Benchrest Stocks with 5″-Wide Forearms
Most long-range benchrest stocks are three inches wide because that used to be the max width under the rules for Light Gun Class. Many folks may not realize that the IBS, the NBRSA, and the Williamsport organizations have all modified their Light Gun rules to allow wider forearm widths in registered competition. A wider stock provides increased stability and resists rotation (torquing) as the gun is fired. If you’re building a new Light Gun, you may want to consider a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm. Do check the rules of your local club or regional organization to ensure the wider width is allowed in the matches you attend.
Wider Forearm Stock Options
Most stock-makers still only offer a 3″-wide forearm width with their Light Gun long-range benchrest stocks. However, there are some other options. On request, Joel Russo, Russo Rifle Stocks, can cut a stock with 4″-wide forearm, but that’s not a standard pattern.
Shehane ‘Big Dawg’ 5″-Wide Tracker
If you want a 4″-5″ wide version of the popular MBR Tooley-style long-range stock, Bill Shehane offers a ‘Big Dawg’ version of his MBR Tracker stock. This features a longer, deeper, and wider fore-end for added stability and more resistance to torque with the heavy calibers. Along with having a wider forearm, the Big Dawg stock is cut 4″ longer than a standard Shehane ST-1000 Tracker. This provides a “longer wheelbase” for better balance with very long (30″+) barrels. (The ST-1000 itself is 3″ longer than most benchrest stocks.) The Big Dawg is available with a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm, and will handle barrels up to 40″ in length and 1.5″ in diameter. In the top photo, taken by Forum member Preacher, you see a 4″-wide Big Dawg next to a normal ST-1000 Tracker. (Both stocks are symmetrical; there is distortion caused by wide-angle lens.)
This color pattern is what Bill calls “Prairie Dog Camo”, a Rutland laminate in orange and dark gray, with olive ‘accent’ layers. The price for a ‘Big Dawg’ in Rutland laminate is $545. In African Obeche wood (any color choice), the price is $795.00. For more info, contact Bill Shehane at (704) 824-7511, or visit his website, www.ScopeUsOut.com.
Competitive Edge 5″ x 2.5″ ‘Big Bottom’
Competitive Edge Gunworks, based in Missouri, has created an interesting new stock design. Featuring a 5″ wide fore-arm and a 2.5″-wide butt section, the new stock is designed to work for BOTH Light Gun and Heavy Gun competition. The Heavy Gun version can be fitted with plates to increase weight, and to track more precisely with a mechanical rear rest. The Light Gun version can make weight at 16.5 pounds, and you can order a narrower rear dimension if your club does not allow 2.5″-wide flats in the rear. (A 2.5″-wide rear flat should be legal under current F-Class, NBRSA, and IBS rules.) Since some clubs or events may still limit the front fore-arm to 3″ for Light Gun class, you can also order the stock with a 3″-wide forearm. However, if the 5-incher is legal at your club–that’s what you want to run. It’s makes the gun signficantly more stable, and really reduces torque effects (with big calibers) compared to a 3-incher.
Larry Crow of Competitive Edge designed the “combo stock.” He believed that long-range benchrest shooters could benefit if their Light Guns and Heavy Guns were configured as similar as possible. This way, for both LG and HG, the bolt is in the same position, length of pull is the same, and the scope is in the same position. You can also use the same front rest for both guns. With consistent dimensions and ergonomics, the shooter can concentrate on reading the conditions, and not worry so much about gun-handling.
The Competitive Edge stock is available in both a 3″ forearm version, and the bigger 5″-wide combo version. Price for a 3″-wide forearm stock starts at $395.00, while the 5″ x 2.5″ combo stock starts at $495.00. Fancy laminates are available on request at extra cost. For more info, contact Competitive Edge Gunworks at 1-660-731-5124.