McMillan Rifle Stocks
The A4 Stock
Evolution of the Sniper Rifle

28 June 1999
By Mike Miller

I became a Police Sniper in the early nineteen eighties. I was issued an old Varmint Rifle that had seen better days. I quickly went to work on my Commander and was given permission to buy my own Sniper Rifle. I did some research and found the best rifle of that time was the McMillan M40. I bought one and found it to be very accurate. The M40 was free floated and bedded with an epoxy resin, without pillars or Aluminum Bedding Blocks. The rifle shot very well. After many thousands of rounds the M40 was retired. It had never failed me. I have dropped, smacked and fallen on that rifle and the stock looked new after many years of abuse.

Since that first rifle I have purchased many different rifles. Some of the rifles used Aluminum Bedding Blocks. Some rifles used a combination of Epoxy Bedding and Pillars. Both systems have worked well for me.

I have tried many different brands of stocks. Of all the stocks I have tried I have always felt most comfortable with the McMillan's. I have used the A2 and A3 Stocks extensively and found them to be exceptional in fit, finish and durability. I am not alone in my opinion of McMillan Stocks as many police departments, the US Marines, Navy SEALS and other elite units all use McMillan Stocks. That is not by accident. We use them for the simple reason that they are as good as you can get.

I am known for my ability to break just about anything. I have not been able to break a McMillan Stock. The secret to the durability of McMillan stocks is the construction. They are solid Fiberglass in the action and barrel channel areas. The only place you will find foam is in the butt stock.

McMillan custom makes each stock. They will make it for you in any of the styles, colors and with whatever options you request. They do not mold the stock to fit your weapon. The stock starts solid in the action and barrel areas. McMillan uses a machine to inlet the stock for the action and barrel contour requested by the customer. The stocks are not mass-produced. Once the stock is complete, it is hand inspected for flaws. When the stock is determined to be perfect it is shipped to the customer.

Making stocks one at a time is a great way to make sure the customer gets exactly what is wanted, but it takes a lot of time. Recently I was curious about the status of my order for an A2 stock I had ordered a few months back. I emailed McMillan Stocks with a question about why it was taking so much time to get my new stock. The next day I received an email from Mr. Kelly McMillan. He explained in detail that making the stocks one at a time is very time consuming and it is taking several months to get orders out. He went on to say that the company has bought additional equipment that will soon be making it possible to process and deliver orders in about one month. We emailed back and forth. I asked many questions about the stocks and he never failed to answer me. I was so impressed that he would take his time with me that I called and thanked him.

Well we had a long and delightful conversation, after which I had learned everything I could over the phone about the operation. He didn't seem rushed and answered every question I asked. I told him his stocks were perfect except for having to bed them. Kelly laughed and said; "You don't have to bed our stocks" I was flabbergasted. I asked if the stock would crush with sixty-five pounds per inch pressure and he again laughed, saying "The Military has tested our stocks with one hundred pounds per inch pressure and found no crushing or damage". He went on to say that the stocks are drop-in and will shoot very well without any sort of bedding.

Kelly told me of a new stock, the A4. This stock was made for the U.S. Military. It sounded great and I asked how long it would take to get one. My luck was better than usual that day. Kelly happened to have one more stock than the Marines needed for their tests, so I asked please and he shipped it to me.

A few days later Santa (UPS) arrived with my new A4 Stock, I opened the box and looked at the design. My first reaction was why didn't I think of that? It was obviously the next step in stock design for snipers. Snipers shoot mostly from the prone position and that is what this stock is designed for. It is not fitted with any of the gimmicks you see on many of the so-called state of the art designs. It is designed for pure function. It has a forend the shape of the McHale Stock (fairly square); the magazine area reduces much like that of the A3. The Butt stock has a half triangle shaped cutout just forward of the rear swivel. This cutout is for use as a prone hand or sandbag holds area.

I took my trusty Reminton PSS out of its brand-new A2 stock and dropped the action in the A4. I didn't bed it. I decided to test Kelly's statement that one hundred pounds per inch torque would not hurt the stock. I set my torque wrench to one hundred pounds per inch and started wrenching. Well at one hundred pounds my front screw snapped. So after I spent an hour getting the broken screw out, I checked the stock for damage. It measured the same as before the abuse and I could detect no damage. That was impressive, but I still had to see if it would shoot.

I put the rifle together in the A4, torqued the screws to sixty pounds per inch and headed for the range. I knew the PSS would shoot one half-minute groups with the bedded stock so I was anxious to see the difference. Once I got to the range I went to work. Cold Bore Shot was about the same place as always. My first five shot group was one half minute. I cleaned the rifle and fired many cycles of five shots and then cleaning. All groups were about one half minute. I was pleased that it shot so well without bedding.

I shot the rifle from all positions and found the stock to be exceptional. It felt like an extension of me. I liked the Adjustable Saddle Type Comb. The spacer system is adjustable but not likely to come out of adjustment from rough handling. The new marbled camouflage color blends well. The stock has replaced all others for my sniping needs.

If you need a sniper rifle stock, you can not go wrong buying the McMillan A4. It will serve you well. You don't have to take my word for it. The U.S. Marine Corp has adopted the A4 Stock on their new M40A3 Rifle. Don't get confused here as they call it the A3 version but use McMillan's A4 Stock.

My only problem now is I am tortured by not having to bed the stock to justify why it shoots great.


Back to In Review