September 15th, 2019

How to Clear-Coat Laminated Wood Stocks

Laminated wood stocks offer an excellent combination of price and performance, and they can be obtained in a myriad of styles to suit your discipline — hunting, benchrest, tactical, silhouette, or high power. Laminated stocks can be a little trickier to finish compared to a hardwood such as walnut, as laminates are often delivered in bright or highly contrasting colors. Traditional wood finishes can alter the colors. Also, filling the pores in laminated stocks is an issue.

Automotive clear-coat products have become popular for finishing laminated wood stocks because they won’t alter the stock’s colors, and the clear-coat provides a durable weather-resistant finish. Clear-coat is also easy to “touch up” and it fills pores better than some other alternatives. Mike Ricklefs has written a comprehensive article on stock painting that includes a special section on clear-coating over laminated woods. If you want to clear-coat a stock, Mike’s article is a must-read!

In that Stock Painting Article, Mike offers these tips:

1. When finishing laminated stocks with clear-coat, you need to prepare the wood carefully, and build up quite a few thin layers one at a time. Begin by sanding, with progressively finer paper, all the way to 400 grit. Certain laminated stocks are so rough when they come from the stock-maker, that you may have to be very aggressive at first. But be careful with angles and the edges of flats. You don’t want to round these off as you sand.

2. After sanding, use compressed air to blow out all dust from the pores of the wood. This is very important to avoid a “muddy” looking finish. If you don’t blow the dust out with air before spraying the clear it will migrate out as you apply the clear. Also, after each sanding session, clean your painting area to remove excess dust. I also wet down the floor of my spray booth to keep the dust down.

3. Some painters recommended using a filler to close the pores. That’s one technique, but the filler can detract from the clarity of the final finish. Rather than use a pore-filling sealer, I use a high solids or “build” clear for the initial applications. This is slightly thicker than “finish” clear and does a good job of sealing the pores. Three (3) fairly heavy coats of “build” clear are applied. If you get a thick spot or a run in the finish at this point, it is not the end of the world but this does create more sanding work.”

There is a helpful thread in our Shooters’ Forum that discusses the use of clear-coating on laminated stocks. Member BHoges offered this advice: “Stick with Diamont, Glassurit, and Spies. If anyone has questions, I painted cars for a long time.”

Clear-coat Laminated woodForum member Preacher, whose bolt-action pistol is shown at right, states: “I buy my two-part clear-coat from the local NAPA dealer. They recommended Crossfire mixed 4:1. I really like the end results. There are six coats on that stock that were sanded down to bare wood for the first two, and then 600 wet-sanded for the other four coats. Two to three coats would be sufficient if the pores were filled first, but I would rather fill ‘em with the clear as it seems to make it appear deeper and I have the time to devote to it. I have PPG’s Deltron DC 3000 clear-coat on a few stocks of mine, but I like the NAPA better price wise, and it seems to hold up just as good as the Deltron.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 20th, 2019

Stock Reborn: Second-Hand Anschutz Becomes F-Open Beauty

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is an interesting project by one of our Forum members. Martin C. (aka “Killick”) modified an Anschutz 1411 Match 54 rimfire prone stock to become a comfortable, great-tracking F-Class Open Division Stock. No Killick didn’t sacrifice a perfectly good rimfire rifle for this project — he bought the Anschutz stock by itself on eBay, then transformed it…

Killick explains: “This project started about seven years ago. I bought the Anschutz prone stock on eBay and whittled it a bit into a Palma rifle with a Barnard action and block and a Doan Trevor cheek piece and scope rail. Then about two years ago I decided to re-task the stock/action assembly into an F-Open rig. With more whittling, gluing, sanding, body fillering, sanding, filling, sanding, more sanding…and sanding, forming, priming, sanding, painting, waiting, painting, painting…painting and before you know it, Bob’s your uncle.”

Here is the eBay-sourced Anschutz 1411 stock, with new high-gloss blue finish, as initially modified for use in Killick’s centerfire Palma rifle. Looks nice!

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Next step was the addition of a 3″-wide wood fore-end for F-Open duties with front rest:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Almost done here… just needs priming and final painting:

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

Here is Killick’s completed F-Open rifle with its much-modified Anschutz stock now finished in fire-engine red lacquer. This image shows the detail of the grip and customized cheekpiece.

Anschutz 1411 stock gunsmithing project wood work palma rifle f-class F-Open stocking

To learn more, visit Killick’s Anschutz Stock F-Class Project Thread on our Shooters’ Forum.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing No Comments »
March 20th, 2019

Less is More — Minimalist Cobra Chassis for 22 BR Varminter

Eberlestock M2 Cobra rifle chassis stock

A while back, Machinist/gunsmith Paul Fakenbridge (aka “Boltfluter” on our Shooters’ Forum) upgraded his favorite 22BR varmint rig with a new skeletal stock. This rifle, Paul’s “Rock Chuck Killing Machine”, was originally fitted with an HS Precision fiberglass stock. Now Paul’s 22 BR sports new hardware — a sleek Eberlestock M2 Cobra Chassis in “Dry Earth” color. The $995.00 M2 Cobra is a one-piece metal stock system that mounts a Rem-700 type action in a V-block. The cheekpad height and LOP are adjustable via spacers. The M2 Cobra uses AICS-type mags and can fit Picatinny rails on the side. Weight of the Cobra chassis alone is 4 pounds. READ SPECS.

Eberlestock M2 Cobra rifle chassis stock

Check out the “Before” and “After” photos below…

Eberlestock M2 Cobra rifle chassis stock

Eberlestock M2 Cobra rifle chassis stock

Boltfluter Likes His Eberlestock M2 Cobra
Paul tells us the stock upgrade was a success: “I got the urge to try something different as far as stocks go. I went from the HS stock to an Eberlestock M2 Cobra. The vertical grip feels quite good and is very easy to shoot. And with this upgrade I finally got the chance to flute and coat my own bolt!”

Paul, who runs Pro Precision Rifles, specializes in bolt fluting and barrel fluting (and he also does bolt knobs, coatings, and other gunsmithing work).

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical No Comments »
February 19th, 2019

Water Transfer Printing for Rifle Stocks

hydro-dip stock finish

There’s a great new way to apply an eye-catching finish to fiberglass and synthetic stocks. Water Transfer Printing (aka Hydro-Dipping) can apply beautiful, stylized patterns to your stock, and the process costs less than a custom paint job. Hydro-dipping is ideal for applying amazing photo-realistic effects such as stone, wood burl, snakeskin, or faux carbon fiber. Hydro-dipping requires no harsh chemicals or high heat so there are no negative side effects. You just end up with an amazing, patterned finish on your stock.

Hundreds of different patterns are available. We like the carbon-look finish on benchrest guns and the snakeskin patterns on hunting and varmint rifles. Natural snakeskin designs, in this Editor’s opinion, are perhaps the most effective camouflage for the largely arrid backcountry in the American southwest.

hydro-dip stock finish

hydro-dip stock finish

Hydro-Dip of Idaho Does Great Work
While there are a half-dozen companies offering water transfer printing for rifle stocks, Forum member Francis B. recommends Hydro-Dip, LLC of Meridian, Idaho. Examples of Hydro-Dip’s work are shown above. Francis writes: “Scott, Adam, and old man Rod Springer own and run Hydro-Dip. This is a company that will ‘paint’ your rifle, tool box, trailer, airplane, whatever and will do an excellent job while doing it. Check out their archives of jobs done. You will be amazed. I’ve not had one of their jobs done for any of mine (yet) but I’m considering it. Those who have had their rifles done tell me the cost is very reasonable. I have seen a few stocks done and they are works of art.”

Hydro-dipping (water transfer printing) can be performed on virtually any metal or plastic surface. You can Hydro-dip car parts, archery gear, rifle stocks — you name it. Watch the process in the video:

CLICK VIDEO to See Hydro-Dipping Process!

Hydro-Dip of Idaho

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product 8 Comments »
September 2nd, 2017

Fore and Aft Rifle, Rest, and Bag Positioning for Accuracy

Benchrest stock

To get the best accuracy out of any benchrest rifle, you need to find the optimal position of front rest and rear bag. The important point to remember is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6BR sits in a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).

Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).

Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.

front rest Sally benchrest IBS
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.

Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.

Joel Kendrick

Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.

stock position benchrest forearm sandbag front rest
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.

Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.

Rifle photo courtesy Johnson’s Precision Gunsmithing (Bakersfield, CA).

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
January 18th, 2017

SHOT Show Day One — New Products

Kelbly Rimfire Anschutz  PRS F-TR trainer

Here are new Rimfire Cross-Trainer Rifles from Kelbly’s. These feature Anschutz .22LR rimfire actions in full-size, competition stocks. This is a great offering for F-TR, prone, and long-range competitors looking to train with less expensive rimfire ammo. Kelbly’s will sell these as complete rifles with rimfire actions bedded in fiberglass stocks.

SHOT Show, held every year in Las Vegas, is the largest gun show in North America. Thousands of exhibitors showcase hosts of new products — rifles, pistols, shotguns, optics, stocks, reloading tools, bullets, brass, powders, hunting accessories and much more. This is the ultimate “candy store” for gun guys, with literally “miles of aisles” and countless products on display. Here are some of the more interesting items we saw during Day One of SHOT Show.

Howa HCR Chassis Rifle
All decked out in a Camo Cerakote finish, the new Howa HCR Chassis rifle was an eye-catcher. Designed for PRS-type competition, the HCR features a modular aluminum stock with a separate buttstock section with adjustable comb and adjustable length of pull. The HCR will be offered in four chamberings: .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. There will be standard and heavy barrel options with 20″, 22″, and 24″ lengths. The rear of the stock accepts AR-type furniture (for those guys who need to customize). This new rifle will be sold in Black or Multicam Cerakote finishes. A package will be offered with Nikko Stirling 4-16x50mm scope and EGW 20-MOA, one-piece base and rings.

Howa HCR Tactical PRS Rifle Modular 6.5 Creedmoor

New Viper PST Gen II Scopes from Vortex
The versatile Viper PST series can work for many disciplines — Target Shooting, 3-Gun, Hunting, or Precision Long Range. The new second generation PSTs offer many improvements, with four new models for 2017: 1-6x24mm, 2-10×32mm, 3-15×44mm, and 5-25×50mm: Vortex offers a wide magnification range with its 2017 line-up of Viper PSTs. These new scopes offer tall tactical turrets and side-focus parallax adjustment with integrated illumination. To ensure reliable return-to-zero, all new models feature the patented RZR Zero Stop from the Razor HD 5-20×50 riflescope. Reticles include Vortex’s new EBR-4 and EBR-2C with MOA or MRAD stadia to match your turrets. First Focal Plane reticles are available on select models.

Vortex Viper PST Gen II Optics Scope

Savage AR10-Type MSR in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win
Our friends Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) visited the Savage booth to take a look at the new Savage MSR Long-Range model, an AR10-type modular semi-auto rifle with a Magpul PRS Gen3 buttstock. The 6.5 Guys report: “Savage’s new MSR 10 Long Range Rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win. It appears to be a terrific option for those wanted to compete in the new PRS Gas Gun Series. It is built on a compact frame with a non-reciprocating side-charging handle that is particularly useful for left-handed shooters. The Blackhawk AR Blaze™ two-stage target trigger was light and crisp. It features an upgraded Savage barrel, with 5R rifling and a Melonite QPQ finish. Read more new practical/tactical product reports at www.65guys.com.

Savage MSR Long Range AR10 PRS Gas Gun

New Accurate No. 11FS Low-Flash Pistol Powder
Western Powders showcased a new Accurate powder that delivers 90% less muzzle flash, while still offering good consistency and accuracy. Accurate No. 11FS (for Flash Suppressed) is designed for magnum pistols, and small rifle rounds such as the Hornet. The advanced flash-suppressing formula dramatically reduces muzzle flash in many large pistol cartridges. Notably, this Accurate 11FS was specifically designed to work with the .300 Blackout cartridge.

Accurate No. 11FS Powder Pistol Low Flash Suppressed Magnum

Enhanced Bluetooth Connectivity for Kestrel
At the Kestrel booth, we learned that Kestrel will be offering an enhanced LiNK Bluetooth low-energy enabled protocol that will allow wireless connections with a greater variety of devices. This will allow Kestrels to share data with Bushnell, Wilcox, and Vectronix Laser Rangefinders, Steiner LRF Binoculars and many other devices. This kind of connectivity allows Kestrel windmeters to be more versatile than ever.

Kestrel LiNK Low Energy Bluetooth LRF connectivity wireless

Big Boomer Brass from Peterson Cartridge
For those who shoot the .408 or .375 Cheytac, sourcing top-quality brass has been a challenge in the past. That’s changed with the introduction of premium Cheytac brass from Peterson Cartridge Company. Along with the new Cheytac brass, Peterson produces quality casings for other large rifle cartridges including: .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and 7mm Rem Magnum. Peterson’s brass offerings for smaller match cartridges include: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, .308 Win Palma (Small Primer Pocket), and .308 Win Match.

Peterson Cartridge Brass Cheytac .338 .408 .375 Magnum

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
January 15th, 2017

What Are the Best Bedding Materials? Speedy Speaks

Marine-Tex Pillar Bedding Marine-Tex Bedding Block Aluminum Actions

A customer of well-known gunsmith (and Hall-of-Fame shooter) Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez recently asked Speedy about bedding compounds. Speedy offered some interesting advice based on long-term testing of various materials. Speedy favors Marine-Tex because it is very stable over time, while other materials can shrink up to 6% dimensionally. A good bedding job should be a perfect fit to your barreled action. If the bedding material shrinks over time, that is NOT a good thing….

Speedy’s customer asked: “I know you’re not a Devcon man in regards to bedding compounds but I respect your input in such matters and my question is this in regard to aluminum actions. If Devcon was considered, for an aluminum action, would you prefer aluminum compound formula or steel formula? I personally prefer Devcon steel and Marine-Tex for steel receivers but my experience with aluminum is limited. Also do you have a release agent preference that works better with aluminum?”

Speedy answered: “My only preference of one epoxy over another is their stability over time. My buddy who works for the Texas State Weights and Measures Department had me cast several of the most common types of epoxies used for bedding into 1.000″ machined blocks. After one year of being kept in a controlled climate and measured for shrinkage monthly, the Marine Tex shrunk only 1/10th of 1% (i.e. 0.1%) whereas almost all the others (including Devcon Steel formula, Devcon Aluminum formula…) shrunk 3% to 6%. The only other compounds that matched the Marine Tex were Araldite 1253 and Araldite 2014, with the latter being quite expensive for daily use.”

Marine-Tex Pillar Bedding Marine-Tex Bedding Block Aluminum Actions

Speedy added: “The Marine Tex Grey has no atomized metal in its makeup even though it appears that it does. This can be proven by the use of a strong neodymium magnet. What is humorous to me is that people don’t like aluminum yet will bed their actions atop aluminum pillars that have twice the coefficient of expansion (COE) of steel. Like Devcon, it is what people have always done and used. Thus [they] perpetuate the same old stuff. That’s my two cents’ worth. But as I tell everyone, ‘I’ll tell you what I know or do, but it’s not my job to convince anyone to do it my way’.”

Release Agents — Try Shoe Polish
Regarding release agents, Speedy stated: “I use Kiwi Neutral or Tan shoe polish. This works great and you can find it anywhere. Do NOT use the black or brown as it will stick.”

Marine-Tex Pillar Bedding Marine-Tex Bedding Block Aluminum Actions

View More Photos of Speedy Inletting and Bedding Job
CLICK HERE to see an interesting bedding job done by Speedy using a custom titanium bedding block. Speedy notes, “The stock was a raw blank requiring full inletting for the action to fit properly plus the titanium block. All the loading ports, bolt handle cut, bolt stop, and trigger guard cuts were done with diamond tooling to eliminate fraying and/or delamination of the wood.” You’ll find more projects by Speedy on his Facebook Page. Speedy is in San Antonio, Texas now, and accepting new projects with his company S.G. Rifles LLC.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
October 15th, 2016

Unique Metal and Wood Hybrid Stock for .284 Shehane Savage

Aluminum Savage Free-float Action Wood Hybrid stock Michigan F-Class F-Open
Click Photo to see large version.

Here is a very interesting rifle, a true metal/wood hybrid that combines an aluminum front section with figured walnut in the rear half. As you can see, this unique rifle also features a barrel block that allows the Savage action to float. You may be wondering “how is the metal section connected to the wood?” The gun’s owner/builder epoxied a stainless steel tube in the wood and that tube is secured in the aluminum fore-end with set screws.

Aluminum Savage Free-float Action Wood Hybrid stock Michigan F-Class F-Open

Forum member Justin V. reports: “Sometime last fall my buddy wanted to build barrel-blocked Bavage. He is a machinist by trade so he was able to build all of the custom components himself. I know he put a ton of time into this thing over the winter, taking his time to get it done right. If you shoot in Cadillac or Midland, Michigan you will probably see him around. He tried to shoot a match this past weekend but was rained out. Hopefully it will stop raining in Michigan so he can see what it can do at 600 yards. Here are the results….” Learn more about this gun in this FORUM Thread.

(more…)

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 4 Comments »
September 12th, 2016

Wood Furniture Transforms Black Rifle — Home DIY Project

ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

The rear stock and grip (shown above) come from the commercial LUCID AR Stock Kit. But Forum member Brian V. custom-made this one-piece walnut forearm.
ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

Forum member Brian V. (aka “Carbide”) wanted a new look for his “modern sporting rifle”. He was tired of looking at black plastic (or FDE, OD green) and aluminum components on his AR15. So he decided to fit wood “furniture” on the rifle. He ordered a wood butt-stock and fore-arm set made by Lucid, but he didn’t like the two-piece fore-arm of the Lucid stock set. He decided he could build something better than the commercially-available, Lucid-made wood fore-arm.

ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

Lathe-Turned Custom Walnut Sleeve in Front
So Brian took his existing AR tubular fore-arm and epoxied a walnut sleeve to it. With a lathe, Brian then turned the walnut sleeve to his desired dimensions: 2.250″ diameter in back and 2.200″ diameter in front, so there’s a little taper. Brian says “I could have gone a little thinner.” The wood fore-end was then sanded and stained to match the Lucid-made rear section. Brian says “the stain is not quite a perfect match, but but it looks a lot better.”

Does Brian like his new wood-stocked AR? Absolutely. He says the conversion makes the gun more user-friendly: “The wood is warmer to carry in winter and quieter.” He adds that the wood sleeve added about four ounces of weight to the fore-end, but that did not affect the handling.

We think this is a good “do-it-yourself” project that could be done by many of our readers. You can simply install the Lucid stock set or customize the front end like Brian did. Either way, you end up with a good-looking rifle that feels better in your hands.

LUCID AR15 Wood Stock Sets Are Sold by Brownells.com: CLICK HERE to ORDER.
ar15 wood stock Lucid Brownells

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
December 23rd, 2015

PMA Tool Offers Adjustable Stock Weight System

PMA Toll weight system

PMA Tool now offers a unique “adjustable” Stock Weight System with variable weighting from 2 to 8 ounces (including internal sleeve). This $65.95 system allows the shooter to add or remove weight (in the buttstock) to balance the gun, or adjust the weight to meet class weight limits. Say, for example you were running at max weight but then changed your scope for a new optic that weighed 4 ounces less. With this system, you can easily get back up to the “legal limit”. You can also use the weight to adjust balance when running barrels of different lengths or contours.

The PMA Stock Weight system is made up of a sleeve, a nut and three interchangeable weights. The sleeve and nut weigh 2 ounces (combined) and weight inserts of 2, 4 and 6 ounces are included in the system. The sleeve is machined from aluminum, while the nut and weights are machined from stainless steel. All weights are roll-stamped with their weights and “coin-slotted” so they can be easily installed using a screwdriver or coin. The nut utilizes a 1/4″ hex wrench for removal from the sleeve and installation of weights.

While installation of these Stock Weight Systems is fairly simple, PMA states that: “The sleeve should be installed into the buttstock by someone with some mechanical aptitude and an understanding of stock construction, preferably a trained gunsmith or stock-fitter.”

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
December 19th, 2015

Hands of a Master Craftsman — Doan Trevor

Doan Trevor

Doan Trevor is a master gunsmith and stock-maker who works in the old style. He still hand-crafts stocks from start to finish, and does all the metal-work on the custom rifles he builds. Starting with highly-figured woods, Doan carves and shapes his stocks largely by hand, with meticulous attention to detail. Each rifle he builds is optimized for its intended discipline, and custom-fitted for the customer.

Doan Trevor Customer Gunsmithing

With the help of his talented wife Sue (who does the photography and builds the web pages), Doan has created a wonderful website, DoanTrevor.com, that is a feast for the eyes. You can see beautiful wood-stocked rifles being hand-crafted. Doan also illustrates how he creates custom metal parts, and how he beds barreled actions into the finished stocks.

Doan Trevor Customer Gunsmithing

Doan Trevor Customer Gunsmithing
Doan Trevor Customer Gunsmithing

Set aside a few minutes and visit Doan’s website. Be sure to click on the site’s secondary pages: Rifle Building, Woodworking, and Metalworking. You’ll find dozens of high-quality photos and fascinating information on gun-building.

Doan Trevor Customer Gunsmithing

For more information, visit DoanTrevor.com, or call (505) 890-0368, 10am-5pm M-F.

Doan Trevor RifleBuilding
4119 Lanceleaf Ct NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114
505-890-0368

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
December 12th, 2015

Polish Master Creates Amazing Wood Stocks

Polish Łukasz Pietruszka rifle stock video

There’s a chap in Poland named Łukasz Pietruszka, who is a bonafide “Wizard of Wood”. Lukasz handcrafts unique custom stocks, selling them through his LP Gunstocks company. Many of his most eye-catching stocks are for airguns (particularly Field Target rifles), but he also produces fine stocks for rimfire and centerfire hunting rifles. Lukasz is a master carver who includes exquisite details on many of his stocks. Some of these designs, crafted from exotic hardwoods, raise stock-crafting to an art form.

Łukasz Pietruszka rifle stock wood turkish walnut
Check out the figure on this Turkish Walnut stock by Łukasz Pietruszka.

You can see a variety of Lukasz’s stocks in a video sampler. If you’re a fan of fine wood, you’ll love this video. So pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy this 16-minute video interlude.

Polish rifle stock videoWatch Video in High Definition
NOTE: We recommend you view this video in high definition, in wide screen format. To do this, start the video, then click on the gear-shaped icon at the lower right-hand corner of the video frame (it’s located just to the right of the clock icon). If you have a fast internet connection, select 720P or 1080P from the pop-up menu. (1080P is the highest resolution.) Now select theater mode or full-screen mode using the small icons on the lower right of the frame.

Radical ‘Shockwave’ from LP Gunstocks
Here is a truly amazing bit of craftmanship. The images below show a one-of-a-kind Shockwave stock created by Łukasz for a Steyr Field Target air rifle. Over the top? Perhaps… but you have to admire the imaginative design and exquisite worksmanship.

Polish Łukasz Pietruszka rifle stock video

Polish Łukasz Pietruszka rifle stock video

Polish Łukasz Pietruszka rifle stock video

Video find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing No Comments »
November 28th, 2015

Home Shop Project: Modifying a Kimber 82G for Benchrest Use

A while back, Roy Bertalotto acquired a budget-priced Kimber 82G rimfire target rifle from the CMP. The Kimber comes with an oiled-wood stock that works fine for three-position training, but Roy wanted to shoot the gun for the bench. The original Kimber stock, with its narrow, radiused forearm, was not ideal for this purpose. Roy wanted a wide, flat fore-end, which is much more stable in the bags. Rather that spend hundreds on a new benchrest stock, Roy modified his Kimber’s original stock by slicing a section off the bottom of the stock and then replacing this with a 3/4″ X 2 3/4″ X 15″ piece of walnut.

WATCH Project Stages in Slide-Show Below:

Roy explains: “The modification I did on my Kimber 82G stock was done using a milling machine, hand planes, files, die grinder and sand paper. It can also be done with simple hand tools — it will just take longer. The first step is removing the wood on the bottom of the fore-end. This was accomplished in the milling machine. A scrap piece of 2X8 was mounted to the milling machine’s table and the surface milled to be perfectly flat. The Kimber stock was screwed to this 2X8 with two large screws and the bottom of the stock was milled flat. Once this was done, a piece of 3/4″ X 2 3/4″ X 15″ walnut was glued using West System epoxy to the cut out area. I use West System epoxy in boat building, but any good wood glue will work.”

After gluing the new bottom piece in place, Roy milled the sides to provide side flats with a radius to transition from the wider lower section to the narrower upper part of the fore-end. As a added enhancement, Roy contoured the rear of the fore-end to blend with the rear of the stock, adding what he calls “1965 Ford Mustang side scoops”. Roy then used a Die Grinder with a 1.5″ sanding wheel to modify the wrist area to provide more thumb relief.

Following the cutting, milling, gluing, and shaping, Roy sanded with 150 grit and 300 grit sandpaper before applying multiple coats of Tung Oil. Once the main stock was completed, Roy completed the project by crafting an extended buttplate from a couple pieces of 1/8″ aluminum and two 1.5″ aluminum tubes, “all polished to a slightly less than mirror finish”. NOTE: This metal buttplate assembly was made from scratch (other than the pad). This is not an aftermarket extension kit.

Overall the gun turned out very nicely. Log on to Roy’s RVB Precision webpage to learn more about this Kimber stock modification project, and view more photos of the building process.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
June 26th, 2015

Amazing Air-Brush Paint Job on McMillan 50-LBR Stock

Ronnie Smith McMillan Benchrest Stock S&S Dallas Airbrush Rifle

Benchrest shooter Ronnie Smith had the folks at S&S Precision craft a barrel block benchrest gun with a McMillan 50 LBR stock. While the metal work (and block installation) is impressive, the rig’s jaw-dropping feature is an amazing paint job applied by artist David Tidwell of Dallas Airbrush. Ronnie wanted a stock that didn’t look like anything else you’ve ever seen. Working from Ronnie’s concept of a junkyard-sourced rifle, Tidwell created a masterpiece of airbrushing. The finished stock looks like it was hammered from old beat-up metal, complete with dents, grind marks, hollows, Bondo, and wire-mesh patches. Watch the video below to see how this amazing paint job was applied, from start to finish. (Definitely worth watching!)

If you have a stock you’d like painted by David Tidwell, visit DallasAirbrush.com, call 214-529-4410 or email: david [at] dallasairbrush.com. Dallas Airbrush currently sprays out of Texas Body Works, 2415 Midway Rd Suite 111, Plano, TX 75025.

Ronnie Smith McMillan Benchrest stock S&S Dallas Airbrush Rifle

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing No Comments »
May 5th, 2015

New F1 F-Open Stock from Competition Machine

F-Class, F-Open Stock Eliseo, Aluminum chassis system, Offset stock, F-TR

Here are exclusive “Spy Shots” of a soon-to-be released project, the all-new F-Open chassis system from Competition Machine (Gary Eliseo). Dubbed the “F1″ stock by Gary, this radical new chassis system is designed expressly for F-Open competition. With a super-low Center of Gravity (COG), the F1 boasts many innovative features including an epoxy-lined barrel block that allows the action to float. The F1’s length-of-pull is adjustable for length while the buttpad holder adjusts for height.

The stock, which will work with any type of action, should sell for about the same price as a fully-adjustable fiberglass stock. Competition Machine hopes to start shipping F1 stocks in summer 2015.

The F1 stock will accept any action, long or short, right-hand or left-hand. The F1 is shown below with a Pierce magnum long action.
F-Class, F-Open Stock Eliseo, Aluminum chassis system, Offset stock, F-TR

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Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, New Product 14 Comments »
April 26th, 2015

MagPul Offers NEW Hunter X-22 Stock for Ruger 10/22

Magpul caused a stir with its surprise introduction of an advanced stock for Rem 700 actions. Now Magpul has followed that with a product that could be even more successful — a tactical-style reinforced polymer stock for the popular Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle.

Hunter Stock X-22 Ruger 10/22 rimfire smallbore stock

Priced at just $139.95, Magpul’s new Hunter X-22 stock features tactical styling and adjustable ergonomics. Like Magpul’s Hunter 700 stock for the Rem 700, the new X-22 stock offers adjustable length-of-pull (LOP) via spacers, plus adjustable comb height via optional Cheek Riser Kits. To ensure compatibility with all Ruger 10/22s, the Magpul X-22 stock features an innovative reversible barrel tray that fits heavy bull barrels as with as thinner, factory-contour barrels. Fitted with M-LOK accessory slots and a rubber buttpad, Magpul’s new Hunter X-22 will be offered in four colors: Black, Gray, Dark Earth (Tan), Olive Drab (Green). See all four colors below:

Hunter Stock X-22 Ruger 10/22 rimfire smallbore stock

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April 11th, 2015

Black Walnut and Carbon Rimfire BR Stock from Ireland

Anschutz Rimfire Benchrest Walnut CarbonOur Irish Friend Enda Walsh has been working overtime on a new project, and it’s a beauty. Enda has produced some stunning wood stocks for long-range F-Class applications, and now he’s come up with a new design for the short-range rimfire game. Enda’s new stock combines an ergonomic, prone-style grip area with a stiff, carbon-reinforced fore-end. The very front of the stock features “winglets” for smooth bag-riding. Believe it or not, this stock weighs under two pounds!

Enda tells us: “This Benchrest stock was the most time-consuming job I’ve done in a while as there was a two-pound weight limit. I used black walnut and carbon fiber to achieve a very strong yet lightweight stock. The stock features a lacquer finish and the .22LR Anschütz action was pillar-bedded into the stock. I’m delighted to have ended up with a stock weight of one pound, 15 ounces.”

Anschutz Rimfire Benchrest Walnut Carbon

About Enda Walsh, Master Stock-Maker
There are few master craftsmen who can create a truly “bespoke” wood stock customized for the owner. Ireland’s Enda Walsh is one such talent. Through Custom & Precision Rifles Ireland, Enda creates high-quality stocks for hunters, prone shooters, and F-class competitors. Enda first started building stocks in 2001 for himself and friends, and grew the business over time. Enda explains: “Demand gradually increased until in 2009 the decision was taken to make it my full-time occupation. My goal with my business is to manufacture precise custom rifle stocks to the highest standard, tailored in every detail to best serve the shooters requirements.” Enda adds: “I started Guns Stocks Ireland (now Custom & Precision Rifles Ireland) to produce custom, individually-tailored gunstocks. I build from hand casts so your gun is genuinely an extension of your arm.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 2 Comments »
January 21st, 2015

Preacher Builds Stock the Old-Fashioned Way — with Hand Tools

Forum member Preacher recently crafted a nice varmint rifle for fellow Forum member Dave 0. (aka “Waskawood”). But rather than buy an off-the-shelf stock, Preacher crafted this stock all by hand, starting from a laminated blank panel. He calls this stock project his “Axe Job”.

CLICK for Full-size Photo
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

This stock is being used on a prairie dog rifle, chambered for a 17-caliber wildcat, the 17 VHA, which is based on an H&K 4.6x30mm parent case. With about nine grains of 300 MP pistol powder, the 17 VHA drives 20-grainers at about 3850 fps. (SEE details at end of article).

The ‘Axe Job’

Report by Preacher
I like carving with the laminates because all the lines are right there in front of my eyes, so it’s easy to follow along and get it just right, until it’s pleasing to the eye. I never use a template, I just keep checking the lines as I go along. I have all the needed equipment to power build one of these, but I really enjoy the time spent on the hand work. From start to completely ready-to-install, I’ll have about six (6) weeks into one of these stock projects. A lot of that is drying time for the clear coats.

A little work with the hand axe, after a trip through the band saw…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

The majority of the laminated blank panels I use for my gunstocks are purchased directly from Cousineau Wood Products or from Rutply.com. You have to buy at least four full panels at a time, all the same color, but that will yield eight (8) stocks. Seems like I have a little over $150.00 in a blank large enough to start making a full-sized, benchrest-style stock.

A little work with a chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little work with a rasp. (Before I was rich and famous and could afford really good rasps, I used a good old horse shoe rasp.)
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A little more work with the chisel…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Preacher’s Advice on Carving Your Own Stock
The one main advantage of being older that dirt, and tormented with MS the past 40 years, is lots of free time to enjoy what ever I can do these days, as long as I can set down to do it, and I can make a lot of wood chips setting down.

Any one can do this if they have the time to devote to it. All it takes is time and a good eye for details. I made a lot of firewood over the years, until I got the hang of it. Most all those problems were inletting, and screw hole spacing. Get those right the first time and you’re on your way….

A little more work with the rasp…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

A few coats of Auto clear has it about buttoned up…
hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Micro 17 VHA Wildcat
Here’s the finished rifle built by Preacher for Dave, using the ‘Axe Job’ stock. Dave tells us: “Preacher chambered the rifle for the 17 VHA, a wildcat based on the H&K 4.6x30mm MP7 PDW case necked down to 17 caliber. There are numerous articles in the Varmint Hunter’s Magazine about it. This efficient little round shoots 20gr ballistic tips at 3850+ fps. That’s not too shabby for ‘nine point something’ grains of pistol powder.”

“My intentions for my 17 VHA rifle are to plop down in the middle of a PD town with my swivel bench and shoot prairie dogs. I also thought it would be a nice platform to test the accuracy of the cartridge. If I like the little round as well as I think, I plan to build a more practical rifle that I can carry. I really want to thank Preacher for his patience with me through this project, as it was my first custom build.”

hand made axe job stock 17 VMA varmint

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
January 19th, 2015

SHOT Show Product Previews — Pick of the Litter

SHOT Show kicks off tomorrow, January 20th. As a sneak preview, here are some new (or newly marketed) products that will be on display in Las Vegas. We’ve reviewed nearly 500 featured products and here are some cool items that caught our eye. The AMP annealing machine is a break-through technology, and we’d love to have one of those AG Composites Carbon stocks for an M1A. The Bix’N Andy trigger isn’t really new, though most American’s haven’t seen one yet. It really is a gem. Enjoy these product snapshots. We’ll provide more “hands-on” reporting over the coming week.

AMP Induction Annealing Machine
Source: Bullet Proof Samples LLC, AmpAnnealing.com
Annealing Made Perfect (“AMP”) is a pre-programmed, fully-calibrated induction annealer. Extensive metallurgy testing has laboratory verified the temperature/time program settings, allowing precise and repeatable neck hardness every time. The AMP can handle cases from .17 to .338 caliber. Change from one cartridge size to another in seconds. The sophisticated calibration eliminates guesswork, so you don’t have to just “burn-off” lacquers and a stop-watch. Just select the correct program, set the pilot, and start annealing. Proper annealing provides more consistent neck tension and that translates to lower ES/SD and better accuracy, particularly at long range.

X-15 Side Charged Upper (SCU)
Source: X Products
The standard AR rear-pull charging handle is annoying, particularly when shooting prone. The folks as X-Products have a smart solution, an upper with a side-charging handle. We’ve seen side-charge uppers before, but these were custom mods. The $299.00 X-15 Side Charged Upper is a turnkey solution that works with a standard AR-15 bolt and carrier. No machining or modification is needed. The elevated charging position allows the bolt carrier to be operated with a proprietary cam pin that is included with the upper. The manufacture claims its X-15 upper offers “Increased performance with a gas slide that covers the charging port preventing gas and debris from hitting the operator when suppressed”.


Bargain-Priced Composite Stock with Bedding Block
Source: Stocky’s Stocks
This $199.00 stock combines the latest glass-filled nylon composite technology with Stocky’s proven AccuBlock aluminum bedding technology for Remington 700 barreled actions. These stocks are offered in varmint, target, tactical, and hunting rifle models. All variants offer a “drop-in” solution for Rem 700 actions. The $199.00 price is makes this a bargain solution for hunters and varminters who want to upgrade from a flexy “tupperware” stock.

Bix’N Andy Match-Grade Triggers
Source: BulletCentral.com
Bix’n Andy is an Austrian company that crafts some of the best triggers on the planet. Gunsmith Andy Atzl uses a unique ball bearing mechanism that allows for incredibly precise trigger pull weight adjustments. BulletCentral’s owners says: “Andy’s work is consistently top quality and we are lucky to be the exclusive North American importer and distributor for his products.”

Peterson Cartridge Brass
Source: Peterson Cartridge Co.
We welcome any company that’s jumping into the brass marketplace. Competition among brass-makers is always a good thing. For 2015, Pennsylvania-based Peterson Cartridge Co. will offer “match-grade” rifle brass for four (4) cartridge types: .308 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, 300 Winchester Magnum, and 338 Lapua Magnum. On Peterson’s website, you’ll find a page that illustrates each stage in the brass-making process, from cupping to final trim and annealing. If you’ve ever been curious about how brass is made, check out Peterson’s Cartridge Manufacturing Process Page.

AG Composites Carbon Fiber Components
Source: AG Composites LLC
AG Composites specializes in the design, development and production of high performance composite components. AG makes carbon fiber rifle stocks, handguards and buttstocks, and AG can also provide carbon fiber OEM components for manufacturers. Check this handsome AG carbon fiber stock on an M1A. That brings an old Battle Rifle design into the 21st Century.

Bulletproof Safari Vest
Source: Miguel Caballero
This “discrete” bulletproof Safari Vest was originally created for celebrities, VIP clients, and business executives. However, this product could also benefit those involved in firearms training or range operations. (It only takes one Accidental Discharge by a newbie to spoil your whole day.) This vest features light, flexible, yet strong ballistic materials that meet NIJ 0101.06 standards. The Safari Vest features a front overlap that functions as an anti-trauma plate protecting the thorax. For increased comfort, the vest is engineered to distribute the weight evenly front to back.

Smith & Wesson Ported M&P Pistols
Source: Smith & Wesson
New from the Smith & Wesson Performance Center are four new Ported M&P pistols. What makes these pistols unique is the fact that they have ported barrels for reduced muzzle flip, as well as an adjustable trigger stop. Stop by S&W SHOT Show Booth #13729 to have closer look at all the features.

Swab-Its 17-Caliber and 22-Caliber Bore-Whips
Source: Super Brush
The Swab-its folks have just made it even easier to clean .177 air rifles, .17 caliber rimfire or centerfire rifles, and .22 caliber lever action and semi-auto rifles. Bore-Whips feature a 45″ polypropylene cord tipped with a durable, reusable swab. This handy, pull-through design allows for cleaning the proper way, from breech to muzzle. The bright-colored Neon Orange (.17 cal) and Neon Green (.22 Cal) plastic cords do double-duty, acting as Empty Chamber Indicators (ECI) at the range. Swab-its Bore-whips are available in 3-packs for both .17 and .22 calibers. Check out samples at SHOT Show Booth #1241.

Thanks to Forum member M500 for Product Tips.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
January 17th, 2015

Magpul Introduces $259.95 Tactical-Type Stock for Rem 700s

Magpul Rem 700 Stock Remington tactical chassis

Gear Report by Kip Staton
Magpul jumped feet-first into the bolt-action precision rifle market by dropping a teaser video of their Hunter 700 chassis/stock system. Feast your eyes on this video that shows Magpul’s new chassis system in action:

The Hunter 700 (MSRP $259.95) is built around a ruggedly anodized aluminum bedding block, and utilizes a standard Magpul SGA cheek riser and spacers (from the shotgun line). It also features forward M-LOK slots, as well as multiple points to mount swivel studs and QD sockets. Weight is a svelte 2.9 pounds, and the system is compatible with factory Remington 700 bottom metal. And that’s not all.

Magpul Rem 700 Stock Remington tactical chassis
Magpul Rem 700 Stock Remington tactical chassis

By removing a spacer in the stock, end-users can convert the rifle to feed from the company’s new steel/polymer Bolt Action Magazine Well, which accepts standard AICS pattern magazines. MSRP for the conversion is an impressive $69.95, and that price even includes a mag. But — hold on — it gets even better (look at the photo carefully).

Magpul Rem 700 Stock Remington tactical chassis

Yup. It feeds from PMAGs. New, AICS-compatible PMAGs. The PMAG-5 7.62 AC is a fully-featured polymer magazine, with an anti-tilt follower and MSRP of $34.95. Interestingly, the magazine holds five (5) rounds to comply with hunting regulations, but the follower features a trimmable, pre-scored stop that allows users to increase capacity by a single round for other purposes.

Magpul Rem 700 Stock Remington tactical chassis

Magpul promises that this is just the beginning for their precision rifle accessory line, hinting at a larger-capacity PMAG-10 7.62 AC in the future, as well as other calibers. Anybody running AICS pattern mags (and that’s quite a few serious precision rifle guys) should be stoked about these new products.

About the Writer
Kip Staton is a freelance gun writer based in North Texas, and loves to blog about news within the firearms industry and his perceptions on marksmanship at KipStaton.com. He served as the weekend range manager of the North Texas Shooter’s Association from 2010-2012, at which point he began performing sales consultations for a major online firearms retailer. Currently, Kip is a content marketer, copywriter and digital strategist for an award-winning Dallas marketing agency.

To read more gear reviews by Kip, visit KipStaton.com.

Permalink New Product, Tactical 6 Comments »