View Full Version : How big a stock crack is too big?

May 21, 2001, 11:18 PM
I'm the proud new owner of a slightly elderly pre-enjoyed model 700 in 30-06. While rubbing the stock feverishly the other day, I noticed a crack. If you were to look at the rifle square from the left - and draw a line such that the stock is divided into rifle w/ pistol grip and a trapezoidal shoulder stock hunk - the crack runs for about 3/4inch, at the very bottom of this arc. The crack is on the side, does not wrap around to the bottom. It is not deep - and it is blackened and smooth, leading me to believe it's not recent. I fired 40 rounds 165 gr earlier in the day before noticing this, and it does not appear to have opened or look fresher at all.

Question is - how big does a crack have to get in such a spot before splitting is an issue? The wood is fairly plain and straight grained - crack crosses the grain at an angle. Will I be ok just keeping an eye on the thing?

Any suggestions appreciated...


Harley Nolden
May 22, 2001, 05:24 AM
It sounds to me like a "dry rot" crack, coming from age and stock deteriation. Cracks like this will normally increase in size, and to determine when or how it will react is difficult to say. Rather than wait for the inevitable, I would replace the stock rather than have it go down when I needed it the most.

You couls probably put a stock screw through the crack, and that may hold it for awhile, however, due to further deteriation the end result may be the same


May 22, 2001, 07:02 PM

I agree with Harley that the wood may be dry rotting. But, there is another possibility. Wood expands and contracts with changes in heat and humdity. All wood will eventually check (aka small thin crack)if not protected by oil or finish of some sort.

If you are so inclined, you may want to tear the rifle down and give it a good inspection. Pay particular attention to the points where the wood would have the most stress. If everything else looks okay, clean all the finish off the rifle. Clean the wood inside and out. Believe it or not, a bucket full of Tide and hot water works great. Rinse with clean hot water, then place it somewhere safe to dry. Let it dry for at least three or four days. (the actual time will depend on how humid it is where you live)

After it has dried, look it over again. Look for any new cracks or old ones that have opened up. Now for the fun part. Open the crack with an exacto knife a little bit. Becareful not to carve a huge trench in the stock, you just want the crack opened upa tiny bit. Go to a wood workers supplystore and pick up some 2 part marine grade epoxy. These come in different colors, get something that matches the wood as close as possible. Mix up the epoxy and pour, spoon,squeege the epoxy into the hole. The stuff I use is pretty thin, to keep it from running all over the place. Clean up any of the spills off the wood. Let the epoxy dry. When dry, gently sand the epoxy and wood flush. Refinish the stock and you are in biz. If done well, the darker epoxy may only look like a bigger grain line.

For the record, I learned this technique from an old furniture maker that works primarily in mesquite wood. I love making things with 'squete, it does check like mad. My current project happens to be a rifle stock. The wood is air drying and has a couple more.

Good luck,


May 22, 2001, 07:07 PM
I just read my post. Geez, don't ever post any thing before proof reading it.

Here is the changes.

Use a good marine grade or boat builders epoxy. The stuff that I use is pretty thin and needs to be dammed up with some masking tape.

And the wood for my stock has a couple more months to air dry before it will be readyto work.

Yes, I is a college gaduate.