Gunstocks, What You Need to Know by Shane Hurkmans
Gunstocks are made of wood or other materials. They are the part of the gun that holds the action and other important parts. We know that some guns fit us like a glove and others give us trouble. This could be because the stock is wrong for the shooter. Some stocks from production runs can change the way the stock feels to the shooter from one gun to the other. We are going to look at gunstocks in a different way. This will help you find a stock that fits you.
Did you know that all stocks, both one piece and two-piece, all have a heel and a toe? Yes, stocks have a heel and a toe. A heel has the job of finding the pocket of the shooters shoulder. Some guys like a round heel and some like a more pointed one. The toe is there to take most of the recoil down into your body.
There are five things we are going to talk about and two of them we have already mentioned. They are the heel, toe, comb wrist, tip, and the forend. All these things have a purpose in a way a gunstock fits a person. We talked about what a heel and toe does but there is more to the story. The heel is a place you can look to find the drop of the stock. What I mean is that if you draw a line from the top of the action to the heel of the gun you will find that at the heel there is a difference in height. This difference is measured in inches or centimeters and that distance will vary between stocks. Take the gun, without a scope on it, and use a straight edge from the top of the action to the heel so you can measure the drop of the stock.
The comb is the place where your cheek sits. Now every comb will not fit everyone the same. This all depends on your neck, cheekbone and how the sights on the gun are. First let’s talk about how the comb works.
We use it for placing your cheek. When your cheek meets the comb we are making a bond that will help your eye make a good sighting picture. If the stock fits you, every time you put the stock to your cheek you get the same sight picture. But if you pick up a gun that you have never shot before you find that your sight picture is not the same. This is because this is due to the drop of the comb from action to heel. Some people need an adjustable comb to get the proper fit.
An adjustable comb can be raised or lowered to fit the person so they can see through a scope or get the proper sight picture on a shotgun. An adjustable comb can be moved side to side also so we can just a better fit from the gun to the shooter. The next time you go looking for a new gun you can look at these items and find out which gun will fit you better.
For the rest of the stock components we have the forearm and or end depending on where you live. The forearm is the place where your hand sits when firing your gun from the shoulder, or the place where you can set the gun down for a better rest. There are many styles of forends to talk about, we have a rounded ones that we see on a sporting guns to the big flat forend that we see in target shooting. There are a few forends with a special piece on them, this can be seen on some guns in the US, but most are from overseas. This big bump on the front of the forend, this is called a snavel. This bulb was made to give the gun a different look and serves as a reminder not to move your hand past this point. You will find theses more on shotguns rather than on rifles but you will see them.
The wrist of the stock is the place where you put your hand to fire the rifle, some are thin and others are big and fat. This depends on what type of stock you have. This is also a big deal when looking for a new gun. If you’re someone that has little hand you are going to look for a smaller wrist. The thing to watch out for is, when picking out a used gun look at the wrist for cracks and other things that may give you a indication if the gun was over loaded or had been used as a pry bar. We now have all types of stocks out there with different styles of wrists. We have thumbhole stocks and stocks with out a wrist.
The length of pull is the length from the trigger to the end of the stock. On most guns from the factory are in the 13 ¼ to 13 ½ inch in length. But not every one is 5’8” and has a 13-¼ inch length of pull. For you gals that have a hard time getting a gun to fit you, you can have your stock cut down to fit you.
If you’re like me you have to add length to your gun. This can be done by putting on a thicker pad on your gun or have a stock extension added to your gun. If you think your length of pull is not right you can take your gun and put the end of the stock in the crease at the elbow and put your finger to the trigger. A proper fit will have the first joint of your shooting finger just touching the trigger with the tip just over the trigger. If your finger is short, the stock is too long for you, or if your finger joint is well over the trigger the stock is too short for you.
So the next time you go out and look for a new gun you can look at a few more things to help you out. There are a lot of things to look for when you are thinking of buying a new gun but if you know what to look for before going, you can narrow down your search. I hope this gives you some insight on a stock.
A little trivia for you: The 1903 Springfield was made in 1903. When the 03 was first introduced to the market the round had problems and did not work well in the rifle. After fixing the problems they reintroduced the round in 1906 therefore the 06 is stamped on the head of the round. The new round is now what we call the 30-06.