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1903A3 Stock Repair

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by jobu07, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. jobu07
    • Contributing Member

    jobu07 Contributing Member

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    After living with my 1903 in a tastefully sporterized stock for many years, I finally happened into a cheap straight stock to replace it.

    The replacement stock was stripped of finish and had a nice crack through the wrist starting at the rear of the trigger group and working up. There were also some old repairs on cracks near the nose of the stock that had failed and were continuing to spread. Enter a quick (long over the course of multiple week) consult with Gunny and I was off.

    I set the new stock up on the bench and decided to break the project down into two parts. Part A would be the wrist and Part B would be runners in the forearm.

    First picture is as it was, before I started the project.

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    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  2. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    Well don't stop now, ya tease!
     
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  3. jobu07
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    jobu07 Contributing Member

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    I pre drilled a hole that ran through the crack from the rear of the receiver down in the direction of the stock. After flexing the crack open I slathered some epoxy in and clamped it closed. Then a fiberglass wrapped wooden dowel was generously coated in epoxy and inserted down the predrilled hole. A little help with a plastic mallet ensured it was seated. Gunny recommends modeling clay to plug the action screw. I didn’t have any on hand so I did my best to plug the hole with wax paper.
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    After forgetting it was in the garage clamped for a few days I came back to trim down the dowel and begin to gently Dremel out the excess epoxy. Ensuring I had proper clearance for the action to sit in the stock I deemed this good. Now came time to pass a file and gently run a chisel along the stock to get the excess epoxy off that oozed out of the crack. Very light on the passes just to get the epoxy to flake off. I wanted to avoid sand paper as much as possible. After all is said and done I applied a little stain to the exposed portion of the dowel to seal it. IMG_0831.jpg IMG_0830.jpg IMG_0826.jpg IMG_0825.jpg IMG_0824.jpg IMG_0823.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  4. jobu07
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    jobu07 Contributing Member

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    Now that the crack in the rear has been in Part A it was time to move onto Part B. I found myself scratching my head trying to remove the old glue. Gunny advised letting it soak overnight in denatured alcohol overnight to soften it up. That allowed me to play around with an Xacto and razor for a little while to get as much of the old glue out as possible. Once it was out and ran a rag of denatured alcohol across the side to see where the cracks started and stopped. I found two locations that I determined needed to have a dowel put in front of them to stop the crack from spreading. The wood was clamped, two holes carefully drilled so I didn’t poke through, and then dowels were inserted and gently tapped down. Concurrently, I mixed up some of the sawdust from when I drilled holes in the rear of the stock and these two holes with epoxy and spread the cracks of these runners up as much as I could to get it in and provide a matching finish.

    After these were cured for a few days I went ahead and clipped them close to the barrel channel and spent some time with a half round file smoothing and straightening everything out. After I was satisfied with this proceeded to remove the excess epoxy on the side of the stock where the sawdust epoxy mixture was applied. This part was rather painstaking and tedious. camphoto_33463914.JPG IMG_0834.jpg IMG_0835.jpg IMG_0927.jpg

    Now that these repairs were done it was time to start fitting the stock to the barreled action. The stock this rifle came from fit like a glove. I suspect it should have after it was paired up for, more than likely, it’s entire lifetime. I’ve never swapped stocks out on an 03 before, so I hope this was a one off instance but it’s probably more common than I know. I had extensively hand fit this to ensure it would button up properly. I had to inlet quite a bit around the nose to ensure the front barrel band and nose cap fit properly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  5. jobu07
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    jobu07 Contributing Member

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    Last but not least, protecting the work I did. I put about four coats of BLO on this over the course of several days. I was in no rush and took my time. I re-used the hand guard that was on the rifle already. It was quite a bit lighter in color than the stock, so I applied a little stain to darken it up. The new stock just got BLO and nothing else as I felt it was already plenty dark. IMG_0996.jpg IMG_0998.jpg IMG_0997.jpg

    The finished product. I have to say, the old stock was pretty. It had a handsome color, it was sanded down significantly along the wrist and forward and aft providing an extremely handy rifle. It felt good. But it wasn’t right. Today we can see this old warhorse mated with its new stock sporting a RA stamp, ordinance stamp, and FJA. It’s also got some spicy rack numbers, I assume, on the right side: 2372 on the butt and 14 below the action.

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    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  6. jobu07
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    jobu07 Contributing Member

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    Overall I am extremely pleased with how it turned out. The repairs on this stock are visible through a cursory examination, but its serviceable and back in the field. 1903 stocks don’t grow on trees, though trees grow into them? I wanted to thank Gunny for his help on this and the past projects I’ve had as well. Your knowledge being passed on is greatly appreciated. I know one day I will pass on what I have learned to my young son when the time comes to fix some amazing finds he comes across.

    Here are some final comparisons between the old and new and, just for fun, this rifle amongst some other US rifles before it changed its chassis.

    Did I improve upon the rifle or destroy some priceless history? I'll let you be the judge and thanks for looking and reading, hopefully you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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  7. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    You done well, big guy!! :thumbup:
     
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  8. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    That Frank J Atwood feller was prolific with putting his initials on every gun he got close to.
     
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  9. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Looks great, and you sure have a nice collection. Is that a Reising?
     
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  10. jobu07
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    jobu07 Contributing Member

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    Thank you. That's an old picture of my U.S. collection, as there are a few rifles missing. That is a real Reising. It is a unique piece of kit if I do say so.
     
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  11. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Way cool!
     
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  12. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    I’m glad that I was able to help out.
    There are those that will point out how others destroy history, but have never done anything to restore history. You’ve done a great job of saving a stock that many would have thrown out. Outstanding job!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020 at 8:57 AM
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