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Swamp Yankee
July 8, 2005, 09:57 PM
My nephew wants me to swap out the factory stock on his Savage 10FP.

I found some decent looking Bell & Carlson stocks on Midway's website. Anyone have any comments on this stock? How about other suggestions and options? Would like to stay around $125 or so.
As always, Thanks in advance for the responses.
Take Care

cntryboy1289
July 9, 2005, 01:14 AM
For less than that you can get a Boyd's target stock or thumb hole stock. I like the feel of wood myself and use their stocks a good bit. I also like the Fajen ace varminter. Either one comes complete and inletted or you can get a virtual inlet and let him finish the stock and save a little money. I would suggest a bottle of Arrow's wood finish. It is extremely hard to mess up and it seals the wood as well as gives a durable oil finish.

Unclenick
July 9, 2005, 09:01 AM
I bought both Choate's Ultimate Sniper and Ultimate Varmint stocks for the 10FP. How this came about was, I first took the rifle through the PR1 class at Gunsite with its original stock. I found that the Savage stock lacked rigidity in the forestock. The tip of the stock pushed up and rubbed the underside of the barrel and spoiled accuracy when I used my bipod (which they have you do frequently in that class).

I subsequently got the Chaote Ultimate Sniper stock from Brownells http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=4208&title=TARGET+%26+SNIPER+STOCK. I love its action bedding block, a one-piece machined aluminum V-bed insert molded into the stock and hardened allen-head cap screws to pull the receiver solidly into the "V". The screws take about three times normal stock screw torque (in fact I used a torque wrench to install them, per instructions). No glass or rubber bedding compounds to mess with. The gun DOES NOT MOVE in this stock. Mechanically, the 10FP went from a 1 m.o.a. gun (1 1/2 m.o.a with bi-pod engaged and rubbing up front) to a 1/2 m.o.a. gun all around. What an improvement!

I next took this stock to the Long Range Firing School (LRFS) which is conducted at Camp Perry near the end of the National Matches each year. Spending a lot of time in prone position, I found two ergonomic problems with the Choate design: First, the forestock's hand grip area is recessed up into it just ahead of the action, allowing the front-most portion of the stock to be sloped so an accessory rail-attached bi-pod has more terrain adjustment for ranging. The back edge of the front end is square with radiused corners. Slung-up in the classic prone position I lean against that squared area with my support hand. Even with a shooting glove on, my index finger first joint knuckle got quite sore after much of this. In the PR1 class or in actual sniper deployment this is not likely to become an issue, as the slung-up prone position used at the target range is seldom employed in these circumstances. The sniper can almost always use the bi-pod instead (not legal in a bulls eye shooting match), and field terrain is usually not accommodating of the classic sling prone position anyway.

The second ergonomic problem was this stock's molded cheek pieces, designed to accommodate shooting from both sides, just don't even come close to fitting me. I am a stock crawler, and I not only had to extend the existing cheek piece forward, I had to tape a thick piece of split plumbing pipe insulation on top of it to get it tall enough to touch my face.

So, the following year, still loving the Choate bedding block, I bought the their Ultimate Varmint stock http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=4209&title=ULTIMATE+VARMINT+STOCK. I used the accessory rail to attach an aluminum target shooter's hand rest that took care of the knuckle problem. The cheek piece issue was still present, so I still taped on the foam pipe insulation. I took the gun back to the LRFS at Camp Perry, and while perusing Commercial Row, I bought an adjustable cheek piece mount to replace that improvisation with something permanent after I got home. In the school that year I fired a 99 on my first target (800 yards; sighters followed by the string of 10 for score, with no spotters between shots). I had correctly called the flyer 9.

I should mention here that the LRFS is conducted by the world’s best long range shooters. Middleton Thompkins (more gold medals than any other individual long range shooter) runs the school and his wife, Nancy Gallagher-Thompkins, together with her daughters, all current world champions, assist. In pre-Iraq days the Marine Scout-Sniper/Marksmanship unit volunteered as line coaches. That year my dad and I attended together and drew Gunny Seargent Carlos Hathcock III as our line coach. So, as you might imagine, at that point I was just glad the rifle wasn’t embarrassing me (funny looking cheek piece not withstanding).

So, the Choate system mechanics and features are great; their ergonomics marginal. Also, these are thermoplastic stocks and are molded around the bedding block. They are heavy, as a result, and not what the average hunter would want to lug around. For a sniper sitting on station or for a varmint shooter with a bench, that weight helps keep things still.

The Bell and Carlson Carbelite stocks are indeed light. Back in the early 90’s some friends and I bought several surplus Columbian ’98 large ring Mausers to pull the worn barrels and make sporting rifles using the actions. I put one together in .308 to take to Gunsite’s 270 class, but didn’t quite get it finished in time. I wound up taking an M1-A at the last minute (a good choice for me, despite the extra weight, since I won the shoot-off at the end of the class with it). Anyway, I had put a new Shilen barrel and a Carbelite stock and Timney trigger I got from Midway on the Mauser, thinking to create an ersatz scout rifle. Weight-wise, this worked well. I enlarged the barrel channel using an appropriate size Sears drill accessory sanding drum as a sanding block, going back and forth by hand until I had a good 1/8” barrel clearance scooped out. A lot of people don’t like that much clearance, but I value function first.

B&C recommends not bedding these stocks until you know they won’t shoot as-is. Glass bedding locks the gun in hard into position and interferes with the shock absorbing properties of the Carbelite material. I found the Mauser action whippy enough that it needed some extra support, so I compromised, using Devcon Flexane 80 putty rather than hard glass bedding. This 2-part rubberized polyurethane compound leaves some rebound flexibility and still serves to get the gun back in place after each shot. I got that gun down to 1 m.o.a. at 100 yards, but that was about the limit. I concluded I would have to spend some considerable additional effort to shrink that further, so I left it as-is. Just fine for field shooting out to 250 yards, knowing many hunters take farther shots with less accurate rifles, but not being comfortable with the idea of doing so myself.

I hope my experiences with the 10FP help you make up your mind.

Nick

Swamp Yankee
July 9, 2005, 03:59 PM
Unclenick,

Many thanks for the links and in depth description. It took a great deal of time for you to put that response together, and I am indeed appreciative.
I discussed with my nephew, (college student on a real tight budget), and both options are out of his price range.
You are indeed correct about the factory stock and bipod issue. That's what got this whole stock project started. As I said he's on a real tight budget, we bought the rifle in .308 used (in like new condition) for $300 out the door. He added a Bushnell Legend 5-15X40 with mildot reticle scope, a set of Weaver bases and Burris Signature Zee rings. Total into the gun is just over $500. I gave him the Harris bipod for his birthday and that's when the stock became an issue.
He's doing real well with this rifle out to 300 yards. Definately a shooter. He's already requesting a scope upgrade for Christmas. I told him we'll see after he gets his grades. Nothing like a little incentive.
Right now the Bell & Carlson looks like the best bet, but keep those thoughts and suggestions coming.
Take Care

cntryboy1289
July 9, 2005, 07:21 PM
Have him sand out the barrel channel using a piece of tubing with a piece of 80 grit wrapped around it. Most of the time the reason a bipod gives trouble is the upward pressure of the stock moves the POI around due to the stock being pushed up into the barrel. Free float the original stock and see if this helps. Last time I checked, this was the cheapest fix for the problem. If he wants a new stock, the Boyd's I mentioned to you earlier only costs around $80, a might cheaper than the Bell and Carlson.

Unclenick
July 11, 2005, 09:10 AM
I had good clearance on the original Savage stock I had, it is just way too flimsy to allow any weight to bear on the front, and I am afraid thinning that particular material will just make it flimsier still, offsetting the channel cutting work. It's a thermoplastic that's been heavily plasticized. Probably to give it a lowered glass transition point for cold weather. Think rubberized.

I was going to suggest a stiffener. If you know someone with a milling machine or are very patient with a Dremel and a ball-end cutter, you could put three or four small channels in the bottom of the barrel channel to allow you to glue some 1/8" or even 3/16" music wire rods in place (available at the hobby shop for airplane landing gear). You might even let the bedding compound set up with a 10 lb weight hanging off the tip so it biases the deflection down to neutralize the upward bi-pod pressure.

I'll warn you I've never actually tried this. It is just speculation on my part.

Nick