I was at my local gun store one Saturday afternoon just browsing the racks of all the eye candy, when the owner “Brad” asked if there was anything I was interested in. Well, what a question, to which I replied “everything”. I was after a cheap .22lr to practice standing and prone competition shooting. I was just getting into it and didn’t want to invest heavily in a .22lr. I regularly shoot competition with a 22-250, but the .22 looked interesting.
Brad showed me a few .22’s in the 200-300 dollar range. I wanted something with a heavy barrel and chose the Savage MKII BV Heavy barrel with synthetic stock. This came in at $260CDN. It was a terrible stock, but I thought I would give it a try. The rifle shot amazingly well. After a couple boxes of ammo I was getting dime sized groups. The only thing letting the gun down was the stock. I looked at Boyds for another stock, but with shipping/taxes to Canada it turned out being a further $250CDN. Well I decided to build one. The following is a simple guide to build your own Stock.
I bought some Russian birch from Home Depot. It came in small sheets of 5’x3’ so I thought this would be enough to make two stocks. I cut the material into 3 sections and glued them together using a waterproof wood glue. I used clamps to press the boards together.
Now I had a good thick piece of wood to work with I cut the material into two pieces and proceeded to use the Savage stock as a template to draw around on the first piece. I made some personal changes to the design to make it ergonomically friendly to my shooting style.
So now I have the basic design for the stock.The first thing I did was to router out the groove for the barrel. I used a ¾ “ round nose router bit.
The next step was to router out the holes for the action. Again I used my router with a straight cutting bit. I used a dial caliper to get the measurements from the original synthetic stock. I set the router to the depths and cut out the action hole. This was kind of tedious as there were many changes to the depth and position.
Above you see the first center depths cut out to accept the trigger and mag.
The above picture shows the bolt closed slot and safety switch routed out.
With these sections done I was able to break through to create the opening for the trigger and mag to protrude through. Again I used the router to do this. When taking out your material make sure your fence is good a solid, this will eliminate any sideways movement.
So now that the action is cut and ready for the gun to sit in place. I found that I had to make some minor adjustments to get it to sit properly. I wanted to have the barrel completely free floating, so I had to sand a few places.
The next stage was to give the stock some curves. I wanted to see what it would feel like before I started taking off more material. I used a quarter round router bit to take off the edges of the stock to show me the profile. This was beneficial as I got to try the feel of the stock in my hand.
Now the stock is starting to come together visually, it feels good up to the cheek and the line of sight has a natural feeling. When I hold it to my shoulder I get the feeling that the scope when fitted will line up perfectly with my eye.
The next stage is the fun part. This is where I get to make a mess. I have found that the best method to remove excess wood is to use a regular grinder with a sanding disk. I have used a pencil to etch my guide lines on the stock to show me how far to remove excess.
A little sanding later and the grain of the plywood is coming through. I wanted a wider section at the front of the stock in case I use it for bench rest.
More sanding at the rear of the stock. You can really play around with some interesting designs.
At the front.
The grip was probably the most trickiest section, notice the burn marks from the edge of the sander.
So the stock is now rough sanded and is pretty in line. This is where I find you can play with your own design and make the stock fit your style.
The next stage is the hand sanding part of the build. This takes time and is what the user will see when it is finished, so its important to do it right (I keep telling myself this, don’t rush, but hey we are human). After lots of sanding with various grits of paper it should look like this.
So my synthetic stock did not come with a removable trigger guard. Now remember this is a budget build so I don’t want to go and buy a trigger guard and floor plate kit at 50 bucks, so I made one. I found some plate steel and cut it into lengths that I could use. I then brazed the pieces together to make a simple trigger guard. I milled out the opening for the trigger and mag to go through.
With these milled, drilled and painted we are looking good.
The next stage of the stock build was to apply the stain and final finish. There are various methods to this and I am still investigating one that suits the finish that I want. I have not found it yet, but I keep trying. For this stock I went with a regular oil based stain. I applied this to the stock while suspended.
At this stage when the stain is dry I used the steam off a kettle to bring the fibres out of the wood. I then sanded with 1000 grit paper.
The final stage was to apply the finish of your choice. For this stock I chose a spray lacquer which I applied very liberally with 1000 grit sanding in between coats. Then to apply all the action parts and the barrel. This is a hobby, I’m learning more every time but I now have a stock that feels comfortable. This stock cost around $40 to make, so I think it was worth it.
This is the end result.