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Have you ever had wood stock swelling causing POI change

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Discussion Starter #1
Every time I read this drivel about wood stocks swelling to justify cheap plastic stocks to cut costs it makes my blood boil. Whenever I get a new gun first thing g I do is remove the action and barrel from the stock. Next I seal all unfinished wood. In 53 years I have never had stock swelling cause a change in point of impact. Granted I do not live in the Pacific northwest of Alaska. Being open minded I would like to hear from anyone who has had an issue with stock swelling causing change in POI. Should have mentioned I do hunt in rain and snow conditions every year.
 

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Just my thoughts. In 1962 I bought a 700 in 308. first year made, I liked the 20"barrel, and the 3 rings of steel, also adjustable quality trigger. But the gun changed POI over the first 3 years. I floated the barrel but the stock kept warping to the left. I had about 1/8" groove on the left side. So I removed about 1/8 inch all around the barrel channel and 1/4" under the channel. then I used Brownell glass and bed the whole barrel and lug. shoots lights out then....and still does.

I have about 45 rifles, all wooden stocked except 1 ( bought a plastic one last year 783). None off my other rifles have any stock warp or swelling. For years the industry charged extra for plastic stocks (when the plastic stock cost a small fraction of wood to produce). Lately they have adjusted the price to make wood more, as it cost more to produce. I use wooden stocks to hunt Alaska, New Brunswick, Florida, Carolinas, and Africa...never a problem. My double rifle has wood, and I don't hunt the raain with it (too many small internal parts).

If I hunted rainy weather, and didn't take care of my rifles (like leaving rifle wet in case for a week or so) then plastic might be my choice.
 

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I've never owned, seen, shot or examined a gun with GOOD WOOD that was finished correctly that's ever changed anywhere. "Board" lumber used after WW-II is another story.
How stable a stock is depends on GOOD wood and bad wood won't do.....but can be made to work.
I will never own a plastic stocked gun. It's against my upbringing and not needed.

Factory stocks are never sealed and many are set up to fail at the factory. I'm convinced that is done on purpose to further the tupperware trade.
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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Every time I read this drivel about wood stocks swelling to justify cheap plastic stocks to cut costs it makes my blood boil. Whenever I get a new gun first thing g I do is remove the action and barrel from the stock. Next I seal all unfinished wood. In 53 years I have never had stock swelling cause a change in point of impact.
I find it interesting that the first thing you do, is to seal a stock against something, you don't think exists...

When I was still up in the mountains of Idaho, warped wood stocks were fairly common. When you went hunting, many times you walked/sat in the rain the majority of the day. Stocks got rubbed, bumped and nicked tromping through the deep woods, and inevitably the finish was scratched or gouged away in places.
That lets in the moisture, and depending on the wood state and how it gets dried; can have you waking up to a pretzel.

Cheers
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I find it interesting that the first thing you do, is to seal a stock against something, you don't think exists...

When I was still up in the mountains of Idaho, warped wood stocks were fairly common. When you went hunting, many times you walked/sat in the rain the majority of the day. Stocks got rubbed, bumped and nicked tromping through the deep woods, and inevitably the finish was scratched or gouged away in places.
That lets in the moisture, and depending on the wood state and how it gets dried; can have you waking up to a pretzel.

Cheers
And that's why the first thing I do is seal all unfinished wood. I didn't say it cant happen, just that I had never seen it. Like I said I do hunt in rain and snow.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've never owned, seen, shot or examined a gun with GOOD WOOD that was finished correctly that's ever changed anywhere. "Board" lumber used after WW-II is another story.
How stable a stock is depends on GOOD wood and bad wood won't do.....but can be made to work.
I will never own a plastic stocked gun. It's against my upbringing and not needed.

Factory stocks are never sealed and many are set up to fail at the factory. I'm convinced that is done on purpose to further the tupperware trade.
I totally agree with you Mr. Belk. I feel that it is not the material (wood ) but the finish process or lack thereof that may cause an issue. If you know it is going to rain out when you hunt you wear raingear. Apparently gun manufacturers believed their customers only hunted on sunny days and therefore they didnt not need to seal the wood under the barrel and action. I never understood that. That is why I always disassemble any new gun I buy and seal any unfinished wood. I absolutly loathe black plastic stocks. At least they could coat them to look like wood. That would still be cheaper than wood.
 

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I certainly have....not only "good wood" but really old wood.

But I bought them in dry locations, where they've rested for years and years, then moved it to a really humid location . (Bought in N.M./Utah type areas and moved them on down to New Orleans).

Where it doesn't hurt to add new finish,then seal it ASAP....and don't forget the hidden stuff, like under butt platrs/end caps/patch boxes/etc......you'll still get some wood walking somehwere down the line, but it delays it for years and years (and becasue of that long delay,seldom gets the blame).
 

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I have a Ruger Mod. 77 MK II in .30-06, Stainless with a black and gray laminated stock. A few years back I hunted deer in three days of rain in the Mendocino National Forest In CA. The evening of the third day a saw a nice 3X3 about 120 yds away. I had a good rest and after the first shot the buck just stood there. I fired the remaining three cartridges and the buck ran off. I noticed that the stock had swelled and I couldn't open the floor plate. I got back to camp and set a 12" by 14" cardboard box out at 50 yds. and couldn't hit the box. After letting it dry out I had it glass bedded and sealed. Unfortunate lesson.
 

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In 1985, I bought a Rem 700 Mountain rifle in 280, with a feather weight stock (I think Winchester copyrighted "Featherweight;" I forget the Remington term) . Although I did the obligatory sealing of the inside of the stock, every time I traveled from the west side of the Cascades, where I live, to the dry, east side to hunt, the skinny forearm would twist. I finally sent it back to Remington, and they did replace it with a good stock. But it was interesting how 75 miles could make such a difference.
 

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Ok, a question for you guys.. when you disassemble and "seal" a new gun with a wood stock, what do you use to seal it? An oil, a varnish, or what? I just bought a Tikka T3x Hunter with a wood stock and thought I would do this. Thanks.
 

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I use true Spar Varnish thinned about half and half with turpentine. Many modern guns have 'guitar finish' applied by spray gun that dries by UV in seconds. Those finishes are not always compatible with Spar Varnish, Varathane Plastic Oil, Danish Oil, Tung Oil and many other organic 'varnish' finishes, but will work with them.

Varathane used to have a product called "Plastic Oil and Sealer" in a gold can. That was the very best 'out of can' sealer I've ever used. Watco has a wide variety of 'oil' finishes that are thin and penetrate well. Formby's and many others. Look for 'phenolic resins'.
PATIENCE!! is primary!! If you want a fast finish an oil finish is not for you.

On your Tikka, Remove the stock and check the inletting to see if it was finished along with the exterior. Take off the butt plate and grip cap and you'll probably find bare wood. Buy a couple little 'acid brushes' from the soldering section of the hardware store and a small can of Spar Varnish If you can find it. ("Spar" varnish is made with phenol resins instead of alkyd (sp?) resins. Phenolic resins are waterproof and harder. Tung oil is also very tough.).
Simply paint the thinned finish on the end grain. It'll immediately soak in and become dull. Keep painting for an hour, then let dry a couple of days, wipe off any excess, put on one more coat and reattach the furniture. Drizzle a little sealer in the sling mount holes, too. Anywhere there's end grain showing (recoil lug, rear tang and trigger inletting) should be sealed. The factory finish will shed water, especially if you apply a couple coats of paste floor wax. Your goal is to not let it in anywhere that finish didn't get to.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I would bet I have a couple wood stocks that are older than most of us here (70+) that have seen more, worse hunting conditions than a trip across the pass.

One in particular on Dad's 1917 Remington Enfield 30-06IMP with only a hand rubbed linseed oil finish has seen the worst Mother Nature can offer on any given hunting trip.

ANYways, any wood stock can "shrink or swell" regardless of age, conditioning or quality. Maybe laminate less so, I'm not sure.

If you are going to strip it to bare wood and start over, True Oil is really hard to beat when hand rubbed with 0000 steel wool between coats, say twenty. If you are sealing parts of the stock not seen by the casual glance then a clear phenolic resin like fiber glass resin. It's fast, gets hard, buffs up ok, or you can make it matte in a hurry. It paints easy too. If one is patient and you want to put on several layers you can fill in gaps in the action area or rebuild the "bump" as well.

I'm not patient so I get out the AcraGlas kit, but that's another matter for later.

RJ
 

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During the 70's/80's I was building custom wood stocks in Fairbanks, Ak. I never saw any factory rifle come into the shop with the wood sealed under the recoil pad or grip cap. My first hunt for bear I used a factory Ruger rifle. Two weeks in the bush and the grip and butt had swollen up considerable. I started sealing those areas with acraglas.

Frank
 

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Add checkering to the list. Surprising how many factory stocks were finished, then checkered. Most of my Browning and Winchesters were offenders.
 

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A Jack mentioned, a "spar" varnish, used for outdoor and indoor wood as well as for boats, is a great product for gunstocks. Many claim that the shine is bothersome, but as someone who has used a satin such finish on gunstocks for many years, I simply cannot see that problem (literally). I have 3 stocks that I refinished or added a coat of such a finish from 10-25yrs ago and they still appear like they were just done. You can find both wipe-on and spray on to suit your needs and especially with careful use of a spray-on finish you will reach all the nooks and crannies in the inletting that's likely unfinished now. With proper prep, you can go over the proprietary finish already applied and increase it's weather resistance by 5-10X. If after an application of a satin finish you wish to further "dull" it, you can simply lightly steel wool (0000) a fully hardened finish using a product like lemon oil as a lubricant. This type finish can be reapplied with minimum preparation should it be needed. In my experience, such reapplications have never been necessary once originally & correctly applied initially.

Some important info on such finishes:

"Spar Urethane is specially formulated as a protective clear finish for exterior or interior wood exposed to sunlight, water, or temperature changes. Contains UV blockers to reduce the sun's graying and fading effects. Forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture."
 

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Add checkering to the list. Surprising how many factory stocks were finished, then checkered. Most of my Browning and Winchesters were offenders.
Very true. I have found a product that I use almost exclusively on my wood stocks, "Natchez Solution", applied with a toothbrush to those areas leaves a nice, clear protective coating to those checkered areas done after finish was applied.
 
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i use lin-speed oil for all of my custom stocks.

 

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GB Linspeed is the finish all others are judged by. According to Len Brownell, who was a friend of the Green Bros, Linspeed is 7 parts Marine Spar Varnish, 2 parts scentless turpentine and one part Japan dryer. I made a batch one time and it sure looks, smells, feels and spreads like GB. Most gunmakers thin the first coats, then sand in succeeding coats with Wet or Dry and sanding blocks using thinned finish as the 'wet'.
GB and Tru-Oil are two peas in the same pod. So is Stoegers Belgian Oil and several others. The components are common.

I like poly-urethane in liquid and spray. Its very tough. I suspect any exterior oil/varnish/poly is better than the old English Linseed oil rubbed in with pumice mixed about half and half with elbow grease and topped with spar varnish, but not by much.

Many here have seen Browning A-5s with a glossy finish and micro-cracks running perpendicular to the grain. That was a nitro-lacquer that shrunk and cracked below about 20 F. Winchester used thinned varnish and Japan dryer almost 4-3-3. Even new Winchesters from back in the day starts shedding finish. It had a bit of brown stain in it too.

The pic is an unfired 1876 with a bunch of options. Look at the leprosy patches on the butt stock.

The varmint rifle is finished with 'in the wood' 'oil' with sprayed varathane Poly on top.
I like good wood to be '3D' with depth and brightness of grain visible like a hologram in the wood. To keep that, finish with gloss, never 'satin', and dull the gloss finish as said by tnhunter. Scotchbright in the very fine grades does the same thing. "Satin" finishes have a foggy look from tiny fibers and particals.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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And of course ( As Jack said) LinSpeed if you want shiny.

RJ
 

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I'm beginning to warm up to synthetic stocks more these days. Trouble free and reliable. I've repaired many cracked stocks in my time and I'm starting to think wood was never a good material to make stocks out of in the first place and the only reason we did it was because it used to be cheap. Sure we can cuddle and hold it and feel the warmth of wood and think of days gone by and how our ancestors carved them into ornate pieces of art but now it's time to move on. Just like metal open sights, we've used them for hundreds of years now and then we invented the red dot. Out with the old and in with the new......
 
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