From the moment I picked up my Weatherby Vanguard I knew the stock HAD to be replaced. It was just… awful. The plastic was thin and tacky looking, and there was no way to free float the barrel in its standard configuration. After poking around for a while Google dropped me at the website for Boyd’s Gun Stocks, makers of hardwood stocks for just about every bolt action rifle, shotgun and small caliber gun under the sun and most for under $100. It was too good to be true — a quality hardwood stock and CHEAP? Inquiring minds (mine) needed to know if they lived up to their advertising. So I bought one.
The stock I decided on purchasing was a “Classic” finished stock (walnut) that, they claim, would not require any work beyond minor fitting (which they claim any novice could do) to get it to fit your particular rifle. On that front they were true to their word, as I only had to sand a little bit around one of the corners in the cutout for the baseplate for the thing to fit. Once it was in I was impressed by the quality of the wood and the feel of the finish. The stock felt and looked better than any of my other rifles.
I mean, just LOOK at that. The way the blued metal compliments the dark wood stock is, to me, beautiful.
I suppose I should talk a little about the tech specs of the stock. Boyd’s classic stocks come with two reinforcing screws for added strength (brown spots above), but they are hidden so well and perfectly sanded that they look like part of the wood. The stock also boasts a “classic design” pistol grip (the kind California wouldn’t mind) that fits my hand very well and encourages proper trigger finger placement. It also comes with a 1/2 inch recoil pad on the butt of the stock, something I often wish my Mosin Nagant m1891/30 had. Also included in the “finished” stock are sling studs to attach your slings to, something I’m definitely going to need next weekend in Texas.
The best part about the stock isn’t the reinforcing or the looks, it’s the fact that a “sporter” profile barrel is perfectly free floated without any additional modifications. I didn’t have a dollar bill handy for the picture, so please accept this receipt as a stand-in to prove the free floating qualities. Having a “free floating” barrel is HUGE in terms of improvement in accuracy. That single change cut my group size roughly in half at 100 yards.
I did have one issue, however. The cheek piece on the stock is designed to align your eyes with the top of the barrel, which would be useful if the rifle had iron sights. But it doesn’t, it has a scope which is typically a bit higher than the top of the barrel. A cheek riser fixes this issue but I would have liked this stock a little better if it came from the factory with just a tad more material, just enough to raise your eye most of the way to the scope.
In general I was very impressed with the quality of these stocks. Not only are they perfectly cut to fit each firearm but they also feel great, look beautiful and increase accuracy. The lack of a proper cheek weld when using a scope is annoying, but for around $100 I’ll live with it.
Boyd’s Classic Gun Stocks
Models Available: Most “sporting” rifles and shotguns
Standard Price: $92 – $119
Ratings (Out of Five Stars)
All ratings are relative to other similar products. Overall rating is not mathematically derived from the constituent ratings.
Ergonomics: * * * *
With the exception of that cheek weld issue it’s a fine stock. The pistol grip feels natural and the forend is swelled just enough to give my hand something meaty to grip without adding much weight.
Ease of Use: * * * * *
It slides onto your rifle without much complaint, and after that it just works. Some minor fitting may be required, but it’s nothing that can’t be handled by a Leatherman in less than 5 minutes.
Overall Rating: * * * *
I really don’t think you can buy a better stock for around $100. It’s beautiful wood that has been sanded smooth and expertly finished, and it fits your gun without much complaining. There are other models of stocks available as well, but I’ve always been a sucker for the “traditional” rifle look.