Custom Precision Rifle Build (Part 3) | Stock/Chassis Selection: Manners T4-A Stock
In this installment I’m going to address my choice for a stock/chassis system with this build. I’ll save optics selection, the small pieces that round out a build, and my choice of gunsmith for later posts. Without further ado.
Selecting a stock/chassis system for this build was difficult for me. There are so many seemingly excellent options out there, and I have never, and had no access to, put my hands on any of them. I relied heavily on first hand user reviews, and crowd sourced reviews from forum posts and the like, mostly on snipershide.com. This choice was also an exciting one for me because I am a tall lanky SOB and have never really had a gun stock that fit right. My goose neck, and long arms just don’t jive with factory equipment built for the ‘average adult male’ client. So adjust-ability was high on my list of wants. The stock also makes the look and feel of the rifle, so in essence it is one of the most important selections for shoot-ability, repeat-ability, and likability of your system. If you cannot line up behind your weapon comfortably the same way every time and properly place your natural point of aim on target with a few tweaks of your body position, your results will show downrange. With weight not being a big factor in this build, the options were seemingly endless.
Plenty more after the break.
I reviewed about every option out there I could find. In reviewing chassis systems, such as the XLR, KRG Whisky 3, or Mcrees, I just couldn’t get over how different they were from what I was used to shooting. I liked the looks of some (especially the Mcrees) and the folding versions had an added benefit that cannot be found in traditional rifle stocks, with the exception of the new(er) Manners TF Series stocks. I feared that given how different they are from a traditional system, I would either love it or hate it with a slight chance of something in between. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to handle one or more of these on the range in the future, to see how I feel about them in person. Instead I pursued the more traditional stock offerings of McMillan and Manners, two top quality manufactures that have product around the globe serving in much more capable hands then my own.
I caught a break at this point. I was selling a Thompson Center Encore with a couple different barrels and accessories on multiple forums and has able to strike a deal on a trade for any Manners Stock of my liking. I took it. I choose the Manners T4-A for this build. It is a tried and true platform consisting of a traditional style stock with a wide, flat bottomed forearm and a ‘bag ride’ style flat butt stock bottom. The grip is nearly vertical and has a healthy palm swell, which fits well in my long-fingered hands. It also is equipped with an adjustable cheek piece utilizing KMW’s Loggerhead hardware, which has an excellent reputation as being among the best cheek piece hardware available.
I also went with the embedded Manners DBM Mini-Chassis system, which is essentially a large aluminum bedding block with integral bottom metal for accepting detachable box magazines. It allows a one stop-shop experience that replaces buying a stock, and bottom metal kit, then having the bottom metal fitted as well as the rifle action bedded to your particular stock. It provides repeatable zero when disassembling your rifle, given that you utilize repeatable recommend torque settings on your action screws. To round it out I added the adjustable Length of Pull spacer system, given my long frame, an Atlas rail up front, and two flush cups on the left side for a sling. All in all, to purchase the setup I traded for, you’re looking at the $1000+ ballpark for this stock. Check it out; all the photos can be seen in high-resolution with just a click.
This also a good time to note that Accuracy International AW and AI magazines, discussed in my first post of this series, have similar, if not identical, external dimensions. This generally means that a set of bottom metal designed for AI magazines will also accept AW magazines. That being said, the magazine catch slot on the magazines themselves is at a different distance from the top of the magazine, so it may/will be necessary to trim your magazine latch if you intend to use it on a rifle that accepts AW magazines. So although the Manners Mini-Chassis will accept either magazine, it will need to be slightly modified to shorten the magazine latch to properly hold AW magazines for feeding. Therefore, you won’t be able to pick which magazines to use for your rifle on an ongoing basis. If you have an action that accepts AW magazines, you’ll presumably shorten the latch to allow for their use and then will only be able to use AW magazines.
Also of importance is that AW magazines do require specific inletting of your rifle action itself. If you don’t know that your action will accept AW magazines, that means it won’t. A stock Remington action requires milling to make this happen, and if your custom action is inletted for AW magazines, it would clearly be stated on their website I am sure.
In good taste, I had the stock forwarded to Branden at Custom Gun Coatings for a custom three color GAP style desert paint job. Branden uses Prolane paints that have great adhesion to most stock materials and he can also provide a near perfect color match to many Cerakote colors, if you wish to match the finish on your barreled action or bottom metal. I was very please with the customer service and communication Branden provided. The work was quick, about a 2 week turnaround, affordable (click here for pricing) and a very professional final product. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to anyone. If you are ordering a new stock directly from Manners, they can also forward the stock directly to Branden for paint. As I understand, they are all but next door to each other in Kansas City, MO. This will save everyone involved time and shipping costs.
I am very happy with the rifle stock. The LOP adjustment system, with all the shims in, fits me just right; leaving a little room in the cases of heavy clothing. I’ll offer up more insight on the stock when I able to actually use it as a full system and see just how well the ergonomics match my form after some tweaking on the adjustments.
As always folks, if you enjoyed the read, or have anything else to say, please let me know in the comments, if you would like to read the rest of the series as it is published, on the right hand side of these page, please type in your email to follow the blog, or like the Facebook page for updates as posts become available.
Thank You Again, Look for more soon. And thanks to everyone who has come across from The Hide and elsewhere to follow along, you guys have helped me with this build immensely.
- Building My First Custom Bolt Action Precision Rifle (Part 1) (nogreatercause.org)
- Building My First Custom Bolt Action Precision Rifle (Part 2) (nogreatercause.org)
- Custom Bolt Action Precision Rifle Build (Part 4) (nogreatercause.org)
- Custom Precision Rifle Build (Part 5)
- Custom Bolt Action Precision Rifle Build (Part 6) (nogreatercause.org)
- Custom Rifle Project Complete: Photo Gallery (nogreatercause.org)