I recently researched the pros and cons of full-stock rifles and was surprised at what I found.

I own several Mannlicher Style/Full Stock Rifles and was curious to see if other hunters shared the same opinion as me and if this style of stock was renowned for one observation that I have for them, “to appreciate”.

I was surprised to find that answers to questions relating to the stock rifles were usually a guess or indecisive answer from individuals.

Let’s address these common statements made on forums and chats in regard to full-stock rifles and the stocks.

1. They look cool – no other reason.

Yes I would regard these full-stock rifles as being cool looking. They are beautiful, provided they have a nice wood-grain finish. I state this, because I once owned 6.5 x 55 Swed in CZ550 and that particular stock could be described as a plain jane, did nothing for me.

2. They protect the barrel from knocks and falls.

I believe most firearm handlers intend to care for special rifles. I couldn’t imagine anyone, at least a normal person would purchase a rifle with a nice stock, with the intention to drop the rifle and of course, and in most instances, knowing they paid a little more for the rifle in comparison to a conventional stock. Most of us have good intentions to care for selected hunting rifles. So this reason doesn’t have my support.

3. They protect the hands from heated barrels.

I can see some relevance to this statement, if considering handling the barrel on the underside. Perhaps in former, early military rifles. One would assume that WWI and WWII, those rifles would have had to result in heated barrels. You have to excuse me not mentioning, I am referring to today’s modern person with a hunting rifle.

I will dismiss this point, as some modern rifle manufacturers are still producing full stock rifle stocks for today’s sporter/hunters. We all know to call yourself a hunter, you intend to dispatch your game with one shot, (maximum of 2 shots), not placing 5 rapid shots into your trophy, or meat producing deer.

4. They are not as accurate as conventional stock rifles.

Let’s look at the whole purpose of a full stock hunting field rifle. I have taken many animals, with my ‘go-to’ hunting full stock rifle. Not once can I recall myself saying or wishing that the bullet placement be an inch to the right or whatever, to make the animal “more dead” than dead.

It’s a hunting rifle, not a target rifle.

Saying that, shot placement is not important, but the boiler room is a substantial size target if you compare it to the inner circle of a target at the range. Any hunting rifle that can produce 1 inch MOA is a very acceptable hunting rifle in my view. However, compare that to a bench rest target rifle with all the bells and whistles, such as a heavy barrel and you would be disappointed with anything not tighter than a sub MOA (Minute Of Angle). Let’s not forget the two rifles would vastly differ in weight and balance. I certainly don’t walk, or stalk with a 5.5kg plus rifle/outfit.

Why choose a full-stock rifle?

Personally, I am sold on full stock firearms for these reasons;

1. Balance

We can’t always predict the exact time when an animal presents itself. It may be when some support is not available, like the ideal tree or embankment. I have failed more times than I can remember, with unsuccessful attempts when I have been seeking support and bump the animal when in reflection. I should have taken the shot freehand, not to make any unnecessary movement and delay the shot. The best shots that I am chuffed with, were on the run. The full stock gives me the stability to the point where the stock rifle feels like a simple extension of my body.

It must be pointed out that the rifle manufacturers that provide full-stock rifles have balance to consider. So one must remember to maintain the original balance and be pointable, one must not sacrifice those pros by simply top loading with a heavy scope, which detracts from the lines/profile of a sleek rifle and balance by simply adding a top-heavy scope that disturbs the balance. This is when these rifles, in my opinion, can be kept in balance as intended by the manufacturer.

2. Ease of Use

I have coached my children with full stock rifles, as they are not what you call a large build and a full stock, whether a .22 rimfire, or a .223 CZ, enables them to keep the rifle steadier than a conventional stock that can have more wobble in a light weight outfit.

3. They Hold their Value

he added bonus of acquiring full stock rifles is their resale value. Due to their availability, I have never lost money on such a rifle, as they keep, so far, keep appreciating.

4. They are beautifully built

 The last point not to forget is with the right piece of wood, they are simple, beautiful, lightweight, again nicely balanced and produced with good quality, for ones that I have had contact with.
My sweetest ‘go-to’ firearms are .22 CZ full stock, a .223 CZ full stock mini action and a Ruger full stock RSI with scope mounted because of their weight, balance and appreciation by others.

Good luck on finding your next holy grail, if you haven’t already.

Steve Gatt
Firearms Instructor