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February 6th, 2012

Patent Awarded for Overmolding on Patterned Gunstocks

Polymer Injection Molding (PIM) of Monson, MA has been awarded U.S. Patent 68,062,736 for overmolding gunstocks coated with a decorative or protective substrate. Overmolding typically is used to enhance synthetic stocks by molding a soft, rubber-like material to gripped areas of a gunstock (fore-end and pistol grip). Sometimes overmolding is applied to the entire stock. Overmolding also is used to decorate stocks with contrasting colors and textures.

OvermoldingApplying overmolding to a decorated gunstock (camo, wood grain, etc.) has proven to be extremely difficult and costly and has not been practiced widely. As a result, overmolded stocks typically have a black, grey, tan or other basic, out-of-the-mold colors. See, e.g. the Hogue Over-Molded stocks. PIM’s patented technology changes all that. Now overmolding can be applied over camo-dipped and other patterned stocks. This is typically done in key contact areas on the fore-arm and on the pistol grip section.

According to PIM President Jim Ryan, “We did our first overmolded stock for a gun manufacturer over ten years ago. It wasn’t long before everybody wanted to camo and overmold the same stock. That proved to be easier said than done. Masking the overmolded part makes a horrible mess and overmolding directly over camo (without our process) has big adhesion problems. We experimented for a long time before coming up with a process that worked. We overmold over camo day-in and day-out without any problem. It looks great and holds up as well as direct overmolding applications”.

Craig Dougherty, PIM’s Marketing Director, echoed Ryan’s comments. “The ultimate added value is to decorate with camo and overmold the grip areas with a complementary color. We’ve done a lot of basic black over camo but overmolded tan, grey and green grips really punch it up. Now that our technology is protected, we expect to be doing more variations”. For more info, visit the PIM website at www.gunvalleymolders.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »
July 29th, 2010

New Ballard-Designed F-TR Stock from Precision Rifle & Tool

F-TR lowboy gunstockCharles Ballard, two-time U.S. F-class Open Champion, has been working with Precision Rifle & Tool on a new F-TR (Target Rifle) stock. Charles designed the stock to combine the adjustability of the better F-Open designs with a nice rigid fore-end for bipod use. Charles has shot the new stock in competition and he says it tracks really well. When fitted with a wide-base bipod, the stock is super-stable, with minimal hop on recoil.

The new stock is officially called the “Ballard LowBoy F-Class Target Rifle (F-TR) Stock”. This new design is available immediately, in a variety of laminated colors, starting at $325.00 (without hardware). The stock can be inletted for Rem 700 actions, Rem 700 clones, the Savage Target Action, and most custom actions.

Key Features of the new Ballard F-TR stock are:

  • Extended front to provide proper balance with long barrels.
  • Low profile design for a lower, more stable center of gravity.
  • Buttstock has a 1/2″ machined flat on the bottom and angled sides to provide superior tracking in the rear bag.
  • Buttstock has a slight angle to allow minor elevation adjustments.
  • Optional adjustable buttplate and optional adjustable cheekpiece.

F-TR lowboy gunstock

Stock Delivery Options Dictate the Price
Precision Rifle & Tool can deliver the Ballard LowBoy F-TR in any state of completion the customer desires. The basic stock costs $325, inletted for your action, but unfinished and without hardware. Complete with removable/adjustable cheekpiece, and adjustable buttplate, the stock costs $900.00 ready to be bedded and finished. Clear-coating or oil finish is available at extra cost.

YouTube Preview Image

In the video, Charles Ballard gives you a “walk-around” of the stock and explains the stock’s design features. The high-tech, carbon fiber bipod is made by Center Shot Engineering in Oregon. For more info, or to order a Ballard LowBoy F-TR stock, visit PrecisionRifleSales.com, or call (336) 516-5132. Charles Ballard himself can talk you through the options.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 2 Comments »
July 9th, 2010

3D Laser Scanner Used for Replicating Stock Designs

rifle stock duplicatorFor more than a century, makers of rifle stocks have used large, complicated mechanical duplicators to reproduce stock designs. These contraptions rely on mechanical linkages to follow the lines of a stock and reproduce the shape on a new blank. Now new 3D scanning technology and CNC milling systems may render the mechanical stock duplicator obsolete. Laser Design Inc. (LDI) has developed a system of scanning lasers that creates an ultra-precise 3D model of a gunstock. Digital CAD data from the scans is then used to program a CNC milling machine that produces exact duplicates of the original stock.

Keystone Sporting Arms, LLC, of Milton, PA, has already started producing rifle stocks modeled on designs derived from laser scans. Keystone, one of the nation’s biggest producers of gunstocks, turned to the laser-scanning technology after Keystone purchased another stock-maker. Keystone wanted to continue to produce the acquired company’s legacy models. However, there were no CAD models for those older stock designs. Keystone had already invested heavily in the machining equipment and needed to be able to quickly generate CAD data from scanning a master model of the stock.

rifle stock duplicator

Keystone owner Steve McNeal knew that 3D laser scanning was able to produce excellent results when reverse-engineering rifle stocks. When an object is hard to measure manually or with a touch probe due to its irregular surface contours, non-contact 3D laser scanning can produce accurate CAD data very quickly. The Keystone stock scans were done with a 7-axis Faro Platinum articulating arm fitted with an SLP-330 laser probe. LSI’s technical experts helped Keystone create crisp well-defined edges and corners in the data files — this is key to the reverse-engineering process. The scanning process is fast, and exporting directly to MasterCAM for milling is extremely efficient.

Amazingly, the scans from a single stock contained over 18 million data coordinates. This enormous amount of data was then exported to MasterCAM to create the CNC toolpaths. From start to finish, the project took only three hours for the scanning, data editing, and export to MasterCAM.

rifle stock duplicator

How Laser Scanning Works
Scanning free-form shapes and irregular surfaces, such as curved gun stocks, is an ideal application for a non-contact laser scanner. Because the scanning system projects a line of laser light onto surfaces while cameras continuously triangulate the changing distance and profile of the laser line as it sweeps along, the problem of missing data on an irregularly-shaped surface is minimal. The operator moves the laser line back and forth over the area until the complete surface is captured. The capture progress is continuously monitored by the operator on the computer screen. The system measures details and complex geometry so that the object can be exactly replicated digitally. Laser scanners measure articles quickly, picking up to 75,000 coordinate points per second.

Scanning a gun stock offers certain special challenges. Most of the gun stock had a smoothly finished surface which produces excellent scan data with very precise tolerances. However, the front end of the stock, which had a rough wood grain, needed sanding to yield more usable 3D data. A feature that was somewhat challenging to scan was a 1.5″ hole in the stock. To capture the sides and bottom of the hole the scan technician positioned the laser directly over the top of the hole so the laser could “see” the bottom, then at a 45-degree angle for the sidewalls.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 3 Comments »
March 7th, 2009

Bartlein Family Offers Stock Painting

Frank Green at Bartlein Barrels has announced that custom stocks can be painted by a member of the Bartlein “team”, Terry Bartlein, (aka “Squirt”). Terry can produce a wide variety of stock finishes and effects, including metallics, fades, gradient shifts, plus graphics, flames, and lettering. Terry is very talented. He owned his own body shop for 20 years and he really liked doing custom paint work on motorcycles. He has painted everything from cars to bikes to gun stocks. He’s even custom-painted refrigerators and mail boxes.

If you want to have your stock painted by “Squirt”, contact Terry at Bartlein Barrrels, (262) 649-1574, or email Terry at squirt-bartlein [at] sbcglobal.net .

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
June 18th, 2008

Tips for Clear-Coating Laminated 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 clearcoat products have become popular for finishing laminated wood stocks because they won’t alter the stock’s colors, and the clearcoat provides a durable weather-resistant finish. Clearcoat 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 clearcoating over laminated woods. If you want to clearcoat a stock, Mike’s article is a must-read!

In that Stock Painting Article, Mike offers these tips:

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.

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 keept the dust down.

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 current 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.”

Forum member Preacher, whose bolt-action pistol is shown in the photo below, states: “I buy my two-art Clearcoat from the local NAPA dealer. They recommended Crossfire mixed 4:1. Ireally 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 clearcoat 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 1 Comment »