Author Topic: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)  (Read 4682 times)

Offline Nero

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Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« on: April 26, 2013, 10:07:48 PM »
It's hard to get your steady hold factors right if your rifle stock doesn't fit your body.  And it's pretty much dumb luck if a rifle new from the box does fit.  Modern rifles seem sized to fit a slightly-less-than-average sized adult male.  Historical rifles, such as the M1 Garand, were sized to the smaller adults of their time.  Short of dropping some change for a brand-new stock, what's to do? 

Anyone who has seen the odd collection of 'hillbilly mods' on the line at the end of a shoot knows that Appleseed instructors have a bag of stock modification tricks.  This article describes some common rifle fit issues, and both quick and dirty improvised mods and inexpensive accessories to fix them.  First, some materials to have in that bag of tricks:

Foam padding - any kind of flexible, closed cell foam.  Sources that I've used or seen used:  Pipe insulation, backpacking and yoga mats, pool noodles, packing from ammo crates.  Open cell foam or polystyrene foam do not work well, being too squishy or inflexible, respectively.

Adhesive tape - the best is 'vet wrap', the self-adhesive stretchy latex material used to hold on bandages.  Get it at the feed & fuel place, it's half as expensive as the medical version.  Second choice is blue painter's tape.  Duck tape is also useable, but the adhesive may leave a residue on stocks.

Grip tape - the self-sticking traction material used on decks, stair treads and skateboards.

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Stock Length Part 1

The first thing to check is length of pull (LOP) - that's the distance between the butt of the stock and the trigger.  The classic test for fit is to hold your trigger side arm out to your side, bending the elbow so your fore-arms is straight up.  Set the rifle straight up on its butt in the crook of the elbow and see where your trigger finger falls with respect to the trigger.  If the pad of the finger bent at 90 degrees exactly touches the trigger, then the fit is perfect.  If the trigger is past the finger, the LOP is too long; if the finger is past the trigger, then too short.

A minor misfit can be accommodated without mods, by adjusting the shooting position, specifically how the body is indexed to the target.  For a too-short stock, square off to the target.  For a too-long rifle, increase the index angle, bringing the rifle further across the body.  This can fix a half inch or so of discrepancy. 

If the stock is too long, your further options are limited.  This is one reason many women and smaller men should consider purchasing a rifle with a youth or 'compact' stock - it's easier to add on than remove.

For a too-short LOP, build up the butt with one or more layers of foam.  Cover it with adhesive secured down the side of the rifle, and then lash that on with tape around the stock.  An inch or so of build-up can be done before the butt starts to get too squishy and wobbly in the shoulder pocket.  If doing this on a centerfire rifle, the shooter must be diligent in holding back the trigger:  Too fast a release to the reset point may result in an inadvertant 'bump fire' as the foam compresses and then expands.

For a more aesthetic and durable mod, there is a slip-on kit made by Beartooth.  These make a good addition to the instructor's kit.  For a cheap, permanent fix, rubber stock extenders are available pre-cut for popular rifles, or blanks can be purchased and ground to fit.

Even if the fit is perfect, check the butt for wobbling in the shoulder pocket.  A hard plastic butt plate can easily slip against slick material such as rip-stop.  A piece of grip tape can be applied to the butt, or vet wrap folded across it and secured with a wrap around the stock.

Always do the LOP check before moving on to check eye relief and cheek weld.  Many scope eye relief problems are due to a too-short stock.  Also, you will not know where the cheek weld should be positioned until the stock length is adjusted.

Cheek Weld

Most shooters will have trouble getting a solid cheek weld when using a scope on a rifle with a dropped stock.  Even a straight line stock may have problems with a scope mounted in high rings.  The temporary solution is to build up the stock. 

One no-mod 'build up' depends on shooter and rifle geometry:  If the thumb of the trigger hand can be positioned appropriately without disturbing the trigger pull, then the cheekbone may be indexed onto the thumb, assuming this allows the proper eye relief.  This 'thumb weld' should be repeatable.

Otherwise, determine the location of the cheek weld and build up the stock with one or more layers of foam, about four inches wide.  Wrapping it in a complete 'U' around the stock will make it less likely to shift.  Secure with several turns of adhesive, being sure to get onto the stock itself so the foam will not shift lengthwise.  The shooter will probably have to rezero the rifle after doing the build-up.

Again, there are more durable and aesthetic versions of this mod, including these from ITC and Accu-Riser, also useful additions to the instructor kit.

Stock Length Part 2

If the fore-stock between the action and the sling mount is too long, the support hand may slide forward and collapse the triangle of sling, arm and stock.  Grabbing onto the stock to stop the collapse violates a steady hold factor, but having the hand work its way forward while shooting can cause vertical stringing of the impacts.

A possible no-mods fix is to wear a shooting glove on the support hand.  The extra thickness may stop the hand from sliding forward.

A minimal modification is to apply some grip tape to the bottom of the fore-stock.  The extra friction might be enough to stop the slippage, particularly if the stock is finished wood.

Otherwise, the mod is to construct an improvised hand-stop, an accessory common on target rifles but seldom available elsewhere.  Figure out where the forward edge of the support hand should be.  Measure between there and the sling mount, and cut a couple of pieces of foam to that length and as wide as the stock.  Place behind the sling mount and lash to the barrel and stock with vet wrap or tape, this will stop the hand from going forward.

If the rifle has a lower rail, a more permanent solution is a manufactured handstop, such as:
http://www.gearsector.com/browse/category/mounts/weapon-controls/handstops/
can be mounted in the appropriate slot.  Or the sling mount itself can be moved from a barrel or gas block location onto the rail:
http://www.gearsector.com/browse/category/mounts/picatinny-rail-mounts/
Shooters with a traditional stock design may have to fabricate their own permanent mod.

The ultimate outcome is often an aftermarket or adjustable stock.  But use of these quick and dirty modifications will allow cheap experimentation until the shooter's positions and desired stock geometry are perfected.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License by Tim Oren.








« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 05:30:18 PM by Nero »

Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2013, 05:43:06 PM »
A much less expensive and possibly more comfortable alternative to the Gear Selector handstop is the molded plastic (polymer!) set that LaRue Tactical sells, you get two of them for half the price of the GS handstop. Go in on it with a friend or outfit both your rimfire and centerfire rifles.

http://www.laruetactical.com/larue-tactical-handstop-2-piece-set

I picked up the $43 set with 72 index clips for $25 new on eBay, here it is on my M&P 15-22 (with $10 sling mount). WAY more comfortable than jamming your hand into the sling mount, especially without a glove.



(Yes, there is a reason the sling clip is on the front, there's a fastex buckle on the other end.)

Offline Nero

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2013, 05:57:43 PM »
Nice.  Anyone else with Q&D solutions feel free to jump in, particularly anything to fake/put a hand stop on a non-railed rifle.

Offline darthturducken

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2013, 07:11:04 PM »
I've been to one Appleseed but never registered on the forums until now. I'm 6'2" and I think I may be having this trouble with my Marlin 795 .22LR rifle (w/ peep sight from Tech Sights). I'll have to go home and do the elbow test but the rifle just feels so small in my hands. I know the Ruger 10/22's probably have more mods out there but if anyone can suggest something I would greatly appreciate it.

Offline 2 clicks low

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 07:36:05 PM »
First, welcome to the forum.

This is about Quick & Dirty fixes. As you own the rifle and have time, not on the line right now, you might want to look for a more permenet solution.

First figure out how much additional lenght you need. Try it in shirt sleeves, light jacket and heavy coat depending on where you live and shoot.

Now go to Brownells or Midwest and find a recoil pad of the proper thickness. They have Slip-on rubber pads, lace on leather and screw on ruber. Pick what fits your needs and budget.

2cl


I've been to one Appleseed but never registered on the forums until now. I'm 6'2" and I think I may be having this trouble with my Marlin 795 .22LR rifle (w/ peep sight from Tech Sights). I'll have to go home and do the elbow test but the rifle just feels so small in my hands. I know the Ruger 10/22's probably have more mods out there but if anyone can suggest something I would greatly appreciate it.
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Offline olefido

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 09:24:25 PM »
I have 1/2 of a pool noodle vet-wrapped to my 10/22 stock. What I am looking for is a better, more positive cheek weld index than putting a mark or piece of tape on the cheek rest. With an AR it's easy, I just put my nose on the charging handle. Anybody got any suggestions on something I can put under the vet wrap to index on. My stock is about due for a re-wrap anyway.

Offline Charles McKinley

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 11:57:29 PM »
Hi Olefido,

Since it is your rifle you can to the wood filler/bondo build up.  Take finishing nails (woodstock) or thin screws (plastic stock)  and put them through the existing foam build up until just below the current proper height of the build up.  Remove the vet wrap and foam.  Then you now build up with wood putty or bondo to above the tops of the nails/screws, this is why it is important you put them below the level of the foam when putting them in. Slightly over build it so you can sand it down to where it is just right and shape it the indicator you want.
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Offline Charles McKinley

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 12:02:22 AM »
you can also put spacers inside a slip on recoil pad to get you and extra 3/4 to 1 inch in addition to what the recoil pad give you for length of pull.

the foam corner protectors on the corners of new windows work great for building up stocks for cheek weld.  I try not to put the padding on the shooter side of the stock especially if a lot of rise is needed as it pushes the shooters eye too far to the side.
Last evening, it occurred to me that when a defender of Liberty is called home, their load lands upon the shoulders of the defenders left behind. Just as the Founders did their duty for Liberty, every subsequent generation must continue their work lest Liberty perish. As there is no way for the remaining adults to take on the work of those that die, we must pass the ideals and duties on to the children. -PHenery

Offline olefido

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 12:11:49 AM »
Hi Olefido,

Since it is your rifle you can to the wood filler/bondo build up.  Take finishing nails (woodstock) or thin screws (plastic stock)  and put them through the existing foam build up until just below the current proper height of the build up.  Remove the vet wrap and foam.  Then you now build up with wood putty or bondo to above the tops of the nails/screws, this is why it is important you put them below the level of the foam when putting them in. Slightly over build it so you can sand it down to where it is just right and shape it the indicator you want.
Thanks for the info.

Offline BeSwift

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 09:20:16 AM »
While not a Q & D mod, here is good option for Marlin 795's..  http://www.diproductsinc.com/Detail.aspx?PROD=111998&CAT=3603
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Offline NOMADSS

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 10:36:12 AM »
Ergo grips offer multiple products to fix some of these issues!

http://ergogrips.net/products/rail-accessories.html

I have used a few of these products for multiple shooting sports and have enjoyed them.

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Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 01:01:38 PM »
What I am looking for is a better, more positive cheek weld index than putting a mark or piece of tape on the cheek rest.

A trick Olympic smallbore and air rifle shooters use is to wrap a hair tie or two around the comb but they work just as well around the stock on an non-adjustable rifle. I like the thicker ones, about 1/8 inch diameter. If you're going to vet wrap it down, a piece of 550 cord could do the same job. Leave it unfixed and a little farther back than you need and slide it into position with your cheekbone, then tape or wrap in place. In the field, a twisted up length of vet wrap could substitute for the hair tie/cord.

Offline Nero

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 01:09:00 PM »
That's an excellent tip!   O0

Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 01:46:55 PM »
Anyone else with Q&D solutions feel free to jump in, particularly anything to fake/put a hand stop on a non-railed rifle.

My dad tells me in Viet Nam they used to tape one or two fired .308 cases to the underside of the forearm on M-14s as a handstop. .22 LR would be too insubstantial but a tube of chapstick (watch for hot days) or just a 1/2 inch diameter stick would work, too. Needs to be at least 2 inches long to provide stability and enough surface for the tape to do its job.

Haven't tried it but pool noodle should work, too, if it's thick enough and be more comfortable. Leave it long enough to tape it down good. Maybe even leave it long enough to run forward to the sling swivel to prevent slipping.

Offline darthturducken

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2013, 06:01:52 PM »

Offline Crow

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2013, 04:02:48 PM »

I fashioned a good cheekweld modification on my folding stock with pipe insulation and shoe goo. Cut the insulation (larger diameter) to lengths, pop open the seam and layer them one over the other, using the adhesive, until it's the right height. Black, foam and comfortable. You may need to do some trimming to get the stock folded completely.

Offline 308LIBERTY

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Re: Marksmanship: Quick and Dirty Stock Mods (May - June, 2013)
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2013, 04:49:01 PM »
I tried foam for the cheek riser but didn't like how spongy it felt and the fact it squishes down pretty quickly if you practice a lot. I recently cut strips of thick leather, layered them on top of each other and finished with vet wrap. Went all the way up to the grip with the vet wrap so it feels slightly tacky underneath your fingers so they don't slip. One of my rifles has a nice wooden stock so it should help protect from scratches too. I've also read that vet wrap won't melt to your barrel so you can wrap the fore-end as well, but I haven't confirmed this myself. I'll try the wrap on my old rifle first just to be sure. Plus, you can get it in camo so it looks pretty cool.
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