Gun Stock, which is also referred to as shoulder stock, or as buttstock, is a part of a long gun that provides the structural support to which the barrel, action and firing mechanism are attached.
Due to the presence of the gun stock, shooters are able to brace the firearm firmly in their grasp, and are able to aim and shoot with stability. Gun stocks also help shooters to counteract the muzzle rise that arises due to shooting the gun by transmitting recoil into the body of the shooter.
There are mainly two types of gun stocks: one piece and two piece. We will go into detail about the types as the article goes on.
Construction of Gun Stocks
Generally, gun stocks have been made from wood. But there are also other materials that can be used in the making of gun stocks. When picking the material that the stocks will be composed of, it is important for you to remember to choose a material that will not alter its shape or composition due environmental influences.
Some of the ingredients for making gun stocks are mentioned below:
Traditionally, walnut is the most favored type of wood that is used in the construction of gun stocks. There are other types of wood as well that have been used in contemporary times, such as: maple, myrtle, birch etc.
When making gun stocks out of wood, the maker must take into account not only the type of wood he is using, but also the pertinent natural properties that the wood exhibits.
Apart from the type of selected wood, how the selected wood has been treated and preserved must also be taken into account. It is important to properly assess the quality of the wood to ensure that there is no grain splitting or collapse, and to also make sure that the wood is able to retain its colors in the long run. Careful and proper selection of the wood can yield distinctive and appealing features.
The stocks made out of wood have accuracy potentials that range from low to high, depending on the contents of the stock, and the climate in which it is operating. They may cost between forty dollars to two thousand dollars, and have average weight.
Injection Molded Synthetic
While the costs of setting up are high, gun stocks made through injection moulding can produce stock at a price lower than the cheapest wood stocks. These stocks are identical in dimension and require no bedding or inletting. The cons of injection moulded stocks are their lack of rigidity and thermal stability. These stocks provide average accuracy.
They cost somewhere between fifty dollars to one hundred fifty dollars. They have average weight and are waterproof.
Laminated wood is made up of two or more layers of wood glued together. If they are properly constructed, they have the capacity to moderate temperature and humidity. Laminated wood is stronger than original wood. It is also immune to internal defects and to warping from heat or moisture.
Firearms made out of laminated wood have very high accuracy, and are very heavy. They may cost you in the range of one hundred to four hundred and fifty dollars.
Stocks made out of metal are used to make the weapon more compact. Consequently, weapons made from metal stocks are heavier than firearms made out of wood. This is because metal stocks are thicker and stronger. Some of the highest producing firearms use metal stocks.
Hand Laid Composite Stocks
These stocks are composed out of materials such as Kevlar, fiberglass, graphite cloth, or a combination of these elements. Whatever the ingredients may be, they have to be saturated in an appropriate binder to ensure that the stocks made are good enough to be used in the construction of firearms.
Firearms made out of hand laid composite stocks have very high accuracy, and may cost you between four hundred to one thousand dollars. They are very light weight, and are waterproof.
What are Non-Fixed or Adjustable Stocks?
Adjustable stocks are flexible and can be tuned according to the requirements of the user. The stocks are also called “collapsing stocks”. These stocks have certain advantages of fixed stocks, such as:
- Adjustable stocks allow the users to adjust the length of the stocks according to their needs. The operator may shift positions according to circumstance.
- Another advantage of non-fixed stocks is their storage. They occupy less space than fixed stock firearms. This makes them a much better option for storing and exiting vehicles.
Some examples of non-fixed stocks are given below:
It is a type of buttstock that can be retracted or shortened in order to make the whole weapon more compact. Telescoping allows firearms such asL shotgun, submarine gun to be stored in places where they would have been difficult to store. The user can collapse the buttstock to make the weapon more portable, or extend the buttstock to increase the accuracy of the firearm.
These buttstocks have hinged attachments to the receiver, and they can be folded to shorten the overall length of the firearm. The hinge has a locking mechanism that prevents unwanted movements of the buttstock. When the user does not require stability, the firearm can be folded down to be concealed or to save space. When stability is needed, the buttstock can be extended again, and held to the shoulder.
A bump-stock makes use of the recoil of a semi-automatic rifle to increase the rate of firing without needing any alteration or modifications to the internal mechanism of the firearm to convert it into an automatic firearm.
Using a bump stock allows the user to fire at hundred rounds per minute, and provides higher consistency in performance than manual bump fire.
Adjustments in Gun Stocks
Traditionally made gun stocks have buttocks that are fixed in their respective length and comb height. Thus, they are unable to cater to the unique requirements of their users.
In order to find more comfort in using the firearm, an additional cheekpad or buttplate needs to be installed. Sometimes, even after these adjustments are made, the ideal or optimal fitting might still not be achieved.
Modern manufacturing techniques have produced gun stocks that come with variable or flexible comb heights and buttplate positions. These are preferable to traditionally built stocks as they are able to be adjusted to the needs of the user, without needing any extra adjustments after purchase.
Why are wood stocks preferred more than other types?
Although there are various types of stocks available in the market, wood stocks have a higher preference and rightly so.
Here are some reasons why wood stocks are better than other types of stocks:
- Stocks made out of wood are heavier than synthetic stocks. This property of relative heaviness ensures that wooden stocks have comparatively higher stability, and accuracy. Wooden stocks possess the ideal weight required for shooting. If the stock is too light in weight, it is more susceptible to vibrating, and flexing under the recoil of the firearm, thus resulting in lower accuracy.
- Different types of finishing can be added or applied to wooden stocks. The inherent features of synthetic or other types of stocks might be higher initially, but since there is the scope to add different types of finishing to wooden stocks, this allows new features to be added to the wooden stock.
- Given that wood, naturally, is able to absorb more impact than other types of materials, wooden stocks help in enhancing the accuracy of the firearm.
- Wooden stocks can be bedded, which helps in ensuring that any deformation that is caused in the aftermath of the shooting is avoided.
- Another facet of the comparison is the price. Usually, the average wooden stock costs higher than stocks made synthetically. But the cost of setting up or making synthetic is far greater. So, even though the unit price might be lower, the cost of making them offsets the lower unit price.
Categories of Gun Stocks
As mentioned before, there are two types of gun stock. They are as follows:
The one piece stock is an unbroken and ceaseless unit, that extends from the forearm to the butt plate. One piece stocks are found in bolt- action rifles, most commonly. One piece stocks have higher accuracy due to their rigidity and firm support to the shooting platform.
They are heavier, and harder to make as it is difficult to find a single piece of wood blank that is suitable for one long piece of gun stock. Due to this difficulty in manufacturing, they are more expensive than two piece stocks.
Two piece stocks have one piece for the butt and one piece for the forearm. An example of two piece stocks is seen in break-open shotguns. They are much easier to make, and cost less than one piece stocks.
They are easier to manufacture because it is relatively easier to procure wood blanks that support two distinct parts of the stock. Two piece stocks, although, have lower accuracy than one piece stocks.
Anatomy of Stock
A gun stock is primarily divided into two parts: Butt and Fore-End. The butt is the rear portion of the stock, whilst the fore-end is the front portion.
The butt portion rests against the users’ shoulders, and helps with the stability and accuracy of the firearm. The butt-stock is further divided into: Comb, Heel, Tore and Grip. Some stocks also have a part known as the “Thumbhole”, which allows the user to hold the firearm much more ergonomically.
The fore-end supports the receiver, and passes on the recoil impulse from the barrel through the recoil lug.
In modern times, the fore-end is replaced by what is known as a lower-receiver or handguard. Even though they have different names, they serve the same purpose as the traditional fore-end.
Should You Oil Your Gun Stock?
It is important to clean one’s firearm with the use of gun oil. The gun oil will help to remove the excess amount of dirt, moisture and unburnt powder that remains within the firearm.
You should be wary of the amount of gun oil you are using to clean your firearm. Using too much gun oil at once will damage the firearm
If you are using a wooden stock, it is important to keep in mind that the use of oil to clean the gun will damage the wood. This damage won’t happen overnight, but gradually. You must make sure to keep the gun oil over away from the wood. When placing guns in a safe or vertical rack, the gun should be placed muzzle down to keep the oil from running into the stock.
What is Gun Stock Wax?
Gun Stock Wax is a high-quality combination of the protective and beautifying qualities of beeswax, silicone and beeswax. Gun stocks are waxed to protect them from various environmental elements that erode the quality and longevity of the stock.
You can even use car wax on your gun stock, but you have to keep in mind that it is pure wax, instead of any cleaner wax.
Maintaining Your Gun Stock
Here are some ways you can follow and keep your stock in good condition:
- If your gun has a wooden stock, keep it away from high temperature places, such as: open fires and heaters. Exposure to such types of environment will cause the wood to dry out.
- Wax the insides of the stock. This will prevent water from getting into the stock or firearm, especially if the firearm is used on rainy days.
- Make sure to oil you stock optimally. Over using the amount of oil will deteriorate the quality of the stock.
- In case of the firearm becoming wet, remove the action from the stock and make sure no water gets between the wood and the metal.
- If you have an oil finish on your stock, and the finish starts to look dirty and dingy, clean it using denatured alcohol. Apply the alcohol on a rag and use it to clean the weapon.
- Remove the rifle from the stock, and wax the stock inside out if the firearm you are using is exposed to harsh weather. Make sure the wax you are using is recommended for use on wood.
- For firearms with oil base finish, ensure that you keep a good wax top coat for cleansing. In order to treat scratches, apply a little of the same oil.
Replacing Old Gun Stocks
Gun Stocks are replaceable and should be replaced when there is a crack in the body, or when the gun stock goes missing. There is no need to change the stock unless either of those two events have occurred.
As the stocks compose the main body of the firearm, changing the gun stock is often at the top of the priority list for the users, as they deem that changing of the stock alters the appearance of the firearm.
The majority of the stocks available in the market, that can be installed in a matter of minutes, will not yield any substantial improvement in the weapon, especially in its accuracy. Rather, it is recommended to upgrade other parts of the weapon in order to get performance. For example, if you want to get better accuracy, the stock canbe bedded; if you want more convenience, swing swivels can be screwed into the weapon.
Even though getting a new stock is more appealing, as it enhances the look of the firearm, users should carefully deliberate before making a decision. You should decide whether you want better performance out of your firearm, such as: better mileage, or better scope, or do you just want your firearm to look better than it did yesterday.
It should also be taken into account that efficient and well-made gun stocks are not at all cheap. Usually, stocks that cost less than a hundred dollars improve the accuracy very little, if not any improvement. New stocks come with expenses that are hidden, and the user is unaware of.
In this article we have delved deep into the world gun stocks. Here, we have looked into the different ways of constructing a gun stock, and also into individual features that the firearm exhibits depending on its construction mechanism.
Though overlooked, it is needless to say that gun stocks are, arguably, the most important, and most fundamental part of any firearm. They give the firearm their shape, rigidity, and the composition of the gun stock plays a huge role in determining the accuracy level of the firearm.
Thus, it is very important for any firearm enthusiast or user to make sure that they are getting the best possible stock for their firearm, that is apt enough to meet their demands.