Excellent write-up, rigrat. You did a great job on this, and I think Hipshot is one of the guys who is very deserving of having his contributions to RFC and its members highlighted.
I, too, was bitten by the stock modding bug, thanks to Hipshot, sawdust and Squawsach. Hipshot jumped right in, and was there for me. My first attempt (which I made alone, with no help) ended up getting cut up and scrapped. After I had made several attempts at fixing mistakes, I found a huge crack in the rear of the stock, at the back of the receiver. I think it was a sign.
Since then, I have built 2 benchrest stocks, did the stock for the giveaway, built a custom stock for my brother, and I am in the process of building one for my wife.
For each of these projects, I have had Hipshot there every step of the way. Answering questions, giving advice, making suggestions, and lending his knowledge and encouragement.
Cutting up your factory stock can be pretty darn intimidating. All you can think about is "what if I screw this up?". I know it took me forever to make that first cut. Once I did tho, I haven't looked back. I think the best part of these builds is that you can change them in progress. You can try new things, different looks, add stuff to the stock, remove stuff you don't like about a certain design. There are hundreds of combinations you can use to come up with your "perfect" stock.
I doubt I will ever be able to build a stock that can compete with one of Hipshot's. The TNZ Woodsman stock that he sent me is the best fitting stock I have ever had my hands on. It fits me perfectly, from the length of pull, to the grip. It's perfect, and it will always be my go-to hunting stock. (I'm sure Hipshot will understand a ding or scratch along the way.)
I guess what I'm saying is that I hope that more of the RFC group will try their own hands at building one of these custom stocks. Even if they don't pattern it after one of the stocks you showcased, they can still come up with something that will work for them, and they can learn some stuff along the way.
Ultimately, you will have the great satisfaction that you built it yourself. And I can tell you from personal experience, one of the biggest pleasures is being at the range, and having someone walk over and say "Where'd you get that stock?" ... then being able to answer "I
built it myself."
Thanks again rigrat for taking the time to write this up. It's a great privilege to have guys like Hipshot on these forums, and to be able to take from their experiences and knowledge, and put it to use. You did an outstanding job on your version of the TNZ, and you should be very proud of it. I hope you'll be moving on to another stock, and another story very soon.
And to Hipshot ... thanks! You're a great asset to this community, and I appreciate everything you have taught me. Especially the stuff that has nothing to do with stocks.