Lithgow Manelli rifle stock

Lithgow developing sleek walnut stock for centrefire and rimfire rifles


Lithgow Arms is trialling a new sporter-style walnut stock for its LA102 centrefire and LA101 rimfire rifles and is currently seeking feedback on the sleek design.

The new stocks are slimmer than the current Crossover stocks produced by the Australian gunmaker and are intended to increase the appeal of the rifles by bringing a more traditional and familiar style to some of the LA rifles.

Lithgow Manelli rifle stock
The prototype of the LA102 Hunter Classic rifle with its Manelli stock, which is in the development stages

The first will probably be called the LA102 Hunter Classic, based on the recently introduce Hunter with its much lighter barrel. 

I handled two prototype stocks today while visiting the factory to pick up an LA102 Varmint rifle to test, and they feel quite different from the Crossover stock, with a gentler curve in the pistol grip and more slender and rounded fore-end providing a very comfortable grip. 

One stock was in a pain grade walnut, while the other (pictured here) was a higher grade, and Lithgow staff said they would be considering whether to offer prettier walnut to those customers who wanted it. 

There were two bedding options, one of simple aluminium pillars and the other consisting of two bedding blocks embedded and glued into the stock, with their profiles milled in conjunction with the stock to conform with the LA action.

Lithgow Manelli rifle stock
The modern, angular lines are still being discussed, but the overall shape of the butt is far more traditional than the Crossover design

The latter is a more expensive option and may not necessarily provide any improvement in accuracy or stock lifespan but factory technicians said they would be testing both to see if there was a measurable difference.

“The pillars provide bedding that is solid enough properly torque the action into,” one technician told me.

Produced in cooperation with Italian gun-stock maker Manelli, the stocks had other design features that may or may not be included in the final design. 

Lithgow Manelli rifle stock
From top: An LA102 Crossover, an LA102 Outback with Southern Cross Chassis, and the prototype Hunter Classic with new stock

These include a cheek pad on both sides of the butt, something I would think is not going to make it to production given that Lithgow only produces a right-handed action at this stage; the pad will likely be on the left side only. 

The noticeably angular lines and chequering of the stock are a matter of debate at the factory.

“It is very modern, which suits our action” a senior staffer said. However, he added that a more traditional shape with curves rather than angles was also on the drawing board.  

Lithgow Manelli rifle stock
One bedding option is to inset blocks like this but it would come at a price

They are also weighing up which colours to finish the action in: possibly the grey Cerakote pictured here or a black, but as the factory does its own Cerakoting there are endless options. 

You can expect the stock for the LA101 rimfire to be very similar but slimmed down even further.

I also learned that Lithgow Arms is developing a new adjustable trigger for its rimfire rifles, but was not given any more detail.

There’s no timeline ye for the release of models with the new stocks but a final design and production are not far away. 

Lithgow Manelli rifle stock
Pillar bedding is another option being weighed up by the Lithgow Arms technicians

 

 

 


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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