View Full Version : Do slip on recoil pads damage a stock?

May 2, 2010, 12:16 AM
I'm considering a slip on limbsaver recoil pad. I plan to use it when shooting but remove it when I'm done. My question and fear with this is will they damage a wood stock or the finish on it? If they will I don't want one. Also are they easy to remove and install?

May 2, 2010, 12:25 AM
Shouldn't hurt the stock at all unless it's left on so long that you have different weathering/fading between the exposed and unexposed areas. But by then it will be time to refinish the stock anyway...

May 2, 2010, 12:28 AM
nothing breaks my heart more than to see a classic winchester come in through the door with one of those on, later when we are cleaning it up (how come no one ever cleans a gun before they go to sell?? you vaccum your car right?) and take the pad off there is a definate line and fading from where the pad was, granted, all guns are different, brownings may react differently than a pre 64 winchester or whatever and this said person probaly left the thing on the gun for 15 years or so, if you take it off each time i wouldnt worry about it, also, before you put the pad on, flip it inside out and hit with the air compressor, if there is sand or crud in there you can get some small scratches on the end of the buttstock because the pad does move when you shoot it, make sure its clean...

that being said i put one on my 1940's era winchester model 12 heavy duck to simulate the layers of clothing im wearing when im hunting..and i dont have any problems..

May 2, 2010, 07:51 AM
I bought A 1950 336 A marlin that had A leather lace on pad. God only knows how long it had been on it. Stock under the pad looked much better than the rest but no change in color.

May 2, 2010, 07:59 AM
Any time you slip something on and off a stock repeatedly you risk damaging or wearing the finish. Will it disfigure your gun? I doubt it, but enough times you could create some wear.

May 6, 2010, 01:22 AM
Just got my Limbsaver recoil pad from Cabellas.(size: small). Put on my Henry H001. Fits absolutely perfect.

It gives an additional 1" length of pull which I sorely needed. It's a real soft rubber, almost like a foam. Really comfortable.

Yesterday I put on a Williams receiver sight with target knobs. Clamps on the receiver grooves. Next will be getting an aluminum front barrel band and sight ramp from Henry so I can put on a luminescent front bead, polish the band and ramp, and take out the OEM rear sight. also got the extended cowboy style rounded lever for winter gloves, and cool looks..

Haven't got to go to a range yet but I read that hitting a golf ball at 100 yards regularly is common for the Henrys. ;)

Got high expectations for the little stinker. Great also being able to shoot "shorts" at backyard pests without the neighbors complaining.

If you haven't heard, Marlin is going out of business with complete shutdown in about 6 months. :(

May 6, 2010, 05:04 AM
I, also, need all the length I can get (15 1/2") and use a slip on to add a bit to my SGs. I have one that I move from gun to gun as I need it. It doesn't stay on any one gun for more than a shooting session.

May 6, 2010, 06:40 AM
Instead of a slip on pad, or lace on for my assortment of mil-surps I had a couple of shirts made with a shoulder pocket that accepts a Browning Reactor Pad. Excellent recoil reduction.

This lady custom makes button up and tee shirts very reasonable. I bought one of each and I'm ordering more.

May 6, 2010, 11:47 PM
My dad bought a savage model 110 270 when I was about 5 yrs old. It didn't have a recoil pad, just the hard plastic. He put one one of the cheap brown rubber slip on recoil pads. I don't know what there called, but I still see them at walmart and academy. I don't think it's ever been off and I'm 32 yrs old now. When I pull the rubber back and look at the stock, it still looks the same. No scratches or fading that I can tell. It does fit very tight, so it would be hard for dirt and sand to get in it.

July 24, 2010, 11:30 PM
I see these posts and, for me, it does not seem to make much sense to me. If one has a gun for a couple, three, four decades and shoots the heck out of it and then worries about what the stock shading or slight friction marks that may occur on it.....well, why shoot it at all? Build a frame and hang it on a wall. What if shooting it wears on the barrel or metal works??? Or, buy one to shoot and one to look at and leave it to others in perfect shape, never fired. And what good will that do?

MO. Shootin
July 25, 2010, 08:33 AM
I think it can most certainly cause damage to the finish on a stock.

I would not leave one on all the time on a nice wood stock.

If you hunt in the rain I would definatley take it off afterwords. I had one on my BAR for a while and I can tell it.

July 25, 2010, 09:02 AM
Why not buy a regular LS recoil pad. Install it and if fitting is needed mark with an awle and tak to a shoe repair shop and have them fit and polish the edges. Looks factory

July 25, 2010, 11:27 AM
I use a Limbsaver pad for my 7mm Rem Mag, .444 Marlin, & Mossberg 835 w/ turkey loads while pattering the gun... additionally, I slip it on the 30.06 when my wife is shooting it. It is definately worth putting it on your weapon. Greatly reduces felt recoil, in which will reduce your tendancy to flinch. Both the 7mm Rem Mag & .444 killed on both ends, the pad greatly reduces that. I don't leave it on for a great period of time & typically only use it while zeroing or pattering my guns on the range. If I'm taking a shot in the field my adreanaline is pumping to much to feel or care about felt recoil.

February 6, 2018, 03:47 AM

I have a cheap rubber looking slip-on butt pad bought on ebay. On a couple of occasions I have made the mistake of leaving it on my rifles, a Lee Enfield and a Swiss K31, in both cases it has darkened the BLO finish where it has been in contact and I have not been able to remove the darkening.

Does anyone know how to remove this, or even what has happened to cause the darkening?



February 6, 2018, 08:42 AM
A guy brought me a nice looking Win Model 12 that had been sitting in a closet for 50-60 years. It was hardly blemished but the old rubber slip-on pad had disintegrated to crumbling. I spent hours carefully removing the decades old residue but the end result was hardly noticeable.
The LimbSaver pads are entirely different and I haven't noticed them leaving any sort of residue but I wouldn't make them on permanently. They roll on/off easily.

February 6, 2018, 09:21 AM
No it will not. I have several and that's just nonsense. But if you still feel uncomfortable they come in several stretch on cloth style recoil pads ffrom other manufacturers.

Art Eatman
February 6, 2018, 10:28 AM
I guess that every eight years or so a subject can be resurrected. :)

Don Fischer
February 6, 2018, 12:55 PM
Other than needing the length, why in the world would anyone put a slip-on pad on a rifle rather than simply changing out what they have with a grind to fit pad?

February 6, 2018, 02:29 PM
Ease of use
They do work
Removable if needed
They do work
Instant gratification

I personally bought rifles and shot guns that fit me

I did buy a rifle or two that I used my wood working skill to adjust to fit me

Then came kids ...got them kiddy guns....and as they aged the LOP changed...these Pads helped a bit on two fronts

As to the Ops question... Put in on a clean wood stock with the interior of the sip on pad very clean.... use at range or hunting... as you clean the rifle take it off...clean and re wax or what ever your method is for the wood stock and put away a clean tool

Wash out the recoil pad and dry thoroughly... put in big baggie with dusting of talc for the long wait until next season to use

If during a long hunt season with the pad installed and a lot of humid damp rainy days...every night back at camp take it off...clean and dry the stock and the pad

lots of the inevitable mud, sand, and moisture can scratch and discolor a beautiful wood stock....

On any synthetic...hell put it on and ignore it until it rots off...grin

Tongue in cheek I have a few synthetics... and most are JUST for hunting in harsh conditions that I prefer to not damage my pretty guns

On those I pay good attention to the actions and barrels but care not one wit about the stock...I bought it to take a ugly beating

February 6, 2018, 03:01 PM
I shoot a lot of older military rifles. Helps alleviate not having a sore shoulder after a long shooting session. It's easily removable to slip on another rifle. No grinding and fitting necessary since some even come with different depth removable pads.

February 6, 2018, 03:09 PM
If you have ever noticed the fine workmanship of a carefully fitted steel buttplate on some of those pre-64 model 70 Winchesters, etc., you might ask, "Why in the world would any one cut that stock to add a grind-to-fit recoil pad, when they can simply use a slip-on recoil pad and keep the stock original?".

February 6, 2018, 06:40 PM
All I can say is that my Dad had one of the old fiberglass barrel Winchester shotguns (don't remember the model) that he bought for my Mom to shoot anything that might swoop down to pick off a chicken in the yard. My Mom couldn't handle the recoil so he put a rubber slip on pad that stayed for years. To me it seemed to suck the moisture out of the wood...definitely damaged the butt stock.

Just my .02 cents....


February 6, 2018, 07:18 PM
I have had a slip on pad on a double bbl shotgun for 7 maybe 8 years....just looked at it , I slipped it off, rubber still pliable and stock finish on the walnut stock under the pad looks just fine.
I slipped it back on....so far so good. I always meant to put on a regular recoil pad...but this one works so well I just never got a round tuit.

February 6, 2018, 07:43 PM
If you wax the stock before you put it on it can stay on for ever, that is what a gunsmith told me !!!

February 7, 2018, 05:16 AM
I guess that every eight years or so a subject can be resurrected. -- LOL thanks Art for the smile... I have done a few searches on this subject, this was one of the few sensible threads that came back, and until I posted no one had actually had any damage. So I added rather than starting new...

And all the reasons above for why to use it! It is VERY rare that my partner will shoot either of these two rifles without the butt pad (although weirdly she enjoys the No5 as is!!!). For me, when I am testing ammo its extra friction helps to keep the stock in the same position shot to shot.

I am still looking for away to lighten the finish back to where it was, if anyone has any ideas they would be appreciated? Since both are boiled linseed oil I have tried rubbing down with turps, but no result. With the bands around the back of the stocks they look like DP rifles!

Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to answer.


Don Fischer
February 7, 2018, 12:02 PM
All right, Why would anyone take a beautiful wood stock and put on a slip on recoil pad? It's better to buy one of those plastic stocks and put it on there, they start out ugly! Great idea, buy a new rifle in a cartridge that won't require a slip on stock to handle recoil!

February 7, 2018, 01:28 PM
Because I can't abide with a plastic stock when Walnut is my standard. A slip-on recoil pad add to the length-of-pull, which is generally a good thing for me. however when wearing heavy winter clothing, it can be desirable to remove the recoil pad. It's an on-again/off again kind of thing.

February 7, 2018, 01:37 PM
Bob Shoots

I managed to refinish a stock back to same uniform color that had been in the back of pick up and one side was dark (original?) and other side exposed to UV sunlight was noticeably lighter

This begs the question did the slip on darken the original color or preserve it

Lightening the darkened area is hard... darkening the rest to be same uniform shade is much easier

February 8, 2018, 05:55 AM

Thanks for the reply. In this case I don't think the problem is caused by UV, these rifles rarely get to see daylight, let alone the sun! They are kept in a slip-case and shot indoors for the most part. The exposure to the slip on butt pad was measured in weeks rather than months, but the darkening is pronounced and obvious.

I am beginning to think that the problem may be more related to a release agent being left on the inside of the butt pad. Whoever above said wash them thoroughly and then talc the inside I think was onto the right thing, even better than talc would be fullers earth (used to have loads for NBC decontamination) which would help to neutralise anything nasty leftover from washing.

Ho-hum, do not want to have to refinish them, again in the case of the K31, and especially in the case of the Enfield which is stained, But it is beginning to look like the only option...


February 8, 2018, 07:17 AM
Might have to do with the construction of the rubber( or whatever it is) slip on recoil pad, and when and where it was made. If it is a little reactive to the finish of the stock it might damage it with prolonged wear.

February 9, 2018, 03:21 PM
Yes, the slip on pads discolor stocks. My thoughts are my firearms fall into two categories.
1. Shooter
2. Safe Queen
The shooters get run hard and abused. The safe queens keep their majestic beauty maintained.

February 9, 2018, 03:23 PM
@xandi - It could have been older petroleum based rubber recoil pads. Those would definitely do it. Today's pads should be fine...

February 9, 2018, 11:20 PM
[QUOTE] [It could have been older petroleum based rubber recoil pads. Those would definitely do it. Today's pads should be fine.../QUOTE]
Today's pads transparrent? UV fading is the big issue.

February 10, 2018, 02:55 PM
Bob shoots

Just an anecdote that has some meager relevance...

But first; I suspect the recoil pad, by darkening the stock where in contact, was, as suggest by others...simply not thoroughly cleaned/cured and out gassing the different volatile gasses that reacted with whatever the final finish of the stock was

as stated make darker to match, or total strip and refinish back to uniform

The story: I put a very very nice new TALO Ruger 10/22 in a Ruger brand rifle soft case....

I had previously had a basic Ruger 10/22 in that case for years...lots of shooting/cleaning residue, oil residue, no way to know what all chemicals got absorbed into the soft interior....

When I put the brand new rifle in it was a nice light blond with exquisite checking from TALO...(reason I bought it)...

About a year later my son was visiting and I wanted to show off the beautiful rifle.... (wish I had before and after photos)...The rifle came out of the soft case many shades darker.... thankfully uniform and while not as pretty as I thought on storing...I liked the new look

February 12, 2018, 03:58 AM
Thanks Fredvon, I am glad you like the new shade, I have to say on looking at the darkened section of the K31 stock I am tempted to darken it all...

On Friday I swapped mails with an Ex British Army Armourer on the subject. He said he had actually seen the same thing, darkening of the stock, where soldiers had used a rubber slip on butt pad (not sure if it was issue). Of course, being only a cosmetic problem he had no interest in fixing it, but his opinion is that it is caused by oil penetration into the stock.

With this in mind I am now treating the condition as an oil penetration to see if I can lift/lighten the stain that way. I tried leaving some bicarb on one of the stocks over the WE but it does not seem to have achieved anything, now both stock ends are stood in a bucket of cat litter to see if this can suck any oil out. Failing that it is a warm iron and brown paper. I will post any results.



February 12, 2018, 09:04 AM
Today's pads transparrent? UV fading is the big issue.

Then take it off...problem solved. They pop right off when done shooting. Some people have to take something so easy and make it 10x more difficult out of paranoia.

February 12, 2018, 12:51 PM
hometheaterman asked:
My question and fear with this is will they damage a wood stock or the finish on it?


To slip on and hold, the pad has to be constructed of a polymer with elastomeric properties (i.e. it is a plastic that behaves like rubber). To get that rubbery property, the plastic is molded with chemicals that soften it. Left in contact with a stained and varnished or oil finished wood, the chemicals in the pad can make it start to stick to the finish on the wood.

There is also the previously mentioned problem of the pad protecting part of the finish from oxidation or ultraviolet light color change that leaves a distinct line in the finish as well as damage caused to the stock by trash that gets caught between the pad and the stock.

To minimize this potential for damage you would, ideally, remove the pad from the rifle when it comes back from the range and at the end of each season you would dispose of the pad and get a fresh one for the new year.

February 12, 2018, 04:06 PM
Bob...eventually what ever you do will maybe be fun OR depending on attitude a royal PITA... I actually do a lot of wood working...so would take the challenge to just make it my own unique refinish...perhaps all darker or all back to original or something in the middle

I have some beat to hell stocks I made beautiful and some look like they belong in a homeless camp

I would be curious for you to do a before and after set of photos

February 14, 2018, 06:39 AM
I have 11 different hard hitting rifles and S/G. This is the best way to go IMO :


February 14, 2018, 03:49 PM
Today's pads transparrent? UV fading is the big issue.
Then take it off...problem solved. They pop right off when done shooting.
If the issue is UV fading of the stain used on the stock, and most of the UV exposure is going to happen outside, how will taking off the pad once you get home solve the problem? A slip-on pad looks like a pimple on a prom queen, they don't fit right, they hold moisture and degrade the appearance of the wood. Solution? Just put a recoil pad on the rifle. Don't be like the ijits you see driving down the freeway with the tiny spare tire on their car, that is just a stop-gap.