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Wood rifle stocks

21 Jan 2014
@ 06:03 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Sorry Richard, your post disapeared when we switched from the old to new site. Will insert below:

Wooden stocks seem to be somewhat out of favour these days. In part because of preceived lack of reliability in changing climatic conditions.
I am wondering what is the actual incidence of faliure(point of inpact change) and is it possible to produce a wood stock that will be stable for the life of the rifle. There appear to be many more variables inherent in a timber stock as opposed to a synthetic stock, such as type of timber, grade, grain, country grown, aging, finishing(oil, polyurethane). Probably many more. So far the subject seems to be a bit loose and may be defaming these stocks unfairly. Does anyone have any useful information on this?


21 Jan 2014
@ 06:33 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Wood rifle stocks
This has come up quite a few times in my inbox of late, there are many folk that want to get away from synthetics and back to the aesthetically pleasing lines of wood and blue or wood and stainless.

For a start, you will have read my thoughts on this in the first book. The ahead post will speak further to this.

If we take your old Sako .30-06 as an example, I don't see any reason why it cannot be kept stable. The rifle is currently bedded with our metal filled bedding compound and it was a good bulky bedding job which extended intoi the barrel channel- again very bulky, enough to withstand the effects of potential stock warping. But if I were to do the job again today, I would full length bed to lock moisture out of the mid section (mag well). However, providing the wood is kept sealed, it should not suffer changes in POI.

Pillar bedding also helps prevent the stock from crushing over time. I use teak oil to seal wood stocks, I used this on your stock internals.

I have two problems with wood. The first is that many wood stocks lean towards an all out traditional approach and are of the monte carlo design (for now non existent open sights) which can belt hell out of us depending on cartridge power and exact pitch. Again, this is covered in the first book. The latest Remington CDL is about my ideal wood stock design. In this regard, my complaint is about the continuation of traditional design approaches-not materials.

My second complaint is towards aesthetics. A well made wood stock is a beauty to behold. But with field mishaps, wood stocks can get beat up. I feel terrible when someone puts so much effort into a wood stock, only to have me beat the poor thing up. I feel really bad when this happens. Again, this has nothing to do with any fault of wood.

Several years ago, Kevin Gaskill made Steph a stock for her Montana rifle. He modelled the stock off a Bell & Carlson which was on her favorite rifle at the time, a .35 Whelen. The B&C followed the #2958 style. Kevin made the forend a bit thinner but otherwise, it was much the same- it was all about recoil reduction, the stock pitch was ideal. Kevin finished the job with hours and hours of wrap around checkering and coats of oil. The finished job was a thing to behold. Then Steph got hold of it. She is the type of person who will drop on her arse and slip down a ravine if she gets caught out in a water shed. She'll stalk quietly all morning, then turn back on her wind and come down, drop out of the bush later on with cuts and scratches etc. She puts her rifles through hell and it was only a short time before Kevin's weeks of hard work was getting a bruising. So I aplied the sniper tape and paint system to the rifle. Kevin's work is preserved underneath but externally, the stock simply looks like a synthetic. Its not the look of dents and scratches that is of concern to us, it is about respect for the stock maker. But as for reliability, the wood has no flaws in comparison to glass.

I just can't seem to rectify which is the right way to go in this regard. Steph likes the protective layer and it is protecting the stock so for now, it will stay.

Many folk like dents and scratches, each has a story to tell on a wood stock. I can understand this.
21 Jan 2014
@ 08:00 pm (GMT)

Richard Butler

Re: Wood rifle stocks
I think what has prompted this is on my bucket list is the current Winchester 70 Super grade probably in 300 win mag or 300wsm. I don't need it but to me it is an outstanding rifle. Rifles of this ilk(wood/blued) have been through the mill in NZ and many still function as they started out. I don't really believe it is as robust as my Remington but it doesn't have to be. The other reason is I have seen laminated pine planks warp severely in the sun. The process of laminating in itself does not necessarily guarantee stability, the sealing may have more to do with it, also wood type. As for scratches and bruises, to me the rifle becomes yours when you have personalised it. Nothing better to see than someone with a rifle that looks like it could write books about what it has done. Thanks for the input.
The website looks very sharp.
18 Sep 2014
@ 11:23 am (GMT)

Timothy Knight

Re: Wood rifle stocks
There is nothing more beautiful to me except my wife (in case she is reading this...oh yea....and my mom) than a well stocked gun. Although we use them as the tools they are, guns are also valued family heirlooms in my family. I just don't think a plastic stocked Ruger American would be that favored. I have a Browning Citori my wife gave me as my wedding gift. Sometimes I take it out to clean it during the off season just to look at it. The wood and metal on my Browning BLR is a site to behold although because of gun design, I only use this less than precise firearm during hunts where shots will be under 250 to 300 yards. I just had built a Remington 700 in .260 Remington (which I have wanted since first reading about the idea in an article by Jim Carmichael in the early '90s). I looked far and wide for an original Remington walnut stock with good figure. The stock is probably over 30 years old. The gun is beautiful. I think the worst thing that has happened to the hunting society is the need to begin locking up guns in gun vaults. When I was young and gun cabinets were common, the first direction a guest went in a new home was to the owners gun cabinet to gaze at the beauty through the glass. The world has changed, but not the beauty of a beautiful piece of wood on well finished metal.
19 Sep 2014
@ 05:33 pm (GMT)

thomas kitchen

Re: Wood rifle stocks
i couldn't agree more with you guys, even thou I'm probably a generation younger i still like blue/wood combo, even a beaten up wood stock still looks better then a synthetic stock plus it in most cases can be refinished. has anyone used one of the walnut boyd stocks?
19 Sep 2014
@ 07:57 pm (GMT)

Shawn Bevins

Re: Wood rifle stocks
I absolutely love a wood stock. I am always looking for wood stocks that have been cast off because someone thought Tupperware was better. I always seal my stocks inside and out. I own few laminates but I consider them tools instead of furniture. My favorite carry is my 257 Bob with a walnut stock.

Due to recent gun laws here , I have moved most of my guns to a large safe. I own an heirloom gun cabinet made with black walnut that is just a piece of furniture now. We dress it up when company comes. I agree, tis a shame to put a work of art out of sight.


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