McMillan Stocks - Here Is Perfection For Your Rifle
May 1, 2018
Why would you want to pay for a custom gun stock? First of all, for the way it looks and feels -- McMillan offers a variety of colors and combinations so you can make your rifle one of a kind. More importantly, a custom McMillan gun stock can help improve your groups at 100 yards anywhere from ¼ inch to ½ inch – and at greater distances, that can make a lot of difference.
You can also get a custom fit to your gun – it's no fun trying to shoot a rifle that is too long, too short, has the wrong height, etc. A custom stock means when you lift that gun to your shoulder, you're in perfect position to take a shot without wiggling around or twisting your neck.
Makes A Huge Difference
Putting a McMillan stock on an old gun can make a huge difference in how it shoots. If the action doesn't fit into the stock correctly and sit rock steady, the accuracy will be way off. With age, especially with a wood stock, the bolt handle can bind on the stock or the barrel may not have free vibration along its length.
This alters the position of the muzzle when the gun is fired. However, even with a new gun, a custom stock will improve accuracy.
When You Order
When you order a McMillan stock you may be on the phone for an hour and half. They'll send you an order form ahead of time, but you don't need to know what everything means – they'll walk you through it and you get personal attention. You should go online to mcmillanusa.com first and decide what pattern and colors you particularly like, and they'll let you know your options.
For Most Rifles
For most rifles, they already have precise measurements as well as having that particular action and barrel on hand. Some rifles, such as the A Bolt II, have differences of 2 – 5/1000th of an inch, so in some cases you may have to send the action in. But for most, all you need to tell them is what kind of rifle it is and they can take it from there.
They offer two shells – fiberglass and carbon fiber. The carbon fiber can take lighter fills because it is so incredibly stable and strong, making an unbelievably light stock possible. If you lug a rifle around the mountains in search of sheep or Coues deer, you'll really appreciate this. They distribute the fills based on the action and barrel, so the rifle is steady and balanced and feels perfect when shooting.
One of their innovations is flush cups – they attach the sling to the side of the butt instead of the end, so the gun rides flat to your body instead of having it poking you in the side or back all day.
Touring With Josh Deards
We were lucky enough to meet Josh Deards from McMillan at the SHOT Show earlier this year, and recently we took him up on his offer to tour the McMillan plant here in Phoenix, Ariz. Their stocks are made start to finish right here in AZ. Their stocks take time and money because each stock is given at least 22 hours of hands-on work.
"Time, quality, and love goes into these things", says Josh. Almost everyone we met at the factory has been there for decades – they are all very good at what they do. I'll walk you through what it takes to make a McMillan stock, start to finish.
Colors, Stock Material
After the lengthy and detailed ordering process is done, the colors and stock material are hand laid into a mold. Five places are opened up in the mold for different fills that are used in each area to ensure that the stock is perfectly balanced.
In the mill room, the spaces for the action, the barrel, and the bottom metal inlet are cut out by a computer-programmed routing machine that makes the cut outs absolutely perfect for the action and barrel that you specified. They have samples of most bottom plates, actions, and barrels.
Once the stock is milled, it is cut for length of pull, butt pad, etc., then the butt pad is hand ground to fit the stock. If a mistake is made here, the entire process has to be started over, but Tau has been cutting butt pads for 30 years and he doesn't make mistakes.
Once Tau is done with the butt pad, the stock goes to the "Bling Department" – hardware, the unsung hero of the factory as Josh calls them. Here the studs, flush cups, etc, are fitted. They don't trust automated machines for this – all the milling, lathe work, etc., is all done by hand. Here is where T-nuts are placed and resined in so that you can take those bolts out over and over.
Nothing But Perfect
After the Bling Department, the stock moves on. Quality control happens at each step because each of these steps is critical. If any department makes a mistake, the entire process starts over. Nothing but a perfect stock leaves the factory.
A lead in each department inspects each stock to make sure everything is perfect before it moves on, and the production manager also makes surprise checks during the process as well as inspecting every stock before it leaves the plant.
'Making Beautiful Room'
After hardware, the stocks moves to the "making beautiful" room. A stock may have a bubble or the surface may be slightly marred. The ladies who work here are artists who exactly match colors and textures so every stock has the perfect finish. This, says Josh, is a job you either can or can't do, and it will be obvious within a week.
Most of the ladies here have been here over 20 years. Making beautiful can take hours or days. Then it's off to shipping.
In shipping is where you'll find Tom, who has been making the molds here for 30 years. He can also modify stocks and he repairs and rebuilds stocks as well. Josh says one of the things that makes their stocks so good is that they get constant feedback from their customers as well as from their sponsored shooters.
"Think about it. Just the three of us standing here right now have over 100 years of experience shooting rifles. We do 12-13,000 stocks a year. That's a lot of experience to draw from." This helps them perfect the subtle nuances that make their stocks so good.
If You Want A McMillan Stock
If you want a McMillan stock, you'll pay anywhere from a couple of hundred to over a thousand, depending on what you want. You'll also have to wait around four to five months. If your rifle is a less popular model, it may take longer because they will hold the order until they have at least 6 or so orders.
As Josh says, when you're waiting for a McMillan, you're waiting for custom – you're waiting for perfection. They're so confident in their products that they give an unconditional lifetime warranty against cracking, warping, splitting, breaking, or becoming unusable for any reason. And if you're not satisfied with your McMillan stock, you can send it back for a full refund within 30 days. Details are on their website.
One On Every Rifle
Once you handle and shoot a gun with a McMillan stock, you'll appreciate all the time and work that goes into it. You'll want one on every rifle.
To see the finishes and models they can build for your rifle, visit http://www.mcmillanusa.com or you can call them at (623)582-9674 or toll free at 1-877-365-6148.