    • Matt61 Says:

      BG_Farmer, is it possible to have excessive LOP and not know it? As the old adage says, it is easier to make a short LOP long than a long LOP short. With a long LOP it is just game over.

      Matt61

      • BG_Farmer Says:

        Yes, in my opinion, but there would be some hint of something wrong even if they had adapted to it. I think one clue is that the muzzle will feel intolerably heavy instead of pleasantly hefty. We had 2 clunks with 14+ LOP’s, and both of them gave me actual backaches before I shortened them. I think the 13.5″ average (at least for guns other than airguns) works for most people pretty well.

  • Matt61 Says:

    This is very interesting. Inquiring minds will want to know the universal best features of a stock (prior to the fine adjustments for an individual physique). It sounds like these features are a straight line with a vertical pistol grip. Those are essentially the features of my “anatomically perfect stock” on my Anschutz. They also happen to characterize the AR-15! Otherwise, some individual points of interest. B.B. did you not say that when you took a Springfield 1903 rifle in your hands for the first time, it felt just right? Doesn’t sound like it from the description above. And if a vertical pistol grip is important, what happened to the Bronco which has no pistol grip at all?

    Victor, I’m curious about recovery time for shooting skills. After an appallingly long lay-off due to an arthritic flare-up in my right leg, I assayed shooting the B30 last night. At first, it was like I had never shot before with my sights swaying all over the target. My shooting sequence had gone to pieces. Part of this was because most of my weight was over my left leg, and even slight movements irritated the right leg. It was not a solid shooting position. But part of it was definitely psychological. I sort of pulled it together by the end, but it was a little unsettling. I was sort of hoping that except for the last level of refinement for competition, one’s shooting skills would return just like knowing how to ride a bike. That’s what Janet Evans said as she resumed training for the Olympic trials in swimming at age 40. Do you think so? Surely, I’m not going to have to start at the beginning!

    Desertdweller, I agree with you about the situation of the two cars that crash at 100 mph compared to one car at 50 mph hitting the immovable wall, but I think the principles behind this situation are a little different than intuition suggests. The immovable object is an idealization that sets an upper limit to the amount of energy transferred through an elastic collision. Other things being equal, a non-elastic collision–cars crashing and crumpling, billiard balls hitting putty–will always be less. But what about when things are not equal? Consider a car hitting a wall at 5mph and two NASCAR machines colliding with a combined speed of 400 mph. A point will come when the elastic conditions of the immovable object can be surpassed by the higher energies of a nonelastic collision.

    Matt61

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      M

      Funny thing about M1 thumb. People only get it one time.

      B.B.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Matt,

      There is more than one Springfield. I was referring to the O3A3 as being too short.

      B.B.

    • Victor Says:

      Matt61,
      It most definitely comes back, but you won’t see it until you’ve recovered 100%. Much of our performance level is mental. Sort of like how once the 4 minute mile was broken others followed suit. Belief is a big part of this. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. Be patient. Getting back into something requires that you believe in the fundamentals. Pay attention to every detail and be honest with yourself. This is how you’ll find your weaknesses.
      Victor

    • Desertdweller Says:

      Matt,

      I’m afraid that’s about as much as I know about car-crashing physics, aside from knowing how it feels to smack a wall when you’ve misjudged your line coming off a turn, or what it feels like to bounce a car off its roof. I can’t recommend either experience.

      As far as the combined speed of 400mph collision, I don’t really see how that would be possible. Race cars just don’t crash that way, full speed head-on. I doubt if a full-on collision with a wall at 200mph resulting in the car either coming to a dead stop or bouncing off backwards would be survivable. The human body can only withstand so much G-force. It is possible to build a frame/cage structure that can withstand forces a human being cannot, but what would be the point? The purpose of the structure is to protect the human inside.

      Les

  • BB Says:

    How much adjustment is too much on scope turrets before shimming or using a compensating type of mount? I decided to try high profile rings to improve comfort, and of course I had to adjust the vertical turret to compensate. I like the results, but I’m now 70 clicks off the factory center position (just over 1 complete turn). The scope allows 6 complete turns stop (max up) to stop (max down) or around 360 clicks, centered at the factory near 3 turns. Looking for some guidance.

    PS: I’m real happy with the results using a better scope and H&N baracuda match pellets. The gas spring is now propelling these pellets at 900 fps +/- 10 fps. I’m almost ready to declare victory in achieving consistent 1″ at 50 yards 5 shot groups. I really appreciate all the useful advice received from yourself and others on this blog.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      BB,

      If you are asking a question here, I think you have answered it. Your scope doesn’t appear to be adjusted too high.

      B.B.

  • Johng10 Says:

    Fit question:
    I have to move the RWS 34 upward on my shoulder to get a naturally indexing cheek weld and to prevent having to force my neck into a slightly kinked position to look through the sights or a low mounted scope. This results in the toe being positioned about 1/2 way up my shoulder pocket with about 1/2 the butt being above my shoulder (ie: not touching flesh). I also find I need about 1.5-2 inches more depth to the forearm to prevent the muzzle from pointing down on off hand shots. My assumption is that I need a stock with more drop, and a deep forearm. Now I’m wondering if my logic is wrong… What do you think?

    Ps: If it makes a difference, I’m 5′ 10” tall, have wide shoulders, short arms and a short neck (arms and neck about 1.5 and .75 inches shorter than standard – according to my dress shirts :-) .

    • BG_Farmer Says:

      Sounds like you need more drop for eye alignment. If you just want to use a scope, high rings will help. There are also target sights available (if the sights are dovetailed) that will raise the sightline. Also, I’m building a target rifle now that will have a little extra drop in the stock and riser blocks on the barrel to push the sights up (and allow the off hand to wrap around without obscuring the sights), but that is a fairly complicated solution.

      I’m not sure I understand about the forearm — are you holding it all the way at the end (over cocking slot) or do you need to hold it closer than the triggerguard allows? If it is the latter, a shorter LOP will help, as it will move the rifle back.

    • Wulfraed Says:

      I’m probably the least qualified to respond — considering that I find every factory mounted scope is too far /back/ for my comfort (conversely, factory peep sights are too far forward: .30 M1 carbine, HK-91 — but my Daisy USST 953 [953 action in 853 trim] peep is ideal)…

      Fitting some sort of comb riser, and using medium or high mount scope rings would probably be the recommendation… That would drop the rear, so even without changing the forearm the alignment may be more natural.

      Then again, while not ingrained, my background for off-hand is of that formal hold: left arm directly under the forearm, right elbow straight out to the side.

  • john Says:

    Wasn’t it here I recently read a discussion about the importance of straight back trigger blade pull and associated follow through?…especially with these hold sensitive airguns…if so, I find the longer the LOP, the more difficult to achieve such a pull and the more necessary to abandon the grip in order to perform it, which of course is no big deal with the relatively recoilless airgun…heck, I CAN merely pinch the blade and guard twixt forefinger and thumb…but I feel downright unAmurkin when I do that. I guess anything is justified if I hit the bullseye.

    john

  • kevin Says:

    What an important topic.

    Over the years I’ve hunted/shot with guys that admit they have a favorite shooter. May not be their favorite gun since others trump their best shooter because of sentiment, amount of work to customize, caliber preference, etc. BUT when I talk about guns with friends I want to know what gun they shoot best with consistently. This intrigues me.

    The common denominator in consistent accuracy for me and most of my friends is how a gun fits. Assuming the gun is accurate, the fit of a stock to the individual shooter is, IMHO, 85% of the ultimate accuracy of the gun in this individuals hands.

    kevin

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