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Sniper's Paradise

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Taking Stock in America
Taking Stock in America - Page 2 Print
Product Reviews
Written by Russell E. Taylor   
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Either cursed or praised, there seems to be no middle ground when it comes to an opinion about Choate Tool's Ultimate Sniper Stock.  Truly, if a shooter could be intimidated by a riflestock, this would be the one to do it.

 

"The Ultimate Sniper" Synthetic Stock

Designed by John Plaster and manufactured by Choate Tool, this stock was obviously intended to meet the demands of both military and law enforcement snipers. I've had this stock for quite some time and have really had a chance to formulate my own thoughts on it as well as taking in the comments of others who have handled it. Weighing about six pounds, the stock is made from a DuPont product called Rynite and is very sturdy. In fact, some shooters have said it would make a better club than a riflestock. Harsh words, I know, but you must understand something. There is one word that best describes the Ultimate Sniper stock.

"Large."

It's immediately noticeable by everyone who handles it, and I'd be completely accurate by saying that its immense size tops the list of things that shooters have commented about in correspondence to me or during personal conversations. Truly, it is a large-dimensioned creation, which I find most curious -- considering Plaster stands at 5'10" tall. On the other hand, at 6'5" in height, the stock fits me just fine! Well, up to a point. I don't really like the recessed area underneath the forearm. Obviously, it was put there to allow shooters to carry the rifle -- in wet weather or while wearing gloves in cold weather -- without the rifle slipping forward or rearward in their hand, or out of their hand altogether. The left and right sides of the stock, along this recessed area, are heavily stippled for the best possible grip during the worst possible field conditions. If you've got any kind of a respectable grip on the rifle while carrying it with your hand in this recessed area, it is not going to slip away from you. Period. You could probably replicate the same thing on your own rifle by affixing some 30-grit sandpaper to the stock on your own rifle. And actually, as I think of it, this is probably a pretty good idea for a rifle that will be used in various types of extreme weather.
 

The rear third of this stock is an open framework affair, reminding many shooters of the stocks on Dragonov rifles. In fact, if you have not yet been afforded an opportunity to see this stock for yourself, the "Dragonov" description probably gives you a pretty goo
Below, the Choate/Plaster stock.  Above, the #8-contour, 10-pound, 30-inch, .338-caliber rifle barrel that was eventually chambered for the mighty .338/378 Weatherby Magnum.  Even though Plaster expressed some reservations about using his stock as the foundation for such a monster gun -- indeed, Choate Tool wouldn't even comment on the idea -- the rather "industrial" riflestock held up superbly and suffered no damage whatsoever.  Shooters can use coarse sandpaper to thin the pistol grip and smooth the stippling. idea of what the stock looks like. In placing his shooting hand around the vertical grip of the stock,

the shooter will again notice the same heavy stippling I mentioned a moment ago. There is no way this stock will let you lose your grip on it.

Inside the rear portion of the buttstock, the shooter is meant to place his non-firing hand to push the butt securely into his shoulder. The stock comes with two cheek pieces, one higher than the other, and it's up to the individual shooter as to which one provides the best alignment between his eye and the scope on his rifle. Swapping the cheek pieces is very easy, but requires that you have a Phillips screwdriver handy. In fact, besides the large size and heavy weight of the stock, that's another of the features I've heard many shooters complain about -- the screws. Besides the screw holding the cheek piece onto the stock, there are two screws holding the grip cap in place, also requiring a Phillips screwdriver. As claimed, you are supposed to be able to store some extra rounds of ammunition inside the grip. Truly, there is room for doing so but, the downside is, how many of us could guarantee having a Phillips screwdriver with us at all times, especially when we might need those extra rounds quickly? If ammo is to be stored in the grip, I think a better solution would be to secure the grip cap in place by means of some type of a knurled nut like that found on Uncle Mike's sling swivels which is "disengaged" until you pull on it -- and "engage" it -- to remove the screw. Another alternative would be to use a single-slotted, large-head screw which, when seated, would be flush with the grip cap and require only a dime or a knife blade to remove. And of course, this screw would be impossible to remove from the grip cap itself.

The surface along the underside and length of the buttstock is serrated, presumably to offer some traction upon whatever the rear of the stock was resting and probably best suited for a field situation. At the rearmost location on the bottom of the buttstock is the "adjusting elevator knob" which is used to lower, and alternatively raise, the muzzle of the rifle. The knob can be removed by unscrewing it all the way but, short of removing it and at its fullest extension, it will provide about two inches of height underneath the rear of the stock. The comment was once made to me, by one of my colleagues, that this feature would probably be best utilized in an urban environment. In the field, however, where an environment of steep slopes and rugged terrain can be challenging enough just to walk across let alone to shoot from, this adjusting knob would be rendered almost useless, and employing a bipod could certainly exacerbate the problem. Still, as mentioned, the knob could be of great value for law enforcement snipers who must often operate in urban surroundings.
 

   
L - R:  Savage laminated riflestock, Choate Tool's Ultimate Sniper.   

For aesthetics, it's hard to beat the fine lines and artistic grace of laminated wood.  For function and utility, however, the Choate has many slick features that would drive the cost of other manufacturers' stocks sky-high.  The suggested retail price for the Choate is a paltry $160 -- dollar for pound, Plaster's creation has a lot going for it.  Because the Choate is made of Rynite, it is extremely heavy.  (If fighting "mano a mano" with pungy sticks ever comes back into vogue among snipers, I predict the Choate will become very popular!) 

To the right, a top view of the same two stocks.  Both stocks are for the Savage 112-series rifle.  Besides the aluminum bedding block in the synthetic stock on the right, notice how wide the barrel channel is  compared to that of the Savage stock.  Even accommodating the thickest of  barrels proved to be no problem for the Choate.he receiver area of the stock has an aluminum V-type bedding block molded into it. The "V" design generally ensures that the four "corners" of an action will have solid contact when the metal is installed into the stock,

and this feature worked as expected. My riflestock was made to fit a Savage 110- or 112-series rifle. As an aside, I happened to be building a .338/378 Weatherby Magnum on a Savage 112 action. The barrel is a Douglas Double-X with a #8 contour and weighed 10 pounds before installing it onto the action. Needing a test platform from which to break in the barrel while I continued to work on the Richards MicroFit stock which will eventually go on the completed rifle, I called Choate Tool on two different occasions and left messages with the person who answered the phone to have a technician return my call. I explained that I wanted to know if the Ultimate Sniper could withstand the recoil from a .338/378 Weatherby Magnum. No one returned my call. This, in spite of the fact that I had identified myself, that John Plaster himself had been the one to have Choate Tool send me the stock for an evaluation of the product. I can only take it, when people don't return my calls, that they're not interested in talking to me and that, in this particular instance, they don't mind whether I blow up one of their stocks or not. Lacking the trepidation I probably should have possessed, I bolted the metal into the stock and headed for the range. I was merely interested in breaking in the barrel and not in testing my handloads for accuracy, so there was no need to attach a scope to the rifle.