Mark Camoccio tests a competition stock to fit his Air Arms S410
Mark Camoccio tests a competition stock from Aeron on his Air Arms S410
Ive been involved in airgun competition shooting for many years now, and a big attraction for me and many fellow enthusiasts, is the experimental side, as we strive to extract maximum performance from our equipment. Of course, if you want success in FT or the increasingly popular discipline of hunter field target shooting, then the starting point is a pin- accurate rifle capable of incredibly tight groupings downrange. Once you’ve established that a particular gun is up to the job, though, it then comes down to just how well you can steer and control this match- grade machine, in the heat of competition, when the pressure is really on.
Customisation of the kit is extremely popular, as a wealth of keen competitors try their best to adapt and improve, to make their rifle and stock fit them better, and minimise strain along the way, but whilst home DIY modification has its place, and of course, can benefit shooters on a budget, many shooters are prepared to invest in their favourite sport, in a bid to improve their scores.
Sure Shot Airguns have identified this need in the market, and they now import some impressive custom stocks, made to fit some of the leading brands of airgun available. The ACZ Ultra stocks are manufactured by Aeron, a company in the Czech Republic, and are designed to be fully adjustable so that the shooter can subtly alter all the key elements, to custom fit his or her body dimensions.
These stocks are very simple to fit, and are a great way to upgrade your existing rifle, just to alter handling and fit, whilst keeping all the technical performance of the action that already works well. For example, the stock designed for the Air Arms S400/ S500 Series of models is very easy to fit, by removing the single, chunky stock bolt and then dropping the action straight into the ACZ stock. If there is snugness around the gauge area – sometimes these can be fitted a bit off to one side – then the chassis can be quickly undone to make the gap larger; most should drop straight in, though. The design sees the action only held tight along the length of the breech block, with the rest of the cylinder unsupported and allowed to flex freely, just as it should be.
Constructed from high- strength Duralumin AW7070, and finished in a hard, black anodized coating to a thickness of 50 microns, there is understandably a very durable feel to the ACZ design. In addition, the three wooden elements – the cheek piece, pistol grip, and palm rest – can be specified either in black lacquer, or a laminate wood finish, and I can certainly vouch for the pleasant grippy feel to the black lacquer on test. At 4.6lbs, these stocks are heavier than the standard wooden item being replaced, but to many, that is a bonus for stability and a change in weight distribution.
Once in place, adjusting these stocks should be done in a careful measured way, piece by piece, and over several sessions, rather than rushed in any way. Whilst earlier versions had a far simpler ‘hamster’ section, this latest design now gets
the fully adjustable hamster as standard, which can be altered for height, position and angles, all at the tweak of a series of Allen bolts. There’s the run of the accessory rail to play with too, so it’s nothing if not versatile. The position of the pistol grip can be changed, by unscrewing the bottom bolt, and resetting the grip into one of four pre- drilled mounting holes, effectively altering length of pull. Elsewhere, the cheek piece position/height, and angle and height of the butt hook, are all easily adjusted, again by slackening Allen bolts, making the adjustments as necessary, then re- tightening when all falls naturally into place.
Various optional extras are available, such as a counterweight bar with weights, for example, andthis simply screws into the butt hook assembly, using any of the predrilled holes, then weights can be added or removed to suit.
At the end of the day, it’s all about setting up the stock to fit the individual, so that a consistent, easily attainable, and repeatable sight picture and mounting position can be adopted, with minimal muscle strain along the way – and with that goal in mind, these ACZ Ultra stocks have to be seen as a big advantage, for any serious enthusiast.
ABOVE: Transform your rifle’s handling with the ACZ Ultra stock
LEFT: Angle the butt if you like
BELOW: The ACZ Ultra stock from Aeron
Note the length can be adjusted
This shows the rear section that supports the action
This shows the cheek piece adjuster
Fitting is simple with just the one stock bolt for S400/ S500 models