Fitting & Finishing

Precision Gun Works' semi-finished stocks are manufactured with the inletting machined approximately .005-.010" tight. This will require that some fitting be performed to achieve good, consistent wood-to-metal contact.

Follow these simple directions for a gunsmith-quality fit and easy-to-maintain oil finish.
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General Information

Factory stockmakers allowed a tolerance of 1/32", which is considered a good fit. By following these instructions, and by spending a little extra time, an even closer fit can be obtained relatively easily.

The secret lies in going slowly, being careful not to remove too much wood at one time. Remember: additional wood can always be removed, but once gone it is virtually impossible to replace in a way that will be aesthetically pleasing. Of course, it also helps to have a critical eye while carefully checking your progress, and by exercising patience as you work.

Helpful Tools

Very few tools are required to properly fit PGW's semi-finished stocks. The single most important tool you will need is a file. While many specialized files may be used to great advantage, the one most often needed is a common flat, bastard cut file (included in our Deluxe Stock Finishing Kit). If possible, use one that is "safe" on one edge (no teeth). This will allow you to widen the tang inletting without cutting a groove along the bottom. Also very helpful is a half-round bastard cut file (also included in our Deluxe Finishing Kit) for fitting the buttplate and shaping the comb area of the stock.

Fitting the rounded areas at the ends of the tangs is most easily done with a "Dremel"- type rotary tool - but be careful! It can easily get away from you, quickly ruining your work. A much safer method is to use a small, rounded carving tool, available from a hobby or craft store. Lacking this, you can also use a sharp, fine-pointed knife. We include both straight and rounded carving tools in our Deluxe Stock Finishing Kit.

An electric drill and the proper sizes of bits (preferably brad point) are needed for drilling the various screw holes. Also helpful is a bench vise, with padded jaws, for securely holding the stock while filing and drilling holes.

Getting Started

First, gently and carefully try the stock on the gun to get an idea of how much the inletting must be widened - do not force the stock or you may splinter the tang channel inletting and have a stock that is in bad shape and, alas, not returnable or exchangeable. Then remove the stock and carefully work the sides of the inletting with a flat file. Be sure to hold the file so it cuts evenly, maintaining flat, vertical sides to the inletting. Check your progress periodically to be certain you are not removing too much wood from any one area. Once the inletting is wide enough to allow the receiver to slide almost all the way into the stock, it's time for the inletting black.

Inletting Black

Using a small acid brush or cotton-tipped swab (included in our Stock Finishing Kit), apply a very thin, uniform coat of inletting black to the edges of the tangs and the rear mating surface of the receiver. Next, carefully slide the stock onto the receiver. Gently tap it into place using a rubber mallet or the heel of your hand. Remove the stock and note the locations where the black has transferred to the wood. This indicates where excess wood must be removed. Very carefully cut or file (as appropriate) the wood from the indicated areas.

The remainder of the fitting is simply a matter of repeating the above steps until the inletting black is evenly transferred from the receiver to all mating surfaces of the stock.

The buttplate is fitted in the same manner, as above. A half-round file is especially useful for fitting the curved areas.

Fitting the Forearm

To fit the forearm, work with the magazine tube in place (if applicable). If the barrel channel requires fitting, perform this step first. Next, fit the area of the forearm which extends into the forward part of the receiver. Once that is done, fit the outer, visible junction of the forearm with the receiver, followed by the barrel band or forearm cap. As with fitting the buttstock, use inletting black to obtain uniform wood-to-metal contact.

Final Shaping

Once the stocks have been fitted, drill the necessary holes and secure the stocks to the rifle and buttplate. Using a pencil with a very fine point, mark around all metal surfaces which come into contact with the wood. Very carefully file away excess wood to a point just above this line. To avoid marring the finish of the metal, this step is best performed with the stocks removed from the rifle.

Using a file, shape or "feather" the wood from the edges inward to obtain the proper finished shape. When filing and shaping, it is helpful to sight down the stock from end to end to avoid dips or bulges. The goal is to obtain a smooth, even finish with all contours flowing nicely, one into another. Be careful not to remove too much wood from the center portion of the stock as most stocks were originally shaped to have a slight bulge or "fish belly" in the middle, smoothly tapering outward to the ends. With close scrutiny, you will have a stock that will exactly match the contours of the original.

Finish Sanding

Begin with 120 grit sandpaper. Sand lengthwise, with the grain, to remove all file marks. Be especially careful near the edges of the stock to avoid rounding.

Once all file marks are removed and the stock is smooth, progress to the next finer grit. Finish up with the finest grit, being sure there are no sanding marks remaining from the previous coarser grits.

When sanding is complete, the wood should project very slightly above all adjacent metal surfaces. All edges of the stock should be nice and sharp with no noticeable rounding.

Staining

If staining is desired, apply and buff well before application of  the Filler/Sealer. It may be necessary to touch-up the staining after sanding the Filler/Sealer but, by staining first, the stain will reach down into the pores of the wood to give a more even appearance.

Filling and Sealing

Precision Gun Works Clear Filler/Sealer is lacquer-based, and is especially easy to work with. Unlike common "hardware store" filler/sealer, it sands easily without gumming.

Be sure the stock is free of all sanding dust. Mix the Filler/Sealer well to be sure all the filler is suspended in the mixture. Using a small paint brush, apply a moderately heavy coat to all outside stock surfaces, making sure all pores are filled.

If you wish, a thin coat may also be applied to the inletted areas and under the buttplate. This will act as a barrier to seal out oil and moisture. Just be careful not to apply too much or the inletting will be too tight to fit on the rifle.

Allow approximately one hour to dry, then sand with extra-fine sandpaper. It is important to sand to bare wood to allow for penetration of PGW's Classic Oil Finish, but avoid over-sanding as this may open new, unfilled pores in the wood. On especially porous wood an additional coat may be required. It's important that you don't skip or skimp on this step - your final finish, and its durability, depends on how well the stock is sealed.

Classic Oil Finish

Precision Gun Works' Classic Oil Finish was developed many years ago to satisfy the need for an easy-to-use oil finish with a genuine, early original appearance. Much testing and reformulation was required to finally arrive at what, we feel, is the most authentic oil finish available. Tested under high humidity conditions in South Texas, this unique oil finish contains drying agents which allow for faster gratification with the finished product. Since 1980, many, many thousands of fine rifle and shotgun stocks have been finished using our Classic Oil Finish.

PGW Classic Oil Finish will darken the tone of the walnut to some degree, but will not impart a reddish tint. For reddish color or an even darker walnut appearance, we recommend staining the wood before the filling/sealing step. Any hardware store or woodworking supply house can furnish a quality stain that will give the desired coloration.

Begin by shaking the finish to be sure the oil is thoroughly mixed. For best penetration, the stock should be warm, or at least at ambient room temperature. Avoid warming with an extreme heat source, or you run the risk of severely drying the stock, causing it to crack or warp.

Be sure the stock is clean and free of sanding dust. Then, using your fingertips or a soft cloth, apply the first coat of finish, rubbing it into the surface of the wood. Wipe away the excess oil and allow the stock to set for several minutes or longer.

Once the stock feels dry to the touch, buff with 0000 steel wool or a fine woven nylon (Scotch Brite) pad (included in PGW Stock Finishing Kits), following the grain of the wood. Wipe the stock clean with a soft cloth, then apply another coat, as before. This time allow the stock to dry overnight or until no stickiness is detected. Buff again with a fine woven nylon pad or 0000 steel wool until the surface is smooth and has a satin sheen. Finally, wipe the stock clean and buff with a soft cloth.

Gunstock Wax

Precision Gun Works Gunstock Wax contains a high concentration of Carnauba Wax. It is a very tough, long-lasting wax and will give your stock added protection, as well as a slightly higher luster.

To apply, make sure the stock is clean then, using a soft cloth or your fingers, rub a thin coat over the entire surface of the stock. Allow the wax to dry for five minutes only, then buff. Due to the high concentration of Carnauba Wax, do allow too long of a drying time, or you will have difficulty in buffing.

Touch-Up

One of the greatest features of an oil finish, in addition to its rich, warm appearance, is the ease with which blemishes can be repaired. To obtain a satisfactory repair with a modern polyurethane finish, the entire stock often has to be stripped and the finish reapplied. Too much work!

With an oil finish, on the other hand, only the affected area needs to be refinished. Should the stock get scratched, simply sand the marred area, apply Filler/Sealer, then follow with a coat or two of Classic Oil Finish. The once-blemished area should blend with the surrounding original finish to be completely unnoticeable.

 

We thank you for choosing PGW stocks and finish products. We feel confident that you will be pleased with the fruits of your labors; many of our customers report that fitting and finishing stocks is good "therapy" for them in that it requires patience, concentration, and basic craftsman skills, yielding beautiful results which gives them a great sense of pride.