Personally, I don’t think so. When form follows function, all is well. Well, except for the Stoeger Double Defense. This is not a viewpoint shared by the unnamed author of Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to rifle stocks at Pennsylvania’s observer-reporter.com. “In one of my winter boredom stupors I looked at the cover [of American Rifleman] and it struck me. What I saw had to be one of the ugliest rifles I have ever laid eyes on, and it was made by none other than old traditional Savage . . . Like most things in life, be it automobiles, women or rifles, what appeals to one turns off another viewer. But to me, ugly is just that, ugly! The forearm was square with an ugly black foretip. To top off its overall tasteless stock, someone had fastened a pistol grip cap of some dark wood and it was the size of a kitchen saucer. There is no explaining taste.” But there is, it seems an explanation for ugly.

All this changed when rifles started to sport synthetic stocks. I’m not sure who first offered a rifle with a man-made stock but the old Remington Nylon 66 had to be one of the earliest. If my memory serves me well there was an earlier shotgun from Stevens with a plastic stock in the early ’50s. It flopped.

But it didn’t take shooters long to learn that these synthetic stocks held zero better than ones made from wood. Since they flexed a bit, recoil was less and moisture and humidity had no effect on the fit of action and the stock. However despite attempts to pretty them up, they are ugly. Another point that should be made is that they all look alike.

I know the lines are slightly different but they still look the same. They may be cammoed or they may imitate wood, but synthetic never has the warmth of wood.

The things is, there are plenty of beautiful wood stock guns for sale by a huge range of accomplished gunsmiths. Including Savage. The difference is that there are now some extremely accurate, technologically innovative and reasonably priced weapons. Vive la difference? Oui. Now, get off of my lawn!

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