Rifle stock pistol grip questions
They range from full vertical on target stocks, to non-existent on guns like the Beeman C1 and Air Venturi Bronco. Then there are the thumbhole stocks, which can also have varying degrees of angle. I've never been comfortable with thumbhole stocks. I guess it's just me.
My personal preference is for a vertical pistol grip, with a place for my thumb somewhere close to being in line with the bore. The Tau 200 stock is just about the most comfortable thing I've ever shot when it comes to trigger hand position. The Diana 66, with all its funky angularity, is a close second when it comes to trigger hand placement. The classic FWB 300S is a close third. Here's the thing about 10M target guns: when properly balanced, the trigger hand has no part in supporting the rifle, and has only one job, to pull the trigger. On a sporter or hunting rifle, the trigger hand helps to carry some of the rifle's weight, so a curved grip takes some of the load. A classic palm-swell grip like the FWB 124D will distribute that load a little more comfortably. I was always frustrated by the grip on the older Slavia springers. The curve was nice, but the reach from grip to trigger was always a bit too long. The full-straight, no-pistol-grip-at-all stock like the C1 (and Bronco) is very quick to shoulder and shoot, but it sacrifices something in terms of making the trigger hand do more work. Well suited to a point-and-shoot gun like an upland bird shotgun, but not well suited to a precision needle-threader.
So, what do I like? Vertical grip on a target stock. But I don't hunt anymore, and I don't carry a gun thru the woods.
What are your thoughts?
Jim, a very interesting question!
I too like vertical-ish grips as the most comfortable, but don’t have a particular issue with the traditional more raked angle and curved shape of most sporter stocks, which probably work better for positions other than straight upright offhand shooting. HW stocks work well for me in general, yes the more vertical geometry of my beloved HW 55’s being better than their sporters, but all Weihrauchs also suffer from the trigger’s being too far from the grip. (HW solved this themselves with the positionable blade on the “HWB Champ” junior version of the HW 55, but has never seen fit to put this on anything else!)
I have never gotten along well with straight-wrist stocks. The C1 is cute but an odd design to my eye; Beeman claimed he was inspired by the old lever-action Winchesters and such, but those classic designs have a lot more drop at the heel which eases the “wrist” angle. The C1 has near-zero drop - amazingly effective at eliminating recoil muzzle lift on this powerful light rifle - but is actually painful to me (the late ones with the wide curved trigger blade are a bit better, you don’t have to reach so far for the blade).
Two details I love:
1) The round-bottomed grip seen on the traditional German “Bayern” design. It gives you a lot of options for comfortable hand and finger positions. The early HW 35L, traditional HW 35 and 50 base-model beech stocks, and Diana 27 are good examples (on the latter, this detail is vital to deal with how weirdly close the trigger is to the grip, LOL!).
2) Another German touch-fore end finger grooves. I find this give a more secure grip than surface checkering or stippling; I have kinda small hands and love the feel of “sinking into” the wood. Also looks very elegant to me.
Four stocks I particularly like:
1) Anschutz 335 sporter (aka “Crosman Challenger 6500”). Although cursed by cheesy stamped checkering, the grip angle is much more vertical than most sporters; a de-sprung dedicated target version was sold in Europe which no doubt had an influence.
2) Walther LGV “Olympia,” the old target rifle not the modern sporter. Perfectly comfortable and utterly gorgeous to my eye, a crisp modern interpretation of a traditional form. The pear-section fore end is a brilliant compromise between the wide lower surface needed for 10-meter work, and easy carrying in the field.
3) HW 55CM. This chunky-looking stock is actually rather light (there’s a huge void inside the fore end for an optional weight), and almost unbelievably comfortable, with a near-vertical grip, slightly rounded fore end edges, and vertically-adjustable buttplate.
4) HW 55T. Yes, it feels as good as it looks, and is IMHO the prettiest of the classic target rifle Tyros. Many don’t appreciate the other features of a pure Tyro beyond the cheekpiece sculpture: grip closer to the trigger, much shorter pull dimension, and a lot of drop at the heel. IMHO the 55 feels much more compact and better balanced with this stock.
Old HW 55 T with finger-groove fore end, a favorite...
"Old HW 55 T" I do love the look of those style rifle stocks. Being left handed I seldom see one on any type rifle for sale. I bid on one years back that was the stock only in left hand but did not get it. I did not have the rifle to fit the stock but figured I could eventually come up with the rifle to fit the stock. Best I can remember it was for a Mauser 98 action.