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drknite
05-22-2016, 03:15 PM
Both of my competition benchrest rifles have fiberglass stocks. Having never had a wood benchrest style stock are there any advantages of wood. I have read that wood has better dampening properties. Looking for some opinions. Also does anyone know if there is a newer website for Don Stith stocks or is the current one the latest version.

tim
05-22-2016, 04:49 PM
The wood stocks, I suspect, might dampen somewhat better. The problem is getting one to remain stable, straight with it's bedding unchanged over periods of time in a particular region of the country.
There are very few guys that can properly choose the wood, seal it effectively, and give it a proper finish to a weight standard if it is required.
Composite, won't change if it's set up right, and can be deadened pretty well, just don't get a hollow one.

Mr.T
05-22-2016, 06:17 PM
I like wooden stocks ,they often dampen better(not always the case) and look and feel great, but from purely tech aspects i take composites over wood due to stability issues with many wooden stocks. Many need even if the owners don't know a new bedding every so often

Wilbur
05-22-2016, 06:23 PM
You're OK with solid wood, better with some sort of laminate, and good with a proven laminate. Truth is, fiberglass stocks are likely as good as you can get but they don't have the good looks of wood. I've never had one of those good looking wood stocks but have turned in better scores from time to time with fiberglass. If your rifle(s) shoot well with fiberglass, shake this off as quickly as possible. When you build a new rifle then consider something else....wood maybe. Don Stith makes a good wood stock and Terry Leonard makes a laminate stock that you just glue and go. There are others as I'm sure you know.

Another truth is that I pretty much don't know what I'm talking about when you get down to it...but I've had some really good shooting fiberglass along the way. I've also been beaten by most anything you can think of...which is why I wrote that other stuff. As far as I'm concerned, there ain't no "best" material for stocks. Each of us is limited to the time and money we have and we make do as best we can.

What if you paid a thousand bucks for a stock and the rifle ended up a dog? Would be a complete bummer for me but not much at all to others. Your personal answer to that question tells the whole story.

drknite
05-22-2016, 09:20 PM
Thanks guys for the advice. There is no doubt that wood holds a beauty aspect that can't be matched by traditional fiberglass without painting. There is the problem of warping with wood but I was under the impression that a good pillar and glass bedding job eliminated that. Does the rifle still continue to shrink and expand even after a good pillar and glass bedding job. I have an excellent composite stock on my turbo but was wondering about the wood stock for my suhl.

mwezell
05-22-2016, 09:30 PM
I truly love the look and feel of a wood stock, but I think they are best suited to hunting rifles. Talk of improved vibration control is just talk unless and until it is quantified. It's not that I doubt that it may be superior in terms of dampening, as much as it is unquantified and different between different stocks. So is how stable they are, but, I've never seen a wood stock that is as stable as fiberglass or carbon fiber stocks. This is quantifiable. It was mentioned earlier that bedding needs re-done ever so often..I don't buy that...with a fiberglass stock, so long as it isn't compromised in some way, such as by solvent.

Bottom line, fiberglass is factually more stable than wood and can likely be as good or better at dampening if that is a goal in its design, than wood. It really is about, just how much do you prefer the looks of wood over the inherent inferiorities of it vs synthetic stocks, IMHO.

There have been some fine stock makers mentioned already, but IMHO, no stock maker can make wood as stable as a composite. I've seen very good bedding jobs turn to crap after a while in wood. I simply feel its best left to use in hunting rifles and guns that are not competition oriented. It can very well come down to "winning ugly or losing pretty". I've seen some really ugly guns shoot lights out. I don't think any level of sealing of the wood is equal to composite. BTW, I've also seen some fine shooting guns in wood stocks that went to hell with the bedding. You can have a very nice custom painted composite stock for less than the cost of a AAA or exhibition grade stock. FWIW---Mike

mwezell
05-22-2016, 09:37 PM
Thanks guys for the advice. There is no doubt that wood holds a beauty aspect that can't be matched by traditional fiberglass without painting. There is the problem of warping with wood but I was under the impression that a good pillar and glass bedding job eliminated that. Does the rifle still continue to shrink and expand even after a good pillar and glass bedding job. I have an excellent composite stock on my turbo but was wondering about the wood stock for my suhl.

No, bedding won't stop the wood substrate from moving around...even if it was an inch thick. However, a bedding block installed with an adhesive that had some give to it might work ok. The adhesive would have to be substantially less dense than the wood, and of some thickness...allowing it to move independently of the wood...or vis versa. Think of it like this..how much finger pressure does it take to deflect a barrel quite a bit? A wood stock can exert a lot more pressure than your finger.

tim
05-22-2016, 10:23 PM
Thanks guys for the advice. There is no doubt that wood holds a beauty aspect that can't be matched by traditional fiberglass without painting. There is the problem of warping with wood but I was under the impression that a good pillar and glass bedding job eliminated that. Does the rifle still continue to shrink and expand even after a good pillar and glass bedding job. I have an excellent composite stock on my turbo but was wondering about the wood stock for my suhl.

Here's a nice little piece of personal history for you. Years ago I arranged a sporter build with somebody regarded a maybe in the top 1-2 in the country. This was way before Gordon built sporters.
Gun was a beaut, shot great, nice western maple stock.
In one year, that stock took on 6 freakin ounces of moisture, through full urathane finish, before it stabilized, and friends, it sure as hell did not stabilize in the same alignment it started out in. Bedding was still pretty good but what difference is that if it no longer tracks. Never, ever lose sght of the fact that with lots of wood you are always going to deal with a " luck" factor including where you keep it when not shooting and the off season.

drknite
05-22-2016, 10:24 PM
Thanks Mike,as always I appreciate your help. Yes you can have them painted them very reasonable. I am very lucky in that I have a very good local painter that charges less than 200 dollars for almost any custom paint job on a rifle stock. He has painted two for me that are stunning and currently has the stock for my turbo that he is painting. Sorry for the bad luck Tim on the sporter. Think I will stick with the composites and just have them painted to my liking.

blades
05-23-2016, 10:39 AM
Guess that stock was not sealed in the interior cuts- also it was overly dry when worked up in the first place- normal Furniture type wood will be kiln dried to apx 6-8% moisture content if done properly- that will rise to apx 12% under ambient conditions afterwards and generally will stabilize in that realm, depending on the ambient conditions of your area. at that point is is time to work it. 1/8 and 1/4 laminate stocks or a combination of the two are very stable. Yes they will still move a tad but so do your composite units - they shrink over time, and/or warp again depending on ambient conditions.
Personally I do not like the vibration transmitted by composite stocks and I have had units that were weak in the front end that created vertical problems off a rest ( acted like a spring when fired.) Please note that fiberglass does move - less than wood but fairy close- this statement is from research I did when comparing materials for window/door frame replacements. Aluminum bedding blocks actually move more than wood or wood laminates ( under large temperature swings). Alum. is one of the worst window/door frame replacement choices due to expansion /contraction ( temperature changes)followed closely by vinyl which just plain shrinks with age. This is a problem, shrinkage over time, that a lot of bedding materials experience. Just got to get away from the gun side of things to find this information
Of course there are different amounts of movement / moisture absorption for different species of wood. Has to due with cellular construction.

Wilbur
05-23-2016, 12:14 PM
Keep in mind, we're talking about the specific time it takes to shoot one target. If the bedding is such that it continuously shoots well, it's good. I think what we're actually talking about is a bedding job that's gone bad...and will no longer shoot well over the long haul. I've never had a rifle that didn't require a click or two at the onset of a match.

Mr.T
05-23-2016, 01:49 PM
Keep in mind, we're talking about the specific time it takes to shoot one target. If the bedding is such that it continuously shoots well, it's good. I think what we're actually talking about is a bedding job that's gone bad...and will no longer shoot well over the long haul. I've never had a rifle that didn't require a click or two at the onset of a match.

Bad bedding as in wrong materials that shrink to much is real issue but not related to wood and would happen on composite stocks as well.

But wood in most cases does 'move' and effects the bedding and tracking .

Bill B
05-23-2016, 02:25 PM
The phrase, "don't sweat the small stuff" comes to mind. Wood vs Synthetic; shooters are winning with both. When it comes to improving scores, IMO time is better spent practicing, concentrating on technique and learning what the flags are telling you. If one starts thinking that points are lost due to an imperceptible vibration of a composite stock rather than an error made when the trigger is pulled, I think one is concentrating on the wrong things. I always let my gunsmith worry and think about the technical stuff, my job was to take the finished rifle and concentrate on my shooting.