So after putting a scope on my Mini-14, I realized I needed a cheek riser. I’d considered purchasing one, but most of the kydex models out there are $60-100, and although I use the Beartooth riser on my over/under I wanted a more tactical/kydex look. Here is the finished product, I’ll go through how I made this. Its a newer model Mini-14 Ranch Rifle w/ silver hardware and a black polymer stock.
What you’ll need:
- Some Kydex – thicker kydex is better
- A razor to score the kydex
- A pencil to mark out your cut lines
- A sander or sandpaper for finishing work
- A dedicated toaster oven for kydex, or heat gun
- Some bolts long enough to go through the stock, and nuts or fasteners
- A dremel or drill with a bit about the diameter of the bolts, plus a cutting disc to trim the bolts if need be
- A level
- Masking tape
- SAFETY GLASSES
- A pair of gloves to handle the warm/hot kydex
- Optional: washers/bushings to go between the kydex and stock
To start out, I cut a fairly generous piece of kydex long enough to go from the buttpad to the end of the comb, just before it dips down to the grip. Also the kydex should go at least down to the bottom of the stock on both sides. More is better, and you’ll trim this to shape later on. The photo below was the kydex i used, i trimmed off the bottom part thats sticking out to the left, and had about a 12″ by 8″ or so piece to work with.
I gave it a rough cut, then put it into my toaster oven to heat it up. I didnt go crazy on the heat – all we have to do here is get a good bend in it. For holsters you should use a higher heat, but for this i set the old toaster oven to about 100F, and soon as the kydex was pliable I molded it over the stock. NOTE: I covered my stock with a few sheets of paper and some blue painters tape to protect it. Shouldn’t matter, but hey.
If you dont get the desired bend in the kydex, just put it back in the warm oven – even if its already bent over the stock, just heat it up until its pliable. Do NOT overheat the kydex, it will mar the finish and could even burn it. Easy does it on the heat here, less is more. Here’s a little rule of thumb – if you smell burning kydex, its too hot.
Take the warmed kydex out of the oven with your gloves, then press it over the stock for 1-2 minutes. You can just use your hands here, or a piece of foam, cardboard, etc. I’ve used a towel, old carpet padding, or just my hands in gloves for this sort of thing. Let the kydex cool fully over the stock.
Next what you want to do is place this raw piece of kydex on your stock, securing it with masking tape. The goal is to figure out the exact height you need – take your time, this is a bit frustrating and is trial and error. When you determine the perfect spot for your riser, which should let you see perfectly through your scope, make sure its taped in place.
Then, draw some lines on the kydex regarding the shape of it. You’ll have to cut the bottom of the kydex to follow the stock, trim off some near the buttpad so its parallel, etc. Use a pencil, make rough cuts, then use a dremel, hacksaw, jigsaw, etc. to make the cuts. REMEMBER: Cover your scope and/or remove the rifle from the area when cutting/sanding kydex, the dust gets everywhere. After your trimming you should end up with something like this:
Always cut less than you think, you’re going to finish those cuts with a sander or sandpaper – and kydex comes off quickly with either. When your cuts are done, put the kydex back on the stock to determine any other trims that need to be done. Trim away here until you’re happy with the fit. Then, what I do is mount the sander in my vice, turn it on, and get rid of any harsh edges, round out the front and back, and straighten any edges. If you dont have an electric sander you can do it by hand, or tape the sandpaper on your workbench and work the kydex over it manually.
After shaping is done, the next step is determining where to drill through the kydex and stock. I removed the buttpad to determine where the supporting plastic inside the stock was. You’re going to have to drill holes directly through the stock, so you want to make sure you’re cutting through the hollow portion and not the supporting beams within the stock. Remove the buttpad and then mark off where you want to drill through the stock. When you have the holes marked, first take off the kydex (marking where to put it back later) and drill holes through it. I started by drilling only the left-side holes in the kydex, like this.
When the left side of the kydex has holes, put it back on the stock and mark with a pencil where to drill through the stock. Measure like 3 times here, soon as you go through the stock there’s no turning back. But with proper care and prep, you’ll be fine.
Mark the holes with a pencil, check a final time for proper height, then drill straight through the stock, making sure you’re as close as possible to a perfectly level hole, perpendicular to the bore axis. If you have a gun vice use it. I have rubber pads on my vice and i used that to secure the barrel after perfectly leveling the rifle. Then, i put the level on my dremel (or drill) and push it through. It doesn’t have to be NASA perfect, but get it as close as you can.
Now, you should have kydex with 2 holes on the left, a stock with 2 holes fully through it. The next part is easy, again tape your kydex on the stock so that the left side holes are perfectly lined up, and check a final time that the riser height is correct. What i did here is instead of drilling through while kydex was taped to the stock, i used a small screwdriver and pushed it through the left side to make marks on the inside right side of the kydex. Then, I removed the kydex and drilled holes through the right side of the kydex where the little dents from the screwdriver were.
At this point, just smooth out the drill holes, wipe down the inside of your kydex cheek riser to get rid of the kydex dust that builds up. I hit the inside holes with some fine grit sandpaper, just to get any residual ‘rings’ off.
I found 2 bolts, about 2″ long and relatively thin with flat anchor type nuts in the proverbial ‘random parts’ drawer. I pushed the bolts through and attached the nuts, marked the excess on the bolts, then removed them and used the cutting disc on the dremel while the bolts were in the vice to trim them to size. You want these flush so they dont hang over.
And thats pretty much it, pushed the bolts through the kydex, inserted some small bushings between the kydex and the stock, fastened the nuts, tightened them up, and here is the result:
When all was said and done, it took about 2 hours and maybe $4 worth of kydex and parts, and i have a perfectly set cheek riser. If i decide to remove it some day I can just leave the nuts and bolts in the stock holes, fill them with some hot glue, or just rock with small holes in there. If i want to change the height, or get scope rings higher or lower than my current ones, i can just drill holes above or below the current holes in the cheek riser and use the existing stock holes to fasten it all together.
I wish I’d have taken more pictures here, but hopefully you get the idea. If you have any other questions or if i missed something, email me and I’ll do my best to help.
All in all this was a fun project. Be careful and take your time and remember to wear your safety glasses, especially when using the dremel and the razor blades.