LevelHead's SWS project
McMillan A4 Tactical Stock
Well I decided to dump the original HS Precision Sniper stock and get myself a McMillan A4 Tactical Stock. I had spoken with Kelly McMillan briefly on The Sniper's Hide and was impressed with his knowledge and character, and I was certainly impressed with the good looks of the stocks. Hell, if it's good enough for the Marine Snipers it's good enough for a guy like me shooting paper at the range.
McMillan A4 mounted on my PSS .308 Barreled action
I ordered a McMillan Stock used on The Sniper's Hide. I knew it had some minor paint chips, but the price was so good I didn't care. The seller was wonderfully honest reinforcing my impression that most gun owners are fine upstanding people, but I digress... The stock I purchased is a McMillan A4 Tactical with Adjustable Cheek piece, Adjustable length-of-pull via a spacer system and flush mount Quick Detach sling swivels. The A4 stock has an integral butt-hook.
My first impression upon taking my new stock out of the box is that it is heavy. It is also extraordinarily solid. This is good for accuracy, but you better be strong if you're gonna hump this thing around for a while. The weight of the stock perfectly balances the PSS with it's 26" heavy barrel. With the original HS PRecision stock, the rifle was very barrel-heavy. With the McMillan on there, it balances perfectly in the middle - right where you'd carry it if you held the rifle with one hand while walking.
The stock I got is solid green. The finish is painted, but except for the chips in the paint you'd never know. I would assume it was a molded-in color if I didn't know better. The color is even and attractive everywhere on the stock. The chips were caused by the previous owner installing flush mount sling swivels. The texture of the stock is smooth except on the grip surfaces which are gnarled for lack of a better word. These areas have excellent gripping properties which I think would be even better with leather gloves on. Basically the plastic is sort of raised in a very random manner which allows for a better purchase when gripping.
Pistol Grip of the A4
The barrel channel is generously large. The barrel channel can be custom ordered to match whatever barrel contour you wish if you order from McMillan. The pistol grip is almost vertical, and the palm swell seems just right to me - much better than the HS Precision stock that came with the PSS. The stock feels great when lying prone and even when standing offhand, but the rifle is too heavy to shoot that way reliably in my opinion. Of course I should be spending more time in the gym too...
The Flush mount sling swivels are of an ingenious design I'm surprised we haven't seen more of. They work similarly to an air hose fitting, and are very secure when installed. The stock has no less than six positions for mounting the sling swivels, and also has a standard swing swivel on the fore-end for mounting a bipod. The various sling positions allow for the sling to be mounted on either side or on the bottom like a normal hunting rifle.
Flush mount sling swivels
The butt hook idea is loved by some and hated by others. I love it. I learned to shoot prone by wrapping my hand around the rear swivel and flexing my hand to make the rifle rise or fall ever so slightly. The butt hook is a natural for me and works wonderfully.
Spacer system, butt hook, adjustable cheek piece and two of the sling swivel points
The adjustable cheek piece I thought I would hate, but it is an amazing design. First of all it is metal, not plastic as I had anticipated. Secondly the method whereby the system connects to the stock is fantastic. The cheek piece has a steel bar welded to the center of it which inserts into the stock. The thumbscrews actually secure that as opposed to pressing the outside of the cheek piece to the side of the stock as one might imagine. This picture shows the design, which is amazingly sturdy.
The adjustable length of pull spacer system is equally ingenious in its design. The rubber end of the stock resembles a recoil pad, and I assume it also acts as one as well. The pad is actually a group of flat panels of varying widths. Two Allen-head bolts secure the whole assembly to the end of the stock. The bolts are recessed into the last rubberized pad and are almost completely unseen when installed.
Single spacer ready for removal
Upon loosening the bolts, the user can remove any or all spacers without removing the bolts. A quick push on any spacer and it pops out of line which then allows for that spacer to be removed. This would be a simple change in the field provided you had the required allen wrench handy. Of course storing and dealing with the extra spacers must be dealt with, but I don't think this would really be an "in the field" type of operation.
This particular stock was inletted for a Badger Ordnance or D.D. Ross trigger guard floor plate. I do not yet have such a beast, but figured the existing trigger guard would fit since it's smaller. Well that's only partly true. Seems the high-end floor plates are thicker and as such they would require a deeper well to sit in the stock. When I mounted the regular trigger guard to the stock the action would not close. The action screws were protruding all the way through the action into the bolt area. Not good. I quickly fashioned some washers from an old coat hanger (I love my Leatherman Wave) and got the stock mounted. Good enough for pictures, but not for shooting groups. :)
Not a very good fit because it's inletted for the Badger/D.D. Ross