Best clear coat for a rifle stock.


July 29, 2011, 10:52 PM
What would be the best type of clear gloss or semi-gloss finish to use on a rifle stock? I have my father's Remington 700 in .30-06 I inherited that was his primary deer hunting rifle and I would like to bring back to it's full glory by cleaning up the stock. I have a semi-gloss laquer sprayed through a gravity feed gun that I use on wood projects I build. Would this be suitable for a stock?

Thanks for the help!

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July 30, 2011, 01:48 PM
Remington factory finish is an epoxy.

I would not use lacquer as it is easily scratched and hard to repair.

I would rub out what you have on the stock now with 0000 Super-Fine grade steel wool and lemon oil furniture polish and see how it looks.

If that isn't enough, get a bottle of Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil stock finish and follow the directions for a hand rubbed oil finish.


July 30, 2011, 01:49 PM
I'd go for a high-gloss polished oil finish. It's much easier to touch up when it gets dinged, very durable and... classy. I've opted for either that or satin polished oil on all my high-end guns; it's DIYable if you have patience, the results will be worth it.

The Holland & Holland oil mix recipe that's floating around the net is great, although commercial oils and kits are available. Tru-oil is quite popular.

July 31, 2011, 10:59 AM
I use spar varnish (polyurethane). Durable, and comes in gloss or semi-gloss.

July 31, 2011, 11:16 AM
Another vote for Tru-Oil, even though I like spar varnish. I just have never used it on a gunstock...However, my fingers are currently sticky from putting it on some outdoor furniture. It is good stuff and would do a good job on a gunstock, IMO.

July 31, 2011, 11:38 AM
Depends on what finish is on the rifle right now. Most factory stocks are also stained along with whatever they put on them.

The most beautiful finish you can put on it will be an oil finish. I personally like minwax tung oil because it has some hardeners that make it behave like tung oil but be a bit more durable. Also very easy to touch up.

I have only stripped and then oiled with tung oil and no stain. The wood darkens a bit with each coat and they always come out beautiful. You can make it as glossy or as satin as you like depending on how you handle the last few coats.

Spar varnish will harden to a gloss finish in two coats. I don't like it and I don't like poly either. You want a nice, classic finish, use oil.

July 31, 2011, 09:59 PM
Thanks to all for your responses. I have also been told by a buddy of mine that spar varnish or an oil finish would be the best way to go. I also read in a sticky somewhere that Minwax has a product called Antique Oil Finish that works very well. I haven't done anything as of yet, and I'm actually reconsidering whether to do anything to it at all. It's a combonation of not wanting to screw it up and not wanting to change it from how Pop loved it and used it. Tough choice.

July 31, 2011, 10:12 PM
But your question was about clear gloss finishes, and since you seem to be familiar with professional spray equipment, I'd consider a clear acrylic finish with a catalyst. Ease on down to your nearest auto body supply shop and see what they have to offer. Some call it base/clear coat or 2-stage. It's expensive, but it will put a durable, high-gloss finish on a stock like nobody's business. It will also retard the movement of moisture in and out of your stock, providing greater wood stability. You can rub it down to a satin with fine steel wool.

August 3, 2011, 09:17 PM
I have used polyurethane on several of my stocks and they came out looking beautiful and have endured much huntng with fewer hard to cover scratches. When they get the brush beating scratches, all I do is take a very lite grit paper to them, and then hand polish back to the high gloss finish or semi gloss finish.

August 3, 2011, 10:45 PM
For a tough durable high gloss finish an automotive polyurethane is the way to go. Take the stock to a body shop and have them shoot it. You could buy the material yourself but the minimum quantities will shock your wallet.

Here's what you can expect from a catalyzed polyurethane....

August 4, 2011, 08:18 AM
Sweet! How many coats is that, Rembrandt, and on what kind of wood?

August 4, 2011, 07:45 PM
About 4 coats, finish sanded with 2000 grit then polished out. Wood is a resin impregnated laminate called Pakkawood, commonly used in knife handles and pistol grips.

August 4, 2011, 10:07 PM
That must be incredibly stable! Very nice!

August 4, 2011, 11:07 PM
Just FYI.. you can get smaller quantities of poly OR nitro (another good choice) for the guitar industry, from companies like Stewart Macdonald (, and LMI (Luthiers Mercantile International).

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