Firearms

Making the Rifle Fit the Shooter

Remington 700 Rifle on Benchrest

There are rifles that are necessary, others that are nice to own, and some you must keep on hand. A quality bolt-action rifle is one of these.

Despite improvements in .308 Winchester ballistics and a great fondness for the 6.5 Creedmoor, I have not given up a decades-long association with the .30-06 Springfield cartridge.

The .30-06 is a powerful rifle cartridge that will take anything in North America, given a proper bullet and good shot placement. It is light for the largest bears and moose, but then, they are not in my sights.

I enjoy loading for the .30-06 and testing factory ammunition. Despite using the Springfield M1A and numerous .308 bolt guns, I have been on the lookout for the perfect Remington 700 for my needs.

I found the rifle in a pawn shop. Pawn shops are found in many different flavors for everyone’s taste. Some are disreputable and full of junk. Others are run by decent people that are fair with their customers.

Some check out the wares well before they take it in or purchase the firearms. My friend Tanner runs a first-class shop and he is a good young man to deal with.

I was lucky to find a Remington 700 rifle with a nice Bushnell scope mounted. The action, trigger and finish were in good to excellent condition. The problem was the stock.

The stock appeared to be homemade or heavily modified. I won’t throw off on the work, the work was well done. The problem was the stock was modified into a youth model.

I am not certain that a short stock .30-06 rifle would be suitable for a bantamweight or young shooter, but there it was. The rifle was on sale for perhaps half the price of a conventional stock rifle. I could not resist.

McMillian Mc3 Stock
McMillan’s Mc3 stock is affordable but first-class.

The rifle would be the testbed for a new-style McMillan stock. I had wished to test a McMillan, and the introduction of the Mc3 made for a good opportunity.

The McMillan is manufactured with a special blend of polymer. The feel is comfortable but solid, like all McMillan stocks. The rifle was fitted with the stock in due course, and I do mean fitted.

The stock required some sanding to fit the Remington action. The area around the bolt handle would not allow the bolt to close, and uplift was difficult. This was the primary area of concern.

The McMillan website states that some fitting will be required. This is true, and the result is a solid fit that results in excellent accuracy potential. The barrel, of course, is free-floating.

Let’s face it, wood, the traditional stock material, is subject to breakage and warpage. For heavy-duty use, I prefer some type of polymer. Cheap plastic hollow stocks are out of the question for a precision rifle. The McMillan stock is impressive fiberglass.

Man firing Savage Apex Storm Rifle
When firing from the benchrest, a properly-adjusted rifle like the Savage Apex Storm is an advantage.

McMillan Mc3 Specifications:

  • Average Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Length: 30.75 inches
  • Length of Pull: 13.5 inches
  • Forend Width 1.75 inches
  • 100% Xenolite Composite Material for Unmatched Rigidity and Stiffness
  • Aluminum Pillars Bedded in During Molding
  • One-inch Pachmayr Decelerator Pad
  • Two Front Sling Studs, One Rear Sling Stud Included and Installed
  • Available in OD Green and Tan
  • Full-Spectrum of McMillan Paint Shop Available (Call for a Paint Quote).
  • Molded to Fit Sporter/Magnum Barrel Contours

Fitting the Rifle to the Stock

The stock isn’t difficult to mount. Remove or unscrew the action screws and then re-fit the metal bottom plate. The magazine isn’t difficult to keep in place as you mount the floor plate.

The bolt handle fitting issues were resolved with a few minutes of work. The barrel channel fit is especially important. This fit is flawless. The barrel is free-floating and the built-in pillar bedding posts are properly done.

The end result is a stock that is midway between a hunting and tactical stock in fit and handling, and this is the intent. The length of pull is ideal for both off-hand fire and for slow-fire accuracy from the benchrest.

More expensive McMillan stocks feature an adjustable cheekpiece. While the adjustable cheek piece is an advantage in some types of work, the Mc3 is a great all-around stock for my use.

It will fit the needs of most shooters well. Frankly, the cheekpiece is an aggravation if you do not need it.

One of the best things about the rifle was that it came topped with a Bushnell Banner 6x18x50mm Varmint scope. This may be overkill on a deer rifle, but I like this magnification.

For my use, it is ideal. I enjoy shooting targets to 200 yards, and the Bushnell (Cheaperthandirt.com) retails for less than $200.

If I wore SWAT on my back, I would upgrade. For what I am doing, the Bushnell Banner is a fine scope. I took the time to set eye relief and bore sight the rifle before heading to the range.

Remington 700 bolt
Slight fitting was needed to produce a good snug fit to the McMillan/Remington combination.

Accuracy Testing

It is good to have an affordable but clean-burning and accurate loading on hand for sighting in and target practice. I used the SIG Sauer Elite .30-06 175-grain OTM loading.

I have used this ammunition in several rifles including the M1 Garand. Results have been good. I fired five rounds to get the Bushnell/Remington combination properly sighted at 100 yards.

I like to have the bullet strike 1.5 inches high at this distance. The McMillan stock feels good and helps mitigate recoil. Next, I fired the rest of the box of SIG Sauer Elite ammunition from a standing position.

I cannot tell you how different the feel of the rifle stock is compared to a standard factory stock. The step in the stock around the pistol grip makes for more secure hold. Balance is excellent.

Pebbling around the pistol grip makes for a sure hold. I also fired the SIG Sauer 165-grain tipped ammunition.

This is a great accuracy load, and also a load that will prove to be a good game-taker per my testing. I fired two, three-round groups from a solid benchrest firing position. The average was 0.9 inch.

I have used Nosler bullets in handloads for decades. The Nosler Partition is a proven game-taker that also exhibits good accuracy.

I have loaded several mixes of the Nosler Partition, IMR 4895 and Varget Powder, all with good to excellent results. I also fired the Nosler factory-loaded Partition in 165-grain weight with good results.

The rifle is accurate and the stock has a great deal to do with that. The stock and bedding mean a great deal.

The Mc3 Traditional stock is a great asset for those interested in improving practical handling and accuracy. MSRP of the stock is $269, it may be found at some outlets for slightly less.

SIG Sauer Elite .30-06 Ammunition
SIG Sauer Elite ammunition provided excellent results.

Conclusion

That is how I fitted my favorite centerfire rifle. There are other solutions. As an example, when I first obtained my Savage 110 Apex Storm rifle, I was glad I spent a few extra bucks to obtain the Apex Storm.

The Storm comes with four spacers to allow the shooter to properly adjust the length of pull. Length of pull is the distance from the end of the stock to the trigger face. Very few, if any, factory rifles in this price range have such features.

.22 caliber rifles benefit from adjustable stocks as well. The AR-15 telescoping stock is worth a feature article all its own, but when these rifles are fitted with an AR-15 type adjustable stock, they offer excellent ergonomics.

The same may be applied to the Ruger 10/22 rifle and even shotguns.

Making the rifle fit the shooter is important for accuracy. Fortunately, for modern shooters there are many options.

What rifle fits you the best? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. I shoot a Remington model 700 270 with a Tract op scope 5x12x50. 150 Grain Win bullet. Set at 1.5″ above Center. This will hit the target 1.5 below Center of the the spot. I have a black synthetic stock. This has worked very well for me on all big game in the continental states. I love this rifle setup. Thanks for the information.

  2. This may seem like an all too obvious article, BUT….if your shoes don’t fit, you pay attention to nothing else til you change them! If your rifle stock, especially on a full size 30 cal. doesn’t fit….you will put it down, and do your best to think up reasons to shoot your other toys.

    On the converse, a well fitting, comfortable to shoot big boy rifle can be no more difficult to shoot then the 10/22 we all grew up with….and still have 🙂

    Sometimes we need to be reminded about the basics of right calibre for the job, follow through with the trigger pull, call your shots, make no excuses about group sizes!

    Great reminder article my good man,
    G>

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