• Boyds AT-ONE Thumbhole Stock Review

    Recently I was presented the opportunity to try out the Boyds AT-ONE rifle stock in the new ambidextrous thumbhole shape and do an unbiased review on it. Being that I shoot left handed and often share my rifles and love of shooting with others of varying statures
    and shapes - as well as quite a few that shoot "wrong handed" - I jumped at the chance.

    Shipping- After receiving an e mail that the stock was being shipped UPS ground and a tracking number it took less than a week to get here despite hideous weather between South Dakota and Georgia.

    Unboxing- The Boyds AT-One arrived in an appropriately sized and shaped box and was nestled securely inside with eco friendly stamped brown paper with no room to wiggle, rattle, or move. The contents inside the box consisted of: The assembled stock, A "Boyds AT-ONE The Adjustable Gunstock" sticker, an invoice with a return authorization form on the back, A warranty with terms conditions warnings and indemnity, and a 4 page booklet on features with an explanation of the adjustable features and modular components as well as maintenance.

    Though most folks are savvy enough to change out a rifle stock, there were no installation instructions included with the stock I received and I couldn't locate torque specs anywhere in the materials included with my order. A quick 3 minute call to Boyds was answered by Carrie (Hope I spelled her name right) who was very helpful and told me that the torque specs for the action screws was 25-35 inch pounds.

    First Impressions- Upon first handling the stock out of the box I notice that the modular standard forearm was a bit slick despite a light texture and raised diagonal line grip enhancement. In my opinion the forearm would benefit greatly from a standard molded checkering pattern or being rubber overmolded like the comb. ( After checking Boyds website a "target" overmolded beavertail style fore end is available for $22) The modular forearm is secured well good fit and no movement with 2 hex screws that go into cad plated escushions in the barrel channel.

    The forearm is completely flat on the bottom, comes with 2 sling studs and should lend itself well to propping on objects riding bags or use with a bi pod. The modular bottom cap behind the grip on the bottom of the buttstock is also fairly slick with a very light texture. It fits well and is also secured with 2 hex screws and has a single sling stud.

    The comb is rubber overmolded and adjusts by depressing the forward button and moving the comb into the desired position manually. The comb rides up and down on 2 metal rods one which has 3 locking positions milled into it about 3/16" apart for a total of four positions from fully collapsed to its maximum locked height of 9/16.

    The adjustable buttstock also adjusts by depressing a slightly larger button further back with a stiffer spring and requiring a little more effort to depress and then manually moving it into the desired position. The extending and collapsing adjustment for it rides on 3 metal rods, the center one which is threaded and it seems to have finer adjustments of approximately 1/16"-1/8" than the cheekpiece. It locks solidly in place throughout it's 1 3/4" of adjustment with only a very slight wiggle with manual coaxing at full extension.The Butt has a machined aluminum block with a rounded top transitioning to an angular taper near the bottom and a flat bottom capped by a 1/2" Boyds rubber recoil pad.

    The ambidextrous grip fits nicely into either of my hands with the palm swell near the bottom tapering into the thumbhole. The bottom of the grip is flat and angled slightly to the rear blending nicely into the flat bottom of the butt and transitioning nicely toward the trigger and then flat again ahead of the magazine and through the forearm to the tip.

    The AT-One I received came in the "Forest Camo Laminate" color scheme and has a nice smooth satin finish.

    Here are a few of the specs as I measured them from the unit I received- I weighed the stock I received and it tipped the scales at 2 pounds 11.85 ounces.

    It measures 29 3/4" collapsed from the buttstock to the tip of the angled forearm and 31 1/2" fully extended.

    The comb height adjustment has four positions from flat to 3/16",3/8",9/16" above the flat position.
    The butt measures 4 5/8" high by 1 1/2" wide.

    The length of pull adjusts from 12 1/2" to 14 1/4" with 1 3/4" of adjustment range. (After checking Boyds website I found that there are other modular accessories that fit the AT-ONE and further enhance it's dimensions, aesthetics and capability's)

    Installation- Prior to installing the stock, and in true Savage Shooters fashion I disassembled the stock removing the butt and comb. I noticed wood shavings falling on the bench and floor that were coming from the holes where the metal rods and adjustment mechanisms resided. I cleaned them out with a pipe cleaner from Momma Jeeps craft supplies and removed about a tablespoon or two of laminate wood shavings left over from the mill. I also removed the modular interchangeable fore end and bottom cap and re installed them with no issues. Then I re installed the adjustable comb and buttstock and noticed the moved much more easily without the sawdust in the recesses.

    When the initial order for this stock was placed my plan was to put it on a Model 10TR, but once it arrived (and since they were both detachable magazine, bottom bolt release rigs) I installed it on my Model 10PC in .308 that is just a little lighter instead.

    Prior to undertaking this project I understood there would be some material that would need to be removed from the barrel channel in order to fit the heavy contour barrel. I disassembled the rifle and went ahead to check fit of the magazine bottom metal and trigger guard and they popped into place fitting perfectly. To gain necessary clearance in the barrel channel I used a half round wood rasp from my file set. I worked and checked frequently and it didn't take long to have it opened up with plenty of clearance all around. I followed up with progressively finer sandpaper wrapped around a 3/4" deep well socket to smooth out the finished product. Most of the material that had to be removed came from the tip of the forearm.

    The action dropped perfectly into the Boyds factory inletting and fit nicely once I did my thing and got the barrel channel appropriately opened up, so I tightened everything down and checked clearance of the free floated barrel with a doubled up index card back to the recoil lug. over torquing the action screws did result in a little trigger binding but when I loosened the action screws and went back with my fat wrench and torqued everything to the 35 inch pound maximum recommended by Boyds everything worked perfectly. Other than the barrel channel which I knew from the beginning would be on me, everything went together and fit perfectly.

    Field Testing - I finally got a range day at the range in late March and it was really windy by the afternoon blowing steady 15-20mph with gusts of 25+ but sunny and warm 65 degrees. As I pulled the Boyds AT-ONE stocked Savage from the rifle case it immediately attracted the attention of several of the other shooters wanting to know what kind of rifle I had there. I spoke with a couple of guys briefly and enjoyed the comments (cool, fancy and slick) as to the looks of the new stock. I told them once I checked the zero and shot a couple of groups I'd be more than happy to let them try it out. Since the scope and action had been zeroed with factory hunting ammo on another stock it didn't take long. I adjusted the length of pull for the t shirt weather and the comb for the 3-9x50 Burris E1 so that my eye lined up right with a good cheek weld. Then I placed a sight in target at 50 yards, loaded a magazine with cheap .308 150gr Federal Blue Box Power Shock, and propped the rifle on a block and shooting bags. The first 5 at 50 were touching in a nice little clover leaf 1 1/2" high and 1/2" right.

    One of the first things I noticed was the control that the grip provided seemed to lessen the muzzle jump and the recoil I felt on my shoulder seemed less as it was divided between my hand and shoulder. The shape of the Boyds stock along with the ambidextrous thumbhole grip seemed to give more of a straight back recoil impulse than the factory accustock and was easily controlled with the aid of the grip. I really liked the feel of this stock off the bench immediately, much more than I had anticipated. I also liked the fact that the Savages thumb safety was easily accessible with either hand when shooting with this stock. (If you've ever tried to shoot a thumbhole with the wrong hand you'll understand). The "slick" fore end wasn't as much of an issue as I had first anticipated and rode the bags well. Satisfied with the cloverleaf I backed the target up as far as I could to the berm at 120 yards. As I looked through the scope to fire the next group of 5 I could tell that the wind shaking the target stand was not going to make any sort of accuracy testing easy and tried to squeeze them off between gusts. I was pretty impressed to see that the next group a little higher still on the same target as the 50 yard group as well as the following 6 groups came in about what I would expect from this rifle with the factory accustock and factory blue box ammo though I could tell the wind had definitely fudged on me some.

    I was really digging the fit and feel of this new Boyds AT-ONE. Satisfied with my zero I asked one of the guys who was packing up (Keith from Monticello Ga.) if he would like to give it a try. He was a fairly tall fella at about 6'3" or so and had no problem lowering the comb to fit him and shooting a decent group on a 3" orange target dot which was on his target stand at 100 yards.

    He commented that he really liked the look and feel of the AT-ONE and also asked the price. He seemed genuinely impressed that the price was right at $200. A little while later I approached another shooter I met (Roger from Monroe Ga.) for his impressions of the Boyds. He shot it and remarked that it felt really good and commented on the lack of muzzle jump from the .308 and also wanted to know the price and if it was available for other model rifles. I had to direct him to the Boyds site to see if they had one for his Remington. Other shooting buddys of mine as well as the grand kids want to give it a go and seem to be impressed with the looks. Hopefully before long they'll all get a chance.

    Final Thoughts - There are a lot of "gimmicky" shooting products out there, and before getting my hands on one, and having fallen for gimmicky shooting products in the past, I had suspicions this might be one of them. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was fantastically functional to go along with it's appealing and perhaps not so conventional form.

    Overall I think that the new Thumbhole model AT-ONE from Boyds is a solid choice and a nice upgrade, especially for someone wanting to update a model that came with a less than stellar stock option and give it that custom look fit and feel. Also the Boyds AT-ONE is very functional for someone like myself that may shoot with either hand and also shares the shooting sports with others of different physical stature such as younger family members (we have a bunch of em) who also may shoot from differing sides of the bench. It's also a very good looking piece of hardware that can improve the aesthetics of most rifles especially those suffering from "Too much black". I love the fact that it does what it does enhancing the rifle by exceeding the functionality of most standard factory stocks. Yeah Boyds may advertise this stock as thumbhole shape without the word ambidextrous but it is, and provides the comfort and control of a thumbhole without the limitations of shooting from only one side. Add that to the adjustability and you have a very well thought out addition to the Boyds Gunstocks lineup.

    I tried to keep my initial install and range testing simple and similar to what I feel the majority of the public would do, choosing to forego action and recoil lug bedding for now and using factory ammo for a realistic look at what the average consumer could expect. Overall I really liked the basically drop in fit as well as the aesthetics, function and especially the shootability a whole lot better than I thought I would.

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. jpx2rk's Avatar
      jpx2rk -
      Very nice and detailed review. Thanks for the time and effort expended.
    1. Robinhood's Avatar
      Robinhood -
      I agree with jpx2rk. Thanks BHJ
    1. 2ashootingsport's Avatar
      2ashootingsport -
      Thank u, Great detail and advice
    1. KMILES's Avatar
      KMILES -
      I wonder how it would feel just shooting off hand rather than from a bench.
    1. Deude_Mann's Avatar
      Deude_Mann -
      There is a Bag Rider available for this stock and any of the Boyd's At-One stocks