Despite predictions from gun regulation folks, the anticipated ‘Trump Slump’ in gun sales has failed to materialize. Quite the contrary actually, as purchases of firearms by U.S. citizens continue to grow exponentially each year, as it has since 2008. And no market niche is experiencing greater growth than the major manufacturers’ economy, budget, or entry-level lines.

So what features distinguish an ‘entry-level’ firearm from one of the company’s ‘flagship’ weapons? In addition to utilizing less costly manufacturing methods and materials, as well as applying a more utilitarian finish to the metal components, the primary distinguishing characteristic of these spartan guns is the substitution of an inexpensive injection-molded synthetic (polymer) stock for the traditional wooden furniture.

Even though their lighter weight makes them handier to tote around, most inexpensive synthetic stocks lack the rigidity necessary to provide a consistent bedding platform for the barreled action. Under the stress of firing, the flexible plastic handle twists, torques, and distorts creating inconsistent harmonic vibrations in the barrel and receiver: actions that are decidedly not conducive to fine accuracy. Some companies use pillar bedding or metal bedding blocks to free float the barrel and improve the union of the action and stock. Regrettably, these techniques seldom succeed in overcoming the deficits inherent in these springy cheapo stocks.

So what’s a person to do if they can’t afford or justify the cost of chucking that crappy factory stock and bolting their budget firearm into a $3-400 dollar synthetic?

I would suggest that you hop online, type in and check out Boyds’ extensive lines of genuine hardwood stocks. Under the leadership of Randy Boyd, the company situated in Mitchell, South Dakota has been turning out quality military and commercial replacement stocks and accessories for over 30 years. They are the ‘go-to’ guys for many garage hobbyists, as well as professional gunsmiths. Boyds also sources the wooden stocks for a number of major U.S. manufacturers.

So what does Boyds have to offer you? Randy trades only in quality walnut, maple, and variously colored laminated hardwoods; there are no petrochemical concoctions in their inventory. They currently offer semi-inletted, fully-inletted/ unfinished, and fully finished stocks milled to fit firearms produced by 200+ military, foreign, and domestic manufacturers. Additionally, Boyds is proactive in fashioning stocks for many of the popular new model firearms hitting the market. Pictured above are the laminate stocks that I recently fitted to several Ruger Americans that I own. The .22-caliber Magnum American Rimfire is suited up in a Royal Jacaranda Rimfire Hunter and my favorite whitetail zapper: a 7 mm-08 American is bolted into a Sky colored Prairie Hunter model.

To create your own personalized stock, you simply click on the design gallery link and scroll through the array of stock shapes, colors, and finishes available for your particular rifle or shotgun. To further customize your piece, Boyds offers a wide range of full wrap laser-cut checkering patterns and textures, graphic symbols, and text fonts. In a couple of minutes, you can build and price the stock of your dreams from the comfort of your easy chair.

Lots of folks are crowing about Boyds’ latest creation christened at the 2017 Shot Show in Vegas. The At-One is as close to a ‘one-size fits all’ gun stock that anyone has ever created. Let me tell you straight up that many traditionalists are going to be turned off by the At-One’s angular, futuristic shape. With that being said, the stock does allow for rapidly adjusting fit and a level of customization that no other stock design that I’m aware of can touch. Comb height and butt length can be readily adjusted without tools by depressing the recessed rubberized push buttons and repositioning the comb and butt pads. Modular pistol grip and forearm grip pads (Bring It technology) are offered in myriad colors and textures, further enhancing the customization of the piece.

If you’re not tickled with the appearance or performance of your synthetic stocked utility rifle or want to upgrade a tired military rifle or work-worn commercial shotgun, hop online and check out Boyd’s extensive offerings.

With the help of a Boyd hardwood stock, you can take a favorite utility gun from plastic to fantastic, and release the beauty that’s been trapped within the beast.

Rich Simpson can be reached at

Rich Simpson can be reached at