Stocky's Gunstock Blog
America's Gunstock Specialists!
Want a scope that can set-up for your 6.5 Creedmoor handload at 2718 fps with a Berger 140 Hybrid and a G7 B.C. of 0.3110?
Click here for the FREE SOFTWARE DOWNLOADS for these scopes! Simply input the ballistic profile of your load into the Hawke Ballistic Reticle Calculator software (Mac, PC, Android and IPhone) or the even more flexible Hawke X-Act (PC, Mac) software and all the aim points are calculated. The reticles have such useful features as hollow posts that don't obscure targets, range finding brackets, illuminated central aim points and hold over aim points with windage bars and dots. There's a reticle for everyone!
Every so often it is said a blind squirrel finds a really nice nut. Even a Stocky one.
It will come as no surprise to those with whom I shoot that I'm a serial scope switcher. I've just always had a thing for them.
Maybe they already know, but dammit, I'm finally admitting it. But while I'm at it I'd also like to confess that, at least up to this point in my 50-plus year shooting career I have been a scope snob. (I believe the two may go hand-in-hand but I can't be sure.)
Now, a serial scope-switcher you can most likely understand if not identify with. I mean there's a number of uses for various rifles, especially the ones we call "pets." We put them to use at one point hunting pigs from a stand in the Carolinas, then turn right around and haul them to Wyoming for a 685 yard poke at a prairie goat. Which such varied usage it's rare to find one set of telescopic optics that'll find a permanent home on such a rig.
Anyway, back when I was a more normal person - it was also a time so long ago that there wasn't nearly as much selection available, and rarely enough money, so the usual operating procedure was to pick one of the new variable power riflescopes in one of four basic power ranges; 1-4X; 2-7X; 3-9X or 4-12X. If we were really feeling intrepid or owned a 22-250 or Swift, there might even be a 6-18X with an adjustable objective in our collection at some point.
My how times have changed.
As one might expect of one being a gun-nut for so long, I've accumulated a lot of really nice (and some not-so-nice) glass over the years. We're talking Swarovski, Zeiss, Nightforce, Leupold VX-3's and 6's, 30mm tubes and one-inchers, including lots of Bushnell's, Tasco's, Weaver's, and on and on and on.
That's where my snobbery erupts for all to view. When all those Chinese scopes began hitting the market 20 or so years ago I wanted no part of them. I would have nothing to do with a Tasco after I had one on a 10/22 fail miserably, so I lumped everything together and roundly dismissed the whole mess of them.
In the later years rarely could I be seen with anything other than one of the commonly-accepted optical brands, up until a year ago that is. That's when I found myself staring right down the tube of a Hawke, wondering why it was such a well-kept secret.
To say I was impressed would be an understatement. When I found myself reading their reviews online, I knew I had either lost the marbles altogether, or just maybe I was on to something... inspiration!
I've hunted with a Hawke or two for 13 months now, and taken everything from whitetail, through African game (including a cape buffalo) while peering through a Hawke. Yeah, the glass is bright and clear, the adjustments repeatable and reliable (I keep using them when I switch loads) but the real source of my glee is in the form of the aiming point, more precisely the series of aiming points we call a ballistic reticle. .17 M2 / HMR, .22 LR / SUBSONIC or Magnum, .308 / .223 (and any cartridge for that matter) reticles, you name it.
They have reticles for everything from crossbows, air rifles and rimfires, all the way through programmable 1000 yard reticles for the most demanding hunter or target shooter. Sure, if you can afford one of the scopes on the market for literally 5 or 10 times the price of the comparable Hawke or more, go for it! But if you want a solid value in optics suitable for the most demanding conditions, give Hawke a go.
We now have them in stock. All of them. In the unlikely event we happened to sell out of the exact one you want, it only takes us a week at most to get you another one. All at prices that won't put a serial scope switcher or any other kind of gun nut into the poorhouse...
By now you all know we've been busy in SolidWorks® designing new stocks as well as selecting our OEM partners to produce these outstanding new Remington 700 sporting, varmint, target and tactical gun stocks. These completely new, computer-engineered-from-scratch models fall into the four most popular categories of gunstocks in the aftermarket today, our plan is to bring them online in both our $199 base-price glass-filled-nylon (GFN) AccuBlock® stocks as well as in our new $499 base-price pure carbon fiber hand layup (CF) construction platforms.
It should be noted that we have no plans to change our offerings in the $300 base-price category as we feel these are superbly crafted and represented in our community by our partners at Bell & Carlson ($275) and H-S Precision ($350).
Injection Molding Division
Our 2016 S.H.O.T. Show introductions centered around two new technological advancements - 1) reengineering our Bobby Hart Accu.Block® aluminum bedding block for overmolding into a; 2) completely new 40% GFN, vertical grip design stock(s) with patented interchangeable barrel channel inserts.
- $199 Vertical Grip Long Range Sporter
The vertical grip class of stocks have been taking the target /tactical world by storm - this new introduction brings the hunting / sporting world the benefits of VG comfort and controllability at an extremely budget-conscious price.
- $199 M40 / Monte Carlo Style Sporting Tactical w/ interchangeable cheekrest
June 2016 will see this new GFN Accu.Block® rolling out of production and into our warehouses. It made quite a splash at S.H.O.T. with literally every shooter handling the 3D printed Rapid Prototype insisting we not change a thing.
- $TBD Fully Adjustable Target / Tactical
Currently in R&D and scheduled for release early this summer
- $199 Classic Sporter
We anticipate launching the injection molded GFN version of the classic sporters this summer.
Carbon Fiber Division
The biggest problem we have had with carbon fiber stocks is getting them into our warehouse! Literally none of our existing suppliers have been able to meet demand, with lead times extending out four to six months and longer!
Not anymore. We are doing the R&D and distribution and have partnered with our friends and neighbors at AG Composites to hand lay-up and machine inlet them into what promises to be one of the finest stocks to hit the market in over a decade.
All four models will be offered in sporter, varmint and M24 / Proof Research barrel channels out-of-the-box, with the Classic Sporter also available in the Rem Mountain Rifle channel.
- $499 Classic Sporter (26 oz.)
The only classic sporter in the aftermarket for heavier barrels (as well as our Proof Research lightweight Sender barrels), these are available right now on our website.
- $499 Vertical Grip Long Range Sporter (30 oz)
The vertical grip class of stocks have been taking the target /tactical world by storm - this new introduction brings the hunting / sporting world the benefits of VG comfort and controllability at super competitive, ships-today pricing.
- $499 M40 / Monte Carlo Style Sporting Tactical (28 oz)
The new M40 CF will be rolling out of production and into our warehouses later this month (March 2016). It made quite a splash at S.H.O.T. with literally every shooter handling the 3D printed Rapid Prototype insisting we not change a thing.
- $TBD Fully Adjustable Target / Tactical
Currently in R&D and scheduled for release early this summer.
- $199 Vertical Grip Long Range Sporter
Finished Weights By Bore (Nominal)
1.200" Sendero Light
Take-Off Barrels From Factory 700’s
Factory 700 - 24” Sporter (.308)
2 lb 8 oz
Factory 700 - 26” Sendero
3 lb 12 oz
Factory 700 - 26” Varmint (.224)
4 lb 10 oz
By rebarreling your rifle with a premium barrel rather than simply buying a new rifle with a standard factory barrel you are right to expect a significantly better result in not only enhanced ballistic performance, but also a big improvement in accuracy, appearance and pride of ownership. On top of it all, you'll enjoy this level of performance tailor-made to your specific requirements, are able to convert an old hunting rifle to a more modern tactical or target rifle, a heavy rifle to a featherweight sporter, etc..
Because of this we are getting several questions daily about possible cartridge options when rebarreling so I've prepared some guidelines below. The reasons for doing this are numerous, but as a serial barrel-switcher I've learned from my own mistakes that some conversions are far easier to pull off than others.
Here are a few options for improving your rifle's accuracy and ballistic performance:
Short Sction - Small
".17 Rem, .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .223 Ackley Imp, 222 Rem Mag Ackley Imp, .223 Wylde, 5.56 NATO, 6mm-.204 Ruger, 6x45, 6x47, .300 Whisper"
Short Action - Standard
".224 WBY, .22 BR, .22-250 Ackley, .220 Swift, 6mm BR, .243 Win, 6mm Rem, .250 Savage, .257 Ackley Imp, .260 Rem, 6.5-08, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem, .284 Win, .308 Win, .338 Federal"
Short Action - Magnum
".223 WSSM, .243 WSSM, 6mm WSM, .257 WSM, 6.5 WSM, 6.5 Rem Mag, .270 WSM, 7mm SAUM, 7mm WSM, .300 SAUM, .300 WSM, .300 RCM, .325 WSM, .350 Rem Mag"
Long Action - Standard
".240 WBY, 6mm-06, .25-06, 6.5-284 Norma, 6.5-06, 6.5x55, 6.5x57, .270 Win, .280 Ackley Imp, .30-06, .338-06, .35 Whelen, .375 Whelen"
Long Action Magnum
".257 WBY, .257 Ultra, .264 Win Mag, .26 Nosler, .270 WBY, 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm STW, 7mm RUM, .300 Win Mag, .300 WBY, .300 H&H Mag, .308 Norma, .30-338, .300 RUM, 8mm Rem Mag, .338 Win Mag, .340 WBY, .338 RUM, .375 Ruger, .375 RUM, .416 Rem Mag, .416 Ruger"
Long Action Magnum XL
".30-.378 WBY, .338 Lapua, .378 WBY, .416 Rigby, .460 WBY"
The next thing to consider (assuming your cartridge will fit into the receiver) is to keep the smoothest, most reliable possible cartridge feeding. While it's true you can easily swap bolts out to make your .30-06 into a .300 Mag, the next question you have to ask yourself is whether or not your conversion will feed well. There's an easy way to accomplish this and a hard way.
The easy way to be sure your new cartridge will feed like greased-lightning is to treat your rifle to a new detachable magazine upgrade for the appropriate round if it's available. Literally all of the DM's we carry (M4, M5 and H-S) feed the next round from the center of the magazine, eliminating the various internal mag boxes, springs and followers that came with the rifle. Additionally, by bypassing the receiver's feed rails and ramp you are assured that it will feed perfectly, especially if, for example, you are upgrading from a .30-06 to a .300 Mag (or a belted magnum to an Ultra, a .223 to a .243, etc.) by having the bolt altered or replaced.
That said, some of the easiest ways to get improved performance and keep your standard factory bottom metal is by simply having the new barrel chambered for a cartridge that's based on the same cartridge family. For example, one of the flattest-shooting, most accurate cartridges in the .243 / .308 Winchester family is the exciting new 6.5 Creedmoor. Similarly, nearly any old .25-06, .270 or .30-06 can be easily rebarreled to the long-range powerhouse .280 Rem Ackley Improved and some very fine 140 and 160 grain factory loads had for it directly from Nosler that feed perfectly in unaltered receivers.
This of course is a partial list however I think you'll find the vast majority of factory rounds as well as wildcats well-represented - just compare the dimensions within each category to your proposed cartridge.
Any gunsmith that specializes in rebarreling will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, as will we by phone, email or chat. Just remember, as a rule of thumb, the closer your new round is to the important dimensions of case rim diameter and cartridge overall length as the original round, the easier your conversion will be.
In a previous post we touched on a brief history of the vertical grip tactical gunstock, its roots in John Browning's 1911 pistols as well as its nearly universal acceptance in the military and police market. This trend is now expanding to include our latest sporting rifles from ultralight hunting stocks to mid-weight varmint / senderos.
Here's our most popular offerings:
Manner's Elite Hunter EH-1
All of these rifle stocks offer a previously unheard of combination of ergonomic shoot-ability, long-range accuracy and convenient carry-ability. Skeptical?
I too was a skeptic until I took one to the range, and have been hunting almost exclusively with one of the above stocks for over two years and more than 20 head of big game in the bag with one as I write this. If you haven't tried them, there's no time like the present. I find it very, very hard to believe you'll be disappointed...
John Browning designed 1911 .45 ACP so that the grip would naturally be at the angle from the barrel that most American soldiers would use to throw a punch. This was an evolutionary development from the earliest handguns that were assembled with stocks with far more rearward rake. The same may be said of American long arms, early black powder rifles had little or no pistol grip, indeed a straight hand gripping area that required some rather interesting contortions of the wrist for a modern gunner to even shoot.
Over the course of the past 100 years this has evolved. No longer must the shooter contort his structure to the rifle, the rifle has been sometimes radically redesigned to fit the shooter. Although some shooters required more convincing than others, nowhere has this become more evident than in the design of the modern AR-15 rifle as well as long range sniper rifles developed following the Vietnam war. As with many new firearm developments, the US Military has led the way, eventually with the rest of the country's hunters and shooters in tow.
This trend in vertical grip bolt action rifle stocks is now gaining momentum. Nearly every stock designer is incorporating a more vertical grip into their designs, for good reason. Not only is the vertical gripped rifle more comfortable to shoot, but it also comes to the shoulder more naturally, settles on to the target more quickly, offers greater trigger control and faster recovery from recoil for follow-up shots. Even though it sometimes takes an older shooter a little time to "get used to" it is time well spent, lets take a few moments to look at what you may have been missing...
As mentioned above, American military as well as police are often leading the world in the use of new and improved firearm designs. Here's a few examples, all available at Stocky's webstore:
Bell & Carlson 2092 Series
Bell & Carlson 2094 Series
Bell & Carlson 2956 Series
H-S Precision M24 Series Fixed
H-S Precision M24 Series Adjustable
Manner's T2 / T4 Series
Coming Soon: Vertical Grip Varminters & Sporters
I was faced with a pressing problem - there was a tiny little prehistoric-looking animal called a dik-dik required by Safari Club International to qualify for my African 29 Grand Slam, a long-held dream of completing. Now there six different species of these diminutive little creatures recognized by SCI but they all seemed to require lengthy and rather expensive jaunts into the plains, deserts and/or jungles of the Dark Continent to acquire. Enter the Damara variety...
Named after the peoples that inhabited most of central Namibia prior to the mid-19th century, this little creature could be hunted a short flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, so my outfitter Jacques Senekal / Africa Maximum Safari made arrangements for Johnny Schickering, owner of Namibian-based Agarob Safaris to meet us in Windhoek where we'd spend a week chasing them about the thornbush.
I've been on many hunts that Jacques arranged so my (his) PH Walla and I met Johnny at the Windhoek airport and lit out on a three-or-so hour drive to a farm where they were reported to scurry about in great numbers. What I failed to plan on was nearly breaking my big toe right out of the chute, however. Stubbing my barefoot rather briskly on the one small step-up to my room almost immediately after arrival let me know right away it was bound to be an interesting hunt.
As usual, Jacques (and, as it turned out Johnny) had done their homework very well - we had the little bugger sorted out within a couple hours on the first morning out - so Johnny suggested we light-out after lunch to his farm (cattle ranch) and see what other kind of table fare we could bring to bag from the back of his horses.
We were greeted at the Agarob Safari lodge and homestead by Johnny's lovely wife Mariana. As we discovered this operation is very much a family affair with Johnny doing the guiding and Mariana the hostessing and cooking. And the entertaining. And the bags of frozen veggies for ice packs on sore toes. Man, those sure did help! Good thing we were hunting on horses...
The SOP at Agarob is to have Johnny's wranglers head out into the hills with the horses well before dawn while we enjoy a leisurely java or two with breakfast. Grab the rifles and hop into the Land Cruiser for a hour's worth of 4X4'ing to the horses, then mount-up for the day's hunt somewhere on Johnny & Mariana's 37,000 acre mountain haven. By taking the truck the hunters save a few hours of riding and can get right down to business when they get there, bit of logistical genius if you ask me. Great opportunity to catch a bit of the Zzzzzz's too.
The hunt itself went great, collecting a couple of Hartmann's mountain zebra, pretty much an exclusive to Namibia, and a nice bull gemsbok. In case you didn't know, by the way, for some reason the plains game in this area are real monsters, like South African game on steroids. On top of that they are all free-ranging, no high-fences or game feeders.
Kudu, Steenbok, Klipspringer, Warthog, Black and Blue Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Blesbok, and Springbok, are also roaming free on the ranch so it's be pretty easy to make a very fruitful week or two out of the whole experience. One particular moment I recall was sitting on horseback hunting in the Namibian mountains, and actually pinching myself to be sure it wasn't a dream.
But one thing I'm absolutely sure of, it certainly was, and is, a dream come true.
I recently returned from a 28 day trek into some the wilder portions southern Africa in pursuit of not only Namibian, free-ranging plains game, but also into Zimbabwe for a shot at the elusive leopard as well as an elephant to complete not only the Big Five but also the SCI African 29 Grand Slam. But first a little back-story...
I have been focusing my hunting Africa for two years now following my return to health after a fairly bad motorcycle accident that left me essentially unable to walk more than a 100 yards on my right knee for about 5 years (2007-2012). I had some ground to make up so I made a promise to myself that if and when I recovered I'd go on two major hunts annually for the five years, making up for the years I was hobbled. It'd also be a great opportunity to put our goods to the test.
When the exchange rates started falling Africa got the nod - with completing the Africa 29 (taking representative animals from 29 different categories including the Big Five) became the goal, something no one to my knowledge has ever accomplished in under two years, and with certain reasonable exceptions due to trophy prices and availability, the goal was to have every animal score well enough to make it into the Safari Club International Record Book.
On April 14th, 2015 the quest the 29 was completed in 1 year, 11 months and 10 days (710 days) with a grand total of exactly 40 animals "making the book." Of these nine have been officially ranked by method in the SCI Top Ten including the largest lion taken in Africa in over five years. Well over 90% of them have been one-shot kills, while on the flip side just one animal was wounded and lost.
Suffice it to say that it has been not only an adventure but perhaps even more importantly quite a number of lessons have been learned from both successes and failures. I'm finding the knowledge gained from harvesting about 40 animals with a rifle and a dozen or so with a crossbow, animals ranging in size from the tiny Damara dik-dik to the biggest game on the planet at distances ranging from 10 yards to over 500 yards, is invaluable - much has been learned using our industry's more current firearm innovations to boot! This is certain to influence not only our product line-ups but also the advice that we will be passing along to our valued clientele in the blog posts to come as well as on the phone and in response to your emails. It also encompassed the development and refinement of two specialized rifles for the variety of tasks at hand, all using upgrades that can of course be purchased right on this site and with the exception of the barrels, installed on your kitchen table.
(If you'd like to chat with me directly with any specific questions just ask for Stocky and reference this post.)
In the upcoming post I'll take you along with on the Namibian horseback hunt for Hartmann Mountain Zebra and some huge gemsbok; following that into Zimbabwe to accomplish the "impossible" - leopard and elephant on the same two-week excursion. Along the way we'll discuss the reasoning behind my choices of rifles and cartridges as well as the stocks, bottom metals and optics chosen specifically based upon the weaknesses uncovered in the previous four safaris, do please do stay tuned...