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GUNS Magazine November 2012 Digital Edition - Page 52
T Roy Huntington Editor, American Handgunner oday’s rifle market is bulging with rifles with synthetic stocks—and for a good reason. Synthetic stocks are stable and offer all sorts of easy ways to make them rugged, lightweight and consistent in design from one to the next. All of which translates into a more reliable stock design than can usually be had with wood. Synthetic stocks are able to hold accuracy through weather changes, offer repeatable bedding when barreled actions are removed and reinstalled and are pretty much immune to most things causing owners of wood-stocked guns to pull their hair out. So, what’s not to like about plastic? At least for me, the answer is easy. While I confess to owning some rifles with synthetic stocks, you’ll likely not hear me swooning over how that bit of plastic “really catches the sunlight” or “looks deep enough to get lost in.” Real wood—especially really good wood—can be something to behold. There’s a reason cars like Mercedes, Jaguar and Rolls Royce use high-end, real wood veneers for inside trim work. You just can’t get that warm look with plastic. “Hey Jack, that’s really some nice plastic you’ve got there on your dashboard!” I don’t think so. But the downside to wood is the very thing making it so appealing, the fact its natural beauty is made up of, well… wood. And wood being wood, it tends to get all bendy and twisty, shrinky and expandy as the humidity changes. That wreaks havoc with accuracy as the pressure points on the action change as fast as a 15-year-old bounces from one cable channel to another. Set the torque on the bolts “just-so” and by that evening, things could already have changed. Now bounce from South Dakota to Zimbabwe and you’re bound to have a problem holding your carefully-worked zero. Those pesky problem with wooden stocks are historically dealt with by bedding with fiberglass-like compounds, inletting metal widgets into the wooden stock, pillar bedding, and other fixes. Some worked (and still do), some don’t, and some are just plain wastes of time. But bedding takes talent and a skilled gunsmith—and even then it can be iffy. One of the ways some synthetic stocks manage such reliable accuracy is by including a full-length metal chassis of some sort in the stock. It’s secured to the stock with fancy glue and never moves. When you slide the barreled action home, it mates with the metal bedding rail and presto—you get repeatable, stable bedding each time you mate the action and stock. Sounds simple, and it is, once the technology is worked out and the design engineers do their magic. The gents at Accurate Innovations, Inc. had a brain-storm 52 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2