The Boyds SS Evolution is the perfect stock upgrade (down to the name) for my wife’s rifle. This is a 10/22-pattern rifle I built for her at the end of 2019. Since then, it’s seen a few changes. While it started out with a scope and bipod, the bipod is gone, and it’s got a reflex sight too. It went from a light bench rifle to light and fast.Â As we’ve collected more reactive steel targets, this makes more sense, as it suits our style better. So the “Evolution” stock is a fitting choice, given how the rifle has evolved.
Since I’ve covered the Boyds laminate construction process in previous articles, I’ll sum it up here. Multiple layers of stained wood are glued together under heat and pressure to form a blank. And these blanks are then machined into the shape of a stock, including inletting. The result is a stiff and incredibly stable stock. Whether for competition, hunting, or as an upgrade over an OEM stock, it’s what you want when performance matters. Plus there are over a dozen color options to spice up any custom build.
Where I might usually prefer the adjustability of the At-One stock, that’s not necessary here. The SS Evolution is well-suited to a nimble rifle with a compact reflex sight, or even iron sights. Since Mrs. Outsider has had surgery on both hands, wrists, and shoulders, I wanted to keep things light. So the swoopy design allows for a good grip, even with smaller hands, and equal support on the short fore end. And the cheek rest is just right for that low mounted optic.
Overall length is 27″, and it includes Boyds’ own 1/2 rubber recoil pad. This is less about recoil, even for a light .22, and more about a little traction at the shoulder. Of course, the stock is cut with a barrel channel which free-floats the .920″ barrel nicely. By design, it’s also suitable for a factory taper or similar profile. It also goes without saying that the Royal Laminate color was selected by my purple-loving wife. It matches her Mark IV pistol well enough that no one will mistake which of our Rugers are hers.
Like all Boyds stocks, this is meant as a drop-in, with no gunsmithing required. There is sometimes a little fitting to be done, but not for this one. Verify that the rifle is unloaded. A flag in the chamber is also helpful once you’ve cleared it. Remove the rifle from the current stock, center the safety, and drop it in. This stock uses the factory screw, although I always replace those with a socket cap screw instead, for easier torque wrench use. Once that was snugged down to about 20 inch lbs, the rifle was ready to go.
Shooting with the SS Evolution
Despite the fact that it looks very little like a traditional rifle stock, it does handle like one. And the shape, while appearing somewhat random at first glance, is very clearly thought out. For instance, the grip shape and angle are comfortable, but allow even smaller hands to get good finger placement on the trigger. Feel free to get a very high grip on it too, thanks to the high cut. And the slight arch to the bottom of the butt stock helps keep your elbow in close. There’s plenty of room to find your sweet spot on the cheek rest too.
Moving forward, that fore end provides room for the support hand, and nothing more. That’s all that’s needed there. By keeping it that lean up front, combined with the extra material at the back of the butt stock, excellent balance is achieved. Too much weight up front would make it nose-heavy, which isn’t conducive to speed and accuracy. Instead, with a lighter barrel, it swings nice and easy from target to target. Keep in mind this is a 16 ounce aluminum sleeved barrel. It may not be so balanced with a large diameter steel barrel.
A 10/22, stock or full custom, is always fun to shoot. And the SS Evolution just makes it that much more fun. It handles better than the wood or polymer factory stock does. Plus, it looks at least 100 times better. I’ll be the first to admit that I have shot this one a lot more than my wife. While I enjoy the precision of my other rifles, there is something to be said for the simplicity of light and fast.
Although the design is somewhat polarizing (I suspect more people love it than hate it), it’s very functional. And since it’s probably not the stock to choose for a hunting rifle, it’s okay to go crazy with the colors. I’ve seen enough color combinations on various forums and social media to confirm this. In a world where the media portrays any black firearm as some sort of dangerous weapon, it’s nice to see shades of orange, pink, purple, blue,Â and Zombie Hunter green. Note that the starting price is $169, and it will accept either factory tapered barrels, or heavy barrels up to .920″, making it great for stock or custom builds.
Full build details
For anyone that cares, I figured I should share the full build details on this one. It’s built on a Tactical Innovations Elite 22 receiver. Inside, there’s a Tactical Innovations charging handle, and match bolt. Trigger is a KIDD “trigger job” drop-in. Barrel is an Acculite (formerly WhistlePig).Â Trigger pins are TandemKross KrossPins, and they also provided the automatic bolt release. It was topped with a Vortex Venom, but a much less expensive UTG green dot has been used as well. Nothing super fancy, just a reliable rifle that’s light and fun.
As always, I’d like to thank Boyds Gunstocks for providing their SS Evolution stock for our review and evaluation. Find and design yours at Boydsgunstocks.com with their easy to use stock configurator.
Comments? Questions? Have any of our readers tried out any of the Boyds Gunstocks? Feel free to share below.
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