Full length stocks and accuracy.


A strange person
June 27, 2012, 01:58 PM
I've heard that full length, or "mannlicher", type stocks decrease accuracy a little. Is this true? Why?

The CZ 527FS has such a stock, but is advertised as having "a steel muzzle cap designed not to bind on the barrel during expansion and contraction." Would this lick the problem?

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June 27, 2012, 03:50 PM
Not really, because if the stock were to warp, then it would add another contact point to the barrel. A properly made and properly sealed "Mannlicher" stock should be just as accurate as any commercial hunting rifle stock.

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June 27, 2012, 04:14 PM
"Most" rifles see accuracy improve if the barrel is free-floated. Some benefit from having a specific pressure point where the stock touches. Stocks that warp and/or change dimension microscopically with humidity can put pressure on the barrel in ways that are inconsistent, or simply not conducive to best accuracy.

A full-length stock may be a bit more likely to do this than a half-length forearm which is easier to free-float.

A VERY well made stock that is fit extremely well to the barreled action is less likely to cause problems.

It seems that many Mannlicher type stocked rifles were intended as field stalking carbines, rather than as American "bean-field" rifles, and the finer points of precision weren't necessarily the goal in mind.

June 27, 2012, 05:48 PM
Sam, would bedding the barrel full length with an epoxy compound help the accuracy of such a rifle?

June 27, 2012, 05:56 PM
It certainly could, especially if there is something not right about the bedding as it is now. If the stock happens to be especially suceptible to seasonal/humidity-related movement, then the full-length bedding might not help so much.

June 27, 2012, 05:57 PM
Rifle bedding ideas were different in the blackpowder days. You look at actions and stocks, they full length bedded barrels. This trend continued in centerfire rifles all the way up to the 60's. You can look at pre 64's, M52's (target 22LR's) and you see barrel bands, tight wood to metal fit around the action and barrel.

Modern practice is to let the barrel free float. I have found, and so have many others, that anything touching the barrel, but it bands or stock, will cause irregular vibrations. Sometimes adding a pressure point will "do something" good, but it is rare and is probably specific to a load.

The M1903, along with many service rifles, the fore end tip had five pounds of pressure on the barrel. But, I got to examine some very rare, all original, military team NM 1903's. On a couple they had removed wood from the fore end tip, knocked the upper band screw down, so their barrel was free floated.

I have routed out bedding compound from two hunting older rifles that a previous owner had fully bedded the barrel. Accuracy improved with both rifles.

I believe Mannlicher stocks are pre WW2 things, back then they would have had close inletting and the barrel touching the stock. That is not best practice, but then, you are buying it for the style, right?

June 27, 2012, 06:00 PM
I have a number of military surplus rifles which have full-length stocks. All are decently accurate, but my Swiss K31 is just spooky. It was inlet so well the fit is like vacuum-perfect. I would no-way, no-how go at that one with a chisel and bedding compound.

June 27, 2012, 06:03 PM
Here's another thread on this question from last month: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=660330

but then, you are buying it for the style, right?

Yup, style and handling in certain kinds of, mostly European, hunting.

June 27, 2012, 06:17 PM
As long as the pressure remains constant on the barrel it will shoot. A full length stock makes it more complicated, free floating makes things simpler. Done right either full length bedding or free floating works equally well.

There is a differrence between accuracy and consistency however. I've never had a wood stocked rifle that was truly consistent and no longer use wood on a serious hunting rifle.

There is simply no way to completely seal a wood stock. No matter what you do environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity and altitude WILL cause the wood to expand and contract. Even if you did find a way to perfectly seal a wood stock you have 10%-20% of the stocks weight in moisture trapped inside that will expand and contract as conditions change. You don't have to hunt in the rain. A rifle in your safe, inside a climate controlled home will do this as the seasons change.

I have several very accurate wood stocked rifles that shoot sub MOA. The problem with all of them is that when they are zeroed in August and then shot in November the POI will be slightly different. They are still MOA, just an inch or so off in a different part of the target.

I've never owned a full length stock, but it has to complicate things enough to effect consistency, but maybe not accuracy.

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