Sporting Shooter

How Functional Rifle Stocks Evolved

A stock shape that pleases one man may strike another as being ugly. During the past seven decades stock design has undergone a great deal of change, but fashions change too, and not always for the better. Some pretty awful stocks have been and are still being inflicted on the shooting public.

Back in the 1950s the contemporary school of stock design copied Weatherby, and the California school went in for extremes of shape such as rollover combs and excessively-flared pistol grips and flamboyant decorations such as basket-weave checkering and large diamond inlays of white plastic. One notable exception in those days was the FN Mauser which was like a breath of fresh air.

British riflemakers, on the whole, were conservative and established a form that was ageless and a delight to the eye. Their fundamental design principle was resurrected in 1968 when the Ruger M77

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