Length of pull refers to the distance from the buttstock of your rifle to the middle of the trigger. This is important as it determines if the gun fits you properly. This will determine comfort and how your site alignment naturally falls. Ideally when shouldered you want there to be around 1/2 to an inch between the charging handle and tip of your nose.
How to Measure Length of Pull?
There are two ways to measure length of pull. The most accurate method is to use what is known as a fit stock attached to a long gun. A fit stock is a special type of adjustable stock that allows you to try out several different lengths until the correct one is determined.
These tend to be expensive and people who specialize this are not very common. Because of this most people tend to use the second method.
For this measurement, shoulder your rifle in a proper stance. Once you are in position and comfortable, have someone else measure the distance from the charging handle to your nose.
Comfort is key here, consider how your neck is bent to position your head against the stock. Take into account your normal sight picture as you want these adjustments to add up to your sight picture naturally matching your point of aim as soon as you shoulder your rifle.
If the measurement is around ½ to 1 inch then the distance of your pull is correct. If it is much more than that you may want to consider either a shorter stock or an adjustable stock. If it is less or you feel like the charging handle is against your cheek then perhaps extend your stock or add a padded butt plate.
Remember that a proper pull length will improve both your comfort and accuracy.
How Important Is Length of Pull When Purchasing a New Rifle?
In most cases, the length of pull on a new rifle tends to be too short. This is better than purchasing a gun with a fixed stock that has a pull length that is too long.
In the case of a short length of pull stock spacers and butt pads can make up this difference. However, if the length is too long and you have a fixed stock, you need to have a gunsmith cut the stock down to the proper length.
With many AR models this is not as big an issue since most people tend to fit them with adjustable stocks.
The Advantage of Having an Adjustable Stock for Length of Pull
Length of pull can change slightly depending on several factors. The most frequent of these though is the clothing that you are wearing.
If you normally shoot in a single layer such as a T-shirt and have your length of pull based off of that you may need to make an adjustment for shooting with heavier winter clothes commonly worn during hunting season. This is due to the extra space created by the thicker clothing.
With an adjustable stock you can simply move the stock in one notch to make up for this difference. An adjustable stock is also ideal if you have multiple hunters who may share the same weapon such as a father and son.
Many people find themselves adjusting to the gun’s length of pull. However, this does not have to be the case and with a few minor modifications you can make the gun fit you instead. What are your thoughts on the importance of length of pull? Have you even given it any consideration before?