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H-S Precision vs. McMillan

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Horsemany, Sep 10, 2008.

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  1. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    I picked up my newly bedded 700 Sendero SFII yesterday from my gunsmith. He mentioned how much harder and better made the H-S Precision stocks are compared to McMillan. I was surprised to hear that. Here's what he said. The McMillan do not have pillars. The McMillans are much softer and have a soft center when you grind away material to bed the action. He said you really have to work to grind away the H-S Precision in comparison. I read somewhere that H-S Precision stocks are fiberglass and kevlar. I don't know about the McMillan but perhaps they are only fiberglass without kevlar? What say you?
     
  2. ogree

    ogree Member

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    Kevlar is a joke in glass stocks, when saturated with resin the kevlar hardenens then becomes rigid and does not perform the way intended. Parts of kevlars performance in stopping bullets comes from its flexibility.
    You can take a piece of kevlar when hardened with resin and tear it like a sheet of paper.
    HS started using aluminum bedding blocks to increase their structural integrity, prior to that they were rather fragile, I once saw one that had just been bedded and in process of being cleaned up....it was accidentally knocked off a bench and when it hit the floor, it broke into 3 pieces.....I decided from that point on that I would never own one.
    I have installed thousands of glass stocks on rifles and have worked with almost everyone made and only will purchase McMillan stocks for myself, the rest are not worth the hassle.
     
  3. Tarvis

    Tarvis Member

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    I'm sure it isn't intended to make the stock literally bullet proof.
     
  4. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    ogree

    You have installed thousands of fiberglass stocks so I've gotta ask. Have you noticed the same thing my gunsmith has? Have you noticed the H-S Precision are harder or denser than the fiberglass? He said when you get into a McMillan with a grinder to bed, they're just soft dust. He has no reason to lie and I wonder if you've noticed the same. What do you say about the fact the McMillan has no pillars. The H-S Precision seem to lend themselves well to bedding since they've got the pillars already.
     
  5. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Horsemany,

    Your gunsmith is "soft" in the head. McMillan is the gold standard of aftermarket stocks, and while H-S Precision makes a good stock, they can't hold a candle to a McMillan. And, I have had both.

    Don
     
  6. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    Thanks Don. I thought we could have varying opinions and open discussions without being children but I was wrong. I am simply posing the question. It doesn't mean I agree or disagree with anyone. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me why it would be better to NOT have pillars set in the composite material itself.
     
  7. aubie515

    aubie515 Member

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    Everyone has an opinion, especially online. People's ego come into play...with that being said, Don is correct. I've had both and will say that the McMillans are the standard. This is the first time I'm hearing that HS is better. There is a reason why there is a waiting list for McMillan stocks. I doubt the military would go with McMillan if it was inferior in any way.

    I would say a more reasonable comparison would be McMillan v. AICS.

    HS v. B&C.
     
  8. chriso

    chriso Member

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    yeah but the army uses a HS precision stock on their M-24 SWS, they are both good but it's an easy choice for me mcmillan wins hands down.
     
  9. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    What about the McMillan makes them better? I am not disbelieving. I'm just curious. I don't see the big difference in fit & finish but I must be missing something. Other than saying the McMillan is better, what makes it better? If McMillan's a better product it just is. I'd just like to know how.
     
  10. hksw

    hksw Member

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    Various US military branches also use McMillan.

    http://www.snipercentral.com/rifles.htm

    HS makes a lot of the stocks for the rifle sold in retail, McMillan less so. I've got a few of the Varmint grade rifles that have HS stocks on them as OE parts. Also have a few that are McMillan both as OE and aftermarket.

    No question, McMillan.
     
  11. hksw

    hksw Member

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    One slight clarification on the snipercentral link.

    What is pictured for the Win M70 Custom Sharpshooter is the Custom Sharpshooter II. The first series used a McMillan A2 stock (the description is that for this series). The second series used an HS Sniper stock (as pictured).
     
  12. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    This is what I mean. Can anyone be more specific what is more desirable about the McMillan? I'm not trying to be argumentative here and I believe there must be a difference but what is it? Are they stronger? Is the fit & finish better? Do you like not having the pillars?
     
  13. Mason38

    Mason38 Member

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    I don't know anything about McMillan stocks, but...

    HS stocks are fiberglass and carbon fiber with a poly-foam interior around an aluminum bedding block. The Kevlar is only a half inch by three inch strip in the grip to strenghten that area, in the M24 stocks there is also a strip at the forend of the stock... it's pretty much just to make them cost more.

    I've never seen one break just from being dropped, and we've tried to break them for sure... but having seen how they are made I, personally, would never own one

    I know, I used to work there.

    -Allen
     
  14. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Member

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    Hey, the US Military uses McMillan, and it's not like they use low bidders, or less than the best weapon. Oh wait, they do both of those........
     
  15. nicholst55

    nicholst55 Member

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    This same question came up on the FAL Forum a couple of weeks ago, and was addressed by T. Mark Graham of Arizona Response Systems. He feels that the HS Precision stocks are too soft, and complains that bits of the core frequently pull away when the excess bedding material is removed. He vastly prefers McMillan stocks.

    I can state from personal experience that I've never found an HS Precision stock yet that didn't need skim bedding, despite their much touted bedding block. The bedding block doesn't do much good if it isn't touching the action! Granted, I haven't built thousands of rifles on them (or any other stock).

    The Marines and the Navy Seals both use McMillan stocks (and rifles). That is by choice, not because they're compelled to. AFAIK, in all the time that the Marines have been using McMillan stocks on their sniper rifles, they have had exactly one break. While that may not sound that impressive at first glance, you have to take into consideration the fact that Marines (and soldiers) can (and will) break anything! Someone recently said that if you locked a Marine in an empty room and gave him two 6" diameter steel balls and came back in an hour, one steel ball would be broken and the other would be missing!

    The Army has HS Precision stocks on their M24 rifles, but the rifles are built by Remington, not by the Army. As a result, they use whatever components Remington installs on them. The Marines build their own sniper rifles, and they use the components that they want to; big, big difference.
     
  16. EShell

    EShell Member

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    The OP needs a new "precision gunsmith" that actually understands stock construction.

    I have McMillan, Manners and HS Precision stocks on a pile of precision/tactical rifles. As stated above, HS Precision is at the bottom of this short list.

    While the "drop-in" nature and lighter weight lends itself to the Army's requirements, it also lends itself to reliably mediocre performance. Also as pointed out above, even the HS's "legendary" aluminum block should be skim bedded to deliver best accuracy, and doing this kills it for the Army's purposes (low level maintenance interchangeability).

    The fiberglass McMillan and Manners stocks are both much more rigid than the (foam core) HS unit, and both McM & Manners are intended to be pillar bedded. Without the aluminum block, the core of an HS stock can be dug out with a fingernail and even pillar bedding won't save it. The very thin Kevlar shell of the HS stock is often/usually broken where the swivel studs thread in. The result this foam core/Kevlar shell is a flexible, lightweight stock that just doesn't come close to the hard and heavy stocks produced by McM & Manners for stability and rigidity.

    Potential accuracy is much greater with McM & Manners, due to the increased rigidity making them much less grip and position sensitive, and felt recoil is greater with HS stocks. My 6.5-300 Weatherby is a long range 3/8 moa rifle that can be made to shift point of impact 2" at 200 yards with cheek pressure alone on the HS varmint style stock it's in.

    IMHO, McM makes a more effective "benchrest" stock and they and Manners both make much more effective "tactical" stocks than HS. For a lightweight hunting stock, HS isn't bad, and they're much better than the wooden units they began to replace 15 years ago, offering much less bedding concerns and much more all-weather stability.

    In fairness, the HS unit should indeed be compared to a B&C or Choate stock in the same general price range, since this line of stocks cost half of what one will pay for a bedded McMillan, but, in this case you get what you pay for.
     
  17. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    EShell

    Thanks for all the replies. I have a few questions for you. I am not sure how a McMillan offers more accuracy potential, since I have more than one bone stock Remmy 700 without even bedding in the H-S Precision that shoot in the .2's-.4's with handloads regularly.

    I cannot lump brands together based on prices. If "you get what you pay for" is your greatest attribute there's a problem. Thousands of Savage shooters on this forum would disagree with you. Are you saying a $400Savage performs half as good as an $800 Remington? My point is there are thousands of examples of cheaper products performing better than the alternative.

    Still no one has explained why the better McMillan is favored to NOT have aluminum pillars in the stock. And if the H-S Precision is such a dissapointing stock that some posters will not own one, why have the Police used them for years in the M24's? Isn't that a liability to use such a soft spongy stock? They won't even use handloads for liability reasons.

    It would appear my gunsmith's opinion is the opposite of the majority here. I thought that was the case and that's why I posed the question. I cannot disagree with any posters here since I don't own a McMillan(I've shot a few). I thought there would be more definate advantages rather than preference or opinion.
     
  18. rero360

    rero360 Member

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    I don't know where you are coming up with this info about MCM stocks not being pillar bedded, my A5 has pillars and while I haven't done a full bedding job on it yet I can shoot right around .5 MOA, 5 shot groups that is, with just a bipod from the prone. thats a savage action with a hart barrel, leupold 6.5-20 scope in Badger hardware. with black hills 175gr. ammo. No bench and vice for this guy

    I also have a H-S stock on my weatherby vanguard sub MOA, while I haven't shot the rifle yet I have torn it down and inspected the stock. It didn't impress me all that much, they are mass produced stocks where as the MCMs and Manners are hand built, with a much higher level of QC.
     
  19. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    Okay. My gunsmith said they did NOT have the pillars. Do they all have pillars in ther stock? The other thing I just thought of. Maybe the H-S stocks on my guns are slightly better quality than other H-S? They're the new palm swell target version same as the 700Police uses(actually one of mine is a 700Police). Perhaps these are built differently than other H-S and that's a difference? Who knows. I believe you folks who have both and that's good enough for me now. Thanks for the info.
     
  20. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Pillar bedding is something that is done by a gunsmith in which the the pillars inserted in the stock are matched to the barreled receiver that will be going into the stock. Putting pillars in a stock without access to the barreled receiver that will be going into it makes no sense.

    Don
     
  21. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    Don

    I respectfully disagree. Pillars in the stock still stop the stock from compressing when the bolts are torqued down. When the pillars stop at the aluminum chassis that the reciever rides in, it guarantees the stock cannot compress. When you tighten down a 700 that sits in the H-S stock the bolts come to a dead stop when tightened. That means it works. They don't tighten slowly like a wood stock. Skim coat bedding a stock with aluminum chassis and pillars already installed makes a VERY solid package IMO. Pillars molded into the stock itself seem like they would be slightly better/more solid than drilling out fiberglass then gluing in seperate pillars. Plus the H-S pillars are actually connected to each other through the chassis. They are the same piece of metal.
     
  22. EShell

    EShell Member

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    Yes, I agree and personally know this is possible, I have several rifles in HS stocks that will perform to this level. My stock LTR .308 shoots this with FGMM 168s, as do several PSS models owned by friends, BUT, only when very carefully shot from a bench. As soon as we get into "real world usage" like hunting, varmint shooting, tactical matches, duty use, etc., the use of improvised positions and variations of rest, bipod, sling and stock pressure points kills it and we see a more realistic accuracy level of up to 1 moa from the same gun. They ARE flexible, too flexible. Better than other stocks on factory guns? Yes. Best there is? No, nor could they be expected to be for half the price.

    I mentioned above my 6.5-300 Wby. This rifle was originally built as a 1k match gun, but I put it in an HS stock to use on long range varmints and crop damage deer. It shoots 1/4 moa groups in the Shehane "Tracker" steel-tex bedded laminated stock. In the HS, it still shoots 3/8 moa or better, but, I can change that accuracy level to be more like 1-1/2 moa simply by adding random cheek pressure to the stock that my McM stocked 6.5-284 and Manners stocked .260 don't to react to at all.

    The aluminum bedding block (more or less) solves one problem: Bedding, the bane of interfacing to wood and laminate stocks for years. Unfortunately, the aluminum block is surrounded by foam, encased in a thin layer of outer shell material. Neither the foam or thin skin contribute much to the stiffness needed for *consistent* performance.

    I am quite serious when I say that the foam core can be dug out with a fingernail. I've cut the LOP on several HS stock to youth proportions and what is exposed is rather enlightening. It won't hold a screw and the recoil pad must be glued back on, as it is when factory installed.
    Rereading exactly what I wrote, you will see that I had clearly said "in this case". . . . I meant that and and fully believe it's true. My statement is not intended to be all inclusive and Savages do happen to represent one of the very rare exceptions when only accuracy is discussed. Even this point could be debatable when the rifle is taken as a whole, with fit, finish and ergonomics considered.
    They do not come with pillars. The recommended pillar bedding is a method used by the gunsmith/person who beds the rifle, pillars are of custom lengths based upon bottom metal choices, and is additive to the price of the stock. McMs are used mainly in custom rifles, and the normally upgrade bottom metal might be Williams, Badger M-4 or M-5, Seekins or anything but the flimsy aluminum Remington factory offerings, and all will require varying length pillars and inlet depths.
    First, I would only use the word "disappointing" when comparing the HS stocks with the properly bedded McMillan or Manners, which are twice the price and this comparison was the specific subject of the original post. When compared to Choate or B&C or other "drop ins", I would quickly change "disappointing" to "amazingly accurate", but, that wasn't the question.

    Then, I would suggest that we cloud the issue when we look at what the police must buy off the shelf under the typically limited budget they are allotted for tactical rifles, rifles they must buy "as is" from the factory. The police use the HS stocked firearms for exactly the same reason the US Army uses them - they're available configured by Remington at "reasonable" cost. If you look at Remington's other factory offerings (wood, laminated wood, monolithic plastics ("Tupperware")), the HS is quite clearly the best choice and it is then easy to see why the various police departments would select them over other offerings.

    Conversely, when we look at what is available in *custom* match, hunting and tactical rifles, which are the main outlet for McM stocks, or look at high dollar packages offered by McMillan (McBros), for example, or even when we look at what the USMC does when they build their own sniper rifles, we see an entirely different trend.

    If Remington offered their LTR and PSS on McMillan M40 and A-5 stocks at pricing similar to HS, I suspect that the police and Army might reconsider their current choices in factory rifles.
    And the statement made by your gunsmith, who may otherwise be an excellent smith, illustrates that his own experience with properly installed McMillan and other upgrade stocks is rather thin. When he says "soft" in reference to McM, he's looking at the substrate (fiberglass) compared to aluminum. When he says "hard" in reference to HS, he's looking at the aluminum pillar portion of the bedding block compared to F/G. Would he happen to compare pillars to pillars, there would be no difference at all. Were he to compare substrate to substrate *solid F/G to foam), HS would be "soft".
    The definite advantage is that under field use, the McM outperforms the HS Precision stock. While the HS stock has definite advantages over it's usual competitors (wood/synthetic monolithic plastics/laminates/Choate/Bell&Carlson), is is just in a completely different league than McMillan, which are quite solid, hard & rigid, all desirable attributes when we talk of rifles that must be 100% stable under adverse conditions.

    As may be seen below, I have two McMillan stocks, one Manners stock and a half dozen or more HS stocks. I'm not so disappointed in HS that I won't own or shoot one, but, I DO recognize that it has limitations. Cost no object, ALL of my precision rifle stocks would be Manners and McMillan. One of my McMillans is a retired USMC M40A1 sniper stock that saw 30 years of military use and it's in better shape than my first HS stock, which has seen 10 years of hunting. My personal experience with all of these stocks shapes my opinion that, while the HS units "ain't bad", they DO have their points of vulnerability.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    Ed

    Perfect. That's what I needed to know. Thanks for laying it all out. I suspected as much and was surprised when my gunsmith mentioned what he did the other day. Maybe he was just trying to make small talk or make me feel good to keep me coming back.:) The fact you have a 30 year old used McMillan that's in better shape than a 10 year old H-S that' only been huntin' tells the story.
     
  24. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Horsemany,

    You ask questions that you supposedly don't know the answer to, and then when you receive an informed answer, you disagree. ??? EShell said the same thing I said, so disagree all you want, but stocks like McMillan that don't have a molded-in aluminum chassis are pillar bedded only when the gunsmith has the barreled action in his hands.

    Don
     
  25. Horsemany

    Horsemany Member

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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
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