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Most of the deer seasons are done. There is the 2019 antlerless deer season that wraps up next Tuesday, but for the most part hunters are getting their rifles cleaned up and put away until this fall. However, before you put your rifle away, now is the time to consider any upgrades you have been pondering.

Is your favorite rifle showing its age? Does it have some dings, gouges or wear marks that make it look a little rough? Maybe you accidentally dropped it or ran over it with your vehicle and broke the stock? That happens more often than you may think. In my case it was that my rifle originally came with a synthetic stock and I just didn’t like the feel and weight of the gun.

Boyds Gunstocks of Mitchell, South Dakota was founded in 1981 and pioneered producing “engineered wood” for gunstocks. Today’s product is a laminated wood stock that is 50-percent stronger than natural wood and almost impervious to the weather or changes in temperature. That means you can go from the range to the field without worrying about changes in your point of impact.

There is a lot of science behind Boyds gunstocks. The adhesives and the colors used are literally infused into the fibers of the wood. The process bonds each piece of laminate together at the microscopic level with heat and pressure. The result is a product that is far superior in strength and rigidity than a traditional solid wood stock.

A finished blank of engineered wood then goes to the production floor where computer controlled milling machines carve it to the specifications you need for your gun. Boyds now has a library of computer programs specific to 19 different stock shapes, 255-gun brands and over 1900 different models! And because these stocked can be mass produced just by changing a computer program, the cost is far less than you might think.

I had my first experience with Boyds a couple of years ago. I wanted to test their capabilities and asked them to make a stock for a World War I era Swedish military rifle. When I got it, it was a near perfect fit. It took me only a few minutes to shave off a bit of wood so that the barrel and action dropped into its new stock.

During the 2017 S.H.O.T Show last February, Boyds came out with a stock design that surprised the industry. It is called the At-One stock and it can to be adjusted to fit the shooter, regardless of the make or model of your gun or the physical stature of the shooter. Quite a concept! I put an At-One stock on a Ruger M77 .300 Winchester Magnum that I was upgrading to be my 600-800 yard rifle…golfers have different clubs for different shots…I use the same concept with my rifles. I had so much fun with that project that I decided to upgrade another rifle.

This time I started with a Savage Model 10 in .243. I have used this rifle for a couple of years now and have taken several deer with it; including a very nice 6x6 whitetail at 242 yards last November and a doe at 569 yards a year ago during the 2018 antlerless season. This gun shoots well enough that I plan to keep it a while.

The first upgrade was better optics. The factory package 3x9 came off and a 4x15 power scope replaced it. If the rifle has the capability to make 500+ yards shots, I need to be able to see where I want the bullet to go!

Next, I went to the Boyds website (www.boydsgunstocks.com), plugged in the particulars for my rifle, selected the color option I wanted and sent in the order. Delivered to my door, the cost was just under $150.

I took the Boyds stock out of the box and examined it. It looked even better in real life than it did in the pictures! I took the barrel and action out of the Savage Model 10 synthetic stock and dropped it into the Boyds stock. It fit perfectly! No shimming…no shaving off bits of wood here and there…the transformation was done in 10 minutes.

I’m very happy with the end results. The stock fits me more comfortably. It looks and feels great. I can’t wait to get it on the range! If you want to upgrade any of your gunstocks…rifle or shotgun, consider Boyds.

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