By Conor McFlynn
The connection between the rifle and your shoulder is critically important; it is a major point of contact that needs to fit both securely and comfortably. Although not an issue for PCP air rifles, it is a crucial factor affecting the recoil of the rifle which inherently impacts on consistent performance and accuracy. Grünig & Elmiger (G&E) is a company based in Switzerland, and is highly regarded amongst shooters across the globe for producing top quality, state of the art products for target shooting.
The Extreme is the premium model in a trio of multifunctional high specification butt plates produced by G&E, the Easy, Evolution and Extreme. They can be easily mounted on your rifle and if required a mounting plate is available for mounting onto wooden stocks.
The main difference with the Extreme than the others is the sheer amount of versatility and adjustability it offers for optimal customisation.
Vertical adjustment is simply achieved by loosening the central (main) attachment screw and sliding the butt plate up or down the mounting rail. The mounting rail is calibrated with a scale which provides reference points if needed when various plate positions are adopted by the shooter e.g. kneeling and standing. There are grooves machined into the rail which interlock with teeth on a cogwheel clamp. This clamping mechanism provides excellent grip and ensures the plate remains locked in position once the central screw is fastened. These grooves do not run all the way to the bottom of the mounting rail. This thoughtfully prevents the butt plate siding off the rail, and onto the ground, if ever the screw was left unfastened. The butt plate can however be removed by sliding it off the rail from the top.
There are two different mounting rails available, the longer one adding an extra 2 cm of length. The standard rail offers 12cm vertical adjustment from top to bottom. The rail has also shown a further excellent design feature; it is inletted with countersunk holes to accept additional weights specifically made to fit, therefore enabling the shooter to discretely customise the weight and balance of his rifle.
Radial axis adjustment is also offered by loosening the central screw (one full turn) and depressing it. This disengages the clamping cogwheel mechanism and as the butt plate is moved around the radial axis, positive, audible clicks are encountered as the cogwheel teeth engage with each groove along the rail. Therefore after removal you can return the butt plate to exactly the same position each time by counting the clicks. From a central position, indicated by a slightly deeper groove, again demonstrating thoughtful engineering, the butt plate offers 15º of radial adjustment in each direction. The excellent design of the cogwheel mechanism prevents any radial adjustment when adjusting the vertically axis of the butt plate; the central screw must be depressed to release the clamp in order to make radial adjustments.
The upper blade height can be adjusted into four vertical positions which cater for various depths in shoulder sizes. Two mounting screws at the back are simply unfastened and the blade repositioned, ensuring the holes line up to interlock with the two mounting screws. The inclination of upper blade can also be adjusted, again a locking screw needs to be loosened and then the adjuster screw turned clockwise to decline or anticlockwise to incline the blade. After adjusting, the locking screw is fastened again to securely lock the upper bade in place.
[blockquote align=”none” author=””]The design and engineering that have gone into the hook joints is highly impressive[/blockquote]
The angle of the buttplate can also be adjusted, a seesaw mechanism with three locking screws, can position the buttplate anywhere between +/- 12º. A scale is provided for reference and to tilt the buttplate downwards, the upper positioning screw is turned anticlockwise and the lower screw clockwise. It is in my opinion this adjustment design that permits the butt plate to fit the shoulder pocket so perfectly. Without any adjustment it instantly felt better than any other buttplate I have used but with some downward tilt I have found a perfect fit, which seems to offer me a very secure and snug fit for sitting, kneeling and standing. The only alteration I require for the three various positions is along the vertical axis!
The lower section is available as a blade with two vertical adjustable positions, and the same inclination options available as the upper blade. There is also a hook option available, known as the ‘Extreme Free Rifle’ model. This is the model I have and the lower blade is simply replaced with a hook section which slides into place utilising two locking pins and two locking screws.
The design and engineering that have gone into the hook joints is highly impressive, two universal joints permit adjustment for any position, each joint at both ends has male and female teeth which interlock together to provide superior grip and ensure the hook position is held securely. They are machined from stainless steel so will not wear, and also each section has a stainless lock washer that ensures the screw remains secure. Again thoughtfulness and excellent design allow comfort for either right or left handed shooters; the hook sections have been designed to be reversible so the screw heads can sit on the opposite side. Also an optional longer section offers an extra 1cm of length. This is the one and only minor criticism of the entire butt plate, as in my opinion the hook is too short. It is perhaps only down to my personal preference, but the hook section was slightly too short for me, even with the longer section added. This was quickly resolved by adding an extra section to the hook.
It is the excellent design of the two universal joints that allow the hook to be positioned underarm to suit each shooter’s shape and size so well. Ultimately the universal joints when positioned correctly eliminate levering the hook which leads to unwanted and at times subconscious canting of the rifle. The design is perhaps the biggest aid to reliable, comfortable and unhindered accuracy, as it is a hook that “just feels right”, in a way you almost don’t know it’s there, which for me is an excellent indicator of a well made product. The lower section is slim and doesn’t interfere with the pectoral or latissimus dorsi muscle groups. With my Steyr in a natural hold whilst sitting, kneeling and standing in typical Field Target positions the bubble inside the spirit level on my scope rail sat perfectly in the middle. This demonstrated to me a perfectly fitting buttplate; I never had to reposition or deliberately cant the gun to achieve a vertical level, something I have never experienced before, I have always had to set my other buttplates up with a compromise to achieve the best from the three different positions for FT. Also when shouldering my rifle it instantly came to my aim point without the familiar necessity to reposition the hook into the shoulder pocket or the need to fidget to get my coat unsnagged. Surprisingly with the sheer amount of adjustments available, I found them very simple and indeed quick to carry out any necessary adjustments with the supplied allen keys. A highly detailed, well worded instruction manual, in English, with clear pictures is also provided.[blockquote align=”none” author=””]It offers the target shooter the ultimate buttplate that is highly well made, comfortable and adjustable that can only lead to better performance and improved accuracy[/blockquote]
Supergrip is applied into six dimpled sections on the upper blade of the standard model, a rubber which gives a good level of grip on the deltoid muscle. However, Supergrip sections in either 5mm or 10mm thickness are available to cover the upper blade, central section and either the lower blade or the ‘Free Rifle’ hook. These rubber sections are simply screwed into place. On my model I opted for the 5mm Supergrip (shown on left) which gave an excellent grip and contact between the shoulder and the butt plate. Indeed the sections are interchangeable giving a variety of options available to the shooter to mix and match to their specific requirements.
The G&E Extreme ‘Free’ butt plate is without doubt a modern, very good looking butt plate and indeed the best designed plate I have ever handled, pictures just don’t do it justice. The level of research and design that have gone into it is second to none and the engineering is of the highest order. In my opinion it offers the target shooter the ultimate buttplate that is highly well made, comfortable and adjustable that can only lead to better performance and improved accuracy. Indeed for my sport, Field Target, it is perfect; it is light weight, strong, nicely proportioned offering excellent fit and with an unbelievable level of adjustability it will fit everyone’s requirements.
Model: G&E Extreme Free Rifle
Cost: £440 (Standard). Supergrip complete set (5mm or 10mm) £90 extra.
Weight: 280g (including mounting rail).