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Old October 20, 2013, 07:48 PM   #1
Ky Bob
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Does stock type matter?

Is there any difference in accuracy with a synthetic stock versus a wood or laminated stock?
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Old October 20, 2013, 08:00 PM   #2
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Unless you're super-picky about bench rest competition, I'd figure "not really". I'll admit that I'm basically satisfied with half-MOA for my own uses of rifles.
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Old October 20, 2013, 08:58 PM   #3
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No, the fit & shape of the stock is more important than what it is made of.
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Old October 20, 2013, 09:25 PM   #4
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Accuracy no. Consistency yes. A wood stock will expand and contract as temperature, humidty, and altitude change. There is nothing that can be done to change that. Glass bedding, aluminum liners, pillers, and high tech coatings will somewhat reduce the effects, but not eliminate them. All wood stocks have 10-15% of their weight in water trapped inside the stock. Remove any more moisture and the stocks would be as brittle as a matchstick and break easily. Coating the wood to prevent more moisture from entering does nothing to prevent the water trapped inside from expanding and contracting.

A wood stock can be just as accurate, but as the wood changes due to changes in environmental conditions, so will the point of impact. If you live in an area where those conditions are fairly stable, you may never notice the difference.

Zero a wood stocked rifle in East Texas in August at sea level then take it up to 8,000 feet in Colorado in November and you'll be lucky if your hitting within 3-4" of where you were in August. If it was sub MOA in August it probably still will be, just on a different part of the target. In rare cases you will see wood fail altogether with splits and cracked wood.

A laminated wood stock is somewhat better than solid wood, but a quality synthetic is far less likely to be affected by environmental conditions than either. I quit using wood in 1983. I've seen too many wood stocks fail before and since.
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Old October 20, 2013, 10:01 PM   #5
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Old October 22, 2013, 01:47 AM   #6
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Well...that all depends on you really. What do you shoot, how often do you shoot, and how do you like your rifles? If you like em pretty, you can't been a fine piece of wood. No fiberglass stock is going to come close.

As far as expanding/contracting yada yada....*shrug* benchrest shooters use wood (not exclusively). They don't just shoot one part of the year in one I reckon if it's good enough for them...

I used wood stocked M14's never had a problem with weather affecting the shot any more than altitude or temp on the bullet itself. If you travel to any difference in altitude and climate with any rifle, your poi is going to change. That's why we re-zeroed when we got in-country. Even M4's which have no wood in them.

With that being said. Wood has a notorious internet reputation for swelling or shrinking and just not being all that great for stocks...funny how it's still in use by them fancy high dollar rifles them guys who can afford to fly all over the world and shoot things with buy though...

Laminates are supposedly better than wood, cause the glue helps seal out some moisture... Too bad it's the insides that are glued and the ends (which will always soak up the most moisture) and outsides don't have any glue on them.

Synthetics are supposedly the most stable...least likely to shift your poi...yet they're still glass and pilliar bedded, you still have to check the torque on the action bolts, and they still have to be re-zeroed if you change location/temp/etc...(admittedly, this is because of the outside forces on the bullet, not the stock)

Wood stocks can require more care, depending on their finish, but they can take just as much abuse. Synthetic stocks are all the rage because it's cheaper to make a synthetic stock, easier to injection mold than it is to carve and finish wood, and this means more profit for the rifle makers selling them. Some good advertising and propaganda and the public believes it too.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a GOOD synthetic stock. I own some and like them. But they're not cheap. You end up paying just as much for a good synthetic stock as you would a decent wood one.

But to answer your question, no. All things being equal a wood stock will no more affect a rifle's accuracy than a synthetic. The inletting, bedding, and fit of the stock will. But if you took a rifle action and barrel that shot well in a synthetic stock that was inletted, bedded properly*, and torqued correctly; moved it to a wooden stock that was also inletted and bedded properly* and applied the same torque the accuracy should be the same.

* when I say properly bedded I mean pillar bedded as well. Preferably with pillars just shy of touching the action and a skin of bedding over them...
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:18 AM   #7
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I like wood, never had a problem with changing POI whether I shoot in summer or winter POI is always the same. Course it doesn't usually get THAT cold here and I don't go running all over the country either.
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Old October 23, 2013, 05:42 PM   #8
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All the mentions of synthetic stocks had the word "good" in front of them. I bought a Remington Light Varmint Stainless Fluted with a Synthetic stock. The stock was not sufficiently rigid to keep a consistent point of impact. I'd get tiny goups but they were all over the place and I never knew what gun I'd be shooting. The problem was random points of contact between the forearm and barrel. I replaced it with a wood laminate and all was good.
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