Adding precision, recoil mitigation, rigitidy and adjustability all in one shot to our Ruger American Ranch Rifle.

If there was ever a rifle screaming for a more rigid and way-less-vanilla stock, it was our .308 Win Ruger American Ranch rifle. Proving itself a great rifle otherwise, this was our only real area of complaint.
If there was ever a rifle screaming for a more rigid and way-less-vanilla stock, it was our .308 Win Ruger American Ranch rifle. Proving itself a great rifle otherwise, this was our only real area of complaint.

I wanted to get a reliable, accurate, lightweight and inexpensive bolt-action rifle with a good trigger for predator hunting, and decided on the Ruger American Rifle Ranch model chambered in .308 Win. ($529). When it arrived I mounted my chosen optic—a Nightforce SHV 3-10×42 in a set of Nightforce Xtreme Duty 30mm Ultralight rings—on the included Picatinny top rail and headed for the range. The rifle filled the bill on all accounts, except for one: I did not care for the synthetic stock. It didn’t fit me well—the length of pull was OK, but I had to lift my cheek off the comb to center my eye in the scope’s objective lens. It also had a cheap-looking appearance—no big surprise in a price-point rifle—and it flexed perceptible on every shot. Bottom line, while I liked the rifle, the factory stock was not up to my standards, so I opted to toss it in favor of a custom laminated hardwood stock from Boyd’s Gunstocks.

Boyd’s new adjustable-comb option proved well worth it’s $60 buyin, and allowed fine tuning of cheek weld height to get us perfectly aligned with our scope. We also clicked the Pachmayer Decelerator buttpad option.
Boyd’s new adjustable-comb option proved well worth it’s $60 buyin, and allowed fine tuning of cheek weld height to get us perfectly aligned with our scope. We also clicked the Pachmayer Decelerator buttpad option.
The Prairie Hunter model we chose features a semi-beavertail forend, which worked well both on and off the sandbag. The barrel is free-floating all the way to the action.
The Prairie Hunter model we chose features a semi-beavertail forend, which worked well both on and off the sandbag. The barrel is free-floating all the way to the action.

I went onto the Boyd’s website (www.boydsgunstocks.com) and couldn’t believe how easy it was to configure a custom stock with everything I wanted and nothing I didn’t. Here’s how it works.

Starting with the “Find A Stock” panel in the upper left-hand corner of the Boyd’s homepage, you enter the make and model of your rifle. The next step is to chose a stock shape from among the four choices for the Ruger American Rifle Ranch (Boyds doesn’t list the Ranch model, but they do the Predator, which is identical save for a longer barrel)—Classic, Heritage, Platinum and Prairie Hunter in either right- or left-handed models. I chose a right-handed Prairie Hunter with finish.

Clicking on the “GO” button takes you to a page showing laminated stocks in Forest Camo, Nutmeg and Pepper finish colors (all $144), and a fourth option that lets you “Customize Your Own Stock.” I clicked on that one because I wanted to see what the options were, including length of pull and comb height.

All of Boyd’s gunstocks start life as a wood or laminated- wood blank and a program is entered into a CNC machine in order to carve them out.
All of Boyd’s gunstocks start life as a wood or laminated- wood blank and a program is entered into a CNC machine in order to carve them out.

The first option screen was for “Custom Wood,” where I was presented with 19 choices in laminated and solid wood, ranging in price from zero for Forest Camo, Nutmeg and Pepper laminates, to $15 for other laminate colors, to $35 for standard-grade solid walnut, to $218.29 for Circassian XX-grade solid walnut. I liked both the look and the price of the Forest Camo laminate, so that’s what I chose.

As a side benefit to everything else, this 0.75-inch 3-shot 100-yard group attested to an improvement in downrange precision—on average, by about 20-percent.
As a side benefit to everything else, this 0.75-inch 3-shot 100-yard group attested to an improvement in downrange precision—on average, by about 20-percent.

The next option list was “Custom Finish.” The three choices were unfinished ($10), high-gloss finish ($25) or standard satin finish ($0). Again, I went for the zero-cost option.

“Custom Length of Pull” was the next option list, where nine choices ranging from 12-3/4” to 14-3/4” were offered. All except the one I wanted were priced at $24.95. My preferred rifle LOP is 13-3/4” (I like to get right into the scope), and that was Boyd’s standard LOP offered at no additional cost.

Moving on to “Custom Pad” I started spending some extra bucks. For my money, you can’t buy a better recoil pad than a Pachmayr Decelerator. I have them on all my rifles and shotguns, and wouldn’t consider anything else. Boyd’s offered a 1-inch thick, black Decelerator pad installed for only $30—about what you’d pay for the pad alone in a gun shop.

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