The Springfield Armory M1A and M14 series of rifles have been around for a long time now and a common problem with scoped versions of these rifles is that the scopes tend to sit quite high on the rifle which causes a problem with getting the shooters eye properly aligned with the scope. There have been some alternatives on the market such as the Karsten adjustable cheek rest, but they require permanently modifying the stock by drilling a few holes. There are also the Eagle and Tac Ops strap on cheek pads made of canvas type material, but they are difficult to get enough height for the M1A rifles. Well, where there is a demand, there is usually someone innovative enough to fill that demand. Bradley, from Bradley’s Cheek Rests, contacted us with some pictures and information about their new M1A strap on cheek rest made of Kydex and we agreed to bring one in and check it out.
The cheek rest comes packaged inside of a unique burlap sack which we thought added a nice military touch to it. Granted the sack loses its usefulness once the cheek rest is mounted and the sack no longer needed, but we still liked it and it gave the product a finished feel. A single sheet of paper was also included with some simple instructions on how to properly attach the cheek rest to the rifle.
The cheek rest itself consists of two distinct parts made of Kydex that are attached together. There is the main part that straps snuggly to the buttstock of the rifle and then a second part that is permanently fastened to the first with some rivets and it is the piece that provides the actual elevated portion for the cheek to rest on. This top part is a thinner Kydex material and it is non-adjustable. There is also a provided piece of neoprene that fits between the mounted cheekpiece and the stock itself, acting as a protective buffer as well as providing a snug, non-moving fit for the entire unit.
To attach the cheekpiece to the rifle you start by raising the flip up buttplate on the M1A, if your rifle has one, and then placing the cheekpiece onto the buttstock with the rubber pad between the cheekpiece and the stock. While doing this, you also thread the rear strap around the flipped up buttplate. That rear strap is adjustable but we left ours as it was when it arrived here as it seemed to fit well. Once the cheekpiece is in place, it is a matter of threading the two side straps through their loops and cinching them down. Most of the strap on style cheekpieces from the likes of Eagle and Tac Ops, have metal loops that the straps go through while the Bradley unit actually has slots in the Kydex that the straps need to be threaded around. It is more difficult to get the Velcro straps threaded through, but using a pointy object to guide them it allows you to do it without too much fuss.
The cheekpiece mounts up very well with very little movement ounce it is tightened down. The thinner Kydex that makes the elevated cheekpiece loop seems a bit flimsy when the cheekpiece is unmounted but it does stiffen up nicely when it is mounted to the rifle. It is normal Kydex material which means even with its light texturing on the surfaces; it can still be a little slick. As has been mentioned in other places on our site, this can be addressed with some other products such as attaching mole skin or some spray on rubber.
Functionally the cheekpiece works fairly well. On our Springfield Armory M1A National Match rifle it elevated the head to just about the perfect height to align with the mounted scope. The cheekweld, while a little slippery in its stock form, is a solid cheekweld without movement and it stays put during recoil. The unit does not add much more noticeable weight to the rifle and the overall feel has a good quality to it. We do have a concern for durability with the rivets on the thinner Kydex as over time that may be a week point. But we will see over time, as there has not been any issues as of yet.
With the available canvas stap on cheekpieces, there is really no elegant way to get the same amount of vertical height to the cheek as there is with the Bradley cheekrest and if you are trying to avoid permanently altering your rifle stock, this is a very nice alternative and should work well. They have also just released a version for bolt action rifles, tailored specifically for the Remington 700P and M24 series of rifles which also have a fairly low comb on their stocks. Stay tuned for more information on that version as well.
To purchase the Bradley cheekpiece, visit their web page here:
I purchased a Bradley cheek rest several months ago for my M1A. Took me longer to remove it from the packaging that it did to install it. Easy installation, even for a leftie. For various reasons I was unable to shoot my rifle until last week. The cheek rest worked great! Just what the doctor ordered!