Laminate vs Solid Stocks


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crslght
December 3, 2010, 08:57 PM
Any opinions on laminate stocks versus those made of solid walnut? Are they as durable? So far only have solid but have seen some very nice looking laminates.

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briansmithwins
December 3, 2010, 09:29 PM
Generally laminate is more durable and less prone to shifting from humidity changes.

BSW

X-Rap
December 3, 2010, 10:28 PM
I have had 5 bolt guns with laminate stocks split at the tang compared to over 50 solid stocks some of which are over 50 yrs old.
I have no use for them, if I see a gun and it is a good deal I will buy it with a lam. but I won't go out of my way for one.
Solid wood or synthetic for me.
The brands that have split are Ruger, Rem, and Win.

Birddog1911
December 3, 2010, 10:36 PM
X-Rap's experience is new to me, but not necessarily to be discounted. X, do you have any pictures of these breaks? I've had a couple of laminated stocks with zero troubles, and I've recommended them to dozens of customers.

Much of how a stock behaves has to do with your environment. Here in Colorado where it is dry, I wouldn't be as concerned about a solid wood stock shifting like it would in the south or southeast. For that matter, the weather in the midwest would cause a shift.

PzGren
December 4, 2010, 12:30 AM
The German military came up with laminated wood on the K98k since it was cheaper and more laminated than solid walnut stocks passed inspection.

Many are still going strong after over 70 years.

X-Rap
December 4, 2010, 10:46 AM
I know my view is not popular and no I don't have any pictures but I do have one here at my house from a Ruger, it is almost center of the tang and 3/8 wide and 5/8 long and actually is a chip. I suppose this one could be attributed to poor fit and recoil knocking it out. I can accept that but also return to my 1st post and say I have never had a solid stock do this and with well over 50 cf bolts from 223-338.
I will restate my claim as 2 chips and 3 splits but aside from some very old side by sides I have no similar problems with solid wood or of course synthetics.
I live in CO as well and agree about warp age in this drier climate.

Hangingrock
December 4, 2010, 11:05 AM
Laminated stocks durability is dependent on the manufacturing process and quality control. As a side note most of the wood furniture when still produced in the USA was made of small wood sections (table tops as an example) glued as a unit in a press type machine. The glue was cured by radio frequency is a matter of seconds.

John Wayne
December 4, 2010, 12:05 PM
Laminate wood is less sensitive to the elements, but it is generally a lot heavier because of all the glue and sealant.

To me, laminate wood is for people who want a somewhat traditional-looking stock that is more durable and impervious to weather, and don't mind the weight. Personally, I think they fail on both counts because they look worse than synthetic and weigh more.

nearmiss
December 4, 2010, 12:52 PM
Laminate is a fancy word for plywood. Plywood does have the advantage of being inherantly more dimensionally stable than solid wood but it has disadvantages as well. The glue used to laminate the plies is heavier than the wood but also has different thermal expansion characteristics which after having been put through enough heating/cooling cycles will tend to cause the wood to separate from the glue. How long this will take depends on a long list of variables. Centurys old pieces of wood furniture are fairly common, time will tell, but I doubt that laminated stocks will fare as well. That having been said, a good quality laminated stock bought today will likely outlast even a young customer.

Vern Humphrey
December 4, 2010, 12:58 PM
I have had 5 bolt guns with laminate stocks split at the tang compared to over 50 solid stocks some of which are over 50 yrs old.
Splitting at the tang is an indication of poor bedding. It means the tang is subjected to recoil forces, and the recoil lug is not properly bedded.

HankC
December 4, 2010, 07:46 PM
I had a Savage 308 in laminated stock developed a visible crack or split along the front and rear action screws.

Norrick
December 4, 2010, 08:28 PM
Somewhat related... how weather proof is laminate? Is it just better than solid wood or does it actually do pretty good in the rain? Wood is wood, but it is impregnated with all that epoxy, so makes me wonder.

bejay
December 4, 2010, 08:49 PM
it is usually sealed with a finish and holds up fine in weather, in an unfinished state it might not hold up so well, they do look nice, but as mentioned unless your looking for a heavy stock there probably not much of an advantage to them other than looks.

cottswald
December 4, 2010, 09:00 PM
http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_stock.htm

Here's an excerpt:

"Laminated wood stocks are actually the strongest and most stable of all stocks. Functionally, they are superior to both solid walnut and the synthetics. If laminated from decent woods and well finished they can be quite attractive. They are cheaper than solid walnut stocks because they are made from smaller slices of wood, most of which cost less than good walnut. The grain in the various layers of wood is designed to run in different directions and cancels out any tendency of the stock to warp. When properly glued under pressure and sealed laminated stocks are immensely strong and warp resistant, and virtually impervious to the elements. Laminated stocks are generally regarded as the stiffest and most accurate type of stock".

X-Rap
December 4, 2010, 10:11 PM
Splitting at the tang is an indication of poor bedding. It means the tang is subjected to recoil forces, and the recoil lug is not properly bedded.
Well Vern you got it pegged there, my problem is why is happening on these laminate stocks and not the rest. They are all stock rifles.

Robert Wilson
December 5, 2010, 12:10 AM
I think in some ways laminate is the best of all stock material. Properly done it is as stable and weather resistant as synthetic. It can be heavy but doesn't have to be. And it can be tailored to suit an individual in ways that synthetic really cant.

Having said all that, I don't currently own any laminate stocks because, IMO, they are at least as ugly as synthetic.

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