How to Curve a Recoil Pad to Fit

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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How to Curve a Recoil Pad to Fit
A recoil pad greatly reduces the jolt from a rifle or shotgun. (Aimed shotgun, with depth of field image by cdbdi from

Rifles and shotguns were both traditionally made with all wooden stocks, without any cushion of modern rubber recoil pads. Many of these traditional weapons, in fact, had the gunstock end plated with metal. Today, a variety of recoil pads are available for installation on wooden and composite stocks. Though pre-fit recoil pads are available, many have to be curved to conform to the stock surface. This process is typically accomplished using a variety of sanding and grinding tools.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Grinding tool (drill or rotary tool with grinding tips)
  • Screwdriver
  • Adhesive
  • Sandpaper (coarse)
  • Padded gun vice

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  1. 1

    Unload the weapon completely. Visually inspect the weapon to ensure that no ammunition is present.

  2. 2

    Position the weapon into a padded gun vice. Ensure that the gunstock butt end is accessible.

  3. 3

    Hold the recoil pad up to the butt end, slightly overlapping it onto the butt. Trace out the dimension that the recoil pad must be ground to to achieve the appropriate curve to fit the stock.

  4. 4

    Grind out the interior of the recoil pad until you've reached your measurement. A rotary tool with a grinding bit, or a drill with a grinding bit will work well for this process. Fit the recoil pad onto the stock. Draw a line around the stock where the recoil pad overlaps it. Sand down the stock end up to the mark using coarse sandpaper. Only sand enough to remove the finish and rough up the end.

  5. 5

    Use a flat punch to mark the screw holes on the stock, using the holes in the recoil pad as a guide.

  6. 6

    Drill pilot holes into the stock using a bit slightly smaller in diameter than your recoil pad screws.

  7. 7

    Apply adhesive to the stock end over the sanded region. Fit the recoil pad onto the stock, then screw it in tight. Wipe away any adhesive residue. Allow the recoil pad to dry for 24 hours.

Tips and warnings

  • Note that flat end stocks may need to be trimmed and refinished to fit the recoil pad.
  • Pre-fit recoil pads are available that are easily installed on a gunstock.
  • Never attempt maintenance on a loaded firearm.
  • Use caution while grinding away recoil pad material. Grind a little then test for appropriate surface contact until the proper curve is achieved.

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