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Are adjustable gunstocks a worthwhile investment?

Robin Scott, former Sporting Gun editor-at-large and Matt Clark, editor of Sporting Gun, debate the issue

Adjustable gunstocks

Are adjustable gunstocks worth the money?

Adjustable gunstocks – definitely not worth it

Robin Scott says: Most guns with adjustable stocks can only be altered for length, drop and cast. These are important, but they are but a part of the bigger gunfit picture.

For instance, adjustable gunstocks don’t let us make minor changes to such things as length at toe and heel. This may better fit the butt to our shoulder, or make mounting a little smoother and easier.

Neither do they come with a facility to alter the amount of cast at toe to accommodate the shape of our chest. Nor do they allow us to change the shape and radius of the grip, or the thickness of the hand — critical elements to mounting a gun properly, pulling the trigger and keeping control during recoil.

I suppose the answer would be to go the whole hog and have a favourite smoke pole fitted with an expensive gunmaker’s try stock. But they’re not cheap and they’re certainly not pretty. They’re complicated bits of kit designed to make sure amateurs like me get in a real muddle at the first turn of the Allen key. So unless you’re an expert in this black art, my advice would be to steer well clear.

Rather than buy a gun with an adjustable stock, why not put the money saved in the pocket of an experienced fitter, trust the measurements he gives after watching you shoot, and have any necessary alterations done by an equally competent gunsmith?’

But this shooter is a fan

Matt Clark says: If money is no object and you are buying your ‘forever gun’, having a stock fitting is a worthwhile investment. But most of us can’t afford that luxury and an adjustable stock can help us enjoy a gun that is more suited to our needs.

True, many manufacturers offer guns with stocks that you can have made roughly to your fit, but this is only the most basic of measurement and will cost you a few hundred quid t’boot.

When you come to sell the gun, your market will be limited to those shooters who match your physical build.

That’s where the adjustable stock comes in. It will accommodate most shooters’ physical characteristics and you won’t miss the other niceties of grip radius or length of toe and heel. What is more, your gun can be set up to suit the kind of shooting you actually do. This is particularly important for clay shooting, where you will need a higher comb for Trap than for Skeet, say.

Also our bodies often change shape. An adjustable stock allows you to take into account the passage of time.

The only downside to an adjustable stock is that many hex wrench twizzlers out there refuse to leave it alone and fiddle with the dimensions constantly, leading to inconsistency on mounting and more misses. Buy a gun with an adjustable stock, ask your gunshop to help set it up for the kind of shooting you want to do and leave it. The only time to fiddle again is if an instructor suggests a refinement.