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Old August 22, 2008, 07:25 PM   #1
Missouri Boy
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How should a rifle stock fit me?

I am looking to purchase my first bolt-action deer rifle and stopped at a local gun shop today. I asked the fellow how to determine if a stock fit me. He said to hold my arm at a right angle with my forearm and open hand pointing towards the ceiling. He then rested the butt of the rifle on my upper arm near my elbow and said that the trigger should be right near my index finger. When I did this the tip of my index finger was about an inch and a half to two inches past the trigger on most of the rifles I held.

I wear a 35" shirt sleeve and have noticed that I have to scrounch my arms on a lot of rifles I shoot. How do I determine if a rifle is a good fit? Would adding a longer butt pad be helpful? Thanks for your input.
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Old August 22, 2008, 08:27 PM   #2
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That is one of the tests for stock fit (length of pull), and, yes a longer buttpad will help.

It's not the whole story.

A well-fitting rifle should "point" just like a shotgun. By this I mean that you should be able to rapidly assume a shooting position, at a definate target, from your preferred carry position. The rifle should just snap into place, not needing any adjustments to aim dead on.

It's one of those "try it & when it's right, you'll know" it things, only You will know when the light bulb goes on.

You should have a good cheek weld, a firm, comfortable grip with the off hand on the forstock, & the trigger should just drop right into the middle of the end pad on your trigger finger. No other part of the trigger finger should contact any part of the stock.

Hope this helps.
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Old August 22, 2008, 09:21 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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Another 35" sleeve, here. What helps is to add a spacer between the stock and the butt pad--and, probably, buy and add on a thicker butt pad.

With your finger on the trigger, measure back to your bicep. That will tell you the length of pull in inches. Then, set up the rifle stock to meet that.

Don't forget, though, that the thickness of the clothing you'll be wearing will affect things by a 1/4" or so.
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Old August 22, 2008, 09:42 PM   #4
T. O'Heir
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The guy told exactly how to testing your Length Of Pull(LOP) is done.
"...Would adding a longer butt pad be helpful?..." Yep. It's exactly what you need without going to a custom stock. It's not terribly expensive either. And you can install it yuorself with a minimum number of tools.
Most recoil pads add about an inch of stock length. Limbsaver makes one you can grind/sand to fit the stock lines. $35.99 from Brownell's. A belt sander with masking tape on the wood works well.
If an inch isn't enough, and it doesn't sound like it is, Brownell's sells spacers that go under the recoil pad for more length. A 1" hard rubber spacer runs $18.75. $14.00 for a half inch spacer. Sounds pricey, but you really need a stock that fits you right. The other spacers they have are smaller and run $10 to $12 each. A custom stock will be much more expensive. Just remember that you'll be wearing a relatively heavy coat when hunting.
"...35" shirt sleeve..." Knew a guy in the Queen's Service who had a 36" sleeve. So you're not alone. Don't know what he did with his hunting rifle. Scrunched, likely. He was kind of frugal.
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Old August 23, 2008, 01:49 AM   #5
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I'm a little rangey myself with a 37' sleeve length. I'm also a homemade gunsmith (no professional training) but with 40 yrs. of experience and advice from pros.

Find a better gunsmith.

Here's a couple of pics of a Marlin 1894 stock that I didn't want to alter from the original.

The spacer is some 85 durometer polyurethane that I had laying around and I added a Limbsaver, sandable version. It will be painted for hunting season and resemble this.

With a little more white, blue and brown as I plan to hunt a little higher up this year on the close stands.
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Old August 23, 2008, 08:46 AM   #6
Missouri Boy
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Very helpful. Sounds like if I find a rifle that points well for me and add some length to the stock I'll be good to go. Thanks for the info.
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Old August 23, 2008, 11:24 AM   #7
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If the seller will let you, try one of those slip-on recoil pads before buying.
That'll give you an idea of how the stock will "set" for you when you add a permanent pad/spacer.
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Old August 23, 2008, 02:03 PM   #8
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The other thing to consider is where and how you'll take your shots. If you are prone, the shorter buttstock is actually a little better.

Most of the rifles you'll find are about 14" LOP - only the expensive European brands tend to have insertable spacers to fit the rifle to the shooter.


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