When putting together a tactical precision rifle or a varmint/target rifle, two of the most important considerations are the scope and stock. A rifleman must be able to clearly see distant targets and hold the rifle steady until after the bullet has left the barrel. A quality scope from Bushnell’s Elite Series and the Ultimate Varmint/Sniper Stock from Choate Machine and Tool are great complements to a precisely tuned barreled action.
Bushnell products have been around for as long as I can remember. I own several. Recently, I was putting together a precision .308-caliber rifle and wanted to top it with good scope. The Bushnell Elite Series 4200 had all the options I wanted.
The scope’s glass is impressive. With 95 percent light transmission, it is extremely bright and clear, even during reduced light conditions. The 50 mm objective grabs light even at the 24X setting. The 6X eyepiece has a field of view of 16.5 feet at 100 yards, and the parallax focal point is 25 yards to infinity, so you won’t have a blurry close shot.
It also has target turrets with clear, easy-to-read numbering; a sun shade; and a side parallax adjustment. I really like the side focus knob, as it’s easier to reach from an aiming position. From a tactical standpoint, it lets you keep the hairs on the bad guy while adjusting parallax. The Bushnell Rainguard-coated lenses combine with the Firefly reticule to provide a fogproof view in damp conditions. The Elite scope is built on a 30 mm tube. That’s standard for long-range scopes, as a 30 mm tube assists in light transmission and also give more minute-of-angle “clicks” for elevation. It’s nice to have extra clicks, especially if you use a few for initial sighting. Finished with flip-up lens covers from Butler Creek, the scope was ready to mount on the receiver.
I really like the twist-in scope mounts. They are a sturdy way to mount a scope, and the rear mount has windage adjustment that can be made mechanically when sighting in. This saves the windage adjustment in the scope, keeping it at zero. When I mount a scope I like to shim the elevation so the scope adjustment starts at zero. Then, the only adjustment is the fine zeroing and elevation compensation for longer ranges. I use Millet rings and mounts, and the rings needed to be medium height to account for the 50 mm objective. After final adjustments, the turret scales can be put back to zero.
I also liked the ease with which the dials turned. Some dials are really hard to turn, making it a royal pain to adjust the magnification. This feature, combined with the rugged compactness of the scope, makes it a great long-range or tactical scope.
The stock is the bond between the action and shooter. One model really stands out: The Ultimate Sniper Stock was designed by Maj. John Plaster, USAR (retired), for Choate Machine & Tool Co. It has a great design, everything you want on a stock.
A varmint or sniper-type stock should have some weight, more so on the sniper stock because it adds strength and stability to the rifle. A hunting gun is usually lighter because most folks don’t want to pack it around all day. In the sniper’s world, that convenience takes a back seat to ruggedness and accuracy. The USS is relatively heavy, with enlarged areas in the forearm and pistol grip to facilitate resting on sandbags. There are hollow areas in the pistol grip and rear buttstock that can be filled with lead shot mixed with epoxy to add weight.
One of the most important features of the custom sniper stock is how the action is bedded to it. The USS has an aluminum block molded into it and machined to fit the action you want to install. This makes for a rock-solid repeatable bed to which the action can be returned.
The forearm of the grip is fitted with a T-rail to facilitate accessories such as a bipod. It is a quick-detach feature, so you can switch from a prone bipod to sitting bipod quickly. The front of the forearm is flat, wide and heavily serrated for shooting from a rest, and the forward area is tapered out to the barrel so the front of the rifle can be elevated by sliding it forward on the rest. Also, when the bipod is collapsed, the legs will point up to the barrel and are less likely to snag on something. The buttstock is flat on the bottom and heavily serrated, and has a screw-type rear elevation adjustment. The length of pull is adjustable from 13.25 inches out. The buttplate is also adjustable up and down. The stock also comes with two cheek pieces; one for low-mount scopes and a higher one for a scope with a bigger objective. The position of the cheek piece is adjustable front-to-back on the stock.
The stippling around the grip sections of the rifle is aggressive and rough and will not slip. Most sniper stocks are wide in the forearm to provide a stabile hold, and the USS is no different, but there is a narrowed portion for easier one-handed balanced carry. The barrel channel is wide and will facilitate a bull barrel of up to 1.25 inches. It includes slots cut in the side to aid in cooling and attaching ghillie material. Sling-swivel studs are attached on both sides of the stock near the buttplate and the center of the forearm so your can choose which side you want to carry the rifle.
I put the barreled action in the stock to shoot it. I hadn’t rebarreled the action with the bull barrel yet, but I wanted to shoot the rifle to compare groups later with the new barrel. When shooting from a bench to sight it in, I liked the skeleton aspect of the stock. The stock performed nicely with the factory barrel, although it looked odd in such a wide barrel channel.
The tough DuPont Rynite SST-35 is less expensive to produce than layered Kevlar and fiberglass, making the stock very inexpensive. The stock I started with was OD green, and with a little imagination and Aluma-Hyde II spray-on finish from Brownell’s, the stock won’t be seen.
Bushnell Elite Series scopes and the Ultimate Varmint/Sniper Stock provide a great combination for putting together a precision rifle. Combined with a finely tuned Remington action fitted with a barrel built for Brownell’s by Shilen, they will produce a winning rifle every time.
— Dave Morelli is a retired policeman, having served as a patrolman, trainer, SWAT operator and a SAR tracker/trainer. He now writes about guns, hunting, tactical gear and training.