McMillan Tactical A5 Rifle Stock

Background

We just received a McMillan Tactical A5 Rifle Stock that was ordered in February.  If you want one of these for next year, contact us or call McMillan ASAP and get it ordered.  Their backlog is incredible.

When this was ordered, we were quoted 12 weeks.  Actual delivery was 20 weeks.  We called several times after 14 weeks passed and were told every time “one more week.”  We’d rather know up front it’s 20 weeks.  (Wouldn’t this leave the door open for another fiberglass stock company to start up?  – it’s readily apparent the market will support it when you’re running 20 weeks out and quoting 12.)

 McMillan Tactical A5 Rifle Stock - Black

That being vented, the stock came out OK.  Thank God – because at this rate if it had to go back, it’s going to be summer 2007 before another one shows up!  It weighed in at exactly 3.35 lbs with no recoil pad installed yet, two studs, and an adjustable cheekpiece.  Definitely order a cheekpiece because you don’t know if you will get a good cheek-weld for your scope/ring combo – why risk that?

McMillan offers 3 different styles of cheekpieces: saddle, integral, and thumbwheel.  We chose the integral as the saddle will push your face offline to the left (assuming right handed shooter, and assuming you don’t need your face moved to the left) much the same as an aftermarket lace-up style of cheekpiece.  Not recommended unless you need movement in that direction.  We also wouldn’t opt for the thumbwheel as once the height is set,  you would rarely change it since we shoot prone 99.9% of the time, and the integral style lets you move the cheekpiece for cleaning (thankfully you don’t have to pull the cheekpiece, just drop it down and a cleaning rod will work)

So that leaves the integral style.  It’s actually quite nice.

McMillan Tactical A5 Rifle Stock - Specs

First Impressions

The inletting job was great – you can’t beat CNC work for that!  The only problem was it was a little off center to the south by .020″.  That doesn’t matter too much in a pillar bedding job, the action just sits .020″ off the stock, although it requires inletting the bottom metal a little deeper by the same amount.  In other words, the inlet was low by .020″  Not really that big of a deal as we are shooters, not lookers.

We spec’d inletting for a Rem 700SA and the new Badger Ordinance M-5 bottom metal that takes AICS mags.   The inletting matches up wonderfully.  The Badger bottom metal fit perfectly into the cutout, with the exception of it being .020″ shallow.

Shooting

After bedding the stock, and letting it cure for a week, we took it to the range.  Unfortunately this is where some problems with the stock showed up.  The forearm is too soft, and bends like an overcooked noodle under any forward load whatsoever at the bipod.  Our shooting style is to preload the bipod by gently pushing foward into it.  This controls muzzle rise, and really nails the follow through.  However, you can’t do that with this stock.

When we held the rifle vertically to verify this, and gently pushed on the bipod legs, we could feel the forearm flexing back at the action, and see the gap open up!!   This stock is SO SOFT It deflects all the way back to the small bedding area we leave to support the shank of the barrel (about .75″).  This resulted in garbage at the target.  This is on a proven rifle that shoots into 2″ at 600 without much effort on the shooter’s part.  Now, with the A5 it won’t do 5″ at 400.  Until we stopped pushing on the bipod… then it started to shoot.  If you like to let the front end of your rifle jump up freely under recoil, and don’t like to spot / call your own hits, then a soft stock won’t bother you.  Unfortunately that isn’t our style, and this forearm bends under the least amount of pressure.  Literally, only a pound or so and it bends.  We’ll set up a dial indicator and a scale on it shortly and get you some real deflection numbers.

We called McMillan immediately when we got back to the office, and they were clueless and not very helpful.   Lots of silence and a big lack of troubleshooting help on the other end of the phone made us wonder if they knew much about their product, or just didn’t care.  (We honestly expected “it shouldn’t be doing that!” or some other informative statement.)  Other than an offer to send the stock back for them to look at (which we will do) they didn’t have anything to offer.

We are hoping the glass isn’t done properly on this stock, because this just isn’t acceptable.   We love the design, but don’t like the rubber-band like flex.

Update!

We just received a call from Mr. McMillan who was very informative regarding this stock, the design goals, and the issues we had with flex.  While the stock usually can flex somewhat, it sounds like our shooting style is also responsible for some of the deflection.  Admittedly, pushing forward on the bipod is tough on a stock.

The other factor might have been due to us having the inlet moved forward for our big mitts.  We had the inlet moved 3/4″ forward so the reach to the trigger fit us better.  It really fits well for our size 10 paws now!  However, if the recoil lug inlet ended up on the seam between the firm fill and the light fill, it would cause the forend to flex.

So McMillan has graciously offered to cast us another stock with appropriate reinforcement based on their Edge technology (graphite) and send it over for test.  We can’t wait to get our hands on it and are betting this is going to make a tremendous difference.  Now THAT is customer service.  Thank you Mr. McMillan !!

For those of you reading this, realize our shooting style is unknown distance shooting on steel targets a.k.a. “tactical” – it is not an F-class style, or other style of shooting where you might have a flat perch, or even shoot free recoil.  It’s usually some contorted prone position with a rock in the wrong spot.

It is always uphill, downhill, cross canyon, muddy, dusty, rocky, or windy.  Pretty much whatever you can imagine a course designer can throw at you – although the targets don’t shoot back (thankfully!).  It is hard on both gear and bod, and then trying to hit sub-MOA targets at long range while out of breath from the last uphill hike…well, you get the picture…

We received the replacement stock in record time.  The fill is different, and we’re bedding it in right now.  Of course around here it is the middle of hunting season, but we’ll have a new review of this stock shortly!

Summary

 PROS

CONS

  •  CNC inletting

  • Lengthy delivery time

  •  Great cheekpiece design and adjustability

  •  Did we mention the delivery time?  Order now if you want one for next year.

  •  Any camo color combination you want, no upcharge

  •  Recoil pads are glued on if you want a pad installed (we opted not to have one installed by McMillan)

  •  A5 design is extremely ergonomic vs. previous designs

  •  Forearm of stock so flexible it cannot be shot well from a bipod.  Did we get a defective stock?  Stay tuned to find out!

  •  Willing to work with a customer to get an appropriate stock – customized directly for an application.

  •  Customer service not very helpful

Contact

Contact McMillan stocks at: 1638 West Knudsen Drive, Phoenix AZ 85027 or call 623-582-9635 web: www.mcmfamily.com

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