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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Northern Berks County, PA
Re: Rifles length of pull /Is it important?
Is it important? Sure.
Deal breaker? I don't think so, within reason. If one can't physically reach the trigger, that's a problem. If it's so short you have the scope in your face, that's also a problem.
I'm 6'2, have fairly long arms, and I can shoot almost anything once I get accustomed to it. My 300H&H had a very short LOP stock on it when I got it, as it came to me from a smith who was a shorter guy, so he shortened up the stock to his liking. I think it was around 12.5" LOP or similar, and my "ideal" LOP is around 14.5 (15 if it's only for warm weather use).
My 35 Whelen got a McMillan stock I picked up for a great price from the original owner who decided he didn't have a use for it after all. it's about 13-13.5". People remark all the time "that's too short for you." Yet I shoot it fine, and manage the recoil fine.
I'm the same way with triggers. I shoot heavy, creepy, gritty triggers on my mil-surp guns and do well with them. IMHO, a bad trigger will teach you a lot about trigger control....where a light trigger I think is often (mis)used to mask/account for form and follow-through problems.....but that's a whole other conversation.
To answer the question, if I get to pick, I pick about 1/2" inch less than "ideal" (when measured as willyp described above), just so I'm not really reaching for a trigger in heavy layers.
If I don't get to pick, I don't sweat it.
IMHO, one of the most valuable skills a hunter can develop is to be able to shoot a lot of setups well. That, to me, means you have developed solid form and fundamentals. I always wonder what is going on for a shooter if they can't make at least a reasonable group with a cruddy trigger or some other "less than ideal" circumstance.
Now, all that said....if one wants to step up to real boomer of a caliber....something that burns some serious powder and throws some heavy bullets....then stock fit and design get a WHOLE lot more important for mitigating felt recoil.
For the rounds MOST of us shoot, that's not an issue. But go to the medium bores and up with a magnum case head and it gets a bit more important for the stock to fit at least reasonably well.
That's my take, anyway.