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Boyds Pro Varmint stock ended up being the perfect choice when setting up my scoped Ruger 10/22 Takedown. This rifle has an Adaptive Tactical Tac Hammer .920″ barrel with the cantilever scope mount. It’s not exactly a lightweight, but is a favorite when I take friends shooting. Given that I already had a very light Takedown, I went the opposite direction with this one. Although it turns out that it’s really not too heavy. I’ve had a similar stock on my Savage MK II for about a decade, and really like it. So when I saw that it was available with an adjustable comb, I asked about reviewing one, and they were kind enough to provide one for testing and evaluation.
Like most of Boyds stocks the Pro Varmint is a laminate. Made from layers of wood glued together under heat and pressure, it has the color stained in before the lamination process. The blank this creates is then machined until it’s in the shape of a rifle stock. All the inletting is done for your specific action too. So it’s mostly a drop-in installation, although it’s expected that some fitting may be required. I went with Pepper Laminate color, as it’s a subdued cool grey that looks really good with the matte black barrel.
Pro Varmint shape and Features
I really like the shape of this stock. The one on my Savage was called the “Tacticool” back then, and it made for a good bolt action trainer, rather than burning up .308 ammo. Since I was already comfortable with it, I wanted the same one for the Takedown, but with the adjustable comb. That was because I like the idea of fine tuning the cheek rest height. Even though this is not what anyone would consider a “precision” rifle, comfort and a proper cheek weld are still important.
Adjusting the comb on the Pro Varmint requires a hex key, which is included. Two small holes in the top of the comb make this easy. Rather than being a threaded post, where each twist raises or lower the rest, it’s got two wedges. So loosen the first one, and then when the 2nd one is loosened, simply raise or lower the rest to the desired position. Then tighten both posts. The adjustment range is quite generous – looks like it’s possible to raise it about 3/4 of an inch. Boyds also includes three studs on the Pro Varmint – two up front for a bipod and sling, and one out back.
I should mention that the adjustable comb is a $67 option on top of the base price of $169 for the Pro Varmint. And that the default finish on the base stock is textured black. Adding a laminate color is another $17-19. Standard 13-3/4 LOP is included, and going a little longer or shorter is another $28. As you can see from the photos, I wanted to try the laser stippling, which adds $62 more. Boyds can offer these options because their stocks are truly custom – each one is made to order. Of course, the stock pictured ended up at $315 once all was said an done. Still less than the MSRP on the aftermarket barrel. No one said custom 10/22s were inexpensive.
Both sections of the Pro Varmint come with brass escutcheons installed, and use the factory screws. I used some aftermarket takedown screws to install the two halves of my rifle. Not surprisingly, it dropped right in. My experience with Boyds so far has been that very little, if any, fitting is necessary. After installing the receiver portion and barrel portion, I put the rifle back together. There is a small gap between the two sections. Would I like a smaller gap? Yes, but this is a Takedown, and there needs to be some space between the two. I just wish it was a little less. Still looks great though.
At the range
With the rifle all assembled, the first thing I did was take it apart. Then I placed it in a cheap bag that I have, which is designed specifically to keep the upper and lower of an AR from banging together. It’s perfect for a wood Takedown rifle. No battle scars in transit. At the outdoor range we use, we set up some targets and loaded up magazines. With the weight of the Pro Varmint stock, excellent grip, and perfect comb height, I can wring out every bit of accuracy this setup offers. It’s a very comfortable setup. And when we were done, it comes apart and fits back into the compact carry bag.
On the summer heat, that stippling can really make a difference. When not shooting prone, or off a bench, the forearm stippling offers excellent grip as well. And the texture is just right – grippy, but not abrasive. They really did a good job with this. And being done with a laser, it’s very uniform. I’d like to see more stocks offered with something like this. Compared to the factory wood or polymer stocks, this is night and day.
Thoughts on the Takedown
There are plenty of reasons to buy a Takedown. For some, they want a compact package to throw in a backpack, trunk, or truck. And the Takedown is much easier to store compared to a fixed barrel rifle. Then there are the people living in apartments or dorms, where a rifle case might cause issues with nosey neighbors. Again, the compact case makes it easy to transport inconspicuously. Which is why I’d read on forums that some people buy them for these very reasons, even if that means paying more, for potentially a less accurate rifle. Although my scope is mounted to the barrel, invalidating that concern.
Once the issue with losing zero with each disassembly and assembly is addressed, that leaves the question of how to improve the utility of the rifle. And this is where the Boyds Pro Varmint stock makes a difference. I have another Takedown in a lightweight chassis, and it’s a great plinker. I also tried a polymer takedown stock. Both are fine, but not when overall accuracy is concerned. With its .920″ barrel, this rifle has the potential to be quite accurate. A bigger scope and the right ammo would probably result in smaller groups, but for now, it’s just a really fun rifle that packs away into a small package. Nice to know I have some flexibility, should I change my plans.
Anyone buying a Takedown is probably aware of the “takedown tax”. Barrels and furniture seem to carry a sizeable premium over their fixed counterparts. While the Boyds Pro Varmint for the Takedown is priced the same as the fixed barrel version, the extra features are a personal choice. So really, this is one area where it doesn’t cost extra. It’s still not inexpensive, but whether upgrading a basic rifle, or going full custom, the Pro Varmint is an aesthetic and performance improvement over the factory furniture. Use the handy configurator at Boydsgunstocks to configure and price your own.
I’d like to thank Boyds for sending their Pro Varmint stock for testing and evaluation. Getting some hands-on time really makes it easy to appreciate the design and finish quality. And yes, the laser stippling. That’s going to be a must-have on all my Boyds stocks.