McMillan Then and Now

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Inc is heavily invested in the shooting sports.  We sponsor matches, teams and individual shooters.  There is not a rifle competition shoot that isn’t supported in some way, either by prize table donations or match sponsorship.  We started in this business over 40 years ago making benchrest stocks.  I am quite sure that when our Founder, and my father, Gale made the first stock he had no idea that the business would grow to what it is today.  He was just interested in making a few stocks a month to help the competitors become better at their chosen sport.  His true passion was for building accurate rifles, and each rifle he built with a fiberglass stock was more accurate than it would have been with a wood stock, so he felt like it was a no brainer.  It was going to be a supplemental business at best, one that would allow him to focus on building rifles but provide a steady stream of income to get him through the long build times the rifles required.

In 1975 the Marine Corps placed an order for about 200 stocks, which was more than the entire prior year’s production.  In a moment of panic he called me and asked if I wanted to go to work for him.  From that time on, every time Gale taught me to do a job, it was the last time he ever did that job.  My first job was making the stocks’ shells.  Actually laying the camo gelcoat in the mold, then the fiberglass cloth.  Once I had a handle on that job he would open up the shells on the manual mill so that I could fill them properly.  Once they were filled he would machine the action area and barrel channel so that I could use a custom fill material and a mandrel to form the action area and barrel contour.  Once he was confident I had all of that under control he turned the milling operations over to me so that he basically had no direct responsibility for any one particular job.  We sold stocks that were uninletted and had just the radius of a Remington 700 receiver and a heavy Marine Corps taper barrel channel molded in.

M14 Stock

Business continued that way for about ten years.  We produced more and more benchrest stocks, we used the Marine Corps stock molds as our General Purpose Hunting Stock, and added a few more competition stocks as we grew.  In 1983 the Marine Corp asked us to make a match grade M14 stock, so we did.  They also asked us to inlet the stock for them so my father spent 7 hours on a manual milling machine creating an inletting that would suffice.  At that point he said, “I am never doing that again.”  I asked him how are we going to produce the stocks the Marine Corps wants, to which he replied, “I don’t know but I will think of something.“ Three weeks later we took delivery of our first CNC milling machine.

That was the moment that changed McMillan Fiberglass Stocks forever.  First we learned how to program it, thanks to my brother Rock.  He was a Manufacturing Technology Engineer and had been programing CNC machines for a living since graduating from ASU in 1975. He worked with both of us to develop a rudimentary skill level of programming.  That ability allowed us to say yes to Weatherby when they called and asked if we could make some stocks for the Mark V rifles.  After six months of mold development, programming, and trial and error, we were able to produce what was at that time, the very first fiberglass stock offered by a major manufacturer on a line of rifles.  They were also very sophisticated from our point of view.  They were finished with a baked on wrinkle paint and had a white diamond inlayed into the pistol grip cap.  The following year in addition to the Fibermark, Weatherby offered the Fiberguard.  It was a Vanguard Rifle with a McMillan stock and finished in a light green wrinkle paint.

Before too long we took delivery of another CNC machine which enabled us to make stocks for Remington, Winchester (US Repeating Arms) and Sako all within a span of about 3 years.  By the early 1990’s we were producing close to 10,000 stocks per year of which 8,000 of them were being shipped to major OEM accounts to be put on their rifles.  USRAC offered the Winlite series in both the Sporter and Featherweight models.  Sako offered the Finnfiber as well as the Finnlight models, and Remington offered the Custom Shop KS Mountain Rifles as well as some L/E offerings wearing assorted tactical stocks.  McMillan has also produced stocks for Steyr, Sig, FN, Dakota, Savage and most recently Browning. Custom rifle builders include MOA Rifles, Hill Country Rifles, McWhorter’s Custom Rifles, Iron Brigade Armory and countless others. All of the companies came to us to purchase stocks because we were innovators.  We are responsible for the fact that now when you walk into a sporting goods store or gun shop, over 50% of the rifles on display have synthetic stocks on them whereas in 1983 there were none on the shelves.

ELR stock

We continue to deliver on innovation like the A5, the best-selling stock McMillan has ever made and another recent hit, the Game Scout.  This stock was the first departure from the traditional hunting stock; designed using features normally saved for tactical rifles or prone competition stocks, like a vertical pistol grip. And we are particularly proud of our support of, and entre’ to, the Extreme Long Range (ELR®) community, with our latest design, the ELR® BEAST™.  The Beast™ was specifically designed for rifles that will be used to push the performance envelope as far as is possible; rifles that will be shooting at targets that are two miles and beyond.  Stay with McMillan as we journey toward the unknown in both accuracy and performance.