My very first bolt action rifle was a Ruger M77 Mark II chambered in .243 Win. I love that gun very much, and even though TTAG affords me a certain level of access when it comes to rifles, each hunting season, that gun is in the blind with me. That said, it’s not a very good rifle. For starters, the stock is terrible. Like most polymer factory stocks, it flexes more than Arnold in front of a mirror, and it lacks a certain ergonomic style. I spent years not knowing this until I got behind a McMillan stocked rifle, and then I knew . . .
Since then, I’ve been jonesing for a rifle nestled comfortably in a McMillan A5. Recently, I picked one up. Within a week of getting that rifle, I got a very nice email from McMillan asking if they could send me their new stock measuring kit. It isn’t the weirdest request I’ve ever received, but it’s the very definition of baiting a gullible gun writer. Once you have the kit, then you have to order a stock. They’re tricky over there at McMillan.
The premise of the kit is simple. You want a McMillan stock. You want that stock to fit your gun perfectly. You don’t want to send it off somewhere to be custom fitted. McMillan has the solution. Give them $29.95, and they’ll send you a kit that includes the following items.
- tape measure
- dial caliper
- dry erase pen
- DVD with instructions
- laminated template
Pop the barreled action out of its current stock, pop the DVD in your player of choice, pop a bag of popcorn, and follow along. I chose to tape my template to my MDF topped workbench for ease of use as it wanted to roll up on itself. Feel free to do the same. Following the instructions on the DVD, I was able to quickly and accurately measure the barreled action that came out of the Ugly Duckling Rifle and before long I had a complete data set to send off to McMillan.
Now I know what you’re thinking. That gun already has a McMillan stock! You’re right, it does. Unfortunately, it was the only barreled action I had hanging around, and I didn’t want to make McMillan wait around while I sourced an action, barrel, and a gunsmith to put it all together. I sent the data I captured off to the fine folks at McMillan, and within one business day they assured me that if I wanted a stock based on those numbers, they looked accurate.
I’m biding my time until the right Savage short action comes along, but once it does, I’m going to pounce on it, and build up a short bolt action hunting rifle that might replace my long in the tooth Ruger. Once that day comes, I’ll break out ye ole measuring kit, send the data off, and have McMillan make up a stock for me. Watch this space for updates to come.
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall Rating * * * *
You can barely buy a decent dial caliper for less than $30, so if you’re looking for one, this kit has it and then some. From a tool standpoint alone, it’s a great value. If you’re in the market for a custom inletted McMillan stock, it’s an even better deal. The only knock: the use of a DVD as a means of distributing the information. I had to resurrect an old laptop from the dead to find something in my house with an optical drive. Other than that, it’s a nice little kit, that ensures the custom stock you’ve built for your rifle will fit perfectly from the factory.