Schnabel advantage?


March 5, 2011, 01:41 PM
What are the up and downsides of a Schnabel fore-end on a high power rifle?

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Float Pilot
March 5, 2011, 03:21 PM
Schnabel is German for beak, like a birds beak.

Up side:

1. Looks nice.

2. Keeps the support hand from sliding forward off the stock with heavy recoiling and yet lightweight, rifles.

3. Acts as a position marker while resting stock on a tree stump, backpack, fallen log, saddle and so on. Thus not allowing you to pull backwards enough that the barrel touches the supporting object and destroys the accuracy.

4. The Schnabel fore-ends were usually used on thin light-weight stocks, thus the wood on the front of the fore-end tip would be very thin and likely to crack or be damaged in use. BUT, the extra thick beak (schnabel) area would stop that.

Some stocks, such as on short Mannlicher style full stocked carbines and rifles have a second Schnabel further back as a support hand reference.
Proper and consistent hand placement being very critical to accuracy with a lightweight rifle.
Many old rifles in German museums have very short fore-end wood compared to modern rifles. Those I have seen with these short fore-ends always seemed to have a Schnabel.

Down side:

1. Pretty much only works on thin lightweight stocks. So they are often too light up front for target shooting.
2. May hang-up in certain types of scabbards.
3. Thin wood in the fore-arm could be damaged more easily.

Dr T
March 5, 2011, 03:59 PM
BUT, it looks real nice.

Elbert P . Suggins
March 5, 2011, 04:10 PM
I have two rifles that are designed like that. The first one is a Newton 256 made somewhere around 1912 and the other is a bolt action .22 Savage of about the same era. Both I think really look nice built in that manner not even considering the advantages given by the first poster. Another reason is when you have 15 long guns in a safe and you are looking for one of these, they are pretty easy to spot real quick.

March 5, 2011, 06:20 PM
FP, pretty well nailed it. I think the primary advantage is to retain hand placement during recoil (no. 2), other than that the difference is mostly aesthetic. Personally I could do without a schnabel on most rifles, but it does look appropriate for those of the late 19th/very early 20th century. Personally I prefer a schnabel that is a bit chunkier and has little curvature, like the following photo, to one that has a delicate, svelte appearance (like the one pictured beneath the first).


March 6, 2011, 04:22 PM
Dang Mav, those are some puurrrty rifles!

March 6, 2011, 04:26 PM
Thanks, shootr. :)

March 6, 2011, 04:28 PM
I view them as being aesthetically pleasing rather than of simple utilitarian use.

Float Pilot
March 6, 2011, 05:16 PM
I only have two left with Schnabels after I sold the last Sharps Rifle..
But these are keepers.
I do have some museum photos from Germany around here that show some real oldies.. I will look for those tonight.

March 6, 2011, 08:29 PM
I' ve never heard anyone else make this observation, but I think it may allow the stock to be a bit lighter while still offering a bit of rigidity to the end of the stock.

During the 80's Winchester offered the model 70 Carbine and 70 Lightweight. They were essentially the same rifle as the Featherweight except with no Schnabel. The Carbine had a 20" barrel while the Lightweight had the standard 22" barrel. Those rifles were quite a bit lighter than even the Featherweight. The wood tapers down to a paper thin section right at the end of the stock and all of them I've owned and seen were quite flexible at the end of the stock. There was not enough wood to even consider free floating.

Once again I've never heard of anyone else making that observation, so I could be completely wrong.

I should ahve read the whole thread before posting. I see Float Pilot has already stated what I said.

Float Pilot
March 6, 2011, 08:53 PM
Sounds like another good reason to me..

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