Pistol-gripped bolt action rifles?


June 14, 2003, 11:40 PM
I'm working on (well, my gunsmith is) a tricked-out pseudoscout rifle based on a Mauser action. While looking through the AW ban definition looking for more evil bits I couple tack on (:neener:) I started thinking about pistol grips. I've never seen one on a bolt-action rifle...is there a good reason for that? I've found that PGs are a good bit easier to handle than tradition stocks (even the semi-PG ones).

I did some experiments with a Daewoo and a sporterized semi-PG Swedish Mauser. Holding them both up to the shoulder with only the primary/firing hand, the Mauser puts a lot more stress on my wrist than the Daewoo. The two guns have approximately equal wieghs, but even after I added a bayonet hanging off the end of the Daewoo it was still significantly more comfortable to hold in place than the Mauser. In fact, when I repeated the test without allowing the gun butt to touch my shoulder the Mauser became noticably harder to keep in place, while the Daewoo remained almost unchanged.

It looks to me like the PG allows me to hold the rifle with my wrist in natural alignment with my forearm, while the semi-PG wood stock require me to bend my wrist about 25 degrees forward/down. My much less-semi-PG Enfield requires yet more bending.

As a result of all this, I'm thinking about the practicality of making a PG stock for my pseudoscout...something along the lines of the M14E2 PG stock. Any thoughts on the matter that I may have neglected to consider?

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June 14, 2003, 11:51 PM
Seems to me that it would really slow down bolt operation and be awkward as heck. Thumbhole stocks are the same way.

I'd suggest handling a Browning A-Bolt and seeing how you like it. They have a more "upright" grip than most bolt rifles. If that's comfy for you, your gunsmith could duplicate that shape on your Mauser stock. Also give some thought to your bolt handle and how it will work with the stock shape.

I'm just the opposite, actually. True pistol grips on rifles (like the AR-15 or FAL) are very uncomfortable and unnatural-feeling for me; a regular stock feels MUCH better.


June 15, 2003, 12:07 AM
I realized I forgot to mention something - I'm left-handed and use normal bolt guns. I use my support hand to cycle the bolt, rather than reaching over the top with my primary hand (I've gotten pretty darn fast at it on my Enfield). As a result, the position of my primary hand shouldn't affect bolt cycling speed.

Thanks for the A-Bolt suggestion - I've never handled one before. I'll go down to the gun shop tomorrow and rectify that.

June 15, 2003, 12:18 AM
My Tikka has a pretty much vertical grip, although it is cut into the stock rather than being something handing out beneath the rifle.

June 15, 2003, 12:34 AM

That makes more sense, then :)


June 15, 2003, 12:53 AM
It looks to me like the PG allows me to hold the rifle with my wrist in natural alignment with my forearm, while the semi-PG wood stock require me to bend my wrist about 25 degrees forward/down. My much less-semi-PG Enfield requires yet more bending.
I agree totally. The full pistol grip is much more ergonomic. I suspect that if working the bolt at semiauto speed is the highest priority, it may not be the best choice, and you can't get quite as low with a vertical grip when going prone, but the full pistol grip has a decided edge in comfort and control, IMO.

It's not a bolt action, but I have a Ruger mini-14 with two stocks, the standard wooden factory stock and a Choate "E2 style" pistol-grip stock. It's interesting to take the same gun and switch the stocks back and forth to compare them. The Choate stock wins hands down, to me, even when shooting off a bench.

For some reason full pistol-grip stocks aren't common on bolt rifles, but there are plenty of thumbhole stocks, and the snake-necked stocks like you see in Olympic biathlon shooting seem to be functionally similar. Somewhere on THR (or TFL, I don't remember), there is a guy who modified a Choate pistol-grip shotgun stock to fit his hunting rifle, IIRC.

June 15, 2003, 02:21 AM
While looking through the AW ban definition looking for more evil bits I couple tack on

Bolt action rifles are not affected by the AWB.

Pistol grips, folding stocks, bayonette lugs, detachable 20 round mags ... none of that matters.

The only legal restriction on bolt action rifles are the length of the barrell.

June 15, 2003, 03:54 AM
Bolt action rifles are not affected by the AWB. Yup, I know. That's why they're all goin' on it. :)

well, not quite ALL...

June 15, 2003, 12:04 PM
I agree. A more vertical grip seems more comfortable to shoot for me than a normal stock. I came to this opinion when comparing the relative shooting comfort between an Ansch├╝tz 54:18 MSR and MG42 replica stock for a 10/22 against regular stocked bolt .22 and 10/22s.


Also comparing an older Win Mod 70 with a McMillan A2 stock agains other 70s in standard stocks.


Not that standard stocks are uncomfortable, just seems to me that a more vertical angle are just a little more comfortable.

McMillan does make a pistol grip stock for bolts, the M2A. Looks a little goofy but I'm sure it works.


June 15, 2003, 01:25 PM
if you can't tell I'm a fan of the Choate Stocks:

http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/shotgun/dcp03858.gif (http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/shotgun/dcp03858.jpg)

http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/ak/dcp03426.gif (http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/ak/dcp03426.jpg)

http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/savage/dcp03439.gif (http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/savage/dcp03439.jpg)

the grip angle feels much better than a standard stock (for the AK it is just longer and more comfortable)

June 15, 2003, 03:30 PM
Yzguy, that Savage looks like almost exactly what I had in mind. Choate doesn't appear to make them for large-ring Mausers, though. I wonder what I could whip up with some scrap stocks, carpentry tools, and a spare AR grip? :)

hksw - I think that bottom one you have a picture of is the M14 stock I was thinking of.

June 15, 2003, 03:31 PM

Savage Arms LE series (http://www.savagearms.com/centerfire/lawEnf/10fpxp.htm)

Never tried one, but looks interesting. Has that "Tactical Skunkabilly" look...:cool:

June 15, 2003, 03:43 PM
I would think pistol grips more suitable for low-recoil rounds, while the standard stock, which lets you pull the stock firmer against the shoulder, would be better for higher-recoil rounds. I prefer a more standard stock personally.

June 15, 2003, 04:27 PM
Comparing my Blaser R93 stock and my Rem700PSS stock, I also find the pistol grip style easier to handle and shoot. On my 10/22 I went with the Anschutz style stock with the pistol style grips as well.




Chris Rhines
June 15, 2003, 09:30 PM
Agreed with most above: I find pistol-grip stocks far more comfortable to use than standard stocks, especally when shooting from sitting and prone.

On bolt guns: Might be interesting to try, especally with you shooting Hinkley-style and all. I've seen a few bolt guns with real pistol-grip stocks, all esoteric Euro guns. The FR-F1 comes to mind, and maybe another made by Beretta?

Try it, and see how it works out...

- Chris

June 18, 2003, 10:09 PM
the standard stock, which lets you pull the stock firmer against the shoulder
:confused: I guess it depends on the individual shooter. For me, the pistol grip stock is easier to pull in tightly because of the more natural grip angle. (BTW, don't Barrett .50's have pistol grip stocks?)

June 18, 2003, 10:31 PM
One other factor that hasn't been mentioned is that a protruding pistol grip delivers recoil to the palm of your hand, which I don't care for. YMMV.


June 19, 2003, 12:28 AM
The M2A stock is for the M1A, not a bolt-action.
Darn. You had me going there!!!



June 19, 2003, 12:17 PM
Seems to me that a standard stock is really held with the weak hand, taking tension off the hand pulling the trigger.

Aside from a pistol grip stock making it harder to go for the bolt, I would think thumb safeties would be out, too.

Also, pistol grip stocks are likely to be heavier. If this is a field rifle (rather than heavy target rifle) why make it unnecessarily heavier? If weight isn't an issue, carry an accurate semiauto.

June 19, 2003, 12:41 PM
Agreed about the PG. The most comfortable bolt action stock I've come across is the AICS (Accuracy International).

June 19, 2003, 12:58 PM
My error.

June 20, 2003, 02:16 AM
nextjoe - I don't have any problems shooting .308 semiautos with pistol grips, so I don't think a bolt will pose a problem recoil-wise. BTW, I found an A-Bolt at a shop the other day. If definitely felt better than my sporterized Swede, and I think a real pistol grip would be better still. :)

Handy - I'm lefthanded, and I like cycling the bolt with my weak hand, so the grip won't make bolt operation any harder or easier. That's a good point about the safety, though...I'll have to see what I can do about that training-wise.

I don't think weight will be that much of a factor. If I use an AR grip (one with a cleaning kit in it!) attached to a wooden stock, the weight might just be less than a normal stock (the grip being hollow plastic).

Thanks for the input, everyone. I'm definitely going to see what I can make stock-wise as soon as I get this rifle back from the smith!

June 20, 2003, 11:24 AM
The recoil of a .308 certainly won't hurt, I just find it uncomfortable and fatiguing to do a lot of shooting with a pistol-gripped rifle, and I think the recoil hitting the palm of my hand has a lot to do with it.

I also prefer to have the weight of the gun balanced between my hands, and a pistol grip puts the balance point up higher instead of between the hands. But, as this thread shows, different people are comfortable with different things, and if you like a pistol grip, go for it! :)


4v50 Gary
June 20, 2003, 11:38 AM
First pistol grip bolt action rifle I know of is the 13mm Mauser anti-tank rifle of WW I fame. Perhaps you can pattern your project on this mother of all evil guns.

June 20, 2003, 01:16 PM
A more vertical pistol grip design is best suited for bench or prone shooting (as evidenced by the pictures above), which is where you'll usually find rifles so stocked. In my opinion, it reduces the pointability of the rifle and interferes with the easy manipulation of many safeties found on bolt action rifles.

As a result I think that while it's fine for bench or prone shooting (e.g., sniping, varminting, target shooting) it's less than optimal for a hunting rifle where a variety of positions may be used and quick shots are always a possibility.

June 20, 2003, 01:47 PM


Ian, weren't you in IN, did you graduate?

June 21, 2003, 12:04 AM
Skunkabilly - Yeah, I was in Indiana. I haven't graduated yet; I just came home for the summer.

Slingster - Yeah, Handy also mentioned the issue with the rifle safety...I'll have to see what I can do about that. As for handling, I can always put the traditional-style stock back on if my Funky Stock (tm) doesn't end up working so well. :)

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