The proper way to begin a new year in my opinion, is to get, or do something new and different. In my case, I got something new. Tac Pro Inc. has developed a new cheek rest and as my curiosity always gets the better of me, I decided that, as usual, all new items for the M14 need to be checked out.
Below is the text from their website http://tacpro.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=1
which gives a description and brief background history of this item. So I decided to take it one step at a time, to determine if this product is, or could be, a viable solution for some problems I have encountered in the past with the use of other manufactured products, from different makers. "PROVIDES UP TO 1.5 INCHES OF VERTICAL RISE"
This unit showed to have a beginning rise of 5/8" from the incorporated locating dimples, bottomed out on the stock, and a travel of adjustment in the bolt slots of an additional inch. I discovered, to gain an additional 1/4" in height adjustment, one only need carve a matching square, like the carriage bolt head, that fastens this system, into the bottom of the slots, thereby letting the carriage bolt completely bottom out, and the rest to go up higher. I doubt this would ever be needed, but the option is there if it is required for other type optics or riser mounts.
I have several scoped rigs in the M14 platform which include low mount rings, medium mount rings, and one with an additional 3/4" riser to allow see thru and use of BUIS with a Leatherwood Art II in place. I found from moving my different actions, to the stock this cheek rest was installed on, it allowed me to have enough adjustment for each one, regardless of the set-up. I have not used it for high rings though, but did have adjustment left, roughly 1/4". "The TAC PRO® Kydex® cheek rest has been designed in response to requests for a product that actually aids the alignment of the eye with the sighting system. The rest was designed with the aid of a former Israel Defense Force sniper who has spent many hours with his cheek on an M14 rifle."
The key word here is "Kydex". When I see words like lightweight polymer or composite material, in a product description, I am immediately skeptical. I have had much experience with Kydex, and already know it to be the best, in my opinion.
The second key word in this description, is "rest", and I believe it is the proper word for this product, instead of riser. The head should not be contorted out of sync with the body in order to get in the proper position for sighting and firing, using a scope.
Another thing I know from experience, is that anyone that has worked with, or been in, the Israeli Defense Forces, knows their business, probably better than anyone because they have been fighting longer than anyone, therefore have more experience. The United States has long had a tradition of sending American Special Forces, and operators, to train with I.D.F. to be up on all the latest techniques and equipment.
"Most “saddle” type cheek risers have parallel sides that add as much as 2cm to the width of the stock and force the eye out of alignment with the sights. In addition, the round top of most of these risers prevent consistent cheek positioning."
When compared to my leather cheek riser, and two other cheek risers I have, made of polymer, and composite material, I found the thickness of the Tac Pro rest to be as advertised, and give me a better, and closer weld to my stock and line of sight through my optics, no straining or what I call chicken necking. The sharper bevel on the rest from Tac Pro Inc. really does seem to save a remarkable amount of room and distance from optic center. A more relaxed hold, or having your head at rest ( keyword ) is paramount to quality marksmanship and repeatability. "The TAC PRO® cheek riser solves both of these problems with a flat top and ergonomic design that does not increase the width of the stock where the cheek rests."
Nuff Said, Done and Done! The TAC PRO® cheek rest has the following features:
- Precision formed from Kydex® 100 on CNC machined moulds
I found this unit to be very slick in manufacturing and not like others I have that leave all kinds of slag and unfinished material hanging off that needs trimming with a knife, before you can even start installation. Very well made indeed. - Asymmetric shaped top for precise location of cheek and greater comfort
Key word here, Comfort....Done ! - Location dimples for easy installation
I can't say enough good about this feature, set it and forget it. On others I have without this feature, the installation was a royal pain. This unit is set back from the end of the stock as per enclosed instructions, then drill it, thats it. So easy a caveman could do it,...sorry, couldn't resist....I almost said Marine...Haa....go Navy!! - Lowest position is pre-set for perfect alignment with iron sights
I also found this to be true when using it for BUIS with my ART II, the one with additional riser mount. A great feature overall, for not having to remove the rest if you decide to have a range day with irons and remove your optics with QD rings. I love options, but then, who doesn't. - Smooth, round machined edges
Again, a very well made unit. - Stainless steel bolts
In my business we use to say, vinyl is final, in this case and for the sake of discussion, I will say I believe that Tac Pro chose the proper material for longevity, although I will paint the heads black. - Low profile locking knobs with anti vibration feature to prevent loosening under recoil
This is another feature I found much better than other manufacturers. One of mine have huge, high profile knobs and is very aggravating. The "marine" type,(insert "water or outboard motor nuts," here ...haa haa) locking nuts design, with anti vibration feature, is the only way to go here. There is nothing worse than something coming loose on your rig.
The product arrived very quickly and was packaged very well. It came complete with legible instructions that were concise and clear. (insert caveman proof, here). The price is comparable to all offerings out there now, and less expensive than most made with inferior materials and workmanship.
Insatallation took me every bit of 2 minutes, but I did take a couple of more minutes to decide to put some boiled linseed oil on the inside of the holes drilled, because I did not want the wood in the old G.I. wood stock to dry out over time from being untreated, and I shoot alot in the rain too. Waterproofing is a good thing. A very serious issue for me, with my G.I. stocks and my other cheek risers, is the encroachment of the bolts into my storage area for my cleaning kit, in the buttstock. They invariably blowout into this area and will prevent insertion of all the needed cleaning kit parts. When installed properly, the Tac Pro Rest has taken care of these issues, and clears the upper storage hole to allow end user to insert and store the combo tool, chamber brush and oiler. When drilling the holes, one only need make certain that they are perpindicular to the stock body and level drilled. Canting or off angle off the drill could breech the upper storage hole in the stock.
Since receiving the product, and the installation being complete, I was very anxious to try it out. The weather finally cooperated and I was able to send several rounds through each of my actions with it.
First, 30 rounds with irons, which were very good because I shoot with a leather riser for irons already. The Tac Pro still seemed to give me a closer weld to center, and I was surprised, and dismayed, because I love my leather, but there is no argueing with success, and the neck strain is noticeably better with the Tac Pro.
Second, was 20 rounds with my Arms copy mount by promag with low rings by Tasco, not the best rings, but functional, and the scope was a Simmons model # 21010. Once again, the weld and relief to the neck and eye position was remarkable.
Third, was my Leatherwood ART II model 1200 and the Arms #18 mount with additional 3/4" riser. The Leatherwood itself and incorporated base are already pretty high, and I found no problems with sighting and repeatability with the Tac Pro. This set-up closely mimics medium rings for height. I sent 34 rounds with this set-up and pulled my cheek off of the rest several times to check the quick shot to shot repeatability as if looking downrange for target location, then reacquiring through optics. The Tac Pro passed with flying colors and upon inspection of targets later, told me all I need to know for accuracy with this unit. The muscle memory gets ingrained quickly with this product, and much quicker than even my leather, which I have used a long time and has the swelled chin support. It seems I am always moving my head fore and aft ( naval terms...Haa ) to get the proper eye relief with my others, and the Tac Pro was just always there, spot on. I can't explain it, it just is.
For the purpose of control during this evaluation and experiment, I took my other two stocks, with the other previously purchased risers, out with me to the table, and fired them in between the Tac Pro unit firings. The difference was like night and day, period. I used three test subject rifle actions and two with older cheek risers for total of five rifles. This kept me from having to change the older style risers out and leave them as previously set to my liking. I am afraid they will now be sold or traded, due to the successful outcome of my findings on the Tac Pro Inc. cheek rest.
A couple of final points I would like to bring up is the texture on this unit. My other risers have a texture and finish that when used for range length periods of time, would leave a rash on my cheek, even though I have a beard. The Tac Pro Rest, after firing the same usual amount of rounds in a setting or range outing, left no hot spots or rub marks on my cheek. Also, the weight of this unit is perfect for extended carry. I have a Desert Warrior Products riser, that has very heavy knobs and is a full 1/4" thick and adds a lot of unnescessary weight to have the same functionality, except, here again, the extra 1/4" of the Desert Warrior, throws your natural line of sight out of alignment. You hardly know the Tac Pro is on there.
I have honestly tried to find something wrong with this unit and I am having trouble doing that. I like everything about it, thats rare for me. If I had one thing that I could improve on this product, it would be to simply request the option of colors, such as desert tan or olive drab and a brown similar to the walnut stock color. Maybe even a light grey to keep it cooler in the summer, as black soaks up and retains heat pretty badly in the south. It is easy enough to remedy this though, by painting it yourself with color of your choice, or toss a wrag over it on the bench when not in use. Thats all I can think of for improvements.
I would highly recommend this product, and company, to anyone that is interested in shooting scoped M14 rifles.
Finally, someone who gets it!!!