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>> Pre-Fit Pachmayer Decelerator :: By J. Marshall Stanton on 2002-03-24
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Pachmayer manufactures their well respected and effective Decelerator recoil pad, ground to fit the stock contours of several different factory stocks. The pad examined for this article was one of these new “pre-fit” Decelerator pads designed for the Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70 and the Outfitter in .444 Marlin. Consistent with other Pachmayer Decelerator pads, this model sports a thick, charcoal to black colored, non-ventilated type pad, with a textured semi-contoured butt face. In reading the instructions included, and those printed on the packaging material, this pad requires no gunsmithing, and is pre-fit for the gun of choice, requiring minimal work to install. Tools specified for the task by Pachmayer are a screwdriver, hammer, drill, and pencil. After an overview of the brief instructions for pad installation, I opted to add one more step to the installation process when fitting this pad to my Marlin .444P Outfitter. The instructions call for diving in, and while protecting the muzzle of the unloaded gun, removing the two Phillips head screws affixing the factory pad to the butt stock. Rather than wrestling with the entire gun for this little project, it seemed prudent to remove the one and only screw in the rear tang of the lever-gun and remove the stock from the frame, thereby facilitating ease of manipulation of the butt stock.

When removing tightly torqued gun screws, make sure to utilize an appropriately sized and fitted screwdriver with a hollow ground bit if at all possible. For this task I employed my aging Chapman Gun Screwdriver set that has seen considerable use over the last twenty years. A specialized set such as this assures not burring or marring tight gun screws, and preserves the appearance of your firearm.

With the butt stock separated from the rifle, it was a simple task to remove the two Phillips head screws affixing the Marlin factory ventilated pad from the walnut butt. To facilitate removal of the original screws, and to prevent damaging the factory recoil pad, I coated the shank of the screw driver with petroleum jelly before inserting into the screw holes.

Looking at the contents of the packaging from Pachmayer containing the new recoil pad, there were two new pan-head type Phillips screws with coarse threads, two plastic moly-bolt style screw anchors, a unique style drill bit for drilling new holes and counter sinking to allow room for the plastic screw anchors as well as a set of very brief printed installation instructions, containing instructions for all models of these pre-fitted Decelerator recoil pads.

At this point the instructions indicate that the new recoil pad should be carefully positioned on the butt stock, and while using the enclosed drill bit inserted through the screw holes in the replacement recoil pad, to mark the locations for drilling new holes. Upon examination after removing the original ventilated recoil pad, the factory butt stock of my particular rifle is drilled with two sets of screw holes. The screw holes used for attaching the factory pad aligned perfectly with the screw holes in the new Decelerator pad. At this point the steps in the instructions calling for wood filler to fill existing holes, and re-drilling new mounting holes were thus avoided. Too need for the plastic screw anchors was eliminated as well.

Once again using petroleum jelly, both on the screw heads as well as the screwdriver shank, the screws were inserted into the pre-formed holes in the new Decelerator pad, and the screws lightly tightened to check for proper fit of the new recoil pad to the butt stock. It was at this point that I re-read both the back of the packaging, as well as one sentence in the introductory lines of the installation instructions regarding the “fit” of the pad.

Although the pad much more closely approximates both the contour and size of the rear of the butt stock than would another standard Decelerator pad, there were some serious differences in dimension between the wood and pad as is evidenced in the accompanying photographs. I’m sure that it would be difficult, if not impossible to precisely fit a pad due to the variances in the amount of sanding during the finishing process of the walnut butt stock at the factory. However, I was really disappointed with the initial fit on my particular rifle. Perhaps this miss-fit is unique to my rifle, or maybe I was just expecting more from today’s CNC driven equipment and tight manufacturing tolerances. Or perhaps, maybe I was truly expecting the product to measure up to its advertised billing as being “pre-ground” and “pre-fit”.

None-the-less, the Decelerator has a time proven track record of taming the heaviest recoiling firearms, and this pad is no exception to that expectation. The only expectation I hadn’t anticipated is the necessity of traditional grind and sand to fit installation and time invested in it. The end result of course is a great addition to the rifle, and the great part is that while the pad wasn’t closely fit for the stock, it wasn’t undersized either, allowing for a true custom fit on the gun when completed. Too, in all fairness, both the back of the packaging and the instructions as well indicated that if a custom fit was desired, to seek the services of a gunsmith.

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