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?