The edi­tor mounts his favourite soapbox – via a study in gun han­dling

Airgun World - - Contents -

Any­one who has en­dured my end­less ser­mons on proper stock fit and the tremen­dous ad­van­tages it brings, whether it’s within th­ese pages, on the phone, or heaven for­bid in face-to-face con­ver­sa­tion, will know what this fea­ture is all about. No apolo­gies of­fered, mind. I’m stupidly pas­sion­ate about this stuff and I know be­yond any shadow of any doubt that what I’m about to write can have a mas­sive ef­fect on your re­sults. Far more so, ac­tu­ally, than most hard­ware up­grades ever could. Please read on, be­cause this re­ally mat­ters.


Many years ago, I dis­cov­ered that most of the air ri­fles I was us­ing could shoot bet­ter than I could. I’m not the bright­est per­son in the world, but even I could work out that mak­ing those ri­fles ever-more ac­cu­rate, con­sis­tent and ef­fi­cient wasn’t do­ing my shoot­ing that much good, be­cause the guns were just out­shoot­ing me by a greater mar­gin.

By now I’d dis­cov­ered field tar­get shoot­ing and I was us­ing a ri­fle with a stock built es­pe­cially for me. Prob­lem solved; at least un­til I hung up my tar­get glove and went back to my first love of hunt­ing. Why didn’t hun­ters en­joy the same de­gree of gun fit as­sis­tance as FT shoot­ers? I was con­struc­tively out­raged, so I be­gan has­sling any­one who’d lis­ten, and Air Arms thought I had a point, so they pro­duced the S510 Ul­ti­mate Sporter, with its splen­did ad­justable stock. This ri­fle has gone on to be a ma­jor best-seller, and rightly so, and now there’s an­other se­ri­ous op­tion for those who want match-stan­dard con­trol, in a sport­ing-ri­fle for­mat.


Look at the main sub­ject of this fea­ture; the GRS PCP Sporter Ad­justable Stock, now avail­able

from High­land Out­doors to fit the world-renowned Air Arms S400 and S500 se­ries. It’s right-hand ded­i­cated, made from su­per­stable lam­i­nate, light­weight, costs a quid short of £600 and it of­fers pre­cise, in­stant ad­just­ment of the cheek piece height, butt pad po­si­tion and pull-length, at the touch of a spring-loaded but­ton, plus it’s ex­tremely well de­signed in the first place, with one of the best grip con­fig­u­ra­tions I’ve ever used. This amounts to the ‘big four’ of the main play­ers in proper gun fit and the com­bined ef­fect of th­ese key fea­tures can­not be over­stated. To ex­plain them fully re­quires a bit of in-depth anal­y­sis, so that’s where we’ll ven­ture next. As we ex­plore th­ese ad­van­tages, the aim is to an­swer ques­tions be­fore they’re asked, but if you have any­thing that re­quires fur­ther ex­pla­na­tion, please con­tact me and I’ll do my best to help. Yes, again, I be­lieve this sub­ject re­ally is that im­por­tant.


Over­all, this is about mak­ing our ri­fles fit us, rather than the other way round, and the var­i­ous as­pects of this have pretty much con­sumed me for the past decade or so. I sup­pose my sta­tus as a ‘non­stan­dard’ hu­man forced the is­sue, but it’s more than that and by the time this fea­ture is con­cluded, I’m cer­tain you’ll see a far big­ger pic­ture than most do now.

It’s my be­lief that hav­ing a prop­erly fit­ting ri­fle­stock is the sin­gle great­est ef­fi­ciency move most ‘se­ri­ous’ shoot­ers can make. We come in so many dif­fer­ent sizes and shapes, we wouldn’t dream of wear­ing ‘one size fits all’ shoes, or driv­ing our cars with the seat way out of po­si­tion, yet millions of us pick up ri­fles de­signed for ‘av­er­age sized’ shoot­ers and try to adapt our­selves to them as best we can. This ‘best’ is ac­tu­ally sec­ond-best … at best. We now have ac­cess to more high-qual­ity air­gun hard­ware than at any time in the his­tory of our sport, and it’s time we looked be­yond this per­for­mance-sap­ping com­pro­mise.


Let’s be­gin at the back end, with the ri­fle’s pull length. The pull length of a ri­fle is the mea­sure­ment be­tween the cen­tre of the butt pad and the front face of the trig­ger blade. On a stan­dard stock, this can be any­thing be­tween 13 inches and 14.5, but what­ever it is, it’s bet­ter if it suits your par­tic­u­lar build. I need a 15-inch pull length and the GSR of­fers a range of 13.75 to 15.25 inches, which ac­com­mo­dates me per­fectly. With­out that per­fect pull length, I’d be ‘hunch­ing’ around the stock, whereas a smaller shooter would of­ten find them­selves reach­ing for the trig­ger, rather than re­lax­ing into their most ef­fi­cient stance. Like ev­ery one of the ‘big four’ fea­tures, pull length is part of the chain of com­mand that dic­tates over­all ef­fi­ciency and any weak links have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect. At the level we’re go­ing for with 600 quid’s worth of stock bolted to our ri­fles, the only weak link must be our tech­nique, and we should be striv­ing to strengthen that when­ever and wher­ever we can.

“a bet­ter chance of ex­ploit­ing the full po­ten­tial of our ri­fles”


Get­ting the height of the cheek piece right is all about eye-scope align­ment, yes? No. Whilst most of the di­rect ben­e­fit comes from hav­ing your head guided into prime po­si­tion to en­able you to look right down the cen­tre of the scope’s lens sys­tem – thereby in­creas­ing re­lax­ation, re­duc­ing mus­cle ten­sion, and prac­ti­cally elim­i­nat­ing par­al­lax er­ror – there’s an­other huge plus in­volved. The fact is, if your head po­si­tion isn’t per­fect, then the rest of your stance can never be.

The shooter’s sight­ing eye will al­ways seek out the scope’s rear lens and with it a use­able sight pic­ture. If head po­si­tion has to be com­pro­mised to do that, or the neck bent out of its ideal shape, then that’s what has to hap­pen be­cause the vis­ual feed­back from the sight­ing eye will over­ride ev­ery­thing else. Yes, we can tweak things a tad via the height of the scope mounts, but with noth­ing like the pre­ci­sion of the full inch of in­stantly vari­able, mi­cro-ad­just­ment af­forded by this GRS stock.

Never for­get, the whole ob­ject of achiev­ing cor­rect gun fit, is to al­low us a bet­ter chance of ex­ploit­ing the full po­ten­tial of our ri­fles. We’re very much play­ing catch-up right now, and we need to do all we can to close the per­for­mance gap be­tween man and ma­chine. This stock truly helps us to do just that.


Press the small, stain­less steel but­ton that lives in the gap be­tween the butt pad and the stock proper, and the squishy pad can be shifted up and down. The pad it­self is re­ally soft and the high-grip, rub­berised com­pound used ab­so­lutely welds the ri­fle to your shoul­der. I’ve never used a con­ven­tion­ally-styled butt pad with such ad­he­sive qual­i­ties; it’s a tri­umph, it truly is.

Your pre­ferred butt pad set­ting also raises and low­ers the cheek piece pre­sen­ta­tion, of course, and it does so by ‘piv­ot­ing’ the ri­fle around its con­tact with the shoul­der. Balancing the fit via the ad­justers on the butt should take at least hours, and prob­a­bly days, as you break free from the com­pro­mise you’ve ac­cepted for too long, and set­tle into a more com­fort­able, less tense, and al­to­gether more ef­fi­cient and pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship with your ri­fle.


The GRS de­sign­ers who cre­ated the con­fig­u­ra­tion for this grip ob­vi­ously in­cor­po­rated some se­ri­ous feed­back into its pro­duc­tion. The grip is an­gled very slightly to the shooter’s right, and its four fin­ger grooves work per­fectly with the sculpted thumb rest to sta­bilise the trig­ger hand in fine style. I thought I’d need some sort of palm shelf but I didn’t, be­cause the thumb­scoop keeps ev­ery­thing sup­ported with min­i­mal ten­sion and max­i­mum com­fort. This adds up to the ideal con­di­tions for the trig­ger fin­ger to do its stuff, and we all know how im­por­tant that is.


This GRS com­pany has been cre­at­ing th­ese stocks for use in ev­ery cli­mate imag­in­able. This stock won’t warp, crack or break if you clout it with any­thing less than a lump ham­mer. The test ex­am­ple ar­rived in a box that had been ‘tested’ by the de­liv­ery com­pany, but the GRS had shrugged off that abuse as it will what­ever is thrown at it dur­ing a life­time of hard use. There will be a range of colours avail­able, in­clud­ing a green op­tion which will ap­peal to hun­ters.

There’s not a scrap of che­quer­ing or stip­pling to be seen, or felt, but this stock han­dles with to­tal se­cu­rity, what­ever the weather. Again, GRS know about this stuff, and it shows.


At £599, this stock is a ma­jor in­vest­ment, no doubt about it. This is no mere ac­ces­sory, though; it’s a hugely pos­i­tive move and, like the ac­tion it holds, it’s a dec­la­ra­tion that its owner re­ally does want to be the best they can be. I’m more pas­sion­ate about the ad­van­tages of full-con­trol shoot­ing than I’ve ever been, and us­ing this GRS stock and S510 com­bi­na­tion has con­firmed my ev­ery be­lief. Here’s my de­fin­i­tive sign-off state­ment and I stand by ev­ery word of it; I wish ev­ery shooter with the de­sire to suc­ceed, could en­joy the ben­e­fits of a stock as good as this GRS model, be­cause what it brings re­ally could change the whole game for them.

See you next month for a closer study of what this stock could do for you. I

Above: Whether in sport­ing hold ... Right Inset: ... or in tar­get stance, this GRS stock is sim­ply su­perb.

Be­low Left: Just press the small but­ton and the butt pad slides up and down. Mid­dle: Squeeze the large ad­justers for an in­stant re­sponse from the cheek piece and pull length. Right: The GRS grip de­sign is a work of ge­nius.

Above: The GRS PCP stock is a su­perb ex­am­ple of stock­man­ship and the per­fect com­pan­ion for the Air Arms ac­tion.

Above Left: Just drop in that tried and tested ac­tion, fix with the sin­gle stock bolt, and you’re ready to go. Mid­dle: You can see the ‘cast’ of that glo­ri­ous grip. Right: Squishyest, grip­pyest, butt pad ... ever.

Above: ... and fully ex­tended.

Above: Ad­justers fully re­tracted ...

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