Synthetic stocks can present some unique problems in adjusting their length of pull or adding recoil pads. Here are some tips on solving those problems.
by Paul Mazan
One of the more common jobs a gunsmith faces daily is the addition of a recoil pad or adjusting a stock’s length of pull. Length of pull is defined as the distance between the trigger and the face of the buttplate or pad. The addition of a recoil pad will require cutting a section off the butt of the stock equal to the thickness of the pad if you are to maintain the original length of pull. The mechanics of installing a recoil pad on a wood stock have been covered many times in just about every book on gunsmithing but many new gunsmiths and hobbyists are scared off by synthetic stocks. There really is no need to be intimidated by them as the basics remain the same, although they will offer you new challenges.
To get an overview of several different manufacturer’s stocks, I contacted the folks at Brownells who were generous enough to supply several stocks from the major manufacturers for us to examine. I was fortunate to have stocks from Advanced Technologies, SpeedFeed, Bell & Carlson, Choate, Hogue, and an M4-style collapsible stock to examine and compare. There are many others on the market but I thought this was a fair sampling of what you can expect. The stocks had a lot in common regarding construction at the rear. All but the Tapco were hollow in the butt area, all were injection molded and had ribs molded in along the top and bottom of the inside of the stock to provide a place for recoil pad screws to find purchase. This feature made installing a pad much easier than if those ribs had not existed.
After examining the stocks and removing the pads supplied by the manufacturers I realized that each stock was going to require the gunsmith to do a little innovative thinking.
Read more in our June 2015 issue.