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Thread: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

  1. #1
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    Question Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    Wood rifle stocks are typically a bit heavier than quality synthetic rifle stocks. Some specialized synthetic stocks are a whole lot lighter.

    Like a lot of hunters, I have a soft spot in my heart for the look and feel of a fine wood rifle stock. But I often wish I could make my wood-stocked rifles lighter without sacrificing stock strength.

    The largest and heaviest portion of any wood rifle stock is generally the stockís butt. Lately, Iíve been wondering about trying to lighten a few wood stocks by drilling and/or hollowing out the end of the stock butt.

    Here are two rifles with their butt pads removed. The one on the left is an old Remington M700 ADL in .243 Winchester. The rifle on the right is a Winchester M70 Featherweight in .280 Remington.



    I must admit I was a bit surprised to find that the stock on the Model 70 Featureweight (on the right) was already hollowed out to some degree. Note the oval-shaped hole cut deep into the base of the stock. That oval goes into that stock approximately 3.7 inches.

    PHOTO 3



    What Iím trying to figure out is can I or should I try hollowing out the M700 ADLís wood stock by drilling holes and/or maybe routing out the base of that stock in a fashion similar to what I found under the butt pad of the M70 Featherweight.

    Does anyone have any experience with such wood-stock lightening?

    How deep can I go into the stock? How much wall thickness must I leave to maintain stock strength? What sorts of tools, drill bits or router bits will work best?

    And how much weight might I expect to lose by such internal stock work?

    Any insights, ideas, experiences or cautions would be much appreciated before I start whittling on this and few other wood stocks.
    "Don't let the things you can't do, stop you from doing the things you can do."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    Timberline, first off, that ruler is in American. How did you come up with 3.7? Those little hash marks are in sixteenths.<grin> You can drill out the wood with either a paddle-type or auger bit. The higher speed, and un-control-a-bility of a handheld router should be discouraged.....I would leave at least 3/8ths of stock on the sidewalls and drill no closer to the pistol grip than 2 inches. I would also fill the hollow part with non-expanding foam sealant before installing the pad...... But that's just me.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    Timberline,

    I've a piece of French walnut in the shop that measures 1X2X3 3/8 or 6.75 Cu In and weighs 8.4 oz or about 1 1/4 oz per cu in. Wood weight will very somewhat depending the species and moisture content, but this gives you an idea of the weight savings you're talking about. This is done quite a bit on higher end guns (particularly shotguns) to adjust the balance point. I'd say that you are safe 3/8" walls but that is an admitted swag. Go as deep as that wall thickness will take you. I would use a forstner bit on a floor mounted drill press, but I must bow to Huntsman on that one.
    A couple of other thoughts are routing out the bottom of the bbl channel and aone final bit of heresy......lop off the pistol grip! If you have access to the original book Gunsmith Kinks there is a picture on page 2 of Pete Brown (used to be the gun editor for Sports Afield) holding such a rifle. I don't know how much weight he saved, I suspect something in the neighborhood of 4 oz. Sealing the wood is crucial however (regardless if the factory does it or not), and leaving a large void in the bbl channel runs the risk of warping, though there are things that can be done to mitigate that.
    Wood strength varies greatly even within the same species. Laminates are of course a good deal stronger. We destroyed a good many Iraqi Tabuk rifles (their version of the Soviet SVD's with the skelitinized butstock) and the PK MG which has the same type of stock and don't recall ever seeing the wood of the but broken. Lay the butt in the street and the bbl on the curb and drive over them.
    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    what about doing what patrick did on his original ramblers? they look a little odd, but i think they look cool. that was one of the motivating factors i had when i bought my h&r single shot 30-06. figured if i am going to tinker with the stock and barrel, might as well do it with a $200 gun. rather mess that up than a $1000 kimber! but i would think that the model 70 & 700 would have similar results as the model 600. seems like a couple of years someone posted pics of their ruger model 77 mk1 in 30-06 that had done similar mods to their stock. it looked good to me. also does the caliber make a difference. that 243 kicks a whole lot less than a big magnum. can you take more off a smaller caliber and still maintain structural integrity? (felt recoil increases aside)
    Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except by Me. John 14:6

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    Every rifle I own has a hollowed out buttstock. I have at em with a handheld then take out some more with rasps and chisles. I have also turned some pistol grip stocks into straight grip stocks. Don't ask me why, it's a disease
    Fire without movement is a waste, movement without fire is suicide.

    Please excuse all grammar and punctuation mistakes. I'm posting from my phone.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    Quote Originally Posted by flamingo 7 View Post
    I would use a forstner bit on a floor mounted drill press, but I must bow to Huntsman on that one.
    A forstner bit is really the way to go, but most have too short of shank (that won't fit in most homeowners hand drill because of shaft size), and extensions are expensive or non-existant. And for a diy'er, the cleaner cut and flatter-bottomed hole are offset by the cheap cost of a paddle. And you can get one in any hardware store, and they will fit the drill ya already own.. As to the floor model drill press, most homey's don't have one......

  7. #7
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    Talking Re: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman22 View Post
    As to the floor model drill press, most homey's don't have one......

    Hey who you callin a homey here?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Reducing Wood-Stock Weight?

    You will be drilling into end-grain, the spoon bits or the paddle bits work better at this. Be careful about pressure. Use moderate pressure and let the bit do the cutting to avoid splitting the stock.

    A few years ago someone posted about skeletonizing the stock from the side. Did a nice job as I recall.

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