Introduction: Building a Custom Rifle Stock

Picture of Building a Custom Rifle Stock
Author's Note:  There are concepts in this instructable that go beyond their application to gun stocks - including general woodoworking, sculpting, and finishing - so even if gun stocks aren't your "thing" you may still find something useful here.


Introduction:

I recently picked up a Russian-made Izhmash "Biathlon Basic" in .22 WMR and although I was extremely impressed with the accuracy of the rifle "out of the box", the stock was another story.  I was definitely underwhelmed.  The original stock wasn't very comfortable for me, and was more appropriate for hunting than the target shooting that I typically do, so I decided to build a new one.

Goals for this design:

1) As light as possible
2) Somewhat adjustable
3) Symmetrical to accomodate weak-hand shooting
4) As simply constructed as possible
5) Keep costs down while keeping quality/function reasonaly high

There are a lot of target stock designs out there with more adjustments than I would know what to do with  - but that "adjustability" adds complexity, cost, and weight to the stock.  I also knew that once I had the stock set up for me, I probably wouldn't need to adjust it again, so I decided to sacrifice speed of adjustment for simplicity.  I also chose a rather... uh ... "unique" way of building this stock - namely, I took the original bedded stock, cut away all the parts I didn't want, and built the new stock around the skeleton of the old one.  Why?  Because "inletting" (machining the stock so that it holds the action of the rifle) is one of the more complex and time-consuming parts of building a stock and I knew I'd probably just throw the original stock in a closet and forget it forever (and be annoyed every time I had to move it out of the way) ........ aaaand  I was feeling lazy.... but mostly because I was feeling lazy.  I don't think I'd use this technique on a higher-powered center-fire rifle, but in this case I wasn't worried about the small compromise in structural integrity between this method and machining the stock from a solid piece.

This is the first "from scratch" rifle stock I've built (besides the inletting) so I planned on painting it from the outset - thus making the building process a *little* less stressful since mistakes can be corrected (filled) without it being as obvious as it would be on a natural wood stock.

Materials:
  • Rifle stock blank (laminated blank from Boyd's - boydsgunstocks.com) - $40
  • Fillers (Epoxy-Sculpt and Bondo) - $10 if you don't already have some
  • Primer (Epoxy-based catalyzed primer in a can) - about $22
  • Paint (Duracoat paint and overcoat) - about $43
  • T-Trak aluminum rail (in leiu of a "genuine" Anchutz Rail) - $20
  • Threaded insert (1/4-28 threads) - $.50
  • Knock-Down pins (used as alignment pins on the adjustable comb) - $3
  • QD Sling Mounts (mfg by Uncle Mike's - 2 sets) - $32
  • Small piece of Brass for the butt-plate slider
  • Allen-head Cap Screws - 1/4-28 x 1" and 1/4-28 x 2 1/4" - $2
  • Various #8 screws, epoxy, urethane glue, sandpaper, etc.
  • Pachmayer recoil pad - grind to fit - $20
  • Total: ~ $195

Total time: ~50 hours over 5 weeks.

Step 1: Design

Picture of Design

Design:

I spent a lot of time looking at other stocks, and although I really like the look and feel of thumb-hole stocks, the action of this particular rifle (a "toggle-bolt") is better suited to an "open saddle" type design - so after a lot of sketching and thinking, I decided to model the stock on the beautiful Sako TRG 22 (which was also convenient since a friend of mine owns one and was kind enough to lend it to me for a while to use as reference.  Thanks, Mike!  :)

The design was mocked up in Photoshop based on some pictures I took.  In the image with the 3 rifles, the top is the Sako, the bottom is the original stock, and the middle image is the offspring of their union ;)  The Sako's action is shorter top-to-bottom and the magazine well sits in a different location, so while I could take styling cues from the Sako, I couldn't *copy* it, per se.  There were also a few details I wasn't in love with on the Sako - namely how "fat" it feels - so I knew I was going to change that as well on my design.

Once I was happy with the look and layout, I used the "Find Edges" filter in Photoshop to make it into a line drawing, then printed it out at 100% scale and made a template to work from.

Step 2: Prepare the Original Stock

Picture of Prepare the Original Stock

Prepare the Original Stock:

Note: Anyone doing their own inletting can skip this step..... ;)

As I mentioned before, "inletting" a rifle stock is the process of cutting out the appropriate spaces, holes, and grooves into which the rifle barrel, receiver, and trigger group will drop into and be securely supported.  This can be a complex shape, or, a relatively simple one depending on the rifle mechanicals in question - but it's precision work and can be tedious when you are working with a relatively unknown rifle (like this one), and no inletting diagrams are available.

I built a "sled" to help keep the stock oriented and well-supported as I shaved off the sides of the original stock.  The sled was indexed off of the magazine well and the barrel channel.   Once the sides were trimmed away, I cut away the parts of the fore-end and grip that I didn't need, leaving me with a rather stumpy stock - and firmly pushing me past "The Point of No Return"..... now, I was committed .....

Step 3: Prepare the Laminated Blank

Picture of Prepare the Laminated Blank

Prepare the Laminated Blank:

I ordered a standard brown-laminate stock from Boyd's Gun Stocks ( http://www.boydsgunstocks.com ) and with a little maneuvering got my template to fit perfectly.  I planned to to split the laminate stock open and "sandwich" the old stock in between laminate outer "skins" about 3/8" thick.  The thickness of the inner "core" of the laminate was determined by the thickness of the shaved down stock.  I measured this, and sawed the outer skins off using a bandsaw.  I tried to pay attention to where the laminations and glue lines were, and placed my cuts so that I could hide the seam in the laminations when things were reassembled.  The middle piece was cut a bit thicker than I needed and planed down to it's final dimension using a thickness planer.  The outer panels were also cleaned up with the planer - again paying attention to laminations again so that the final assembly would be seamless.

After clean up and before cutting away the profile, holes were drilled to reproduce the arcs of the trigger guard, magazine well, and front stock bolt.

The middle "core" of the stock was cut away to accommodate the old stock, a floating mortise and tenon was fabricated to reinforce the junction where the rear of the old stock met the new laminate section, and the front and rear of the laminate sections were bonded to the old stock using polyurethane glue (Gorilla Glue - my preferred brand) and a sturdy straight-edge to keep things aligned during glue-up.

Step 4: Glue Up

Picture of Glue Up

Make Me a Sammich! (OK - You're a sammich....):

Once the "core" part was cured, any voids were filled with a putty made by mixing 5-minute epoxy-and sawdust.  The sides were cleaned up on a belt sander once the epoxy had cured.  The side panels were then glued on with polyurethane glue - but - I was especially careful to stop the glue line just past the grip area since I knew I'd be wanting a narrower buttstock and comb.  By not gluing this section of the panels to the core, I was able to later just grind through the thickness of the outer panels at those spots and pop off those areas of the sides of the buttstock area.  It sure beat having to grind off about 3/4" of material later on.  Once the glue was cured, the squeeze-out was removed (with a sharp chisel), any voids were filled, and the rough shape was cleaned up with a belt sander (just to have a clean edge to work with).

Step 5: Cutting the Profile

Picture of Cutting the Profile

Profiling:

Next step was to trace the profile onto the blank in preparation for cutting out the profile.  In the pictures, you'll notice I left a little "wiggle room" around the magazine well area - I wanted to mark the final shape with the magazine and action installed so that the protective "wing" shapes were properly placed.

The piece for the adjustable comb was cut with a lot of "slack" and shaped later - this made cutting the buttstock a lot less stressful (as opposed to trying to cut it out and make perfect cuts on a bandsaw)

When cutting concave radii, I found it was easier to cut shy of the line and use files to clean up.  Most flattening of areas was done with a coarse mill-cut file, and in tighter areas, rat-tail files were used.  Broad convex areas were smoothed with a flat or half-round file.  Concave areas were smoothed with a half-round or round file (rat-tail file).

Once the profile was roughed in, I glued two strips of birch on the fore-end to provide material for the "finger swells" on either side.  One the glue was cured, I trimmed the gross excess with a handsaw and then used a belt sander to sand the bottom edges flush to the existing fore-end.

Step 6: Scuplting and Shaping

Picture of Scuplting and Shaping
Sculpting:

Tip:  I break up projects into "mini-tasks" and make task lists - this helps me be efficient and focused and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed or getting burned out.  This also allows me to put in just 15 or 20 minutes (enough to complete a task)  and still feel like I'm making progress.

You've GOT to have a flexible and secure way to hold on to your workpiece - without it, you'll triple your effort just wrestling with the piece - and quite possibly damage it.  I use a Zyliss vice that I bought years ago at a woodworking show (also sold as a Z-Vice and Grip-Master) but a pattern maker's vice (Tucker or Emmert) or gun stock vice would be awesome.  Hey, I can dream, can't I?

A strong light source positioned at the height of your workpiece (natural or electric) is extremely valuable for checking contours and finding flaws.

Microplane rasps are similar to rasps in that they cut very quickly, but unlike a rasp they leave a fairly smooth surface.  The downside is that they get dull more quickly than I'd like, are easy to bend, and are a bit expensive - but they make up for those shortcomings with speed and ease of use - and I still buy them. 

Surform tools are a little too hard to control for this kind of work (IMO) so I don't use them - though  they might be useful for heavy rough-in work if you don't have a Holey Galahad ;)

I use a Holey Galahad on a 4" angle grinder for most of the rough-in work I do - it's an *amazingly* useful and rugged tool.  It's very controllable, leaves a decent surface, and removes material extremely quickly (and that's the *fine* version) - well worth the money (about $70).

If you don't have a file card or a wire brush, GET ONE and use it often.  Using files and rasps without having a file card to clean the teeth is very frustrating and counter-productive.  A clean file stays sharper longer - and you should always clean wood dust from files as it can hold moisture which leads to rust thereby shortening tool life.

If you have dull files/rasps - buy new ones - the  extra expense will pay off in accuracy and saved time and frustration.... and you'll have them for the next project ;)  Dull files can be useful when doing final smoothing of an area, but they cut too slowly for shaping work.

Let the tool do the work.  This applies to pretty much every tool out there - even power tools.  Pushing harder than necessary rarely makes a tool work better and can actually dull them more quickly.  Even sandpaper works better and lasts longer with light to moderate pressure.

Patience is a virtue - especially when carving/sculpting.  If you find yourself wanting to rush, find something else to do for a while until the feeling goes away.  Rushing leads to mistakes that will cost MORE time to fix and/or substandard results..... I know this because I'm a chronic "rusher" - lol.

Some general concepts here:
 
  • Refine shapes progressively throughout the entire stock - don't let one part get close to finished while other parts are rough - keep moving around and keep the overall shape in mind. 
  • Remember that all curves can be broken down into a series of straight lines - rounded edges into a series of "flats".
  • Leave sharp contour edges as long as feasible - they're your landmarks when doing general shaping.  Wait until shapes are just where you want them before smoothing things out.
  • Half of your shape checking should be done with your eyes closed - by feel - and the other half visually.  It's surprising how many shape flaws *look* perfectly fine, but feel "wrong" and vice versa.  Find a spot that feels wrong, put your finger on it and open your eyes - you'll be surprised how often it's NOT where your eyes would tell you it would be. 
  • Pay special attention to where your hands go - does it feel smooth and flowing?  Are there uncomfortable bumps or swells in the wrong place?  Does an area need to be filled out more?  Does your hand grip the stock naturally with no pressure points?
  • Use power tools where they make sense, but don't go out of your way to *make* them work.  Often times, a few minutes with a hand tool will do the work just as well - and there's something very "Zen" about hand tools - it's like meditating ;)
  • Check from side to side often.  Draw projection lines across to make sure you're keeping symmetry (if you're going for symmetry, that is).

Step 7: More Sculpting and Shaping

Picture of More Sculpting and Shaping

If a picture is worth 1000 words, this Instructable has about 175K words - so I'll let them do the talking.... ;)

Step 8: Adjustable Buttplate

Picture of Adjustable Buttplate

The buttplate of this stock adjusts up and down about 2-1/2".  The buttplate rides in a cove cut into the back of the buttstock.  This cove acts like an alignment track and keeps the sliding portion from rotating around the length-wise axis of the rifle (when the bolt is snugged down).  This is really nice because just one bolt needs to be tightened or loosened to move the buttplate, and once it's snugged down, it's very secure.

The buttplate is made from hard-maple - simply because I wanted a finer-grained material for this part of the stock.

Step 9: Fore-end Rail

Picture of Fore-end Rail

Some target rifles have an "Anschutz rail" on the front - it's a versatile way to mount accessories like bipod mounts or fore-grips.  The problem with "genuine" Anschutz rail hardware is that they are pretty expensive - so - I substituted a section of T-Track which for my purposes will work just fine.

Step 10: Adjustable Comb (no, Not That Kind of Comb)

Picture of Adjustable Comb (no, Not That Kind of Comb)

The steel pins you see are just knock-down hardware alignment pins you can pick up at just about any big-box hardware store or on the net.  They were screwed into the holes left by the screws, and the heads were ground off.

This design requires spacers to change the height (as opposed to locking columns) - but I can live with that because - like I mentioned before - once I have the stock adjusted where I want it, I probably won't touch it again.  I can live with a little inconvenience to save weight and complexity that I don't need.

Step 11: Paint Prep

Picture of Paint Prep

A good paint job is determined more by the prep work than any other aspect - so - take your time. 

One of the interesting things about working with laminates is that the laminations provide nice visual feedback regarding the contours you're creating.  As you remove material, the laminations take on a "topographical map" look - and it's easy to see where you're getting off course because the lines will no longer look "fair" (a term used to describe smooth flowing curves).  The downside of the laminations is that they will do a pretty good job of hiding the *smaller* flaws that will stand out like a sore thumb once painted - so - a few techniques are used to ferret out those annoying little dips, scratches, bumps, and lines.  Too bad it doesn't work on skin - lol.

Step 12: Color Me ... Green

Picture of Color Me ... Green

Finishing:

I used an epoxy-based primer that comes in a rattle can.  You can buy this kind of primer in epoxy or urethane-based formulations at most places where professional automotive paint supplies are sold.  These primers contain the catalyst/hardener in a capsule inside the can - you place the provided plunger head over a valve head on the bottom and give it a good "whack" - this breaks the capsule internally and you shake the can to mix the hardener into the paint.  This primer is hard when cured, builds extremely fast, and dry-sands very well - which is a huge bonus when working on a wooden piece.  It's always a good idea to use a primer that's as close to your final color as possible.  Unfortunately, they only had a light beige when I bought the primer - not a dark grey, black, or green like I wanted - oh well :)

The process of finishing should be familiar to anyone who's done automotive painting - it's basically 1) Prime, 2) Fill, and 3) Sand - repeat as necessary to achieve a smooth surface while trying to keep the thickness of buildup to a minimum.  It's important to realize that paint has thickness - and if you have parts that fit closely, you can ruin that fit pretty quickly with  too much primer/paint.

I used both "spot putty" (basically really thick primer) and polyester body filler as filler materials and did most of my sanding with 220 grit stearated sandpaper.  Stearated sandpaper has a coating which helps prevent clogging.

The color coat is Duracoat applied with an airbrush.  Duracoat is a brand of catalyzed urethane specifically formulated for firearms by Lauer Custom Weaponry (http://www.lauerweaponry.com).  It's  a bit finicky to apply, and it's not cheap, but once fully cured it's extremely durable.  I applied three coats over three days with some light wet-sanding in between coats - using black for the adjustable butt plate and "AUG Green" for the body of the stock.

Step 13: Final Touches - Hardware and Assembly

Picture of Final Touches - Hardware and Assembly

Final Touches:

Now it's time to make the comb spacers and mount the rest of the hardware.  This is actually the fun part as things are starting to come together and it's beginning to look pretty nice.  Still, you have to be patient as these are the details that make or break a project...

The fore-end rail and butt-plate track are actually T-Trak - a type of aluminum track that's generally used to make shop jigs - a 48" track cost about $20.  The great thing about using this is that if I should somehow damage the one that's installed, I can just cut another piece and make a new "Anschutz rail" for a few dollars and under an hour's time.  A small 7-slot polymer picatinny rail made by Magpul slides into the track and can be adjusted and locked down to accommodate installing other accessories (like a bipod) - or removed completely to reduce weight and clutter.

The comb (cheek piece) can be raised about 3/4" at 1/8" increments using spacers I made from aluminum stock I had lying around.  I also made a 1/2" wooden spacer that's a lot lighter just to have around.  The aluminum spacer stock was rough cut to size on the table saw and then double-face taped together into a "block" that was shaped using the belt sander and drilled on the drill press.  The final finish on the aluminum was achieved by wet-sanding with 320, 400, and 600 grit wet/dry paper.  The pieces were then peeled apart, cleaned up and re-stacked on the alignment pins on the adjustable comb.

1/2" holes were drilled in the fore-end and buttstock using a Forstner bit, and Uncle Mike's QD (Quick Detach) sling mounts were installed with epoxy.  QD mounts are great as they don't leave behind anything to get snagged on when you remove your sling.

Step 14: Complete!

Picture of Complete!

That's about it!  I'll probably update with a range report when I get the chance.  I hope you find something useful in this instructable and feel encouraged to do your own.  Thanks for taking the time to slog through it - lol :)

EDIT:  I got a chance to range-test the new stock this past weekend - it works very well.  Results speak for themselves ;)

On a side note, this instructable is entered into the ShopBot challenge - so vote for me if you feel so inclined :)  If I were to win a ShopBot, I can see myself using it to produce a lot of the furniture designs I've got rattling around in my head, sculpting some of my CG character designs, as well as custom lighting, computer cases, dog kennels.... man, the list just goes on and on.  I'd probably have to be reminded to eat and breathe every now and then - lol.

Comments

boatbuilder22266 made it! (author)2017-11-18

Did simplest version for my SKS .Thanks for yours instractions .

WillH87 (author)2017-02-09

Love the stock, ive been scouring the internet looking for designs that i think would fit my shooting preference and as soon as i saw yours, i knew that was the design i wanted, except mine will be for an SKS. Now, the stock I will building off of is black polymer. Im also using a block that is composed of 14 layers of 1/8" pressed lauan for my stock material. In your opinion, do you think I will have any issues with the body im building holding to the polymer stock that i will be cutting down? Im planning on using apoxy to secure them together, but my concern is that the jaring of the rifle might separtate my build from the polymer stock. Any thoughts? Thanks

jwilliamsen (author)WillH872017-02-09

Most wooden stocks used for center-fire rifles use at least one cross-bolt behind the recoil lug and almost every semi-auto center-fire rifle I've seen uses a metal liner for the stock (M-14, M-1 Garand, SKS, etc). Semi-auto center-fire can be pretty punishing on a wooden stock unless the recoil impulse is spread out and not focused in one area. While a stock without those things might hold up for a few hundred rounds, I would think that breakage would almost be a given without a cross-bolt / stock liner. As far as bonding the polymer stock to the wood, I would put that in the "sketchy" category for a couple of reasons. First, if your stock is glass-filled nylon, there's not a lot of readily available adhesives that will work trying to glue it to itself - let alone to wood. Second, you would be bonding two materials with very different rates of expansion in response to both temperature and moisture - meaning that in the best case, your adhesive would have to be flexible in order for them to not split apart due to something like a change in season or temperature. Add to that a bit of pounding recoil and I wouldn't bet on that bond holding up (I believe your intuition is correct).

.

If it were me, I would look for a donor wooden stock to use as the core of the custom stock and either sell the polymer stock to offset the cost of a wooden one, or just put it in the closet and save it for conditions that you don't want to put your custom wooden stock through. I've seen (wooden) SKS stocks around for $20-$40 in really good condition (on Gunbroker.com), so, I'd wager you could find some beaters (ugly, but solid) for less from one of the bulk surplus import shops. Bonding wood to wood is a much better way to go, the donor SKS stock would have the liner and the hardware, and your finishing process would be more consistent as well.

My $.02 ;)

Good Luck - let me know how it goes :)

nebrauer (author)2016-12-21

This looks like a fantastic project. I'm (somewhat ironically) considering making a biathlon rifle using the "biathlon basic" as a starting point. I build furniture and instruments, so the stock shaping etc., should be a breeze, but the inletting was scaring me off a bit, because it seemed like the work involved in building jigs etc. to accurately inlet the stock wasn't worth the effort. Why didn't I think of that? You're brilliant! I'll let you know how it goes.

jwilliamsen (author)nebrauer2017-01-11

Please do! I'd love to see what you come up with :)

Dyeman12 (author)nebrauer2016-12-25

I too was initially intimidated by inletting thinking the stock relief had to be to very close tolerance, but after doing a few bedding jobs with Devcon and Marine-Tex, it is much easier than you think. Plenty of releasing agent and masking make it very do-able. Once it sets up, it's rock solid but still easy to dremel and sand. I did the final bedding of both the receiver and even the plastic trigger guard underneath with white Marine-Tex (tinted with black resin pigment to make it gray) that gave a tough, perfect fit. Plenty of how-to instructionals out there. One note- use the liquid paint-on releasing agent and plenty of it!

JDMcG made it! (author)2017-01-09

Thanks for a great article. I remodeled an old Springfield-Savage Model 87 22LR a year ago. My only tools were a saber saw, wood rasps and sandpaper. I finished it with auto primer, rattle-can 3-color Stone paint from Rustoleum, and 2 coats of Satin spray Min-Wax Poly-U.

jwilliamsen (author)JDMcG2017-01-11

That looks really nice! I'll bet it gets a lot of attention at the range (and elsewhere). Cool thing about rattle-can paint jobs is that should you ever decide to change them, it's pretty easy to do :)

Dyeman12 (author)2016-10-05

JW-

Thanks for the inspiration! I took a different route and made one from scratch. A lot of fun learning various techniques using carbon fiber, resin & automotive clear coat. I took several of your comments to heart and even picked up a Zyliss multi-vise. The best advise was to cut the whole project up into 30-60min tasks. Took a while, but pretty cool results. Already designing the next version :^)

Keep those chips a flyin'

jwilliamsen (author)Dyeman122016-10-11

Hey Dyeman,

That is one sweet-looking Rusky Gun! I'll bet you get a million questions at the range :)

Did you make your buttstock hardware or did you find a place to source it from? Is that carbon over wood or foam? Carbon fiber is amazing stuff, isn't it? Crazy how stiff those thin parts can be.

I recently threaded the barrel on my BB and have been running a Spectre II can, but .22WMR is a *little* louder than .22LR :)

On an aesthetic note, you might want to find some nice thumb-wheels for those cheek-piece mounting studs - but that minor niggle aside - great job! Very impressive!

I have a second BB in .22WMR that I'm thinking I want to build an ultra-light stock for ... I'm thinking foam-core and carbon fiber - you may just have inspired ME - lol

Dyeman12 (author)jwilliamsen2016-10-12

JW -

Buttstock hardware is a mix of Home Depot bits and a Mec III adjustable. Stock is made from Coosa board with a 3 layer CF shell applied with a home brew vacuum bagging rig powered by a frig compressor. You are absolutely right about the stiffness of CF- the cheek piece weighs 0.3oz and you can hardly flex it. Agreed on the thumb wheels, but I couldn't find one that was light weight and fit inside the comb.

The next version is already on the drawing board - CF over foam, removable/adjustable grip, hexagonal fore stock, butt assembly fabricated from salvaged CF hockey stick with adjustable comb & butt plate. My main design inspiration from www.behance.net. CF can really be addictive!

If you get the chance to snag a .22LR 7-2, they are really amazing suppressor hosts for the money. Good subsonic ammo makes one a real 'critter-gitter' :^)

jwilliamsen (author)Dyeman122016-10-15

Dyeman,

Very interesting. Where did you source the Coosa board? I'd never heard of it until you mentioned it. How hard is it to work with?

I've been looking for a .22LR 7-2 (I have two 22WMR's) but the very few I've found that are new are $1K+ - so not exactly an impulse buy ... and a far cry from the $250 they originally fetched. Supply and demand, I guess ;)

Dyeman12 (author)jwilliamsen2016-12-20

JW-

Best source of Coosa I found is sales@boatoutfitters.com. They will cut full and half sheets down to nice, 'ship-able' size. I used 1/2" board cut to a size that would allow 2 cutouts per sheet- least amount of waste. Used West Marine resin to laminate 3 layers giving just the right thickness.

Best part is Coosa is very easy to work with as it has not grain- sands easier than poplar with regular files and sandpaper. It's reinforced with layers of fiberglass, so the dust is itchy. Just keep a vac hose hanging next to whatever area is being sanded, use disposable mechanic rubber gloves and it's no big deal.

The 7-2 LR's can be had for around $650 off gunbroker, but you have to watch for them. More info on my project:http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.ph...

AlexB410 (author)2016-08-26

Thanks for that,

ezzathawas (author)2016-07-30

so good thankes

3366carlos (author)2016-06-22

super awesome, i wish i could do it.

tedomatic (author)2016-03-28

Thank you so much for this well-written and detailed Instructable! I recently finished a .300 WSM on a Mauser 98 action, and I had resigned myself to buying a stock. I felt like I had finished baking a wonderful cake, only to let somebody else dump some cheap, storebought icing on it.

jwilliamsen (author)tedomatic2016-03-28

Thank you for your kind words. :)

One thing you might consider - since the Mauser 98 is so common: Try contacting Boyd's Gunstocks or Richard's Microfit and see if you could order a pre-inletted blank from them. I know that they both make stocks for the Mauser 98 action, and they used to do custom orders like that. I think it would be worth waiting a bit for it as it would save a lot of work ..... but then again, sometimes, it's about the work as much as it is the end product ;)

CameronA15 (author)2016-03-16

would this stock be able to support the recoil of a 20g shotgun? I have a family heirloom i am looking to make shoot-able again and so far this is the only plan i have seen that does not include machining. It is a bolt action 20 gauge with a very cracked stocked (so bad it is unshootable)

jwilliamsen (author)CameronA152016-03-16

Depending on what you made it from (i.e. not soft wood) and if you added a cross-bolt behind the recoil lug, I think it would work just fine.

On a side note, is the original stock just cracked or is it shattered? If the stock is basically split along a "fault line" and all of the parts are there (i.e. there aren't chunks missing), you *could* break the stock all the way apart and then re-glue it back together using polyurethane glue. I recently did this with a pretty old Ithaca shotgun - broke it all the way, glued it back together, then stripped, sanded, and refinished it - and it came out nice.

CameronA15 (author)jwilliamsen2016-03-17

i started to make it the stock from a hunk of walnut 1 in thick. as far as the original stock... it is a no go. I have the tools available to make this stock so I intend to do so i will post a pic when it's done! (the tools are power tools but that will make it go faster :) i can use power tools in some areas and hand tools in others.)

HellborN-HarbingeR (author)2016-01-25

I haven't made it yet, but I intend to and your tutorial is going to be indispensable. I have two BT-4 paintball markers that I wish to use in a custom build project, one I would like to transform into an L96 (AWP) style Sniper rifle... Yeah, sniping in paintball, lol. It will mostly be Drag and Brag and I intend to sell it afterwards, hopefully for a profit. I toyed with the idea of using an Airsoft plastic receiver, but cannot get my hands on one easily in RSA... may sites abroad where guys sell broken ones for parts, but shipping alone would kill the project. So unless I can find one, I will probably resort to making one with the limited tools at my disposal.

If it's any consolation, a lot of very talented stock builders use almost exclusively hand tools and turn out some beautiful work. It really ends up being a time issue more than anything. While power tools generally allow you to get to the finish line more quickly they don't guarantee a great finished product. I've seen woodworkers in the Middle East who turn out great work and are *blazing* fast with "just" hand tools.

Good luck on your project! :)

LeonF8 (author)2016-01-02

Not a made it comment , I have a question does anybody know anywhere or anybody that prints 3D stocks? Have a pre64 midel 70 and was interested to know if there would be a weight difference eighth a 3d printed vs. stock wood.

jwilliamsen (author)LeonF82016-01-02

I don't know of anyone who is printing stocks (yet) and I think there's a few reasons including cost, materials, speed, and size. Most printers don't have a large enough print volume to handle a stock (except for the very expensive commercial/industrial models). Most of the printed materials couldn't handle the recoil of a rifle for very long, and the cost of materials would probably be in the range of a nice composite stock which would be lighter and stronger. I also think the printed stock would end up being much heavier to compensate for the lack of material strength.

Having said that, I think Magpul printed their new Remington stocks (at least the molding bucks) as the prototypes I saw had a distinctive layered appearance - but the production stocks appear much smoother.

GingerJJ (author)2015-08-29

Great 'ible! I plan to make one, however, I was wondering, how is the weight compared to the Sako TRG?

jwilliamsen (author)GingerJJ2015-08-30

Thanks :) The weight of the wooden stock is significantly lighter (I don't have specific numbers) than the original Sako due in part to the slightly smaller scale as well as the fact that the Sako has a metal spine and is pretty much solid composite - it's a beefy stock.

On a side note, if you plan to build a stock for a center-fire rifle, you'll want to add a cross-bolt - maybe two - to better handle the recoil.

anthony.wonder.5 (author)2015-04-15

Talk about WOW!
A person can completely justify paying the outrageous prices for custom stocks, or decide to build their own "more custom" stock, just off of your tutorial! Way to go! A+++
Ive made my decision, i like the challenge!

EricC36 (author)anthony.wonder.52015-08-20

AGREED

matso made it! (author)2015-04-27

Thanks for a great walkthrough!
Inspired me to build a rifle stock for my sako quad 22LR.
This was my first stock i have built.
Still needs a rubber recoil pad and adjustable cheekpiece (en route via snailmail :) )
Have a nice day.

justin.c.beard (author)2014-12-26

Love this build. Thank you for doing this. I wanting to do the same thing with my Remington 700. 308.
Couple of questions:
- How was the weight compared to the original stock?
- Any thought on what type of wood I should use for my build? I'm wanting to make it as light as possible but durable (since I like to stalk hunt) and strong enough to handle the recoil/etc of the .308.

Thanks in advance and again great build.

Thanks, Justin - glad you like the 'ible :)

As far as the weight vs. the original, the new stock is heavier by about a pound, but is far more shoulder-able and comfortable - even for off-hand shooting. There's no doubt I'm a lot more accurate with it - and the multiple sling points allow for a variety of carry modes.

If you are going to build something like this for a Remington 700, there are a number of woods that will work - Walnut, Maple, Hickory, Ash, Laminates, etc - it really depends on what you want as far as function and aesthetics. Laminates are nice because they are dimensionally (more) stable than solid wood and more flexible when it comes to what shapes they can obtain while still remaining strong - but some people don't like the aesthetics of laminates. Solid woods can be beautiful .... and expensive ... and they can also be unforgiving when it comes to mistakes if you plan on using an oil finish or any clear finish (If you're going to paint the stock, however, that doesn't matter). I think it would be worth it to create a list of priorities and then weigh the characteristics of a particular material against that criteria. For example, you might have as your criteria: lightweight, camouflaged, rugged finish, adjustable, weather/water resistant, etc, etc - where aesthetics are farther down the list - so a painted finish works better than an oil finish, and your choice of material is driven by it's stability and strength more than it's natural appearance. Make sense?

You might want to check out Boyd's Gunstocks and see what they have in both blanks and inlet stocks. Since Boyd's makes stocks for the Remy 700, you might be able to get them to inlet a blank for you, and then you could concentrate on sculpting the stock however you wanted without worrying about the inletting. (Just a side note: You will probably want to put a crossbolt through the stock behind the recoil lug as a minimum, and probably another one through the stock behind the mag well to reinforce the stock for the .308's recoil).

Demjor19 (author)2014-12-19

This was by far the most helpful stock shaping tutorial I have found! I am going to be attempting a stock for an old double barrel 12 gauge out of some American walnut that a coworker cut over 30 years ago. Would has very nice fiddleback and burl. Would love any tips you may have on starting this project! Here is a rough layout.

jwilliamsen (author)Demjor192014-12-20

Wow - that's a beautiful piece of wood! It looks like you've made some good choices for layout in regards to grain direction - it should be a nice, strong stock.

If I was to offer just one piece of advice, it would be to take
your time
. Rushing leads to making mistakes. Making mistakes leads to
cursing. Cursing leads to people thinking you have Tourette's
Syndrome, which leads the government to accusing you of being mental
..... which gives them an excuse to take your guns away. So, in a nutshell: Rushing leads to losing your guns ... so, don't rush. (JK)

(Seriously) Depending on your confidence level (and whether you were trying to simply replicate the original stock) it might be worth going through the stock-making process with a piece of softer/cheaper wood like Poplar first - at least to the semi-finished stage. This would allow you to get an idea what parts of the process might introduce a "gotcha" before you're working with something as nice as your Walnut. Making a "test" stock would also give you the opportunity to try some different contours. You could add material with bondo, sculpt, and see what you liked and what you didn't - then apply that information to the final version. A test stock would be useful for jig setup, too.

Something to consider - in case you just want to replicate the original stock and don't want to go through doing it "from scratch" - there are gunsmiths and stock-makers that can use a replicator to copy your original stock using your materials. You would still have to do the finish work, but they would take care of most of the critical (mating surface) shaping.

Demjor19 (author)jwilliamsen2014-12-20

Haha! Totally hear you on the taking my time vs losing my guns. Spoken like you know me!

I'm glad you took notice of the grain at the wrist. Read much on it and hoped it was right! And thanks for the compliments on the piece of wood. I'm in love with this piece for various reasons!

I actually have gunsmith friends and know people with replicators. For this old dbl barrel I just really want that hand worked sentimental wood furniture! It's an older gun that I plan on using for birds. I want to have a connection to the gun once I'm done. I think the only way to achieve this is by hand working the stock... In my opinion.

I'm refinishing the original furniture plus making the new ones. My goal is to "replicate" the originals, but also add some personalization here and there. Meaning I'll use the originals for rough shape, but stop once it feels right.

I appreciate the help and hope you are open to new questions as I progress? I tend to be a perfectionist, which is what scares the hell out of me with this project! Lol! Thanks again and I'll be in touch with updates. Probably dyer Christmas though.

MrBeta (author)2013-01-25

Fantastic build. A truly amazing project, showcased in great detail and quality, both photos and the write-up itself.
Have you attempted any more stock builds since the completion of this one?

jwilliamsen (author)MrBeta2013-01-29

Thanks! Lately, I've mostly been building modified M14/M1A stocks - taking Vietnam-era G.I. fiberglass stocks and grafting on updated rear ends. I'm working on an Instructable for those as well - stay tuned ;)

TheoM1 (author)jwilliamsen2014-11-19

I think I read one of those, also very good. My question is, would you ever do an instructable where you take one of those fiberglass stocks and do a cheek riser mod only? I want to glass a fixed cheek rest to the one I just bought. My M14 is using low rings with an ARMS 18 knock off from ProMag, and I don't need a lot of rise. Do you think the 'adjustable' style comb you put on this rifle would translate to a USGI FB stock? Would you cut the bottom of the stock that you shoulder and just add that piece to the top for a cheek rest? Just wondering how you would change the shape of a stock FB stock? Not so much updating, but strictly improving what is already there I guess.

I've also seen threads talking about reinforcing those FB stock forends. You have a preferred method for that with carbon fiber or anything?

The wood stock on my rifle will be saved. I'm not sure how much metal from the wood stock will need to be cannabilized for the FB stock, but I'm thing of just buying the necessary parts to have two complete stocks.

Thanks again for your most excellent project documentation.

jwilliamsen (author)TheoM12014-11-21

Nice-looking M1A there :) Even have the widow-maker sling - and that looks like a SWFA scope - I have two of those myself ;)

OK - so here's a couple of ideas:

As far as building a custom adjustable cheek riser for a USGI fiberglass stock, yes, it's possible, and there are a couple of possible designs. You would have to be conscious of the buttplate hardware and how far it extends into the buttstock - and you would lose the storage tubes - but it would be possible to cut a section out of the comb of the buttstock and fit adjustable hardware to it. It would require carving out some of the foam, filling with glass/epoxy, mating the surfaces, setting the pillars, etc - so - a pretty good amount of work. Here's a source of pre-made pillars and hardware if you don't want or can't make your own: http://stockpositioning.com/products.htm

Another possibility would be to make a custom cheek piece that sets on top of the comb (underside is form-fit to the comb) and drilling into the top of the comb to seat pillars, side-drilling for securing hardware, etc. Again, a good amount of work - about the same amount overall as the method above. Something to consider (even though I totally understand wanting to make your own) is either a Karsten or Bradley adjustable cheek rest. Karstens are simple and adjustable, but more permanent than the Bradley:

http://www.bradleycheekrest.com/

http://www.tacticalworks.com/Karsten-s-Custom-Chee...

If you intend to glass a fixed rest onto your stock, I'd highly recommend using a lightweight core and relatively thin glass as it's not really a structural item and doesn't need a lot of thickness. Smooth-on sells a product called Free-Form AIR epoxy putty: http://www.smooth-on.com/index.php?cPath=1384 that makes an outstanding core material. You could apply a mass of this to the comb of your stock, rough shape it and let it cure. Then, it would be pretty easy to carve it to the exact shape you want and apply a few thin coats of fiberglass over it - feathering it into the the existing comb. This would add almost no weight to your stock, and would be *very* tough. I've used the Free-Form AIR as a core on a few projects, and while it's not easy to sculpt while it's in it's putty form, it's super-easy to shape once it's cured, and amazingly tough for it's weight.

As far as reinforcing the forend, again, there are options. First, I would see how much room is available around the operating rod guide - a wad of clay mashed into the forend with the action in place can give you an idea of how much clearance you have. If there is enough, I'd probably buy two carbon-fiber arrow shafts and either glass them in place, or preferably, carbon-fiber them in place along the length of the forend. It would also be a good idea to match-prepare your stock - especially the front ferrule - it needs to be hogged out so that the only point of contact is where the "hook" on the gas-block band touches it on the bottom. There is more covered in Scott Duff's book on match preparing the M14.

I don't know if they still have them, but Fred's Stocks used to sell "stubs" for just the purpose you mention - making cheek rests. They also sell (or used to) some fairly beat-up FG stocks that would make good donor stocks.

I hope this helps :) Good luck on your project :)

Daneel (author)2014-05-18

I have no doubt you are nothing short of genius, or at the very least so meticulous in your method and development of it that you come off as one. I'll be looking at this plan for a long time gathering ideas from it, and the rest of your plans.

x515xUSMC (author)2014-05-05

So just save the image then print it out at 100%

jwilliamsen (author)x515xUSMC2014-05-05

Actually, I'll try to make this easier. I'm going to attach 3 images that can be printed out at a scale of 100% on regular letter paper (the images are 8"x10" @150dpi) - then, you can cut them out and hold them up to a window (or a light table) and tape them together. Each image has a little bit of overlap of the piece before it. This is basically what I did when I made my template. The final image on the template (once everything is taped together) should be 28.5" long.

x515xUSMC (author)2014-05-04

Hey I was wondering of you still have a template for this stock. I would like to know where to get one

jwilliamsen (author)x515xUSMC2014-05-05

Hi USMC,

I'm assuming you mean the full-size profile Image I used - if so, you can get it here - just print this out 100% (you'll have to do it across a few sheets of paper):

blinde001 (author)2014-01-23

This is one of the most amazing posts to "Instructables" it has been my experience to read. I had been thinking about building a tactical stock for my .338 and then came across your entry. What an inspiration. Not only can it be done...but done extremely well with a great aesthetic about it as well. Congratulations...as you have sent me to my shop with renewed enthusiasm and a collection of new ideas on how to solve some of the problems I had considered. Thanks!!

jwilliamsen (author)blinde0012014-04-05

Thank you! I would say that if you're going to build a stock for a .338, you will want to look into heavier reinforcements - cross-bolt behind the recoil lug and in front of the trigger group, etc - as well as probably buying commercial adjustment hardware for any LOP adjustments. Check out http://stockpositioning.com/products.htm for some really nice hardware. If I venture into heavier centerfire stocks, I'll be using some of their products, I'm sure. Good luck :)

Dr Soup 32 (author)2014-02-25

Holy cow my friend. . .great write-up, project and execution! I am a happy diy-er. To begin you state the techniques you used are good for all aspects of woodworking but can also be extrapolated to everything we do. Minds like yours amaze me! My second career (after Obama messes up my first as a Physician with Obamacare) will be woodworking and gunsmithing. This post has given me so many ideas. Thank you and well done!

jwilliamsen (author)Dr Soup 322014-04-05

Hey Doc - I'm glad you liked it :) I hope to build another one this summer - slightly different this time.

keelan dumigan (author)2014-04-05

Help me

Hi Keelan - I'm happy to help - just need a little more information ;)

About This Instructable

491,488views

321favorites

License:

Bio: I am a perpetual student, researcher, and hopelessly dedicated skill collector. I hope that you can find something inspiring or useful in the instructables I ... More »
More by jwilliamsen:Make Your Vise PortableSporterize a Military Surplus RifleRestore an Old Vise
Add instructable to: