Mark Camoc­cio takes us through the de­tails of the all-im­por­tant gun fit, and ad­justable stocks

Mark Camoc­cio takes a look at gun fit, and the value of ad­justable stocks

Air Gunner - - Contents -

I f you stop to con­sider the in­cred­i­ble choice of hard­ware on of­fer to to­day’s air­gun en­thu­si­ast, it’s true to say that we re­ally have ‘never had it so good’. Of course, there is an abun­dance of ba­sic mod­els at the en­try level end, but man­u­fac­tur­ers are in­creas­ingly cater­ing for the more dis­cern­ing shooter, who ap­pre­ci­ates the value of more so­phis­ti­cated ad­justable stocks.

RE­FINE­MENT

As usual, if you want to take just a sim­ple ap­proach, and en­joy shoot­ing at a ba­sic level, then why not? We do all take dif­fer­ent things from our favourite sport, but for some of us, whether com­pe­ti­tion shoot­ing, or hunt­ing, hon­ing our skills, and max­imis­ing per­for­mance is all part of the at­trac­tion. Fall into the lat­ter group, and you’ll soon ap­pre­ci­ate that ev­ery el­e­ment of the equip­ment needs to be fo­cused upon and fine- tuned, and that process starts with feel­ing to­tally com­fort­able and re­laxed when tak­ing the shot.

Stock fit is the name of the game, and whilst I have ‘got away’ with us­ing many a stan­dard pro­duc­tion stock with lit­tle or no ad­just­ment over the years, you’d be amazed at the dif­fer­ence that some ad­justable el­e­ments can make to the over­all set-up.

ONE SIZE …

Quite un­der­stand­ably, man­u­fac­tur­ers de­sign a par­tic­u­lar model to fit an av­er­age build, and by def­i­ni­tion, that means it might well work for a size­able per­cent­age of shoot­ers,

who hap­pened to have the right di­men­sions. Fall out­side that ideal size range, and you could find your­self ‘mak­ing do’ and stretch­ing and strain­ing where you shouldn’t be.

The cheap­est op­tion can be to mod­ify your ex­ist­ing stock, and if you’re good at DIY then you might feel com­pe­tent enough to take a hack­saw to the butt, and trim a length off, for ex­am­ple. A fright­en­ing prospect for many, but an in­creas­ing num­ber of spe­cial­ist, af­ter- mar­ket cus­tom stocks are now avail­able, to fit sev­eral of the more pop­u­lar air­guns, al­low­ing the shooter to al­ter each el­e­ment so that gun fit is just right. More up- mar­ket mod­els, such as the Ul­ti­mate Sporter, from Air Arms, come fit­ted with stocks that have ad­justable sec­tions, and again, this al­lows the user to set the gun to suit their build. An ev­er­in­creas­ing num­ber of air­guns at the lower end are com­ing with some sort of ad­just­ment, so I’m go­ing to fo­cus here on the mer­its of ad­just­ing the stock, and the sim­ple process be­hind the set- up.

START­ING AT THE BACK

Length of pull is the dis­tance be­tween the shoul­der and the trig­ger blade, and a sim­ple way to check for cor­rect length of pull is to sit the ri­fle’s butt in the crook of the el­bow, and see where the trig­ger fin­ger nat­u­rally falls. If it falls a fair way for­ward, then the butt sec­tion of the stock is too short. If your fin­ger is hov­er­ing be­hind the trig­ger, then the butt is pos­si­bly too long. Strain­ing to reach the trig­ger is less than ideal, so in this sit­u­a­tion, adding or re­mov­ing spac­ers at the butt, could make all the dif­fer­ence.

Achiev­ing the right an­gle for the trig­ger arm, is all af­fected by the mount­ing point of the butt in the shoul­der, and here, adding an ad­justable butt pad if there isn’t one al­ready, can make a big dif­fer­ence. The old pad is prob­a­bly fixed with two screws which are sunk and hid­den in­side the rub­ber. Force a screw­driver in­side the rub­ber if you can see the small en­try marks, lo­cate the screws, and unscrew. The pad might also be bonded on, which could re­quire gen­tly cut­ting away with a craft knife.

The cheaper type of ad­justable add- on butt pad will have a small metal plate screwed to the gun, and the pad sec­tion then at­taches to this, which can then be moved up and down the axis and locked into po­si­tion at the de­sired point. Slide the pad down, and lock it off, and the ri­fle now sits much higher in the shoul­der, with the same mount­ing point in the shoul­der. Al­ter the set height if you find your­self strain­ing, and again nip up the bolt when all feels right. Sight line can be aided up to a point with this accessory, but it is more about gen­eral im­prove­ment in grip and mount­ing.

In­creas­ingly pop­u­lar at the mo­ment, is the butt hook, which again can be bought as an add- on accessory, al­though main­tain­ing a pro­fes­sional fit will de­pend on buy­ing a ver­sion to fit a spe­cific model rather than a gen­eral spec. FT and lat­terly HFT com­pe­ti­tion has spawned the use of these de­vices, and they nor­mally have three or four ad­justable metal sec­tions, that can be tweaked to suit. Just bear in mind that as you in­crease or de­crease the length of the butt end, bal­ance and han­dling of the ri­fle over­all will also be al­tered.

Next month, I’ll look at fac­tory ad­justable stocks and how to get the best from them.

“ever- in­creas­ing num­ber of air­guns at the lower end are com­ing with some sort of ad­just­ment”

ABOVE: Ad­justable stocks can make a huge dif­fer­ence

LEFT: Stock ad­just­ments can be so­phis­ti­cated

TOP LEFT: Pro­duc­tion stocks of­ten have a low comb TOP RIGHT: You shouldn’t have to strain to reach the trig­ger

ABOVE LEFT: Man­u­fac­tur­ers are adding ad­justable el­e­ments to more ba­sic guns ABOVE RIGHT: This is a good way to test length of pull

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