*My Opinion On The Choate Ultimate Sniper Stock*By: ScottWhen these stocks first came out, I thought of them as a cheesy lookinggimick designed not really worthy of serious use on a long range rifle. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I broke down and ordered one to replace thefatory stock on my Remington 700VS. Finally, after the big brown truckfinally came with my new toy, I had a chance to see and handle one formyself.
Upon opening the box, I found it to be painted a nice olive drab andblack camouflage scheme. I guess I could have just saved myself theextra $10 and bought a can of spray paint but went with the camo oneinstead. Lifting the new stock out of the box, I found it to be prettydarn heavy. The literature claims it weighs in at about 5 1/2 poundsand I would say that would be a close estimate. It's weight is a lotmore than the old factory stock so if weight is a major considerationfor you, you might want to avoid this stock. When mounting the newstock, I ran into a few problems. First off, the hinged magazine floorplate on the new stock was not there. The reason for this is toincrease the regidity of the stock, sacraficing the bottom floor plateof the BDL series rifle. I miss the hinged floor plate of my old stockbut I can see their point though. I guess I can live with that fact nowthat I know their reason behind it. The next thing I found a problemwith was the stock screws, the rear screw that goes into the reciever inparticular. Most every rifle maker will tell you that best results areachieved by torquing the reciever to the stock at 65 inch/pounds. Sincethe pistol grip is just behind the screw, my torque wrench wouldn't fitso it was mounting on a SWAG (Scientific Wild A**ed Guess) with a wrenchthat was long enough to clear the grip. "So much for accurate torque" Ithought.
After mounting the stock, I noticed that when the company says that thepistol grip and fore arm have a rough finish, THEY AREN'T KIDDING!! Tobe totally honest, I would almost call the grip sharp. This is designedfor people like myself that use gloves such as flight gloves with thetrigger finger removed which is common practice in the sniping world andin this regards, it works just fine. If however, you don't use gloves,you might want to sand the grips down a little to make it a bit morecomfortable to hold. Another thing that concerned me is when I beganmounting my bipod to the rail that was included. The stock was designedfor a Harris bipod but I prefer the versa-pod bipod instead feeling it abetter product. The problem is that the versa-pod is designed to pan upand down a little and my concern was that with the sloping fore end, itwould allow the legs of the bipod to tilt too far forewards. Aftermounting it though, I found that this wasn't a problem as long as youkept the legs pulled back a little by pushing forewards on the rifle.
Moving back a little, I thought that the side mounted sling swivel wasa nice touch. Because of the projections coming off the stock such asthe pistol grip, bipod, rail screw and so on, keeping the sling on theside makes it easier to carry, preventing gouging. While I don't usesand bags on a bench, I would also think that the sloping design of thefore end is a good idea. To elevate the barrel, push forewards, todepress the barrel pull back. Pretty easy to do and it allows smalladjustments that way.
Moving back to the pistol grip and butt stock area, I thought that thegrip was a little large but for a sniping weapon, a hand filling grip isdesireable. It's also a little different trying to get used to the gripwhen having to turn off the safety lever. I don't think it's as easy asthe factory stock but sniping doesn't require one to flick off safetylevers at blinding speed either. The adjustment wheel in the butt mayalso allow for micrometer-like adjustments, but for the firing I did offthe bipod, it just didn't have enough adjustment to reach the ground. If firing from a rest, the situation might be different though and couldprove it's worth there. The biggest thing I liked about the stockthough is it's adjustments. Since I use a set of high rings for myscope, the tall cheek rest provided the best stock weld I have ever hadon this rifle. When I noticed the butt was sitting a bit low in myshoulder, moving it up two notches to the top position kept my eyeeasily aligned with the scope while keeping the butt right in myshoulder pocket where it ought to be. The length of pull can also beadjusted by removing the spacer or ordering extra spacers for those thatfind the stock too short for a best fit. I really liked how comfortablethis stock can be made for the individual shooter and how it felt to me.
Heading out to the range, I made my stock adjustments for a best fitand settled in at 200 yards to see how it would do. The alunimumbedding block is the only thing that makes contact with the action. Thegap between the barrel and stock are so generous that I would think thatdirt would be able to enter the stock without making any contact withthe barrel. This also has the benefit of allowing one to tie on burlapgarnish for camouflage without making barrel contact as well. So doesit shoot any better? Well, having to live with the factory stock, I wasstill able to get 1" groups at 200 yards all day long. With the bettercomfort of the Choate Ultimate Sniper stock, those groups shrank to 3/4"at the same range. Not a lot but enough to make the difference atlonger ranges. Kind of nice to have a sub 1/2 MOA rifle without havingto spend the 2-3 thousand dollar price tag for a custom rifle. Thebottom line would be that this is one heavy stock that has a fewshortcomings, but if you can live with the weight, no hinged magazine,and sharp grips, it would be a good modification to any long range rifleand might just improve your shooting a little.
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