Outside it looked the same as any well-turned stainless tube. Inside, its button-rifled bore, held to gnat’s-lash tolerances, sent bullets into one-hole knots. That McMillan barrel on my Remington 37 would claim many prone aggregates and a state championship.
Since then, the McMillan companies have offered just about everything you could want in a rifle, from match-winning barrels to stocks, even actions. Subsequent re-organization and changes in the family have focused industry attention on McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, an enterprise headed by Kelly McMillan in a 15,000-square-foot production facility in Phoenix.
With son Ryan, a former Navy Seal, Kelly founded McMillan Manufacturing in 2007. Six years later that business sold. Ryan and a partner then developed a new hunting-rifle stock, called Grayboe after Ryan’s sons, Grayson and Boe. Meanwhile, back at MFS, Kelly started another project, with a proprietary polymer that promised solid-core stocks of precise dimensions from an injection-molding process.
Injection-molded but inflexible. Solid, strong and handsome. Drop-in fit. Affordable too?
Result: the MC3. Product of MFS’s new McCubed Division, it reflects the McMillans’ enduring preoccupation with rifle accuracy – but at a far lower cost than charged for its namesake stocks. “Each of our fiberglass stocks takes more than eight hours to complete,” Kelly points out. “Prices start at $536. The popular A5, which appears on sniper rifles issued by U.S. armed forces, retails on the civilian market for $800.” While inexpensive injection-molded stocks abound, most produced by this economical process are hollow, in part to further contain costs and meet entry-level price points. A shell of cheap polymer, barrel channel reinforced by bladed cross-bracing, also weighs less than a solid stock. “If only these were quiet and stiff!” says Kelly.
They aren’t. Stock cavities amplify the tick of contact with objects as small as twigs. A hollow forend not only expands and contracts with changes in temperature; it is easily twisted and bent. There’s no way to ensure constant bedding pressure. Many shooters would trade a few ounces extra heft for the rigidity of a stock injection-molded without cavities.
Kelly found just the material for a stock of this type in a polymer he calls Xenolite. He explored the market to determine stock shape.
These days long-range shooting brings longer, heavier barrels into play, and “mountain rifles” are becoming an ever-more-distinct subset. “Tactical” can conjure images of AR-15s, but also of bolt-actions configured for sniping, with stiff barrels, steep grips, and bipods under long, substantial forends. Refined for competition, these bolt guns have taken the labels of F-Class or Precision. Profiles of long-range rifles and bantam-weights are as disparate as self-loading mechanisms and turn-bolts. Purpose dictates a choice. Designing the MC3 rifle-stock, Kelly McMillan took the path of precision, settling on two versions. Both give you drop-in fit for, individually, short and long Remington 700 receivers. Both are pillar bedded and come with two forward, one rear QD swivel studs, plus a threaded insert for a third 2 5/8 inches ahead of the front guard screw. Both feature a black Pachmayr 1-inch pad.
The MC3 Legend has an obvious genetic link to McMillan’s A5 stock. Available in Standard and Deluxe models, and in olive or tan finish, the Legend has a high, straight comb (adjustable on the Deluxe, which also has butt spacers to adjust length). A nicely contoured hook at the toe helps in prone, whether you use a rear bag or grip it with your hand. The forend is broad, its channel proportioned for Remington Varmint/Sendero barrels. Panels on the steep, full grip and forend assist but don’t abrade your hands. The MC3 Legend Deluxe Plus, black only, is a lightweight Deluxe, courtesy an infusion of carbon fiber.
McMillan’s hunting version, the Tradition, is hardly traditional. That is, it doesn’t bring to mind elegant bolt-action sporters of the 1930s. McMillan patterned this new stock after its popular fiberglass Game Scout. My sample Tradition, for a long-action 700, scales 3 ¼ pounds. Not mountain-rifle light, not ponderous. The profile differs from the Legend’s, with a straight toe-line, a slimmer but still beefy forend and a barrel channel that fits Standard/Magnum Remington barrels. McMillan chose to retain the thick (1 ¾ inches!) vertical grip, a concession to the growing number of hunters willing to shoot far and planning to use a bipod. I found it as comfortable prone with a sling. This grip serves well offhand, but is quite a departure from the slender wrists that make grouse guns and early lever-action carbines so nimble on the carry, and quick for snap-shooting in cover. The Tradition Deluxe, black only, offers lighter heft with the carbon-fiber component of the Legend Deluxe Plus.
I’m impressed by the finish of this sample Tradition stock, inside and out. While injection-mold seams are visible top and belly, they’re not objectionable. The tan color is deep and uniform, the exterior surface finely textured for a rich, non-reflective appearance. Receiver bed and barrel channel are as clean and smooth as the detailing on the bonnet of a Jaguar XJ. Alloy pillars are stout and snugly grafted into the stock, their ends contoured to the bedding platforms. The recoil lug recess, properly ensuring a contact fit for standard lugs, should also accept the thick lugs some shooters install when re-barreling. The comb offers firm cheek support, but isn’t so high as to require tall scope rings.
Yes, my 700 barreled action did drop in! No force required; no palpable slack for screw tension to fix; no uneven or unsightly gaps between receiver and MC3. The barrel floats in the channel’s center. The bolt shank suits its slot. The tang looks as if it grew in place. Bottom metal recesses are generous, but I don’t expect skin-snug fit there. Guard/floorplate assemblies can vary slightly, over years of production runs, even if specs don’t. Assembled, my M700 looks as if it belongs in an MC3 Tradition stock!
As if solid construction, drop-in fit, shooter-friendly shape, and fine finish weren’t enough, MC3s sell at surprisingly modest prices. My Tradition retails at just $269, a standard Legend for $20 more. The Deluxe versions list for $319 and $349, the Legend Deluxe Plus at $439. You’ll look hard to find a stock that better taps the accuracy potential of your 700 Remington, or one that trumps the MC3’s fit and finish!