Mark Camoccio looks at how to make a simple stock raiser/hamster to enhance performance
Fancy making your own stock raiser? Mark Camoccio shows you how it’s done
Last month, we started to look at the benefits of a deep stock and the use of a stock raiser/ hamster where appropriate. Specialist target models such as the Air Arms FTP900 offer all manner of add- ons as standard, including an elaborate raiser block at the front. Other dedicated guns have emerged, aimed at the sport of HFT, with perhaps the BSA Goldstar SE and the Air Arms HFT 500 the most notable players; both offering fully adjustable woodwork for the discerning enthusiast. Yet for now, it has to be a cause for celebration that HFT still attracts a good mix of more basic models, and whilst many match rifles are in use, there are far more slim-line sporting guns on the course, than in FT, for example. I’ve enjoyed a good few years competing with my S400, and whilst this still has
the factory walnut stock in place, the addition of a stock raiser or ‘hamster’ has well and truly transformed the handling for competition.
Not everyone wants to use cumbersome, heavy match fare, and the addition of a hamster allows for a more slim- line rifle configuration to be used, with just an enhanced deeper section where we need it. Whichever route is taken, whether a full custom stock, or just an add- on accessory, there are rules that govern the depth of the gun’s fore end in HFT, which say this measurement should not exceed 150mm. So, it goes without saying that any DIY project needs to conform to this specification, in order to be legal for a competition.
This month, we are going to look at what’s involved in making our own stock raiser, so if the idea of raising a drill to your prized stock induces tears, then look away now, as they say.
Firstly, I would recommend making up a temporary block, whether of compressed foam or polystyrene, just to strap in place on the gun and give a feel for whether the
“a stock raiser or ‘ hamster’ has has well and truly transformed the handling for competition”
dimensions are favourable. Vary the height of the raiser until mounting the rifle feels as stress free and as natural as possible, and when all handles correctly, make a note of the rough dimensions, and use this as a template for the piece of wood to be used. The height is also relevant because this dictates the depth of the raiser block itself, and also how long those spacers will have to be.
Now we need to source the small piece of wood for the job. The local timber yard will almost certainly have suitable off- cuts. I used a fairly thin sheet of some form of mahogany for my own rifle, which is quite tough wood, and the friend who donated his rifle for this article, used a thicker slab of the same wood. Most hardwood off- cuts will be fine for the job, though. Next, we need small tubes, either plastic or metal, to act as spacers for the bolts that sit between the stock and the hamster, and then finally, two small screw inserts that can be sourced cheaply enough from the likes of Screwfix.
First job is to drill two holes carefully in the underside of the stock, to the correct depth, and getting these straight and true is the key – I had a friend drill these with a plumb line hanging, whilst I shouted corrections to his drilling angle. Then gently push the screw inserts into the holes so they are snugly recessed, having first applied a small amount of glue
in the holes to hold everything in place. This will need time to dry fully. Now measure the distance between the holes, then drill two holes through the hamster block, the same distance apart. Use a drill bit that can countersink the lip of the holes, and this detail will avoid the head of the bolt being felt when the gun is shouldered.
Spacer tubes of either plastic or metal need to be sourced, as mentioned, and these are held in a vice and cut to the desired height length.
Allow enough time for the glue in the holes to harden, and now the components can be assembled. Obviously, the bolts need to be just the right length so that they feed through the raiser block, through the spacer tube, and then into the recessed threaded insert – tightening up at the end of their travel. If they fail to tighten, the bolts will need to be cut down in length with a hacksaw, or alternative bolts found. Use bolts with hex heads, and then tightening the whole assembly is kept civilised with the appropriate Allen key.
With everything tightened in place, the result is hard to fault. As can be seen, the addition of a stock raiser can be a relatively simple task, effectively upgrading a rifle’s performance, transforming handling, yet costing peanuts. Professionally made accessories are available, of course, but for those prepared to put in a small amount of effort, the satisfaction of a home-made modification such as we see here, can be immensely satisfying.
Careful with those tools, and the best of luck.
My own sporterstocked S400 handles superbly
Use a plumb line and a friend’s guidance for the drilling
Either of these will do as stock inserts
Measure between the holes and replicate the measurement
All you need is a wooden block, two spacers, two bolts, and two stock inserts
Factory stocks can be transformed relatively easily
The exciting bit is final assembly
The bolts thread into the stock inserts