Purists look at foxshooting doyen Robert Bucknell’s set-up and are appalled. Until recently, he had a CAM rifle, which is in ‘practical rifle’ territory and not the usual foxshooter’s choice of heavy barrel with bipod. And, to make it a more comfortable fit, he built up the cheek pad with gaffer tape. Yes, gaffer tape…
It’s the forgotten accessory. Everyone remembers to buy their scope, sling, bipod and moderator. Most pro-shooters make sure the comb on their rifle fits snugly to their face. And it doesn’t have to be homemade. Here are some examples:
Even those who go for the homemade option build up their stocks with tape and pipe insuulation, and then slip a neoprene sock over the top.
In the Hornady version, the pad attaches to the stock with elasticated Velcro straps, and has loops for five rounds of ammo on the side away from your face. There’s also a zip pocket, which Mike uses to store a small key to tighten up the scope mounts if they come loose in the field (Robert’s version has nothing like that).
Most importantly, though, Mike reckons that the pad helps him shoot more accurately. “It’s important to get a really good cheek weld with the stock,” he explains. “You want the comb of the stock to lock nicely into the angle of your cheek, with your eye perfectly aligned to look through the scope. That gives you a dead solid rest, and improves your shooting no end.”
The Savage rifles that Mike prefers have an Accustock with an adjustable height comb. Mike adjusts the comb so it’s just a little low, then adds the Hornady cheek pad, which adds a soft padded layer to bring it up to just the right height. “When it’s icy and cold and wet, like it’s been this year, it means you’re not putting your cheek against an icy cold stock,” he says.
The Hornady Cheek Piece comes in black or tan colours, and in right or left-handed versions.
Even Robert Bucknell has given in to the advance of technology, and has bought a new set-up. His CAM rifle is for sale through Peter Wilson fine art auctioneers.