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Thread: Wood stocks and hunting in Alaska

  1. #1
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    Default Wood stocks and hunting in Alaska

    I just got a hook up on one of the last Ruger M77 MKII's with the iron sights and tang safety in 338WM. Its new in the box and I am getting it shipped to Alaska for $399. Its wood on blue, I plan on ArtcicKoting the metal but this will be my first purchase on a wood stock up here and have always imagined in wet environments that the wood would swell or warp. What do the wood stock owners do out there to waterproof their stocks. I could always put a synthetic on it but havent decided yet. Kind of like the extra weight of the wood for this gun.

  2. #2

    Arrow Wood stocks and water

    Dad hunted & lived up there for 22 years with a old Remington 700 in 7mm mag wood stock and blue finish I'm looking at it right now blue is worn ,stock is showing its age a little but other than that shoots 1 inch at 100 yards all day long with 175 grain nosler partitions.He used johnsons paste wax just like you put on hardwood floors and sheath on the blue steel and never had any problems with it at all so don't believe everything you hear about having a syn.type stock and stainless steel to hunt up there it just isn't necessary so you can do it with blue steel and wood just takes a little more prep. and you will be good to go..Hope this helps good shooting Ronnie

  3. #3
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    I have both wood/blue and stainless/synthetic, give me function over look's.........well your wood stock won't look so great after 10 season's and 20+ hunt's up here! I have to temper that opinion with the fact that several of my guns are working gun's that have many year's of guiding on the penninsula under their belt, including a wood/blue Model 70 300 WM that looks like a bonafide turd. Yeah I still wipe it down and treat it with the due respect any good gun deserve's!

    Pick up the May issue of RIFLE magazine and read Phil Shoemaker's article on synthetic stock's.

  4. #4
    Member dwhunter's Avatar
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    Default Syn stocks

    Grizzly1

    You are correct about Phil's article it is a very worthwhile read.

    Appx 1/2 of my rifles have syn stocks and while half of me sometimes wishes they looked as nice as my wood stocked rifles for the sake of display I don't regret the stock decision, these rifles get abused for lack of a better word. If I scratch it such is the price I pay for pursuing my passion, character marks.

    I can say that while I lived in Fairbanks (20 yrs ago) and for more than half my trips every year since I have carried a wood stocked rifle and never had a problem (these days mainly syn). Granted I was never out in the bush for extended periods of time or out in sub zero temps that a guide or a year round shooter in Alaska might subject a rifle too.

    Phil makes a good point in his article about choice of Syn stocks, some are much better than others and I think even more so on your heavier calibers that tend to kick. I want more than 1/2 inch of rubber width against my shoulder shooting my 375.

    I would say that for the average hunter a wood stocked rifle is fine, hundreds of years of use prove that. I view them as something I do not have to worry about and as I said above if I scratch it so what they are designed to take a beating.


    Doug

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    Yes, a wood stock is servicable and many are easy on the eye to boot. In a low humidity environment they can provide a somewhat stable platform for your gun (with proper bedding). I got by for many years with a wood stock and no bedding and it happens to be one of my best shooters as well.

    For me and my money I will stay with the SS variety of guns.......To be honest I disliked the look of them when they first hit the market, looked to "military", guess I still don't like the black colored stocks, nothing a coat of Zolotone won't cure though. They have won me over with time in the field.

    My wife has a Kimber 84M in 308 dressed in their french walnut select stock, she doesn't spend near the time I do in the field. My two boy's will get a SS gun for their first big game rifle though........

    Use what you like, but don't tell me that SS guns are hype, they are the ultimate "tool" for Alaska's hard core hunter's IMO and experience.

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    Default Wood v. synthetic...

    Like Aluminum v. Carbon in bowhunting, Film v. Digital, VHS v. DVD, Analog v. Digital, I can see the future & the future is SS & Synthetic. However, I like to be nostalgic. I live here in the bush & see many a woodstock & blue barrel guns that have been through hell & back & they still purchase the wood/blue combo, over SS/Syn. & the people hear still "tag out" so I don't know what the problem is all about. I did recently purchase an 870 REM 12 Ga & it swelled up in the fall rain for geese & the slide would stick to the magazine, I can see the benifits for SYN. My savage 110 .30-06 is peeling from the wetness as well, & I will need to revarnish & find a waterproof coating for the woodstock to keep it from swelling. My blue will rust but I keep good care of it as I am an old Infantry soldier, & know that my rifle is my life & my life is my rifle...

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    Member cusackla's Avatar
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    Default Wow!

    Man! I would love to purchase another one of those older style 77's. Do you know if anymore are availble? I have one in my gun safe that I hunted with for years. I just used normal cleaning methods and I have never ever had a problem with it.
    I switched to a 300 wby ss ultra-light to save weight, but other than that I would still be toating my old Ruger. I hunted with a lady from Kodiak last year that shot a 35 whelan that was a wood stocked Sako, that looked like it had been drugged behind a truck than thrown in the ocean for several months to build character (Big Grin) and man I tell you, you would not want to be an animal within range of her and that little 35, as you would be in serious trouble......lol!

  8. #8

    Default It may depend on how many HOURS at a time your gun is in sub zero temp

    i had a 7 mag stock split on me this year caribou hunting. BUT, i had been on a LONG snowgo trip in sub zero weather for a week at a time...soooo, the stock had been thouroughly frozen and then a good whomp from a 175 grain bullet split it....but, i had done no prep on it whatsoever...i'm from texas and thought i would give it a try with little money spent...

    my 7mag is belgium made, earlier 70's model, but, i think that the stock may have been put on in the last ten years...

    soooo, what it is worth...think about how much time you will spend in the woods, in freezing temps....bouncing up and down on a snow go, 4wheeler, or smackign into trees as you ride along....also, i would to into cabins to bunk up and COULD NOT leave it outside as directed by most old timers who say NEVER let it thaw out on a hunting trip...but, i had to take it inside or get it stole.....if your new to alaska, feel free to give me a shout at my email, I'm from Texas and I'll give you the REAL inside scoop on what to expect up here from an outsiders opinion...I'm living in the bush and teaching...hehehe, got some great stories!...for what it is worth..

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by cusackla
    I hunted with a lady from Kodiak last year that shot a 35 whelan that was a wood stocked Sako, that looked like it had been drugged behind a truck than thrown in the ocean for several months to build character (Big Grin) and man I tell you, you would not want to be an animal within range of her and that little 35, as you would be in serious trouble......lol!
    Funny that you mention that Sako, I just teflon coated it and put it in a McMillan Fiberglass stock for her. It's a small world up here. PM me if your interested in an old style Ruger in 30-'06.

    For a field gun I would definitely lean toward putting that Ruger in a fiberglass stock but if you're going to keep it wood, make sure you get it glass bedded and keep a good coat of paste wax on it to preserve the watertight integrity of the finish.

  10. #10
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    Up until the mid to late '70's nobody had a composite stock. They were all wood. More game has been taken with wooden stocked rifles than any other stock material.

    I've never had a problem with a wood stocked rifle changing zero on me, but I do sight them in periodically, even during a hunt. I seal the barrel channel and action cutout with johnsons paste.

    One reason so many rifles are stocked with composite materials is that they can be PRODUCED CHEAPER. The firearms manufacturers can 'farm out' the stocks to the outfits that can shape plastics. Hell, they're even making the reciever out of composite materials these days. They cover them with a coating of camo or some other coating and you'd never know. I call them 'plastic fantastics'.

    I'll take the wood and blued rifles any day, but I do own several H-S stocked rifles.

  11. #11
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    A buddy who makes his own stocks, and has been hunting all over the state for the past 20 years turned me on to a technique that will produce an absolutely stable wood stock. It is easiest to do it on a stock your building, as there is no finish already on the wood. A finished stock would need to be sanded down to bare wood.

    The stock is heated in an oven on it's lowest setting, to open up the poors of the wood, and then a slow setting epoxy like G2 is liberally rubbed into the stock inside and out. After the epoxy cures, 48 hours, the stock is sanded down smooth and finished with whatever you like, oil, etc.

    I have a stock so finished and the POI does not change, hot cold, dry wet. I did manage to break a small piece out of it while it bounced around on a zodiak this fall.

    If your not willing to go to this effort, all I can say is it'll be a crap shoot as to whether the stock moves or not.

    I got a ss/syn rifle this spring, as I'd rather have it bouncing around a boat, and wanted something a bit lighter than my current rig.

    I still like a good wood stock, but to really get a good one is a serious investment. A decent blank will set you back what a complete rifle goes for these days, and if you don't make the chips yourself, stockwork is serious coin.

  12. #12

    Default Glass bed?

    Gunsmithrob,
    What exactly is it about the glass bedding that will help with wether the stock will warp or not in wet/cold weather. I just had my gunsmith do a custom bedding job on my winchester model 70 to improve on accuracy and had no idea that I might have even helped in the warping resistance department. Thanks in advance.

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    Wood stocks are good but generally not as stable as a syn. I would not feel handicapped hunting with a wood stocked rifle provided it was properly glass bedded. This would also include sealing the barrel channel and free floating the barrel.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by turner1978
    Gunsmithrob,
    What exactly is it about the glass bedding that will help with wether the stock will warp or not in wet/cold weather. I just had my gunsmith do a custom bedding job on my winchester model 70 to improve on accuracy and had no idea that I might have even helped in the warping resistance department. Thanks in advance.
    Turner,
    When we glass bed a rifle we remove all but a thin veneer of wood in the entire forend and tang area and replace it with either MarineTex or AccraGlass bedding material while free floating the barrel, essentially turning it into a glass stock = no more warpage. You're correct in most cases just a gob of glass in the bedding area won't do squat for stopping warpage.

  15. #15

    Default thanks

    Gunsmithrob,
    Thanks again for clearing that up for me. My rifle does shoot a lot better since I got it back and now it is nice to know that it will be less prone to warping in bad weather. I do have a synthetic stocked rifle (kimber montana) that I will usually use in wet weather or alaska hunting any way but still nice to know.

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    Default spray on bedliner

    I used spray on bedliner on my guide gun stock, it has held up as well as anything else I have seen on stocks. As long as you get the stock good and roughed up the bedliner will stick very well. I also used a good epoxy finish on the inside of the wood. Its held up very well for a couple years now.

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