A 1720T make-over

February 1 2018 at 4:53 PM
Ron Robinson  (Login compressive)

I’ve always been hugely impressed with the performance of my 1720T; not so the PLASTIC furniture. Had to remove the finger grooves on the aftermarket walnut grips to make them feel good in my hands (then refinish them).

Of course the walnut grips only made the plastic fore-end stick out like a sore thumb even more, so I fantasized long and hard about a Mannlicher-style walnut fore-end. Unfortunately I lack the tools and ability for inletting.

I finally struck a deal with good buddy Craig Evans to inlet a walnut blank for a 1720T, and was off to the races (albeit like a tortoise, mind you). The idea was to add as much weight forward as possible for the extra stability afforded off a bipod for pistol field target shooting. PFT rules limit the thickness of pistol fore-ends to 3” below the center-line of the bore, so that part of the equation was decided for me.

Also being absolutely nutty about Schnabel fore-ends, that was a given. However the dip behind a Schnabel also provides a perfect, and perfectly-positioned, concavity for positioning of the bipod (yoke).

The Schnabel/Mannlicher fore-end project proved no small undertaking, but she’s finally finished. Have to admit it looks a bit thick and front-heavy, but thick and heavy were two of the reasons for the project in the first place. Time will tell whether some of that functional thickness and heaviness eventually succumb to the third goal of the project; that being improved aesthetics. In other words, I can always go back and reduce the walnut fore-end to more graceful proportions if need be.

And walnut being walnut, of course the grips and fore-end don’t even come close to matching. But I have other walnut grips.

The next order of business is testing the functionality of the made-over 1720T. I already know it works much better for offhand shots than my much-storied, sixties-vintage Crosman 187.

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