It’s a good time to be a rifleman. The level of innovation in the precision rifle market is at fever pitch. Twenty years ago, a rifleman could select a wood or fiberglass stock or a chassis made by Accuracy International. You didn’t see much else around. Nowadays you have a wide variety of high end fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar stocks, as well are scores of different chassis systems.
Synthetic stocks come in a few different flavors. The cheapest are typically injection molded plastic. A step up finds you into some sort of cast fiberglass product like Gray Boe, with the best systems consisting of a fiberglass or carbon fiber shell that is packed with a filler (think McMillan or Manners)- and it’s been this way for years. Konohawk Precision, founded by Rick Bradshaw in Auburn, Alabama offers a new type of stock machined from a billet of proprietary synthetic laminate.
Rick isn’t new to the gun industry. He started as a retailer, opening a Class III Gun store back in 2011, which he sold after consecutive years of growth in 2015. Shortly thereafter, he teamed up with Renato Gross, who has 20+ years of material development and manufacturing experience and was already in business. Their goal was to develop a rifle stock that would outperform the precision, ergonomics and feel of current stocks. They founded Konohawk in 2015.
Being shooters, Rick and Renato were both accustomed to the long lead-times associated with other precision rifle products. Their goal was to develop a precision rifle stock with a scalable production model while improving quality. Conventional production methods for fiberglass stocks are labor intensive. Injection molding methods limit the geometries that can be obtained. Applying a relatively new technology, they developed materials and processes to produce stocks of a higher level of quality and performance.
Konohawk started with the K1T stock with was designed to be compatible with Remington 700/700 clones and the Tikka T3 action. They wanted to keep the front end of the K1T on the narrower side making it more squared off. Shortly after, they released the K1S which was to serve as a more standard stock without the adjustable cheek comb and length of pull. The K1S was followed by the K2T and K2S which features a beefier, wider front end and accommodates more barrel options and shooting off of barricades. Their latest model is the K3T/S and the K4T/S. These stocks are similar in that the butt end has a ramped design instead of the tactical hook style that the K1 and K2 stocks have. These units were delivered at the request of those who preferred shooting off of rear bags.
In tandem with these other designs, Konohawk developed the Konochassis System which is an integral bedding block assembly that bolts into the stock. It excels over other designs in that it is user removable and repeatable (does not install canted like existing mini-chassis offerings). It also features an integrated trigger guard so users don’t have to purchase a separate bottom metal unit. Konochassis uses AICS magazines and is hard black anodized.
In addition to stocks, Konohawk has also developed the K-Mount for Kestrels and smart phones as well as a detachable magazine system. The K-mount uses a QD push button mechanism to detach from the rifle. This also isolates shock to the unit that it holds. Lastly, it launched the K-DBM floor metal assembly for Remington 700 Short Actions. It features an extremely ergonomic magazine release latch along with soft, contoured edges for a more refined unit. The K-DBM uses AICS magazines and is mil-spec hard anodized in black.
I asked Rick a little more about the material used to make Konohawk stocks. He responded:
Our rifle stocks are manufactured using proprietary, engineered polymer materials that would outperform current synthetic stocks in the market. Great amounts of time, energy and expenditure have gone into material development for Konohawk stocks to ensure that they meet the demands of our customers. The end result is a high performance material that is more impact resistant than fiberglass while maintaining the necessary rigidity required to enable the rifle system to perform downrange.
The stocks are manufactured using advanced proprietary methods.
What inlets do you offer?
We currently offer inlets for Remington 700 Short Actions/clones as well as Tikka T3 Actions. Our floor metal inlet on Remington stocks fit Badger M5DBM/Konohawk K-DBM/Surgeon and any other floor metal following the M5DBM pattern. Our Tikka Stocks are inletted for the CTR floormetal. We inlet barrel contours for Remington Varmint, Brux & RockCreek Sendero, Medium and Heavy Palma, M24/M40 and Straight Taper for the Remington Stocks. On Tikka Stocks we offer Tikka CTR/Varmint contour and Medium Palma.
Do you offer custom inlets?
We currently do not offer custom inlets on an individual basis. This is part of maintaining short lead times of 3-6 weeks. However, we offer rifle OEMs and gunsmiths the option to create custom inlets when it makes economic sense.
Anything else you’d want people to know about your stocks?
We strive for quality on our rifle stocks. Each Konohawk stock is test fit with receivers and trigger guards before leaving our facility. Once a stock passes our inspection, it receives a serial number and a signed quality assurance checklist. The serial number ensures full traceability as part of our quality system. All stocks come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Perhaps the coolest part of the Konohawk stock system is the durability of the base materials. I initially learned about Konohawk when I stumbled onto this video:
Try doing that with your fiberglass stock or chassis, I’m pretty sure you are going to have problems.
For testing and evaluation purposes, I ordered a Konohawk K2T. Coated in a high grade automotive paint, the machine textured interface points provided a similar gripping surface to the traditional Marine Tex coatings. My stock is inletted for a Remington 700 short-action with Badger Ordnance M5 style bottom metal, an M40 style lug and #7 contour.
For the testing and evaluation I pulled a 700 barreled action chambered in 308 Winchester (that was like what 6.5 Creedmoor is today when I was a teenager) out of a McMillan A5. The barreled action has the following parts from Brownells:
- Remington 700 short-action receiver
- Shilen #7 select match barrel 1:10″ twist
- Badger Ordnance Maximized Scope Base
- Timney #510 trigger
In the pictures below, you’ll note a small shoulder machined into the barrel forward of the action, this was to accommodate a night vision optics mount on the barreled action of the other stock.
For optics I went all in mounting a new Schmidt and Bender 5-45X56 PMI I scope in Spuhr two-piece rings. This scope is pretty much the pinnacle of current optics design. It isn’t cheap, but the performance is impressive. I’ll be posting a stand alone review of the 5-45×56 PMII shortly.
The stock inlet fit my barreled action very well. I only had to open up the area forward of the trigger to fit my Timney 510, but that only took a couple minutes with a small file.
If you take a look at the images above, note the following:
- Adjustable cheek piece with KMW Loggerhead hardware.
- Removable spacer system for length of pull.
- Machine textured gripping surfaces.
- QD flush cups located along left side of stock.
- The action doesn’t sit as low in the stock as it does with many competing options, the external bolt stop on the test barreled action did not require inletting.
I wanted to get a feel for whether or not the action needed to be bedded, so I headed to the range and tested it without bedding. The gun shot nearly 1.5 MOA so I headed back to the shop for a quick skim bedding job.
I only wanted to bed the contact points over the pillars for the action. To do this I made a couple of clay snakes to direct the excess Marine-Tex out of the stock (above). Note you can also see the area I needed to relieve in order for my Timney 510 to fit above the bottom clay snake.
After everything was bedded…. Looks good doesn’t it? That’s the problem with 700 receivers, you never quite know how bent they really are. This one needed quite a bit of material forward of the front pillar. If you’d like to know more about how to bed a rifle, see Rifle bedding: How to bed a match rifle.
Boom! Sub 3/4 MOA. Keep in mind these are loads I developed in a different stock that I have shot on for years. For straight to the range, I’ll take these groups as a great starting point any day of the week. I’m sure with further tuning, these results can be improved.
Shooting the Konohawk was a pleasure. It handled similar to most other modern, vertical pistol grip stocks like the McMillan A5. Recoil felt different, lighter and more springy, if that makes sense. I don’t have a way to adequately measure this, but I assume this is related to the increased flexibility and formulation of the stock material.
What do I think of the Konohawk K2T?
- A+ for innovation. I always like to see small companies push boundaries and create new paradigms in the industry. We [shooters] were stuck with a choice between wood and fiberglass stocks for too long.
- Short lead times. I appreciate that this technology is scalable in a way that shortens lead times compared to traditional custom made fiberglass stocks. As the company grows, I hope this continues to hold true.
- Solid adjustments. The use of KMW hardware as well as recoil pad spacers allow a custom fit of the stock. I’d like to see some thinner spacers for finer adjustments added.
- New camouflage patterns. Take a look at Konohawk’s website, they offer some pretty unique finishes.