A while back I mentioned a book by Alvin Linden and then a set of Classic Rifle Stock Drawings that are currently available. The interest in these posts has been high, so this is meant to expand on the previous posts. What I have posted below is the instructions from the CD on American Classic Rifle Stocks. I think they will give you some insight into the drawings on the CD and on top of that there are some useful bits of information you can use even if you don’t have the drawings. Enjoy.
How to use the Drawings:
These Drawings were assembled to define the parameters of the “American Classic” hunting stock. Many of the stocks made by novices and even some professionals lack the aesthetics that should be afforded a nice piece of wood. Worse yet, they are left too large, or cut down too small, either of these conditions will make a stock that has poor handling characteristics and may even add to the felt recoil. A properly designed stock
Improves handling, reduces felt recoil, and is pleasing to the eye. It is not our intention here to teach you stock making.
How These Drawings Evolved:
Normally drawings are very specific about dimensions, and tolerances are very tight, not so with these drawings. You will see that there is a range of dimensions for most measurement. The reason for this is simple, no two shooters are alike, so you need to be able to adjust the dimensions for the shooter. Also magnum guns are generally built heavier than standard caliber guns to help control recoil. The dimensions included here were derived by measuring about 100 stocks from various custom makers, some names you would recognize and some you might not. So the ideas represented come from a broad cross section of custom stock makers, not just the opinion of one maker.
How do I decide which dimensions to use?
The Caliber of the rifle, and the size of the barreled action will be a major factor in this decision. A light caliber like 243 Winchester with a sporter weight barrel would likely use the smaller dimensions, because the recoil will be low and handling is probably more important than controlling recoil. On the other hand, if you working with a 375 H&H you will likely want a heavier stock to help manage recoil. Grip length and curve may be tighter on a standard caliber where recoil will not bang your knuckles against the trigger guard. Magnum stocks normally get a longer grip with a more open curve. Since classic stocks are not generally used on varminters, or benchrest guns excessively heavy barrel tapers do not enter into the question. However, you will find that much of the data here will apply to other stock designs. For instance comb height, length of grip, and length of comb are all pretty universal.
I want to use my stock strictly with iron sights, does that make a difference?
Yes, it makes a huge difference. Looking at the dimensions, you will see that several of the measurements are specified for either scoped or iron sighted rifle. Use the dimensions for the sight system you will be using as your primary sights on the rifle.
Tricks the Pros use:
Clients want a stock that “fits like a glove”. To accomplish this, a surprisingly small change is needed. You will see dimensions for Cast and Cant included in the drawings. In general, cast off is for right hand shooters and conversely cast on is most often used for left-handed shooters, the same is true of Cant. Grips can ‘Cant’ as well, use the same rule for right and left-handers. Cant the grip up to about .125” in the desired direction. This is accomplished by finding the centerline of the stock and then marking the center of the grip canted in the direction desired.
Recoil can be controlled by some simple changes to the stock design. First, make the butt as large as the design will allow. Second, use a high quality recoil pad, like the Pachmayer Decelerator®, Kick-Eez®, or Limb Saver®. The third major method for controlling recoil is making the pitch of the stock neutral. Pitch is measured as the angle of the butt to the bore line, neutral is 90 degrees to the bore line. Once the top of the stock along the barrel channel is finished it can be used as the bore line, set the stock upside down on flat table, using a square you can mark the pitch on the butt where you intend to cut it off for the recoil pad installation. Finally, installation of a mercury recoil reducer in the stock is a great way to control recoil, although it does add weight to the stock.
Each area of the stock should flow smoothly into the next. Shadow lines if used should be crisp and clean, but not sharp to the touch. The best way to check these items is to close your eyes and feel with your fingers. It is amazing how small an imperfection you can pick out with just a touch.
Fred Zeglin is the copyright holder for these prints and is working on an updated file format so they can return to the market. 06/01/2018