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How to make a homemade rifle stock?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Live Free Or Die, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. Live Free Or Die

    Live Free Or Die Well-Known Member

    Suppose I wanted to fashion a homemade wooden stock for one of my rifles. Not because I couldn't buy one, but because I think it would be fun.

    1) Are there any legal considerations other than the overall length being >= 26"?
    2) What sort of basic woodworking tools would be necessary or helpful?

    I've done a modest amount of woodworking before. I own simple tools like table saws, routers, block planes, files, orbital sanders, and coping saws. Nothing as fancy as a lathe though.

    I just like the idea of trying this out, but I'd appreciate any advice from someone who's already done this sort of thing before. Any major caveats to consider?
  2. Q-Lock

    Q-Lock Well-Known Member

  3. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Well-Known Member

    I have made a few muzzleloading stocks out of bandsawn blanks. A router is a great help in getting the sides flattened down and for doing the barrel channel. You will have to make simple jigs and they can take as long as the actual work. Sureform rasps are a great way to remove wood quickly.
  4. ~z

    ~z Well-Known Member

    Take your time!! You have the basics and it can be done with those, plus some good chisels, and a draw knife would be handy. As far as length goes, I’m not sure as mine have been full length and one youth model. A drill press with a mortise adaptor is handy and cheaper than a full blown mortise machine. If you have a grinder and a few old cutters for your hand plane, you can make some good tools for roughing out the stock. A dermal tool is very handy, and LOTSA sandpaper. Have a plan before you start, draw it up, some decisions can be made on the fly, but have a basic plan before you start. Good luck, put some pics up when you finish (next year?).
  5. Meplat

    Meplat Well-Known Member

    Not sure about the caliber you are proposing to stock, but a good way to start is with a blank of mahogany for a rimfire action. The first one I carved was a bandsawn blank of proper thickness plus a bit, and then used all hand tools. (Wood plane, various rasps and files - including some needle files I ordered from Brownell's - and most importantly a barrel channel rasp, once again, courtesy of Brownell's). Am lucky enough to have a contractor friend who does a lot of work in high end woods, and the blanks are leftovers that I get for free. Better to practice on a free piece of mahogany than to start out with a high dollar claro walnut. Mahogany works very easily, and since recoil isn't really a factor with a rimfire, splitting isn't a problem. When I make a stock, I like to use the hand tools because it is something I do for fun and relaxation, and not something I need turned around tomorrow. (I did cheat on the inletting process with an electric drill. Inletting is done using trial and error, and a LOT of lampblack.

    You wouldn't want to use mahogany on a centerfire rifle, of course, but having hand fashioned a few stocks out of mahogany can tell you what you're getting into, and give you a real idea of some of the tools you'd like to add to your arsenal when you attack that curly maple or expensive piece of walnut.

    Oh. That first stock? Twenty years later its still going squirrel hunting every year. :)
  6. kentucky_smith

    kentucky_smith Well-Known Member

    with zero woodworking skills, I made the bottom stock for my Dad for Christmas. I couldn't find a replacement for a ruined stock on the Marlin that belonged to my grandfather.

    Of course, having access to a high school woodworking lab and a coworker who teaches industrial technology didn't hurt. It took 2 attempts, we learned that it is much easier to route the barrel channel before you cut and shape the rest of it with a bandsaw. [​IMG]

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  7. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Well-Known Member

    Biggest challenge will be the inletting.....best advice is to practice on a 2X6 first. Wood is soft, cheap, and mistakes make a great bonfire. I did my first stock on a $400 blank, scared to death I'd make a mistake....took six months, but came out great.
  8. Live Free Or Die

    Live Free Or Die Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the advice, links, and pictures. It might take me some time to get it right, but I'll try to post pictures if I ever finish it.
  9. Dienekes

    Dienekes Well-Known Member

    Only did one; wanted the experience and had an old-time gunsmith whom I could to to in my time of need. I had watched him off and on over the years. Stocked an Argentine 1909 Mauser in an inletted blank. The job is a two-stage one--inletting as needed, and then the exterior to make it look right.

    Inletting was a matter of small chisels, lamp-black, and literally months of very slow work. I am not particularly into woodworking per se so I had to creep. The good news was that it came out nicely.

    There is lots of reference material out there. What I found most useful was the old Roy Dunlap book on gunsmithing--enough info to get the job done but not so much as to overwhelm you with his brilliance. I would use the same book again.

    I found it especially good as regards shaping of the exterior. Most of the time a restocking job like this comes out looking fairly awful because the lines aren't right. Dunlap explains how to get it right, and it worked.

    I glass bedded it when done, but mostly for durability. Did not checker it (and still have not) as I did not trust myself there. I do fresh out checkering but doing it from scratch is another thing.

    If you are already into working with wood then you will probably be able to take all this in stride.

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