The rifle and shotgun stock is a pretty important piece of design. The stock must be a contact point for the shooter and the firearm. Cheek weld is important if you can have it, and many stocks offer a superior fit.
The correct stock will help you be a better marksman, whether it is precision shooting or fast-moving tactical shooting as the goal. Let’s look at some of the types.
A Look at Telescoping Stocks
The most common rifle is the AR-15. It is America’s rifle. The non-adjustable stock isn’t exactly a thing of the past, but it is far from common today. As an example, the Springfield Saint is supplied with a BCM Gunfighter stock from the factory.
My personal PSA rifle features the Troy Tomahawk, a great stock that aids in cheek weld, while maintaining light weight. My Remington 870 wears an Adaptive Tactical stock.
The bottom line on the fixed non-adjustable stock is that they are rugged. If one fits you — well it fits. A collapsible stock can be adjusted for the length of pull.
This is useful if you are wearing a vest or heavy clothing in the winter for example, and it is a good option for a rifle when the shooter may be short or tall, or have long or short arms.
An adjustable stock may have the normal type of length of pull adjustment and also add a cheek riser. The collapsible stock is often called a telescoping stock.
The telescoping stock also makes it easier to transport or store the rifle, although this isn’t my top consideration. The modern telescoping stock — in good examples — is rigid when locked and offers good shot to shot consistency.
A Look at Folding Stocks
A collapsible wire stock was once common on M1 Carbines and submachine guns. They are not very study, although the original GI M1 Carbine wasn’t a bad setup.
The underfolder stock is a neat trick, but not the best all-around for accuracy potential. Its primary advantage is easy storage. The Arsenal underfolder is fairly stable, however, getting a cheek weld is very difficult.
The advantage of the underfolder is that it fits a tactical bag easily and may be fired with the stock folded at close range. The side folder with its plunger mechanism is a little more difficult to use quickly, but works as well as the underfolder for most uses.
Cheek weld is difficult enough with standard AK rifle sights and the folding stocks may make the problem worse in my opinion, based on a lot of shooting experience.
The mortis and tenon lockup are solid in the Arsenal-type rifles. The primary reason to use a folding-stock rifle is the same across the board for all of the folding stocks — storage.
If carrying the rifle for a tactical reason or if facing danger, the stock should be locked in place. The rifle should be on a sling. You will find the plungers and locks horribly slow and the cheek weld problem is always present.
Generally, the stock doesn’t have much effect on the function of the rifle, although I imagine a cheap stock that has too much give may not provide a solid platform for the rifle to recoil against.
Are Adjustable Stocks Practical?
Some folks like to keep the rifle on their ATV or even a dirt bike, depending on how the hunting trail is found. In this type of action, a good quality folding sock is a good choice, and the side-folder AK is good.
However, the side folder trunnion will dig into your back when you carry the rifle slung over your shoulder. A side folder or underfolder limits how you may carry the rifle.
The primary consideration with any stock, is that the stock, when extended, puts the angle of the stock in line with the rifle’s sights and the bore line. Good stocks lock up tight, while poorly made stocks will wobble.
There is also a difference between cheek weld with iron sights and with optics. If you are a shooter and enjoy shooting for accuracy, a fixed stock is never a bad choice on an AK rifle.
A telescoping rifle stock, however, can be a very solid and accurate choice. As an example, the Advantage Tactical Stock I have mounted to the Ruger 10/22 rifle offers not only a wide range of adjustment, no matter at what point it is adjusted, it is also rock solid.
This is the most accurate rifle I have owned in this caliber. Forward and rearward motion may be stabilized better than under-folder and side-folder motion in my experience.
Be certain you consider all options and choose well. It is one thing to enjoy recreational firing, but for top accuracy, the more rigid the better. For all-around tactical use, with storage and adjustment for different garments more important, the adjustable stock rules.
Do you like folding and collapsing stocks? Why? Let us know in the comments section below!