Picture of Build A Custom Stock for the Springfield M1A
I'm a big fan of the M1A rifle in all it's configurations - it's accurate, fun to shoot, and reliable as an anvil (and almost as heavy - lol) - but even it can be improved.  I also like pistol-grip stocks - mostly because I find them more comfortable for the target shooting I typically do.  The issue for me is that while there are commercial rifle stocks out there for the M1A (Vltor, McMillan, etc), they're pretty far from what one would consider "inexpensive" - ranging in price from $500 to $900 dollars.... so I decided to build my own. 

A while back I picked up a handful of surplus Vietnam-era synthetic stocks (1 nice one, 2 thrashed ones) with the idea of using them as a starting point, and after some experimentation, came up with a technique that I think is worth sharing.  Depending on what materials are used, a nice stock can be built for as little as $150-$200.  In this Instructable, I'll show a technique that I used to build 3 variations of a comfortable and functional stock.

What you will need:
  • Donor stock - this can be a nice one, but it's better to use a structurally sound "less pretty" one as the nice synthetics are becoming harder to find - and the less "aesthetically pleasing" ones are a lot less expensive.  Expect to pay around $20-30 for a solid candidate.
  • A pistol-grip style buttstock.  I've found the aftermarket stocks for the Mossberg 500 series shotgun seem to work well and have about the right shape as well as a good "keying" surface.
  • Epoxy - I use a quality 30-minute epoxy.  I find the faster-setting epoxies don't seem as strong and don't seem to bond as well - just my opinion, of course.
  • A Tee-Nut that matches the buttstock mounting bolt you intend to use.  5/16" X18 X 7/8" in this case.  I used the 3-hole version, not the barbed version of the tee-nut.
  • Hot glue gun
  • Fiberglass cloth or chopped fiberglass
  • Petroleum Jelly to act as a parting compound or release agent
  • A sculptable epoxy clay or similar (possibly fiber-filled bondo, but I like to use similar materials for better bonding)
  • Paint - Duracoat in my case, but rattle-can paint would work, too.
  • An electric handpiece, Foredom, or Dremel would be very helpful
  • Various files, sandpaper (wet/dry aluminum oxide), clamps, hacksaw or sawzall, sander, etc
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jwilliamsen (author) 3 days ago

Hey Lou,

Sorry - I've been slammed with "regular" work - not a great excuse, but the only one I've got ;)

PM'ing is pretty easy - just click on my user name in this (or any other) reply (you'll see it underlined and your cursor will turn to a hand)

Then, on the page it takes you to, click on the "Private Message" button, and it will open a message window:

Hey jw ,i haven't heard from you.again id like to ask you questions about materials and other details about building my stock please send me another email and explain to me how we can private message here on the instructables forum thanks

Hey JW, I got your message but don't know how to P.M. here .If you could shoot me another P.M. and tell me how to get my info to you it would be a great help .Also I'm on the M14 forum username cruzerlou. You must know someone there as they told me that they have shot your rifle .Either way toy can reach me there also and we can P,M. through that forum.

Thanks, Lou

Hey jwillilamsen, great looking stock .I want to build one my self.

\I'm new to this social media thing so I 'm on facebook , but I would like to ask you some detailed questions about this build .Do you have an E-Mail your willing to give me so we can talk? .If you give me yours , I'll E-Mail you my cell phone # and we can do it quick .If your not comfortablr with that I guess you know how to reach me on facebook and we can message there I think? Again I'm new to al this .



jwilliamsen (author)  louie.pate.519 days ago

Hey Lou,

Just in case the instructables robot didn't forward the message - I sent you a PM via the instructables system - you should get an email notification. If you didn't get that email, post another comment and we'll try something different (I'm not on Facebook).

gunguru4 months ago

Question, is the putty (I assume it is similar to steel bedding putty) able to bond with wood? I have a couple of old M14 parade stocks that could take a mod like this. I just ordered one of the Maco group m500 folders with the adjustable comb. If its not possible I can order a GI fiberglass beater..........but, I would like to use the ones I already have. I'm a big fan of your ibles of woodworking and rifle mods. I am also a big CZ fan and seeing your bolt handle mod was great. I have a 527 carbine (7.62x39) that would be a cool candidate for that!

jwilliamsen (author)  gunguru4 months ago

The putty I'm using is able to bond with wood, but it's very rigid when it's cured - which means that if the wood isn't well-sealed, moisture expansion/contraction might create a bonding problem. Having said that, however, I've never seen Brownell's Steel Bed come out of a wooden stock. I think if you made certain that the wood had good "tooth", the putty would work fine. You could also use fiber-reinforced body filler which might have a bit more flex to it.

If you like these 'ibles, you might be interested in an upcoming instructable on building sporterized military surplus rifles. I've built a Yugo Mauser and a Mosin Nagant that are amazingly accurate with handloads, and dramatically more comfortable to shoot. This is a pic of an 8mm Yugo M24/47 complete with modded trench magazine:


Thats a pretty SNAZZY rifle overall!! I have a few questions about the build but, they can wait until after you publish this ible. Those Boyds laminate stocks sure can do wonders for a jacked up old surplus military surplus rifle!

I recently bought a few push chisels and checkering tools and stated working on stocks (wood of course). I never have been able to properly handle an M14 rifle because of the small size of my hands. My Scout was no exception so, after upgrading some of the parts I decided to recut and checker the stock. Here is the result.

jwilliamsen (author)  gunguru3 months ago

Wow! That's impressive - and I'm not easily impressed! lol I'd say you've "gotten into it" alright - you could do that for hire and probably have more work that you could stand :) Both the standard and basketweave checkering are beautiful! Unfortunately, now those stocks are so pretty I'd be hesitant to use them! :)

These aren't the stocks I plan to use. Recently, at my local surplus store (which I frequent) I found a box of beat up M14 stocks minus liners. I bought 2 for 10 bucks each. On the mini I saved the original and have three more given to me by a gunsmith. He said that the originals are worthless because everyone wants to change them out for tactical crap and lightweight plastic stocks.

gunguru gunguru3 months ago

I also have been getting in to basket weave checkering and decided that it was time to give it a try on a real stock. This type of carving takes a lot of time and is even tougher when done as wrap around.

gunguru gunguru4 months ago

One other it me or is the picatinny rail mounted backwards for a reason? I thought the gap was supposed to be facing forward? Mine has a sling loop on the back side of it.......... I think its made by versapod.

jwilliamsen (author)  gunguru4 months ago

Good eye! The rail IS mounted backward from the usual configuration - it's because I sometimes use a Magpul vertical grip on the rail, and this puts it at a more comfortable distance.

Tiger877 months ago
Nice, glad to see someone else having the same idea as me. I'm currently working on a stock for a Mosin Nagant that I'm building. So far so good, but now that I saw your epoxy set up, I'm finally gonna be able to finish it! Thanks for the idea!
gunguru8 months ago

I have 3 surplus wood M14 stocks and have been pondering building a custom wood stock with an adjustable comb ........but I would definitely consider a build like this for my Scout. Awesome build and thanks for pimping it!

Hogtheman00710 months ago
Nice man. Ever thought
Of putting a new stock on an m14 now that's hard.
jwilliamsen (author)  Hogtheman00710 months ago

I have been thinking about it for a long time and have been playing with the idea of a bullpup (the Juggernaut stock is kind of ugly IMO - and heavy). I think the only way it would be worthwhile is if I was going into production, though. The inletting for the M1A1/M14 would be the challenge - there's a lot of dynamics going on that have to be alternatively controlled and allowed to run wild.... Still, a sleek carbon fiber bullpup stock with a 7075 aluminum backbone would be pretty awesome :)

tsa'ad1 year ago
Thats awesom. Thanks for sharing and inspireing.
MrBeta2 years ago
Great project. I'm a bit jealous of your hardware and skills. Keep them coming!
ilpug2 years ago
Well done!