This post is about the rifle stocks the best precision rifle shooters are using. It is based on what the top 50 long-range shooters nationwide brought with them to the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Finale a couple weeks ago. This is the major league of sniper style matches with target engagements ranging from 25 to 1,200+ yards, but there is definitely a focus on the “precision” rifle part regardless of the range. Virtually all of the matches require competitors to carry their rifles over miles of rough terrain and fire from improvised, positional shooting positions. This means rifle stock selection is critical. For more info on who these guys are, and why you should care what they think scroll to the bottom of this article.
Here is the list of the stocks the top 50 shooters brought with them to the 2013 PRS season finale. It also shows the number of stocks that were represented at last year’s season finale in the semi-transparent gray color.
McMillan stocks were clearly the pro’s favorite stock again this year, with almost 50% of the rifles sporting a McMillan stock. The gap between McMillan and the rest of the stocks widened more than last year, with McMillan having over twice as many stocks represented as their closest competitor.
Manners stocks were the 2nd most popular once again, with roughly the same number of stocks represented among these top tier shooters as last year. Manners represented a substantial 24% of the stocks.
There were 3 less shooters using Accuracy International stocks this year, with only 5 rifles in either the AICS or AX chassis.
KMW (Kisatchie Machine Works) made it’s debut at the PRS finale, with 3 shooters using the KMW Sentinel Combat Stock. These are actually McMillan fiberglass stocks, but KMW installs custom hardware and peripherals on them. So you might could add these 3 to the McMillan stocks, as if they needed more!
Beyond that, there were a few stocks represented by only one or two shooters:
- Rock Solid stocks
- KRG Whiskey-3 Chassis (W3C)
- XLR Industries Evolution Rifle Chassis
- JP Enterprises Advanced Modular Chassis System (AMCS)
- Desert Tactical Arms SRS-A1 Rifle Chassis
If you just look at what the top 20 shooters were using, half of them were using McMillan Stocks. There were also a significant number using Manners Stocks. No surprises here. One of the shooters who ended up in the top 10 was using a Rock Solid stock, which is a pretty interesting product. More on that below.
A Quick Look At The Stocks
McMillan stocks have been the industry leader in durable fiberglass stocks for the past 30+ years. You’ll see a McMillan stock on the leaderboard of virtually any type of rifle competition, and these sniper-style precision rifle matches are no different. Some of the guys run the very popular A5 stock, with an adjustable cheek-piece. Others opt for a non-adjustable A1-3 stock or hunter stock to save a little weight. When you are carrying it all day in tough terrain, you start to count weight in ounces, and a lot of guys are anxious to shed anything not absolutely necessary.
If you are considering a McMillan marble stock like the ones shown below, you may want to check out a photo gallery I created that has 200+ photos of McMillan stock colors, including the exact color ratios on every one.
Manners makes composite stocks somewhat similar to McMillan’s fiberglass stocks. Manners stocks pack a lot of strength per ounce. That is really attractive with when you have to carry the rifle farther than from the truck to the bench. Here is an excerpt from Sniper Central’s review of Manner’s stocks:
One of the things that MCS [Manners Composite Stocks] is pushing as their advantage is their strength vs. weight on their stocks. When comparing this stock with a McMillan Winchester Marksman stock that we had here on hand, and understanding that the two stock designs are different, we could tell that it is indeed a lighter construction than the McMillan. According to MCS, in order to do this and maintain strength, they use a construction process where the outer shells are made with 35% aircraft grade carbon fiber and 65% fiber glass in multiple layers. They are hand laid with high temperature epoxy resins, placed under a vacuum, and heat cured to obtain the perfect resin to fabric weight ratio. It sounds like a fairly technical process but is based on sound principles and is taking advantage of modern day advances in technology with such things as carbon fiber.
Manners makes super-lightweight stocks that start at 22 ounces. They also just released their elite tactical folders, which are relatively light at 3.4 lbs. An AICS 2.0 folder weighs in at 5.95 lbs, and AI’s AX folder weighs 5.6 lbs. So the Manner’s folder is over 2 pounds lighter than either of AI’s folders.
AI’s line of stocks are true chassis systems, which are essentially full-length aluminum frames with plastic panels (aka skins) that make up the part of the stock you feel and see. It uses a self-aligning V block, which eliminates the need for bedding the stock. You can see what the chassis looks like in the disassembled photo below. The removable panels means you can switch out the skins to change the look and feel of the rifle. I did a comparison of the AICS, AX, and AICS with Viperskins that shows some of the different configurations possible with an AI stock. AI offers folding versions of the stock, which reduce the overall length by 8 inches.
KMW Sentinal Combat Stock was designed and developed by Terry Cross, a very accomplished competitive shooter. KMW starts with a McMillan fiberglass stock designed to their specs, then proceeds to customize it with several cool pieces of hardware and peripherals. Here are some of the features:
- Thumbhole grip with a trigger reach from the grip that is a compromise between the A5 and the AICS.
- Integral adjustable cheek piece with hardware designed by KMW to survive the rigors of duty without vibrating loose. Vertical and lateral adjustments can be retained while removing and reinstalling the cheek piece.
- Hex stock bolts with internal snap rings, which retain the bolts when the stock is disassembled. Keeps you from loosing small parts if maintenance is required in the field.
- Integrated bottom metal, which accepts AICS and AW magazines. Mag release is easier to operate with gloves on, and also minimizes the chance of accidental magazine loss. The funneled mag well makes inserting a magazine easier other DBM systems on the market.
- A very low forend.
- Integral bipod mount molded in to the forend prevents twisting.
Rock Solid stocks are a full one-piece aluminum stock. Rock Solid’s concept is one-piece design with fewer bolts will equate to less failures and more consistent shots. The only screws on it are for the pistol grip, buttstock spacers, cheekpiece adjustment, and action screws. There isn’t a lot of info out there on this stock, but Sin City Precision provides a good review of this stock.
The KRG W3C is a “highly functional, feature laden” replacement stock that fits a number of actions. The W3C features tool-less adjustments for length-of-pull and cheek piece height. It uses a V-style bedding, and can use AICS magazines without any special bottom metal. Accessories can be added to the many attachment points, including handstops, sling mounts, rails, bipods, monopods, etc. The stock offers many adjustments, including modular grip panels that allow the shooter to tailor the fit to their hand. It’s available in a folding or fixed models.
XLR’s Evolution Rifle Chassis is designed as a direct bolt-on replacement for most factory rifles, “with no gunsmithing required.” The chassis features a 1.75 inch centered hand guard available in either 12 or 14 inch lengths. This chassis is fully adjustable for a customized fit. They have inlets for most rifle actions, but will even cut a custom inlet for no extra charge. Features a 6061 T-6 billet action block. Available in black or green anodized finish.
The JP AMCS was designed to bring the ergonomics of AR platforms to a bolt gun. The folding butt stock is fully adjustable, including the cheek piece. It has a tactical grip with palm shelf. The ambidextrous, extended magazine release allows the shooter to perform a magazine change without relinquishing the shooting grip. The chassis is completely machined from 6061 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum with the mil-standard black hard-coat anodizing process. The chassis will accept any Remington 700 right-hand short action, as well as Savage short action rifles. It features QD studs for bipod or sling systems, and is also designed to accept the Accu-Shot Monopod system. It uses JP magazines, which will hold 10 rounds of any 308-based cartridge with an COAL of 2.82″ or less.
The DTA SRS-A1 Chassis was designed to be the shortest purpose-built sniper rifle in the world. The bullpup configuration and telescoping bolt make it almost a foot shorter than conventional bolt rifles. The compact design shifts weight and center-of-gravity rearward. It is built of high-impact polymers, aircraft grade aluminum, high-strength steels, and durable coatings. The monolithic receiver serves as a full length mounting chassis, eliminating the need for any sort of receiver-to-stock bedding.
Meet The Pros
The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is a championship style point series race based on the best precision rifle matches nationwide. PRS matches are recognized as the major league of sniper-style rifle matches. At the end of each year, the scores from 15 different matches are evaluated and the top 50 shooters nationwide are invited to compete head to head in the PRS Finale Match. The info below is based on the equipment those pros brought with them to the most recent finale. This is a great set of data, because 50 shooters is a significant sample size, and this particular group are also considered experts among experts. Thanks to Rich Emmons for allowing me to share this info. To find out more about the PRS, check out What Is The Precision Rifle Series?
Other “What The Pros Use” Articles
This post was one of a series of posts that look at the equipment the top 50 shooters in the country use. Check out these other posts:
- Best Rifle Calibers & Cartridges
- Best Long-Range Scopes
- Best Gunsmiths
- Best Actions
- Best Barrels
- Best Stocks
- Best Precision Bullets, Powders & Brass
- Best Muzzle Brake & Rifle Suppressor
- Best Shooting Rest Bags