To follow the entire series on my custom rifle build, click here. (The most recent will at the top of the page.)
I thought I was almost ready to order my stock, I have many of the details settled, and had the McMillan order form 95% filled out in front of me. I was not sure about the custom lug and I was not sure about the shank length information needed, so I called my best friend and rifle mentor to ask some questions. Regarding the custom lug he said I should just call Big Horn Arms and ask them for some details. I did call Big Horn Arms and I talked to AJ Goddard (he was very nice). I let him know I was about to order my stock, and planned on using a Big Horn Arms short tactical action, and wanted to know if I needed any additional info about a custom lug, etc. AJ let me know that McMillan has one of his actions there at their factory and that they would know what to do. That made perfect sense, so I thanked him for his time and called McMillan.
I ended up talking to a nice lady named Kay, and we walked though the ordering process together. I had all the answers to the questions she was asking until we came to the barrel information. I let her know I was going to use a #8 Kreiger Standard Target barrel contour. This is where the question came up about “shank length”. I had the Kreiger Barrel website open in front of me and I was on the page with all the barrel measurements. I tried to tell her what I thought the answer was (2.75′), but she didn’t think that was correct, so we went through the rest of the order form and I told her I’d call her back about the Shank Length questions. I realized later, what I was telling her was the unfinished shank length, or the cylinder length.
I figured out my actual Length of Pull (LOP). A standard LOP is 13.5″, but I figured out that mine is 12.75″. I will discuss how to find your personal LOP in a different article. So, I did request the stock be modified to compensate for the shorter LOP. I did choose my stock color, it is “Option D” as discussed in my previous article. I chose 40% Woodland Beige, 40% Turquoise, and 20% Black. Kay and I discussed if these colors would work, specifically, if the woodland beige was light enough to provide a contrasting color. She said it was, and thought the colors would be fine.
Some of the other decisions I made and confirmed during this order, I am going to go with a Jewell Trigger, I am getting a rail on the fore-end to mount my bi-bod (which will give me the option to use several brands of bi-pods). I initially told Kay I wanted an Anschultz Rail, but I think I am going to switch that to a Freeland brand rail, after talking to another expert in the field (Dayne, a friend of Don, my rifle mentor). I also had flush cups inserted into the side of the stock for the sling as well.
The reason I ended up talking to Dayne was regarding the Shank Length question. He has a plethora of McMillan stocks, and is the type of guy that would call McMillan and know exactly what he wanted, and would be able to explain to Kay what he wanted. Because I am still learning, (no matter how much I have already learned) I did not know exactly what the “shank” was and so I could not answer Kay’s question. I called Dayne and he explained to me what I needed to know. He said what McMillan needed was the “finished shank length”, so could properly inlet the stock for my barrel. I had already read on the internet and figured out what the shank portion of the barrel was, but Dayne explained that the gunsmith would have to thread the breech end of my barrel for it to be inserted into the action, and the portion of the shank left would be my “finished shank length.”
McMillan will need to account for the remaining shank and subsequent taper of the barrel so the stock and barrel will look like they are a perfect match. Dayne and Don both say in order to know what my actual shank length is, I will need to call the gunsmith, as he will take a lot of things into account, like how my 6XC cartridge will feed from the AI magazine, if I am using 115 DTEC bullets, how long the throat should be, etc. So, I am going to have to call Robert Gradous on Monday again to see what he recommends for this measurement.
Kay, at McMillan, let me know that I would receive a confirmation e-mail in about two weeks, and made it sound like I could make any changes to my order until about that time. If anyone ever wonders why custom stocks are so expensive, there is a lot of thought that goes into them. I am understanding more and more everyday. On McMillan’s website it states that it could be 3-4 months of wait time before I receive my stock. So, in the mean time I am going to keep researching and get the other parts on order one by one. I’ll let you know how all that is going!
As usual, I would love to hear about your experiences, including questions and comments. I think this article made it pretty clear, I still have A LOT to learn!