The stocks of the Stevens M414 (top) and Winchester M1890 (bottom) are almost black due to the failure of the original finish and 100 years of handling.
When considering gunsmithing projects that can be done in the home shop, the installation of scopes is probably the first to come to mind, followed by parts replacement and then stock repairs and refinishing. Near the end of the list will be cleaning, because it is generally not considered gunsmithing, even though a large number of failures to feed, fire and eject can be traced to dirt or brass shavings somewhere in the mechanism.
The topic here is related to cleaning, but not of metal parts. Some people will panic when they see mention of oil-finished stocks, thinking we mean refinishing of pre-’64 M70s or some such. These folks can relax, as refinishing is not meant; no dents will be raised, no scratches sanded out. In fact, no abrasive paper of any kind will touch the wood.
Perhaps “restoring” as used in the title is not correct, since it indicates “making new” again. That is not going to be done. Maybe “reviving” is a better word as the dictionary gives us, “to bring back from a depressed, inactive or unused state.” That’s it exactly! What stocks would benefit from reviving? Literally any from the beginning of the cartridge era up to today that have had some type of oil-based finish applied, or the finish is gone and the wood has darkened with age.
This old Lefever double gun stock was finished with lacquer or shellac. The light area (arrow) is bare wood, due to the finish flaking off. The rest of the stock shows the colored finish that remains.
Gil’s A.H. Fox quail gun was stocked in the 1970s and hunted hard, but the stock is maintained.
Determining if a stock will respond to the reviving process is not difficult. All finishes applied to stocks were also used for wood paneling, furniture, flooring and decorative objects. From the dawn of the cartridge age to the end of World War I, this was shellac, a natural resin secreted by insects and dissolved in denatured alcohol, or varnish, a resin consisting of fossilized or dried sap from various types of pine trees, originally cooked with linseed oil to make a liquid.
Shellac was a good furniture finish, but poor for gunstocks because many things soften or remove it and it doesn’t resist the elements well. Varnish is much better. It can be built-up and rubbed out a bit, but hard use and exposure causes early varnishes to darken and just “go away.” The wood also then darkens from handling. Linseed oil was seldom used on furniture, but often on stocks because it was cheap and available most everywhere. Basically, any gun made before World War I having a dark, dull, wood surface will respond to being revived.
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MAUSER MODEL 1898
THE HUNTER'S TRIGGER
LOCK, STOCK & BARREL
EOTECH VUDU 5-25X 50MM FFP
A RIFLEMAN’S OPTICS
WHY THE WINCHESTER PRE-'64 MODEL 70 STILL MATTERS
MOSTLY LONG GUNS
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: THE SEQUEL
H-S Precision PLR Rifle
Shooting the 6.5-284 Norma
AN INTERESTING OPEN SIGHT
After using a 6.5 Grendel to cull a goodly number of Texas feral hogs, I’ve developed a great deal of respect for the cartridge. This has mostly involved nighttime forays shooting with thermal imaging optics. The 2.26-inch confines inherent to AR-15 magazines, and the Grendel’s limited case capacity, make 123- to 130-grain bullets the practical upper limit for such activities. These projectiles chug along at around 2,350/2,450 feet per second (fps), but deliver well out of proportion to its diminutive size.
.240 WEATHERBY MAGNUM
The .240 Weatherby Magnum gets little respect. Knowledgeable varmint hunters will spend a lot of dough to build up a custom 6mm-284 or one of the variations of the 6mm-06 wildcat rounds to get the ballistic features already available in a .240 Weatherby Magnum factory rifle: flat trajectory, good performance in wind and the ability to anchor larger game more reliably if called upon to do so.
The 6mm Creedmoor was designed for long-range target shooting with long and skinny, heavy-for-caliber bullets that slip through the air with the greatest of ease. Wind affects these bullets little; they just fly right through it, almost unaffected.
7MM SHOOTING TIMES EASTERNER
The SUMMER THAT WASN'T
Playground entry fences chain locked. Rims removed. Leagues canceled. Summer basketball just stopped in 2020. And as its effects extended beyond the blacktop, we were reminded why it's so important.
STEVEN SPIELBERG'S AMAZING STORIES – WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH APPLE TV+'S NEW SHOW!
Back in 1985, famed director and Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg had his sciencefiction anthology, Amazing Stories, air on NBC from 1985 to 1987.
APPLE TV+ TO PRODUCE MASTERS OF THE AIR, THE SECOND BAND OF BROTHERS SEQUEL
As far as the cast is concerned, we only have two names as of March 2020. One is Austin Butler, who is going to play Major Gale Cleven, and the other is Callum Turner, who is going to play Major John Egan. As for Austin Butler, he has appeared in numerous American shows as a guest actor and has recently done work on Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, where he played the role of Tex.
THE SAME OLD – OVER AND OVER
CRIMPING THE .45 COLT
BULLETS & BRASS
The 1985 police killing of his brother still powers his efforts to unite his adopted city
Back to Basics
Boom Times for Streaming, Not for Hollywood Jobs
That the Covid-19 pandemic has been a disaster for those who work in live entertainment is no surprise.
NIEDNER .22 WCF IMPROVED