Petzal: Some Savagery for the New Year

Savage Arms, which gave the shooting industry the leaping fantods when it introduced the Accu-Trigger, has just announced the Accu-Stock, which is just as radical. In stocks, as in other areas, the more rigid the better, and there are a couple of ways to achieve this. The first is used by High Tech, McMillan, and New Ultra Light Arms, who employ Kevlar and graphite, or reinforced fiberglass, to create a stiff stock. The materials themselves, when fused together, are more rigid than a rifle barrel, but such stocks are made largely by hand and are expensive.

The second approach is to use something limper, like polymer (which can be made fast and cheap) and strengthen the stock with an aluminum spine. The Accu-Stock is polymer, reinforced with an aluminum spine that runs from the action all the way down for fore-end. But there is more: Savage employs a wedge bolt to push the recoil lug back into the aluminum spine. This is not a new idea; Ruger has been doing it for decades but with a bedding screw that pulls down and back at a 45-degree angle. In addition, the Accu-Stock’s bedding cradle squeezes the action from all sides, fusing (or so claims Savage) the action and stock into one unit.

This runs counter to conventional stock-making wisdom which holds that all the pressure on an action should be downward, and that the only hard contact between action and stock should be on the rear face of the recoil lug and (optionally) at the tang. During the late 70s and early 80s, when synthetic stocks were just starting to be accepted, it was common to epoxy the entire action in place. I had three rifles that were so stocked and invariably broke the action free so I could get at the triggers. None of them shot one iota differently when they were held together only by the bedding screws.

But we shall see. The Savage Accu-Trigger has had a major effect on rifle design over the past decade, and Savage may be right about its new stock, too.