The new Z-1 adjustable stock from McMillan is “drop-in-ready” for Remington 700 actions.
by Rob Reaser
There’s a reason the stocks on serious long-range rifles don’t look, well, “stock.” It’s because they rarely are. In addition to highly customized (and often highly expensive) barreled actions, most rifles destined for precision long-distance shooting also feature custom stocks designed to better fit the shooter and the competitive application.
The downside to custom stocks is the often-considerable wait time. Depending on the production capabilities of the manufacturer, a custom rifle stock can take six to eight months or longer from the time you place your order until it arrives at your house or your gunsmith. With today’s “I want it now” expectations, waiting for a stock can be the most excruciating part of building a custom long-range rifle.
McMillan, arguably the biggest name in custom rifle stocks (yes…the type that can take months to create and deliver), addressed the wait time issue a little over a year ago when they introduced the MC3 line of precision polymer stocks. The idea behind the MC3 concept was to 1) make a superior polymer stock that eliminated all the shortcomings of conventional factory plastic stocks, 2) do so at an easy-to-swallow price point while delivering better overall performance, 3) make the stocks a turn-key installation that did not require the services of a gunsmith, and 4) have the stocks available for immediate shipment or in-store purchase to eliminate wait time.
This concept worked and worked so well for McMillan that the company has taken the next logical step, applying the MC3 experience to an uplevel fiberglass stock design within the mainstream McMillan fiberglass stock line. Called the Z-1, this stock, by its universal design, which we’ll discuss in a moment, eliminates the wait time associated with traditional custom stocks and is ready to install as soon as it arrives at your door.
The Z-1 stock has McMillan’s classical fingerprints all over it. If you’re familiar with the brand, you can find design features and characteristics from several of the company’s most popular long-range and tactical stocks bursting at the edges. But a good design is something we’ve come to expect from McMillan stocks, so in that regard, the Z-1 offers no large surprises. The hooked buttstock and vertical grip profile found in the McMillan A-10, A-5, and A-6 series models, for example, are well represented on the Z-1.
The big separator between the Z-1 and all other precision fiberglass stocks in the McMillan stable is the inletting.
One of the reasons custom stocks often take so long to build is that they are made to the shooter’s (or tending gunsmith’s) specifications. Various levels of inletting completion combined with specific length-of-pull measurements, custom paint, custom add-ons, and so forth all contribute to the long gestation of a customized stock. Not so with the Z-1.
For this stock, the McMillan designers developed what they call universal inletting for Remington 700 barreled actions. It is intended to fit factory Remington 700 actions or clones thereof produced by such leading names as Stillers, Bighorn, and a few others.
The Z-1 is also universal in its barrel channel. From sporter to straight contour barrels, the Z-1 barrel channel has an indiscriminate appetite, delivering free-float performance regardless of which among the most popular barrel profiles you intend to use.
Ditto for the action inletting. Unless you’re running something truly out of the mainstream, the Z-1 will accept the action — factory or aftermarket — without complaint or additional modification, in most cases, so long it follows the factory guard screw spacing. That means, of course, there is room for bedding should you choose to go that route, as most long-range aficionados do. Aluminum pillars come pre-installed.
Another interesting feature is the low stock line. You’ll notice that it is flush along the top of the stock and that there is no ejection port relief. This puts the barreled action higher on the stock, or the stock lower on the barreled action, however you wish to look at it. Whichever the case, it eliminates bolt release inlets and port cuts — all the better to enhance universality.
On the flip side, the Z-1 is inletted to accept M5 drop bottom metal. M5 DBM has become the fast-favorite bottom metal for tactical and precision long-range rifles because it accepts the smooth-performing AICS magazine.
From a shooter ergonomics standpoint, the Z-1 is well-equipped. As mentioned, the buttstock and grip designs hail from the proven performance of McMillan’s legacy precision fiberglass rifle stocks — namely the A-5 tactical model, with its deep butt hook for stock control with the non-firing hand and a vertical grip profile for optimal hand placement and trigger finger alignment. Rounding out the ergonomics is a clamp bar adjustable cheek piece and a stock spacer system that offers length-of-pull adjustability between 13.5 and 15 inches. Taking the thump out of recoil is a 1-inch decelerator pad.
An added feature for the Z-1 is the top thumb shelf, providing comfortable thumb support and fatigue reduction between shots. There is also a finger stop located at the top of the grip. This help place the trigger finger in perfect alignment with the trigger.
One of the two available Z-1 options is action length for the Remington 700 — short or long. The other option is the finish. Buyers can select one of two paint schemes: urban transition camo or flat dark earth.
McMillan Z-1 Stock Specifications
- Overall length of stock: 30.750 in.
- Weight: Approximately 4 lbs.
- Forearm width: 2.150 in.
- Grip width: 1.925 in.
- Buttstock width: 1.650 in.
- 6-in McMillan Picatinny Rail for attaching a bipod
- Spacer system with upgraded 1-inch decelerator pad (13.5-15 inches of adjustability)
- Clamp bar adjustable cheek piece
- 3 flush mount cups located on left side and bottom rear
- Aluminum pillars installed