Karsten Adjustable Cheek Piece
Adjustable cheek-pieces have become more and more popular, especially as the objectives on the scopes
have grown to 50mm, 56mm, and beyond. In order to get a good cheekweld while keeping the eye in
line with the scope a raised cheek-piece has been required. This is a common problem even on the
US Army M24 sniper rifle, if you look closely you will often times see
snipers that have literally taped on pieces of foam padding
(often cut up old sleep pads) to the top of the comb area of the stock of the M24 to
raise the eye in line with the
scope. I had to do it on the M24's I was issued while in the N.G. This same effect can be
achieved with the stock
design itself by having a raised comb or Monte Carlo style cheek-piece. Another approach has been
for the stock manufacturers to incorporate an adjustable cheek-piece so the stocks can accommodate
all shooters with all types and sizes of scopes. McMillan & HS Precision has long had adjustable
cheek-piece designs on their stocks and many of the other stock manufacturers have done the same.
But what do you do if you already have an existing stock that does not have an adjustable cheek-piece,
or you like a style of stock that is not available with one? A shooter, Mr. Karsten, was wondering
just that when he decided to do it on his own and designed and manufactured an after market
saddle type adjustable cheek-piece that can be retrofitted to just about any stock.
You can now purchase these direct from the Sniper Central Store.
We ordered a cheek-piece and it arrived without a problem and included a single fairly detailed
page on how to install the cheek-piece. It included instructions on how to do it with a hand drill
as well as with a drill press and included some important tips on how to install it on AR15's and other
gas guns. While it was just a typed out page, it did provide everything you need to know as well
as a phone number to call with questions. Some additional pictures would probably go a long way to
help some people with the install, the instructions were enough to get the job done.
The saddle type adjustable cheek-pieces sit on top of the rear comb section of the stock like a saddle,
hence the name. There are two bolts that mount across the saddle and through the stock itself, and then
with the two lock knobs you hand tighten and loosen the bolts to move and tighten the cheek-piece
in place. Karsten uses a very high quality Kydex thermal plastic which really sets them apart from some of
the cheap knock offs that have cropped up on the market since Karsten released their cheek-piece.
The design is nice and simple and works quite well for what it is intended to do. The hand tightened
lock nuts have gone
through several iterations but the current design is quite nice and easily adjusted by hand.
The cheek-piece itself is lightly textured to help provide a good resting surface for the cheek, and
while it is not as nice as the hard rubber coating used on the McMillan saddle type cheek-pieces or
not as grippy as the Alcantara type of material used on the eagle strap-on cheek-pieces,
it is also a lot
cheaper and still nice enough to get the job done. Karsten does provided a small piece of 1/8"
thick rubber that can be glued to the upper surface of the cheek-piece to provide better grip
with your cheek if desired. While wearing face paint and sweating, the hard plastic does get a bit
slippery and this piece of rubber just might do the trick for you.
The size of the cheek-piece is just about right, large enough to work with just about any person and
provide some area for the shooter to adjust forward or backward, but also small enough to be able to fit
on just about any stock and still have mounting flexibility for and aft. Because of the Kydex
material used to manufacture the cheek-piece, it also adds the ability to be able to widen or tighten
the saddle width for those odd stocks that might be extra thick or extra thin. The instructions
indicate soaking the stop portion in boiling water should do the trick in allowing you to make the
adjustments you may need to the width of the saddle.
The mounting procedure itself may seem daunting to some but in reality there is nothing to worry
about, it is fairly straight forward, and a drill press does help in the process. But because drill
presses are not totally common place I decided to show the install process on an HS Precision stock
using a hand drill, even though we have a drill press. The rifle I chose was another project rifle
that is a subject of a not completed build write-up in the
which made a great candidate for this cheek-piece. It has a HS Precision
stock from a Remington 700P which obviously has no adjustable cheek-piece. So off we went to
install the Karsten cheek-piece, insuring that we followed the instructions as much as possible.
First, you need determine where you want to mount the cheek-piece on the stock, so you place it on
the stock and move it back and forth until it feels the best for all the various shooting positions. One
thing you need to be sure to do, and this is mentioned in the instructions, is make sure that you can
cycle the bolt and that you can get the bolt in and out (for cleaning) without having to remove the
cheek-piece. The picture above shows the cheek-piece sitting on the stock and with the bolt of the
Remington 700 action pulled all the way out as if removing it from the rifle. The location of the
cheek-piece was still fine and comfortable in this position.
If you really needed to, it should be no problem to take a dremel hand tool and grind
away a bit of the plastic at the top and front of the cheek piece to make a little indention in
the cheek-piece to provide room for the bolt to come out, but that probably will not be necessary for
The instructions indicate that if you are using a hand drill, the best approach is to place the
cheek-piece on the stock and then mark on the stock with a pencil on both sides where
you need to drill the 1/4"
holes, and then to drill half way through on each side. This will help with the alignment of the
holes while not using a drill press.
With our cheek-piece placed where I wanted it, I marked both sides and prepared for drilling.
It is recommended to use a variable power drill and to proceed slowly and take your time, which is what
I did. The Kevlar outer shell on the HS Precision stocks is fairly hard, but does drill
without too much
of a problem, and then there was a surprise... the buttstock is hollow. Once through the kevlar
shell, bam, there was nothing but hollow space and air. In reality, this made the drilling extremely
easy and aligning a prefect hole was a non issue, I just flipped the stock and drilled the other side.
I am not sure if all HS Precision stocks are hollow in the butt area, but this one is.
One thing I did do, and is probably required, is once I drilled the other side as well,
I did extend the
drillbit all the way through and proceeded to drill back through the hole on the other side, this
will allow the bolts from the cheek-piece to slide right on through without a problem. The picture
below demonstrates what I did.
With that done, it was literally just a minute to slip the cheek-piece back on, place the screws through
the holes and the cheek-piece and then tighten it up. And as simple as that, the project
was done! The finished
installation looks nice and is functional. Raising and lowering the cheek-piece involves loosening the
two nuts by hand, and then raising or lowering the cheek-piece to the desired height
and then re-tightening the nuts. It is
not totally smooth like a fancy wheel type adjustable cheek-piece, but it is simple enough for what
it is and it is totally functional.
As you can see, the installation looks pretty good and it does add functionality to the rifle as well
as that serious look. Shooting with it is about as you would expect. The cheek can slide around a bit
but I do not have the rubber attached to the cheek-piece, which will help in those regards.
I am pleased with the unit as a whole and for the $55 plus shipping it is a good
value and in our case, very easy to install. Other installations, like a wood stock, will involve
more work to get those two holes drilled and aligned, but once accomplished, the rest is easy.
The cheek-piece adjusts
easy enough and does everything an adjustable cheek-piece should. The quality of the material
is good and
the design solid. If you are looking to add a cheek-piece to an existing stock, the Karsten is a
very good choice to consider.
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