Molding a Karsten Cheek Rest


Before starting work on any firearm be sure that the firearm is clear. Do not touch the trigger until the firearm has been cleared. Inspect the chamber to ensure that it is clear of ammunition and that there is no ammunition positioned to be chambered. If possible remove the bolt from the rifle before starting work. Do not keep live ammunition near your workspace. Once you have checked the firearm, check it again! And again!

Tactical Works, Inc. takes no responsibility for the accuracy and/or safety of this “how to”.  This post is simply for your reading enjoyment. Before shooting any firearm have it inspected by a qualified gun smith.


Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

Tools needed:

  • Sauce Pan
  • Gloves
  • Masking Tape
  • Water

Parts Needed Kit:

  • 1- Karsten Cheek Rest A, B, or C-model
  • 1- Rifle stock

Estimated Time:

  • Less than 30 minutes.

One of the top questions we receive regarding a Karsten cheek rest is “will it fit my stock” and the answer 95% of the time is yes, “out of the box” a Karsten Cheek rest will fit your rifle stock however some shooters want a tighter fit than the “one size fits all” or, because of their stock, may need to adjust the cheek rest for a better fit. One of the great things about the Karsten cheek rests is the ability to “mold” or “form” them to your specific rifle stock for a tight fit.

Another question we receive regularly is “will a Karsten work on a Choate Tactical stock” and the answer is yes. A Karsten cheek rest will fit the Choate Tactical stock “out of the box”. The Choate Tactical stock does have a more narrow comb than most rifle stocks so there is a larger than normal gap between the cheek rest and the stock. Once the hardware is installed and tightened the cheek rest works great.  For some however, they want a tighter fit between the cheek rest and the stock. The solution, mold the cheek rest to the stock to get a better/tighter fit.

For this project we are using a Karsten C-model cheek rest and a Choate Tactical Stock for a Savage Short Action however this process can be used on most stocks where the cheek rest does not fit tight enough or needs to be widened a little.

Installations on the Choate Tactical stock requires the removal of the rear sling studs to provide clearance for the cheek rest.

Karsten Cheek Rest

One solution to remove the sling studs is to simply unscrew the sling studs and replace them with at “button cap” screw as we have done in this example. There are other options and a quick visit to your local hardware store will present lots of solutions. One issue with the provided example is that the aluminum spacer that holds the sling swivels is a little wider than the stock and will “rattle”  after the “button cap” screws are installed. The example uses spring washers that are in the “white” and will be painted before final installation.

Karsten Cheek Rest

To remove the sling swivels use two wrenches or a wrench and a punch to loosen and remove the sling swivels and the aluminum spacer from the stock.

Karsten Cheek Rest

Karsten Cheek Rest Karsten Cheek RestOnce the original sling swivels are removed thread and tighten the “button cap” screws and washers/spring washers. You can also use rubber plugs, other screw types, or abandon the hardware and leave the hole in the stock. It is suggested to use something to keep dirt and debris out of the stock.

Karsten Cheek Rest

Now on to molding the Karsten cheek rest to the Choate Tactical Stock.

To start the project you need to have everything in close proximity to your stove or wherever you choose to heat up the cheek rest. Make sure you have a clean work area and there is plenty of room. There is nothing worse than trying to work with boiling water, hot Kydex, and little time in a crowded space.

Overall the process is easy and takes very little time.

The Choate Tactical stock’s comb is uniform therefore there was no need to mark the final installation location of the cheek rest. It might be helpful to mask/mark the front and/or back of where the cheek rest will be installed with masking tape. The tape will give you a guide so that the cheek rest is molded at the exact point where the cheek rest will be installed.

The boiling water should only be about 1 & 1/4 to 1 & 1/2 inches deep. Just enough to submerge the curved portion of the “spine” of the cheek rest.

Karsten Cheek Rest

Use a medium sauce pan and place your cheek rest upside down (spine of the cheek rest on the bottom of the pan) and add enough water to cover the spine. Do not use too much water or you will damage the cheek rest and may possibly create Kydex soup!

Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

Next bring the water to a rolling boil.

This is a good time to get gloves or a washcloth ready. Remember boiling water is hot and will burn. Be prepared to handle very hot Kydex and hot water.

Once the water is boiling place the cheek rest into the pan with the spine of the cheek rest facing down on the bottom of the pan.

Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

The cheek rest will “soften” or become pliable in 5 to 15 seconds. Depending on what type of stove you have and where you are located the cheek rest may soften quicker or take a little more time.

Test the “readiness” of the cheek rest by pulling the sides away from each other. When the sides become pliable remove the cheek rest from the boiling water.

The cheek rest will harden very quickly so moving as quick as safely possible is the goal.

Place the soft cheek rest on the comb of the stock where you plan on installing it. Pressing down from top to bottom “form” the cheek rest to the stock. Inspect the front and back making sure they are forming to the stock.

Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

Once cooled lay the cheek rest on a flat surface as it will be installed on the rifle. You’re looking for the sides to be equal and not twisted or one side longer than the other.

If you run in to issues reheat the cheek rest and try again.

Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

Karsten Kydex Cheek Rest

Install the rest of the hardware included with your Karsten Kit and the enjoy a repeatable reliable cheek weld.