For those looking to squeeze a little extra accuracy out of their existing rifle there are two things that can make a huge difference: a new stock and an improved trigger. Timney seems to be doing a fine job with the drop-in trigger upgrades for a downright reasonable price, but getting a good stock can still be an expensive venture.
I wrote about the McMillan manufacturing process a couple days ago. For the TL;DR set, it takes McMillan a lot of time and effort to make a high-end stock. From hand laying the fiberglass in the mold to custom machining each and every single stock, there’s a ton of man hours going into every one. The labor-intensive process allows McMillan to customize each and every stock to fit their customer’s needs. But for the majority of shooters who just need an improved stock for their existing boilerplate Remington 700 the process doesn’t make much sense.
Ryan McMillan saw an opening in the market for quality mass produced stocks. He’s found a way to bring that McMillan style and quality to the average shooter.
The first step is to reduce the catalog. McMillan can’t mass produce their product because they really don’t have a standard product. The customer (either an individual or a distributor) tells McMillan exactly what they want and McMillan gets to making it. Looking to reduce the price of their stocks, Ryan decided to sell two styles — the most popular McMillan makes — and that’s it. Paint jobs can be as plentiful as grains of sand on the beach, but actual designs are expensive.
To make the process quicker and more efficient Ryan had to reduce the machining processes. He reckoned he could have the whole stock pretty much completed in the mold itself. This is where their materials engineering came into play . . .
While other companies injection mold their rifle stocks (e.g. Hogue), they typically use rubber or some other polymer substance. The material might look good, but it doesn’t have the rigidity that a good precision rifle stock needs. If they use fiberglass or something stiffer, the stock will be hollow and honeycombed. Normally, injection-molded fiberglass can only be used for relatively thin pieces, due to the heat generated from the curing process and other limitations of the material.
Grayboe injection-molds an entire fiberglass stock in one solid homogeneous piece. Everything is done in the mold itself — from the bedding of the aluminum pillars in the action, to the inletting. The stock emerges from the mold nearly ready for use. All they have to do: remove some of the flashing from where the mold came together and paint the stock.
Once the stock is finished it heads over to quality control. At the moment, Grayboe quality control checks every stock.That will eventually evolve to lot testing, once they perfect the production process. Following QC, the stocks head off to paint, and then straight to the shipping department.
Other stock manufacturers make drop-in replacements at a reasonable price. Few have the ability to produce a product of this quality. Ryan McMillan’s new venture makes his father’s $800 rifle stock available to the masses for roughly $300. Testing it side-by-side with the real deal McMillan product at distances exceeding 1,000 yards I can honestly say that I couldn’t tell the difference.
Naturally we’ve asked for a couple samples for a full review. We’ll let you know how they hold up under extended testing.