View Full Version : Home made cheek piece for Scoped M1A

November 17, 2012, 11:44 PM
Photos below of the first prototype of a cheek piece I am making for my M1A. This is to raise the comb to optimize cheek weld so that I get a great and repeatable sight picture through the scope.

Shape is slightly irregular at this point as I am still perfecting it. I will probably shave down the right side quiite a bit.

Ideally I will get it cut down and fit it within the leather cheekpiece from Springfield. The rubber piece shown goes on the buttstock, then the cheekpiece, then the leather will go around it.

If that won't work, the plan is to mount it to the stock with stainless steel screws. I am not intersted in adjustability so it will be a solid mount, not like the Springield 'sniper' rifles with adjustable cheek pieces.

Any comments or recommendations welcome.

Brief description of how it is made follows pictures




This cheekpiece is made from solid American Walnut. I bought a large chunk at "Woodcraft" for about 10 bucks - enough to srew up making this piece about 5 times over :-)

So basically I used a band saw to cut a 6 inch by 2 inch by 2 inch piece, then used a needle gage to check the profile of the stock at each end of approximately where the cheekpiece would go. Then I just marked the cheekpiece and cut it out using woodworking tools like a roto tools, dremel, sanders. once the rough cutting was done I have several small planes and mini-finger planes that I used to finalize the shape before finish sanding with progressively finer grit, finishing at 1500 grit.

The finish is Old English and a little bit of random "dark wood" stain from a furniture repair stain pen. Then I rubbed in a few coats of boiled linseed oil.

THis finish will get messed up a bit as I keep adjusting the profile, but it was a good experiment to match the wood grain of the rifle and now that I have the recipe, repeating it will be simple.

If you have an M1A and are interested in discussing further how to make something like this, PM me.

November 18, 2012, 07:12 AM
Nice job. I have seen guys use a reproduction cheek piece for a No4(T) Enfield. Considered one myself but don't want to put two holes on the butt stock, too nice of wood.

November 18, 2012, 11:33 AM
Yeah i hear you about having reservations about putting holes in the stock. What I am thinking about is if I do go that route, I will seat stainless steel threaded inserts in the stock - the kind that are designed be put into wood, for example for the assembly of furniture. Then if I were to remvoe the cheek piece what I'd see is two stainless steel inserts. This would not look original obviously, but on the other hand, obviously this is a customization. As long as it looks professional I'm happy.

With any luck though I won't have to go that route - I'll be able to get the cheek piece profiled down enough so the leather piece will lace around it, holding it on with clamping pressure. the trick is to keep enough of the cheek piece height that it still raises the comb adequately.

will post pics as I trial and error this.

thinking also of just making a very simple piece that sits on top of the comb of the stock - just a spacer. will evaluate this against the larger wooden piece.

November 18, 2012, 11:40 AM
Nice job! You could probably sell those....

November 18, 2012, 02:14 PM
Looking good Herman!

November 18, 2012, 09:31 PM
This is the final version.

I ended up cutting about 2 inches off the length and taking down the profile a little bit in order to get it to a size that the leather cheek piece would fit on top


As planned, once it was stained to match the stock I place it on the stock on top of a rubber pad. this is the kind of pad they make for tool chest drawer liners.


Then the classic leather cheekpiece from SA fits on that, although the leather string it comes with is about 1 foot too short. While I'm looking for a longer leather string I used a spare boot lace.


The combination of the wooden riser and the leather - with a bit of trial and error to get the position right - came together, then i cinched down the boot string and it seems like its not going anywhere.

As I'm hunting w this gun, below is one more shot - this of the stock being coated in a cammo wrap. this is the kind that has no adhesive - its liek the new wraps physicians use - it sticks to itself. w the moving parts on an M1 I will have to have some of the action and wood exposed, but a good bit of it will be cammo.


November 18, 2012, 09:46 PM
very nice only one problem... once ya finish making something nice you seem to find other things that need attention:) WHAT:eek: the dresser is un-level i should re-veneer it...quick to the hardware store.
really, nice job!!

November 19, 2012, 09:00 AM
yeah. hah! so many projects around the house to do, not the least of which is a full car restoration. have been pre-occupied w accurizing and customizing this rifle the last several weeks, but short of glass bedding it, which it doesnt seem to need yet, I am out of stuff to do to it!

November 20, 2012, 11:59 AM
Don't just settle on a shape let it evolve into a final form. You might want to round the nose down a bit. Good job.


November 24, 2012, 02:16 PM
MJ1 - very wise...

Actually I found that i wasnt happy w the cheekpiece I had. Basically, a) it wasn't putting eye right on the scope without paralax because it wasnt raising high enough, and b) it didnt fill the entire leather piece, and c) it therefore was possible to make it move.

Here is the latest version. I used paper to make a template from the leather piece, and measured more carefully to project what height would put eye on the scope.


When I put this one on, now if fills the leather piece from front to rear, and its the right height. One issue though is the leather was no longer able to fasten, or if it did, the leather strings would be on wood, and that wouldn't be stable as they'd move too easily. So you can see in the lower part of this picture that I modified the leather cheeek piece. I bought a bag of leather remnants to use for knife scabbards, and found a piece that was a pretty good match, then sewed it to the leather using an awl.


You can see the new piece from this side. Next time I am going to take the leather off, I will trim it down a little better. Also when I put weather protection on it, the leather darkened, but its not an unpleasant color combo. FYI to anyone doing this, you can get the awl, the leather remnants, and huge lengths of leather to stitch with at Hobby Town. Also buy a crochet needle if you can stand to go to the yarn department. The little hooks on the ends of these needles help to grab the leather string and pull it very taught. This is key to keeping the whole wood and leather cheekpiece combination from moving.

MJ1, you can also see in this shot I profiled the wood to follow the curve of the leatherpiece - its almost perfect.


Headed to the range in about an hour. WIll be trialing this new cheekpiece plus Sadlak National Match gaspiston, Sadlak National Match Guide rod, and shimmed gas cylinder. Will be shooting these hand loads: 150 gr Hornady BTSP powered by Varget and Winchester primers.


After sighting in am hoping the cheekpiece brings consistency, and the other parts help me better previous best performacne of 4 shots in 3/4 inch group. Will update how it goes

November 24, 2012, 08:12 PM
50 shots at 100 yards. Three 3 shot groups at 3/8 of an inch. Plenty of 1/3, 3/4 s shot groups and some 1 to 1 1/2 inch groups (3 or more). Also a lot of bad shooting on my part.

Overall, pleased. Results reflective of having removed the scope mount during the shimming of the gas system and therefore having to go through re-sighting in.

So now, basically I have taken a gun that used to shoot a lot better than I could shoot, and ive turned up up from 10 to 11. I need a lot more range time to step up to the level this gun is capable of.

Regarding the cheek piece, it REALLY helped get me on scope. One issue, which would not come up hunting, but surfaced over 50 shots - it did move. So there's not going to be any substitute to actually scewing it to the stock to prevent this. A project for next weekend.

Regarding the ammunition. Several failrues to eject - symptomatic of loading at starting load (44 grains) of Varget for 150 grain projectile. I will make a batch at 45 and a batch at 46 grains and see how they run. Have to go back to the range 1 more time in the next 2 weeks w the ammo I'm hunting with and will trial these load variations as well as the impact of screwing down the cheekpiece.

November 24, 2012, 09:08 PM
Sounds like one fine shooting rifle. Great work on the cheek piece as well. You're really making this rifle your own and I like that. I'm hoping to get into reloading for my M1a this winter, so ill be following your load development with great interest. Thanks for sharing your project!

November 25, 2012, 10:00 AM
The ideal of the gas gun, or M21 sniper rifle was, you could take off your scope and have a battle rifle.

It worked quite well. You carried your scope (ART Leatherwood) in a container in your ruck. You humped with a M14.

When it comes time to use your M14 in the M21 configuration, you simple mounted the scope, and slipped on the check pad. Took a half a second. Not you got your cheek weld.

But the cheek pay with irons doesn't work.

The Army used a simple heavy sponge type material sewed in a light canvas material, with an elastic band to hold it on the stock. Easy one - easy off.

The Laced on check pads as used on the M1C/D doesn't give you that option.

Kind of hard to see, but I'm using the above described cheek pad on my M21 at the Benning School for Boys (AMU) Sniper School.


November 26, 2012, 10:23 PM
:)Thats cool. Can see the position of your cheek cant really see the cheekpiece that well though i guess. I did actually complete the work of making my cheekpiece screw on. I bouught brass screws and then drilled the stick to accept 3/4 inch long 10-24 pitch threaded steel inserts. Drilled stock 11/32 and then screwed in inserts w an allen wrench. Then countersunk holes in top of cheekpiece and finally attachef it w 2 inch long 1/4 10-24 brass screws. Then i put yhe leather piece over that. Its not slip on/off to say the keast but will be very stable for hunting. To switch to iron i would need to cut the leather string holding on the leather chhekpiece and then unscrew the eooden chhekpiece. I then have a second set of 3/4 inch long brass screws to fill the inserts in the stock. Took some balls to drill holes in my stock. Came out