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Thread: Walnut and blued steel rifles vs Synthetic and stainless rifles

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Walnut and blued steel rifles vs Synthetic and stainless rifles

    We have all heard the debates over walnut vs synthetic stocked rifle, blued steel vs stainless barreled actions and why one is better than the other, especially in adverse weather conditions like we have up here in Alaska.
    When it really comes down to it, what rifle do you prefer and use the most; a synthetic stocked stainless or a blued steel bedded into a walnut stock and why do you choose one over the other?
    These days when I hold a walnut stocked rifle in my hand and look at it, I see a classic. The wood usually has a few dings here and there and at times the blue is wearing thin on the barreled action. These rifles for some reason look like they have character, the earlier the rifle the more character it looks like it has. What do you see when you look at these walnut stocked, blued steel rifles?
    Now for synthetic/stainless, when I hold one in my hand..... well I will leave that up to you. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    I like a Cerakote'd action in a laminated stock. Best of both worlds. I like the feel of the wood and think stainless is a little too "bright".

    Although I know what you are saying about the old blued/walnut guns.

    However, I don't own guns so I can look at them.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Default This should be an interesting thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    We have all heard the debates over walnut vs synthetic stocked rifle, blued steel vs stainless barreled actions and why one is better than the other, especially in adverse weather conditions like we have up here in Alaska.
    When it really comes down to it, what rifle do you prefer and use the most; a synthetic stocked stainless or a blued steel bedded into a walnut stock and why do you choose one over the other?
    It's a great question. I prefer walnut stocks and blued metal to look upon while I'm in the woods. I find a great deal of satisfaction carrying an attractive rifle in the field. Where I live and hunt we do several day trips or maybe two days out at a time. On these occasions I often carry a walnut stock & blued rifle. I know I'll be back home to restore any minor damage before it's permanent. However when I head for the "bush" I normally carry a synthetic stocked rifle because the rain and abuse just can't make them look any worse and their performance is not inhibited by the weather. I feel like a negligent father when the walnut turns that sickly white color during the rain.

    I must add that a cheap synthetic stock turns my blood absolutely cold. IMO injection molded plastic is not for making gun stocks. There are a number of quality synthetic stocks I use, but I will not have any part of their seriously inferior cousins on my rifles. Injection molded stocks are a boil on the gun trade IMO. If there is an exception it is the older Ruger MKII synthetic stock. I do not and will not own one of these rifles, just too ugly to my eye, but it is a stable and fairly lightweight factory stock. I've friends that are well served by those MKIIs with Ruger imprinted on the buttstock.

    I like the aesthetics of a laminated rifle stock, but I will not normally accept the additional weight. For a hunting rifle that extra 8-12 oz is just too much for me to carry all day afield. I've used them on BR rifles and love them, but not in the woods.

    I am not as sold on a stainless steel rifle and its attributes. I find that synthetic stocks and a well cared for blued finish will stand up to the elements quite nicely. In fact, using EEZOX on my blued guns, I find they will not suffer any damage at all with some minor field care. So to answer your question, in the worst of elements I am generally in the field with a synthetic stocked, blued bolt action rifle.

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    Default A place for both

    There is a place in the world for both- just like 4WD trucks and corvettes.

    I appreciate and have enjoyed them both in their place.

    With blued steel and walnut you have to futher define the older craftmanship and materials to the modern cast parts and sloppy workmanship. As far as appearance and workmanship there is just no comparison of a 50 or more year old gun to the mass produced current crop.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    IMO injection molded plastic is not for making gun stocks.
    I'll mention that to the German engineers at Blaser

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    Plenty to worry about out in the field. Having your gun rust or stock warp shouldn't be one of them.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    They will all rust and all break. If of quaility to start and taken care of all will last a hundred years or more.When I see wording that states it doesn't look bad for its age I know somewhere along the line the gun had some abuse of proper care.

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    I like both and currently use mainly my blued steel/walnut Chapuis double for most of my hunting. But would it NEVER go to Kodiak on a deer hunt with me.

    Interesting question, in my experience certain rifle companies use steel that will rust easier. A Savage blued steel rifle that made a trip to Kodiak with me once never showed any signs of rusting while a couple of Remington stainless rifles I used rusted. Each were wiped down at night with an oil rag. Stainless Rugers and Win 70's seem to hold up pretty good as well. But a Savage .22 I once owned showed rust and pitting and it never seen more than range use and was wiped down after each use.

    But in general all my serious bolt action rifles are built with stainless actions and barrels and in McMillan stocks. Mostly my walnut/blued are for range use.
    Tennessee

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I think both can be used in adverse environments but one takes a little less maintenance than the other. I still own both and use both throughout the year despite the weather and or hunt location. My guns spend a lot of time on the water and walking through the brush both around fresh water and the salt and have never had any issues with my blued rifles rusting or the wood affecting accuracy.

    I own two stainless rifles one with synthetic stock and the other with a laminated stock. One was bought for sheep hunting because it was a good rifle and light also allowing me to carry less cleaning supplies. The laminated one was a good deal otherwise I would not have gone that route at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildalaska View Post
    I'll mention that to the German engineers at Blaser
    I haven't seen the R93 Prof Camo, but if it's injection molded I'd say the German engineers are very quickly catching up to American quality.

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    There is just something that feels soothing to set in my my chair and clean my blued/walnut rifles. I see a series of scatches on the stock.....I remember that boat ride and the river bend where they came from.....I see a slight rust spot.......I remember the smell of those three rainy days. In my younger years I was much more into the synthetics and stainless rifles......but as I get older.......it's a pleasure to shoot, care for, and own the good ol blued/ walnut rifles.........not too metion........they are worth more used. An injection molded stock just seems to have no character, no soul.......reeking of mass production and cheapness. I've gradually phased out the stainless rifles in my gun collection, BUT that "beat feet through the mountains" Ruger Hawkeye Compact Mag. rifle.....she's going to wear stainless with the tupperware stock.....and a duracoat camo finish to match. "Harsh/don't give a hoot" kind of conditions like Cor just described.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Western View Post
    Plenty to worry about out in the field. Having your gun rust or stock warp shouldn't be one of them.
    If you go out in the field to worry, why go.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Default It how its taken care of

    I personnally prefer the look and feel of wood over synthetic. I have all my rifles bedded so that 2 one dollar bills will slide freely between the stock and barrel and I seal the wood with a quality sealer. Never had any issues with the stock swelling to the point of changing accuracy, and I've hunted in some pretty bad weather. I think that as long as you have good clearance in the right places on a well fitted and sealed wood stock, there is no difference in how either shoots. Just my OPO. I do have a synthetic stock on my 375 Ruger, but the metal is blued. I carry a dry rag and tuff cloth in my fanny pack for touch up drying and cleaning when time permits.
    BTW, does anyone know any custom stock carvers here in the Anchorage area. I'm looking for a custom, Curly Maple, Thumb-hole for my 375 Ruger and a LA Model 700 Remington.
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    Life is too short to hunt with an ugly gun......stainless and synthetic makes for an ugly gun.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Default Blue & Wood

    I truly prefer a blued finish with a wood stock for many reasons, mostly because I like the way they look. Since I enjoy cleaning my guns, I don't even notice that it takes a little extra effort. I wipe them down and run a bore snake through daily and more often as needed.
    How in the world did "Keith", "O'Conner", "Cooper" and so many others ever have a working gun? They took care of them is how.

    Ed

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    I've got both and use both. I have a very nice lightweight with Kevlar stock and cerakoted metal. Real nice but the looks leave me pretty cold.

    My walnut rifles I try to leave home on really wet hunts where I'm expecting to be drenched most of the time but otherwise they're my first choice. You got to have something nice to look at while you're getting skunked!

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    It seems all here regard a gun only as a hunting tool and I for one regard it as that and much more. There is a great deal of comfort and satisfaction that comes form the ownership of a fine hand crafted blue steel and walnut rifle. For many decades shooters and hunters carried rifles with wooden stocks and blued steel and with minimal care, were handed down to the next generation, and the next, with no sign of wear or failure. I have a rifle that was used in Alaska for forty years by a trapper, hunter, prospector sort of fellow. Its stock is without finish and the blue is worn in many places but it still shoots well and is as solid as the day it was made. Yes they made better guns back then but the point is, it is still sound and just as effective as it ever was.

    An evening in front of the fire, rubbing the stock, cycling the action, checking each function, feeling the heft and balance of a well made rifle just seems to be more rewarding when its blue steel and walnut.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I'll agree on that point Murphy... a really nice rifle goes beyond basic hunting tool in terms of enjoyment. I've got a couple I've acquired and a handful more that are hand me down but I'm also kinda chapped they're getting harder to come by new without resorting to custom/highbrow type guns. You can find some really spiffy ones with polished blue and nice wood but your wallet better open up and say "aaahhh".

    I messed with a Cooper 52 this weekend with just OK wood but great metalwork and fit. Nice is the word.

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    Member e45colt's Avatar
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    Default A rifle has

    Some rifles touch me at a deeper level than others. I truly enjoy those that are finished in blue and wear wood. I long for their character/patina/stories, even more so if my adventures are why they show character. There is a story to be told for each nick, bump, scratch or wear spot.

    Ed

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    Member Doug in Alaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Life is too short to hunt with an ugly gun......stainless and synthetic makes for an ugly gun.
    I prefer a stainless rifle with a custom synthetic stock (H-S Precision), oh yea, it also has to have a muzzle brake to be truly beautiful! JMHO
    Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

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