The editor tries a new, British-made stock on his beloved Air Arms S410
The editor tries out a new Ranger stock from Rifleman Firearms, on his Air Arms S410, and says it’s top class!
The Air Arms S400 series of rifles has been a massive success with over 80,000 S400, S410 and S510 guns built and sold so far, and they’re still selling like hot cakes today. Because of this popularity, it’s quite natural that accessory manufacturers would offer products to suit, and Rifleman Firearms, from Hambridge in Somerset, has just launched the Ranger stocks to fit. As you can see from the photos, they’re very different from the standard sporter stock, offering a thumbhole design with an unusual humped cheek piece. The steeply raked pistol grip has deep finger grooves and a pronounced flare at its base.
By choosing to use laminated wood they were able to offer a selection of colour combinations, from gently subtle to very loud, so there will be something for everybody, from the stealthy hunter to the competitor. The colours are forest green, walnut, black, royal and silver, and the forest green is my favourite. I see it as free camouflage without the need to spoil the gun’s good looks.
Laminated wood is heavier than walnut, and the scales confirmed that. My S410 wears a walnut sporter stock that weighs 1300g, whereas the Ranger weighs 1600g. I had imagined that the large humped butt section would have brought the balance of the bare stock rearward, but it balances in the same place as the original. Of course, once the action is fitted, the added mass is noticeable and some people will welcome the extra heft, especially competitors who value the added stability.
The way a stock feels to your hands and in the shoulder is very personal, and I’ve never liked finger grooves. They’re too prescriptive, forcing me to place my hand where the designer decided, rather than what feels for me, and this stock was just that way. However, everybody else who handled it liked the fit – so it’s just me then.
The fit and finish were very smart and, as promised, it dropped onto my action with no problems at all. I was impressed, and pleased to see sling swivel studs fitted as standard because I feel that every hunting gun needs them, and we don’t need to worry about drilling our new stock if the factory does it for us. The icing on the cake for me is that they cost just £ 325, which is very good value for money, and if you buy an Air Arms rifle with one fitted, you get it for just £ 225 which is then an absolute bargain!
Finger grooves aren’t for me but others love them
The Ranger stock adds distinctve looks to an old favourite
I found the fit and finish to be top class