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bitmasher's picture
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Sucky wood on modern rifles

Ever noticed the degrading quality of wood in todays factory rifles?  I'm sure many have, but if you haven't I invite you to compare the wood on say a savage 99, especially an earlier model, with an entry level marlin 336, heck it doesn't even have to an be entry level 336.  Another example would be some of the earlier 700 CDL's compared to today's CDL's... not much of a comparison.  Even 70's era Ruger m77 had nicer wood than todays hawkeye.

To be sure the wood on today's rifles are functional, when I say they "suck", I'm referring to the aesthetics.  The wood has no grain, no character, no knots, no burl, no tiger stripes.  Its plain, its bland, and at times doesn't rise much above particle board.

Don't get me wrong, you can have your nice wood, but you'll pay for it too.  Seems that getting any type of stock with character that was par for course 1-2 generations ago costs $$$ and is only available from those manufactures that cater to those that appreciate nicer wood.

Is it really that hard/costly to produce wood stocks that have character?

 

Critter's picture
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I think that it has been a

I think that it has been a ongoing trend for quite a few years now for what you would call a plane Jane stock.  I know that I have seen quite a few that look like a 2x4 had a barrel and action stuck on it.  I guess it is a cost cutting measure that the gun manufactures have taken. 

hunter25's picture
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In general it's just cost

In general it's just cost cutting measures, but I have to say my dads Ruger 77 from 1971 I think is just as ugly as anything in the store today. Sometimes you just get lucky with nice wood.

But I haven't bought anything with wood on it other than laminated for a very long time.

exbiologist's picture
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upgrade or go custom

I totally agree.  I love wood, but basic wood sucks worse than plastic in many cases.  

Lots of solutions, but here's what I've done:  

Go custom:

You can either buy wood blanks or pre fit wood for your gun.  It's not that expensive.  Usually costs less than a new rifle.

Upgrade:

Many manufacturers offer some sort of upgrade.  Winchester has the Super Grade and you can find Sporter and Featherweight Deluxes out there.  And Grice is doing a special run of upgraded maple featherweights if thats your thing.

 

Kimber has the Super America, Remington even came out with some kind of upgrade this year.  

Browning will occasionally do special runs of upgraded wood too:

 

T/C has decent stuff sometimes too in their Ultra Wood laminate.

For the M70 Sporter I bought last summer, I ditched the plain jane stock, and upgraded it with a Grade II/III, and sold the old one, making the upgrade cost me less than $100.

From this:

To this:

Just gotta be willing to spend a little more if you want better than basic.

bitmasher's picture
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Nice stocks!  Thanks for

Nice stocks!  Thumbs up

Thanks for sharing the photos.  I understand that nice wood can be had with research, work, and time.  It just seems that the factory stocks of today are not the factory stocks of yesterday.

Don Fischer's picture
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I would guess that really

I would guess that really nice wood stock's are in limited demand. So it would boil down to taking a really nice stock and putting it on a factory rifle or holding it out for a custom rifle. Then of course the held back wood cost's more due to limited supply. I like really nice wood but have never been able to aford it. I had an old Browning double Auto shotgun with absolutely beautiful wood on it. My thumb safty Ruger had better than average wood. Now, fine wood would be wasted on a factory rifle, to many people praising the comp stocks. Never saw them back in the late 60's and early to late 70's. You would think that would leave more nice stuff laying around but, fine stock wood, as I understand it, is a realitively small part of the tree and the old tree's that produce these woods are diminishing. The various woods from other than walnut that have good figure are not in great demand so most of them never are saved for gun stock blanks. Then there's not a lot of them around and the price goes up. I had a Flame Burley Maple stock on a rifle years ago and I've seen a few Myrtle Wood stocks. For some reason they are not in great demand so there just isn't many around anymore.

tim
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Why would you want a wood

Why would you want a wood stock?  All i see is a fragile piece that breaks real easy and warps.

synthetic all the way.  But i don't have guns to look at only use. so the asthetics of a nice rifle are of no value to me.  If anything i will abuse the gun. 

 

I try not to use a gun i have to take great pains to take care of.  use them, abuse them, clean them, use them, abuse them, clean them...

Critter's picture
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I have been hunting for over

I have been hunting for over 40 years now and 95% of that has been with a rifle with a wood stock.  I have hunted off of horses, backpacked in, hunter in snow, rain, sleet, and you name it.  I have crawled over rocks, through streams, and brush that would stop a tank and all of this with a wood stocked rifle and I have never had one break or warp or swell up to the point that it lost its zero.  As far as the nicks, dings, and scratches in the wood those are just battle scars to remind me of the hunts that I have taken that rifle on. 

I do have one rifle with a synthetic stock and lately it has been getting a little bit more of a work out than  the wood stocked ones but I have been thinking about putting a wood stock on it just for the memories that it would carry.

bitmasher's picture
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If you abuse them why bother

If you abuse them why bother cleaning them?  Sounds like some sort of love/hate thing going on to me.

exbiologist's picture
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satisfaction

I take more satisfaction out using guns that move me emotionally.  Guns are more than mere tools to me, and basic synthetic stuff doesn't push my buttons.

 

Oh, and I've never broken a stock, and a properly bedded stock doesn't change point of impact.

 

Lastly, I don't baby my guns, I hunt them in pretty rough country sometimes.

WesternHunter's picture
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maybe

tim wrote:

Why would you want a wood stock?  All i see is a fragile piece that breaks real easy and warps.

synthetic all the way.  But i don't have guns to look at only use. so the asthetics of a nice rifle are of no value to me.  If anything i will abuse the gun. 

 

I try not to use a gun i have to take great pains to take care of.  use them, abuse them, clean them, use them, abuse them, clean them...

 

I kind of see your point.  I mean I understand what you mean.  It's a lot like taking great pains to maintain a high sheen spit polish on leather combat boots........I mean what's the point really?  Huh?

As far as use, yes I use my guns.  But abuse???  Not something I go out of my way to do, or I should say not something I do intentionally.  But inevitabley it does happen from time to time.  Some things like rain, snow, mud and ice are just beyond our control in the field.  And yes I have had my waterfowl shotguns literally encased in ice a few times Big smile Not to mension they always end up with a healthy amount of mud on them on just about every duck hunt I do.

 

As far as stocks warping......never really been an issue for me on walnut wood.  I've actually seen more factory synthetic stocks that came out of production already warped and touching the sides of the barrel unevenly.  In fact many of my older factory Remingtons, Winchesters, and Rugers had pretty high quality assembly of the wood stocks to the rifles.  Many newer guns do not, even with synthetic stocks.  The point is that there is such a lack of workmanship going into production rifles these days that it doesn't really matter if you chose wood or synthetic. If the assembly or bedding isn't done right neither material matters.  Americans simply don't take nearly as much pride in their work as they once did appearantly.    

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