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Thread: Laminate stocks for practical hunting rifles...

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Laminate stocks for practical hunting rifles...

    ...are they a good compromise between a regular solid wood stock and a "plastic" stock? How durable are they? How subject to moisture are they? I am interested in hearing opinions from those who have hunted with them in inclement weather for extended periods. I am not interested in opinions about aesthetics. Thanks!
    Steve

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    ...are they a good compromise between a regular solid wood stock and a "plastic" stock? How durable are they? How subject to moisture are they? I am interested in hearing opinions from those who have hunted with them in inclement weather for extended periods. I am not interested in opinions about aesthetics. Thanks!
    Steve
    Steve:

    I've had my Ruger 308 compact laminate for about 8 years and it has been out in our nastiest SE weather quite a bit and have had no moisture issue with it. I'm very pleased with its durability.

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    Other than usually being heavier than a standard wood stock I like them. They are stronger, less likely to split from recoil and less likely to warp when wet.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingfisherktn View Post
    Steve:

    I've had my Ruger 308 compact laminate for about 8 years and it has been out in our nastiest SE weather quite a bit and have had no moisture issue with it. I'm very pleased with its durability.
    Do you guys ever have to refinish... or how do you maintain these stocks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Other than usually being heavier than a standard wood stock I like them. They are stronger, less likely to split from recoil and less likely to warp when wet.
    I agree with Snowwolfe. The additional weight can be significant, as much as 25-50% more than a trim wood stock or lightweight synthetic.

    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Do you guys ever have to refinish... or how do you maintain these stocks?
    There are lots of ways to finish a wood stock (including laminate) and touch up/refinishing is dependent on a lot of individual factors. Not all laminates are created equal with some requiring more care than others. If I were refinishing a laminate I'd use an epoxy that is suitable for the laminate in question.

    Personally, I've abandoned laminates and would only consider one for a dedicated competition rifle in a few disciplines. When I need the properties of a laminate I prefer to use a synthetic (McMillan is my choice) which can outperform laminates in every category.
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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Do you guys ever have to refinish... or how do you maintain these stocks?
    I've never touched the stock except for wiping it down with a dry towel.

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    I think where laminates shine is on heavy recoiling rifles. Reasons are their resistence to splitting and the extra weight is not a factor because you don't want a heavy kicker made to light in the first place.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    10 years now with no issues. Lots of crappy AK weather, no special care other than cleaning as usual. Use it in winter,summer, spring, and fall.
    BK

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    ...are they a good compromise between a regular solid wood stock and a "plastic" stock? How durable are they? How subject to moisture are they? I am interested in hearing opinions from those who have hunted with them in inclement weather for extended periods. I am not interested in opinions about aesthetics. Thanks!
    Steve
    Like 1Cor15:19, my choice is McMillian. Mine has proven to be 100% impervious to moisture. As to durability, well, I guess if the worst you could do to it is use it as a club against an attacking boulder, and it would likely fail at some point, but certainly not before any regular solid wood stock. No doubt my stock will outlive the metal parts of the gun.
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    I've got laminates on 3 of mine and love them. They are heavier, but I've found that they come with WAY too much wood on them for my taste. I cut over a half pound off the Boyds JRS classic I've got on my .358 Norma.

    I've no doubt the McMillans and others are stellar stocks. But at more than 3 times the cost and the ridiculous lead times, laminates were the choice for me. I don't hunt in the conditions some of you guys do, but I don't baby mine and they've held up great.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Thanks all. I'm playing with the idea of putting my Weatherby .270 iron into a laminate, but I may do some serious lightening if I do.
    I really can't afford a McMillan, but Boyds makes an affordable laminate that doesn't look too bad. I have a lovely stock on it now, but I beat the crap out of it last summer, and after refinishing, I don't want to do that again.

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    I bought the unfinished VIP stock from Boyds. I slimmed the fore end and wrist down significantly on mine, and I hollowed out the butt some. You just have to pay attention to how/where you're removing wood and try to keep the layers looking even and symmetrical. 3 coats of SPAR urethane inside and out and it's virtually impervious to moisture.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    To me they are the worst of all worlds. If wood is good enough to make a stock out of you don't have to cut it up and glue it back together. Hence they use lower grade wood and add a bunch of weight by gluing it back together. A good piece of wood properly sealed (saturated with epoxy inside and out before applying any finish) will be utterly stable in the wettest conditions.

    If I'm going to put extra weight into a gun it'll go into the barrell, not into the stock. If I want a high abuse rifle than it'll have a composite stock. B&C has gotten rid of most of the clubbiness of their early composite stocks and for the money it's not a bad stock.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    To me they are the worst of all worlds. If wood is good enough to make a stock out of you don't have to cut it up and glue it back together. Hence they use lower grade wood and add a bunch of weight by gluing it back together. A good piece of wood properly sealed (saturated with epoxy inside and out before applying any finish) will be utterly stable in the wettest conditions.

    If I'm going to put extra weight into a gun it'll go into the barrell, not into the stock. If I want a high abuse rifle than it'll have a composite stock. B&C has gotten rid of most of the clubbiness of their early composite stocks and for the money it's not a bad stock.
    And yet it wasn't that long ago that the bottoms of cross country skis were made of laminated wood, and that, right there, would be some serious abuse from both abrasion and moisture. I had several pair of such skis and they did not wear out or break, I just upgraded to plastic.

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    I had a .338WM in a MkV Weatherby and it held up extremely well in some pretty tough conditions. Never did refinish it- it was pretty beat up when I got it and worse when I let it go. Laminate is pretty much indestructible.

    It did weigh a ton in an already heavy rifle- that was about the only downside. I don't think they look as good as walnut, but better than plastic and about equal with a good composite type stock. I messed with a Ruger today in a laminate stock and I didn't find it objectionably heavy and pretty trim comparatively.
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    I got a Boyds for my rugerM77 Hawkeye last year. I liked the looks of it but like evandailey said it does seem to have too much wood. I haven't been brave enough to try whittling it down yet. I also noticed the recoil seemed a bit harsher than it did with the original plastic stock. I also have a model 7 in 7mm-08 with a laminated stock that I've been real happy with. It has been on Kodiak,Raspberry,Montague,and a sheep hunt in the chugach and has held up fine.

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