It is kind of odd that we are reviewing two stocks back to back (we just finished the Manners stock review) but that is just the way it happened to fall. As I mentioned in the Manners review, the market for custom stocks continues to grow and another newcomer is the PDC Custom Stocks. They offer one basic style of stock but with many different options to it as well as offering it for several different actions. The stock we have here that we reviewed is for a Remington 700 short action and included most of the available options.
Breaking from the trend of fiberglass or Kevlar stocks, PDC has elected to build their stock from solid aluminum with a very durable matte powdercoat finish. The available colors are quite numerous with 38 different colors being currently listed on the web page. By looking at the design of the stock you can see that it is a functional stock design that is made for shooting, not necessarily good looks, and to me it does not have a lot of aesthetic appeal, but to others it may. But again, the idea is functionality and without having to conform to the standards of a traditional stock it gave PDC the freedom to put everything where they wanted it and to incorporate all the features they wanted.
Building a stock this way allowed PDC to make just about everything adjustable as well as having sling mount points where ever they desired, which they put on both sides of the stock in various locations. The stock is adjustable for length of pull as well as the cheekpiece being adjustable for height. As you can see in the pictures, all of the fasteners are stainless steel for durability, though on a black tactical rifle it would probably not hurt to have those screws colored the same as the rest of the stock.
The stock uses an AR pistol grip, in this particular case a Panther Tactical Palm Grip which is very comfortable and a perfect fit, unfortunately, the fit was too tight when wearing gloves in the cold weather shooting we did. The stock also utilizes the excellent Accuracy International magazines which are very high quality and tend to feed very well in 308.
As I mentioned earlier, the stock parts are milled out of a solid aluminum block and as you can see in the photo above, that includes the bedding portion of the stock. PDC claims that their 22 points of contact in the bedding area of the stock prevents any need for bedding. We did not do any real direct accuracy comparisons between this non bedded stock and a bedded one, but to me I would probably still say a good glass bed job with full 100% perfect contact would be very hard to beat with 22 points of aluminum contact, but I have been wrong before. Perhaps the key word here is that it prevents the “need” for glass bedding, I suppose it never said it was better than glass bedding.
The stock comes with all the T-Handle Allen wrenches needed to adjust the stock and mount your barreled action into it. Do take note, if you have a very thick recoil lug, you may not be able to use this stock. Our caliper indicates that if you have a recoil lug over .320″ thick you will not fit into the recoil lug area of the stock. PDC says that they do make a larger recoil lug area if the customer requests it, so if you are using a thick recoil lug, be sure to mention it when you order the stock. We went ahead and mounted our test mule Rem 700 Varmint/P barreled action into the stock using their provided wrenches and screws. Obviously there is not a torque wrench provided so we just made them tight to what feels pretty close to 65-in-lbs.
You will notice that the barrel channel area is huge, you will be able to mount any barrel contour you want in this stock, though some gun smiths will caution that without any support for the barrel directly in front of the action, if you use a really heavy barrel you will be hanging a lot of weight off the front of the action and will be putting a lot of stress on the action itself. Though there is no doubt about the barrel being free floated!
The overall feel of the stock is pretty good, the pistol grip is comfortable and the stock is not too heavy coming in right around 5 lbs. The stock also has a nice recoil pad on it so the felt recoil was not too bad. The wide barrel channel as well as the skeleton stock and the sandsock ski (which worked well, by the way) do offer some nooks, crannies and crags for things to get hung up on while stalking or in the bush, so those will need to be taken into consideration, but it also provides some areas for the application of camo strips as well.
During the shooting portion of the evaluation, everything functioned as you would expect from a Remington rifle and the AI mags appear to be aligned and setup correctly as they functioned as they should as well. The magazine release extends below the trigger guard like you see on the Badger Ordnance floorplates, and it is easy to operate even with gloved hands. The rifle was comfortable to shoot but I will make mention that we were shooting in about 28 degree weather (Fahrenheit) and the solid aluminum cheek piece was uncomfortably cold, in fact, cold enough that I stopped shooting in order to warm up my cheek. I thought that eventually my cheek would warm up the cheep piece, and perhaps it would have with enough time, but it did not during this shooting session. If it was another 10 degrees cooler the rifle may not have been shootable without some method of warming the cheekpiece. If I were to use one of these stocks, I would see about either putting some mole skin on the cheekpiece for cold weather operations or contact PDC about making a cheekpiece out of plastic or some other material. Along the same lines, a larger pistol grip, or one without the bottom platform, would be better suited for cold weather operations with gloves on.
The stock did come with a well designed monopod, but for sniping work which requires rapid sight adjustments on moving and erratic targets, monopods do not work, and as such I did not use it for this evaluation. If you are going to be doing target shooting, then the monopod may very well be a good investment on this stock.
All and all, if you like the style of the stock, it is well crafted and will be extremely durable with everything being made out of aluminum. It was an enjoyable experience getting to know this PDC stock and I appreciate the innovations like the sand sock ski, that went into the stock. We’ll have to see how their line of stocks develops into the future.