We would like to see every FM VAULT LOCK rifle well stocked and although it is not our intention to go into stock making details, we do want to pass along some suggestions to help you make a good stock and forearm for your rifle. To assist in the direct way possible we have included full sized drawings of the buttstock and forearm, along with details on a good method to attach the forearm to the rifle.
We suggest that you use a quality piece of wood to make the stock and forearm as it is not much more difficult to make a stock from a fine piece of wood than it is from a poor piece. You can order matching buttstock and forearm blanks from Fajen's Inc., Warsaw, MO, in walnut, myrtle and maple.
The buttstock drawing is that of our light sporter rifle (Fig. 3-33). It is of the standard classic style. We suggest that you draw the outline of this stock onto a piece of cardboard, cut the outlined stock from the cardboard, and use it as a pattern on your stock blank. Cut the ends off the blank leaving it about one half inch longer than needed. Next spot the through-stock bolt hole at both ends and drill the hole through the blank. Next inlet and fit the stock against the receiver. When you have it partly fitted, place the cardboard pattern on the blank to check the alignment of the blank. If necessary, you can bend the tang as needed. Use a cleaning rod in the bore to determine the approximate comb line. The comb line drop figures given in the drawing are ideal with a 32 or 40mm objective lens scope mounted low on the rifle. If a target scope or a scope with a larger objective lens is mounted on the rifle the comb can be made a bit higher. Secure the blank to the receiver with the tang bolt, establish and mark on it the comb line and cut the blank to this line.
Your next step is to saw off the butt end as required to obtain the length you want and to attach the buttplate. We suggest the use of the Neidner checkered steel buttplate for this as it is ideal in shape and size for this rifle. It will be a bit difficult to fit but the extra work will be worth your while. As an alternative we suggest using the Pachmayr Presentation rifle butt pad which is easy to install. However, if this pad is used, it should be trimmed to a size and shape no larger than the Neidner steel buttplate. The reason for this suggestion is that you can then govern the shape of the buttstock to that of the buttplate. After installing the buttplate you are ready to draw in the pistol grip and bottom stock line and saw off the excess wood. This should be followed by installing the grip cap, and for this we strongly suggest using the Neidner checkered steel cap or one no larger than it. Just as the buttplate will serve as a guide to shape the butt, so the pistol grip cap will guide the shaping and sizing of the grip. By using them you are not so apt to finish up with a stock that is too bulky.
The forearm should match the buttstock in size and also match the barrel, according to its size and length. Unless you are making the rifle into a target model, keep the forearm trim and no longer than necessary. A 12" forearm is ample in length for a 26" barrel and a 10" one for a 22" barrel. We suggest attaching it as shown in Fig. 3-32. Attach an aluminum bar to the barrel with two 8x40 screws and attach the forearm to this bar with two 8x32 screws. Then the forearm channel can be sanded out so the forearm is completely free of contact with the barrel. We suggest putting a set screw at the end of the bar to contact the barrel and its use will allow you to maintain a minumum gap between forearm tip and barrel and still maintain a constant free-floated barrel. Its use will probably not affect the accuracy or zero retention of the rifle.
The procedure we follow is to first inlet and fit the forearm to the barrel, then attach the anchor bar, inlet the forearm over it and attach it, and then sand the channel out to float the barrel. You can find much additional information on stocking a single-shot in Mr. Single Shot's Gunsmithing-Idea Book.
An alternate method to attach or fasten a forearm to a VAULT LOCK action is shown is Fig. 3-40, and it is the method we used to fasten and free-float the forearm on our .223 rifle shown in Fig. 3-A. It is the method to use when you want nothing to contact the underside of the barrel. This method or arrangement cannot be rightly called a forearm hanger and we prefer to call it a forearm fastener. It is essentially identical to the internal stock tang method used to attach the buttstock to the receiver. Like the stock fastener, this forearm fastener consists of a plate attached to the front of the receiver with four screws (we used 10x32 socket-head screws), a 3/8x4" rod screwed or silver-soldered to the plate, and a long draw bolt threaded into the rod. The plate can be the same size as the front of the receiver and the forearm abutted against it or the plate made small and hidden by the forearm being inletted over it. The draw screw should have a large head or a head fitted in a large escutcheon to prevent the forearm from splitting at the end. Because the draw bolt must be drawn up very tight to keep the forearm rigid we suggest that a glass bedding compound be used on the rear of the forearm and to include several inches of the rod to mate it to the plate and/or the front of the receiver. Once the forearm is attached and the barrel channel sanded out to be entirely free of contact with the barrel even with the weight of the rifle resting on the tip of the forearm, you will have a forearm fastening that is hard to beat.
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