1903-A3 re-stock

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I've been working on re-stocking my 03A3 with a Minelli C Stock for the past month or so.

My old stock started to show it's age, specifically the rear tang area became too compressed which resulted in decreased accuracy. I had shimmed it once during last season, but the shim isn't "CMP Legal", so it was time for a new stock.

I had to perform a considerable amount of work to get the stock where it is. Normal items like in letting the trigger guard, ensuring the rear tang is properly relieved and that no areas of the receiver were touching any wood they shouldn't be were performed.

The forestock had to be extensively re-sized because out of the box, the middle band / sling swivel would only slide down about halfway. I also appropriately shaped the larger area behind the middle band. On the minelli, there was no taper - on my USGi stock, there was a slight taper. Also, there was a "bead" of wood left on the tip of the forestock where the barrel should make contact. I had to relieve this (very carefully) or else the barrel would sit crooked.

The handguard is NOS USGI which needed some minor fitting. The end that sat in the receiver ring was too tall, so I relieved it very carefully on a large sheet of sandpaper until it fit.

All said and done I probably have 12-15 hours of work into the stock. Most of the time was spent during that last snowstorm we had.

Out of the box the stock came with a brown finish. After having to relieve and sand parts of the stock down, I chemically stripped the rest. What you see here is 4 coats of RLO rubbed in over the course of 2 weeks. First coat, I waited a day; second coat; 2 days; 3rd coat 3 days; 4th coat 4. I will continue to add more RLO over the next few months.

If you have a good eye you'll notice the rear sight components are missing. My windage screw was crooked and I am waiting for a replacement.

I also installed a new Ron Brown tan sling. The other RB sling I was using is a dark burgandy color, and while it's nice and worn in, doesn't look as nice with the lighter wood.

The rifle will be shooting it's first match down in Camp Butner in April.... Unless Pembroke has a 1903 match before that.

Album : http://imgur.com/gallery/420V4
 

OldNorth

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That's beautiful! Nice winter project. Best of luck at the match, I bet you'll get lots of compliments
 

Mountain

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That looks fantastic. Really, really nice work. That wood grain is excellent as well.

I'm leaning towards the Terni stock for my M1 NM clone. Finish not looking that even once I started sanding so I'll probably need to strip. What did you use as a chemical stripper, and how did you use it? Thanks...
 

mac1911

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nice..... unique grain on that rifle. br hard to pick up the wrong rifle with that.

This is why i dont like them finishing the stocks before hand. I bought 3 finished CMP stocks and all needed to be stripped and restained. Good thing about cmp is the finish is so thin and not even "absorbed" into the food. The way boyds applies the finish its darn near dry on contact when they spray it on.

i have a seen a few of the menalli stocks and out of the box they are better than boyds/cmp for sure.
 
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Thanks everybody

Mountain, the stripper I'm using is "Sterling 5f5". My can has a date of 12/97 on it, but it looks like they still sell it new. I've used it successfully in the past to strip carbine and Garand stocks, including a nicely cartouched "GAW". It comes out as gel/goo and I apply it with an old paint brush. I let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then wash the stock with warm water in the utility sink in the basement. After it's dried, I will wipe it down with mineral spirits again. For the 1903 stock, I had to apply the stripper twice to a stubborn area; I waited a day between applications, mostly to allow the stock to dry.

http://www.truevalue.com/product/5f5-paint-varnish-remover-1-qt-/21096.uts

Mac, I wish vendors would sell 100% unfinished stocks. The description for the Minelli stock on the Brownell's page just says "oil finish" but they must spray or dip a finish/stain on because it's also on the inside, barrel channel, etc too. I opted not to try to match the stock and handguards with stain, instead I want to see how the RLO plays out over the coming months. To the RLO, even in the few short weeks it's been on, I've noticed that the grain of the stock is more accented. This was not the case after the first application.
 
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mac1911

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Linseed oil is supposed to darken with age?
I only used linseed on one stock....I think it just finally dried....3 years later!
I am willing to bet it's sprayed on. It's easy and can use less product.
Funny thing is I was just looking for a new stock in walnut for a 10/22 and 2 companies actual charge for unfinished?
 
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Raw Linseed Oil will allegedly darken up over time due to fatty acid oxidizing. Boiled Linseed Oil is processed in such a way that those fatty acids are removed, so it will never change color.

I bet the unfinished stocks cost more because they can use wood with imperfections and cover it up. I'm buying baseboard trim for my house, and the same profile trim but pre-primed costs less than the bare wood version. Score for me because I'm painting the trim anyways, and would have had to prime it anyways.
 
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Got out to the range today to zero the rifle. Also loaded up a few different loads because I'm thinking of changing my 03A3 load slightly from 46.0 of IMR4064 under a 155. 100 yard range, shooting prone, glove, jacket, 6 oclock hold, etc etc

First shot was in the 5 ring, and each consecutive shot started climbing. Assuming this is because a> I had cleaned the barrel and b> the action bedding itself into the new stock. Every 5 rounds, I checked the action screws. They ended up not needing any adjustment. A group appeared in the 7/8 ring at 5oclock. I moved the windage over one click to left and shot the next (slightly larger and higher) group to the left. With the old stock, my rifle was perfectly zero'd at 100 yards with the elevation all the way down - and this was how I was shooting at first.

http://i.imgur.com/O2maRcJ.jpg

Second target, I raised the elevation one click. I was more interested in group sizes versus the 10 ring, but I also wanted to see how the elevation change would print. This was 46.5 IMR4064 under a 155. Each of the next 3 targets has 15 rounds on them.

http://i.imgur.com/iQ30szc.jpg

Next, 47.0 under a 155. By this time the Range on a Sunday turns into a zoo and I had to play Range Officer at one point.

http://i.imgur.com/RKpKoG1.jpg

And 47.5. I think by this point I was subconsciously adjusting my hold to hit a little higher.

http://i.imgur.com/GXE9v9q.jpg

Probably going to stick with the 46.5 of imr4064. My front sight is a "D" height, which is already on the lower end in terms of height. I might get a "E" sight or just play with the elevation slider. I'm mostly concerned about a 200 yard zero for CMP.
 
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mac1911

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Don't discount some change in comb height and any other small changes from stock to stock.
Even a slight change in the angle of the bedding area can make pretty substantial changes down range.
.008" of sight height is 1" down range so if your stock bedding,comb, and any other area is high/low you will have a change.
 
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Don't discount some change in comb height and any other small changes from stock to stock.
Even a slight change in the angle of the bedding area can make pretty substantial changes down range.
.008" of sight height is 1" down range so if your stock bedding,comb, and any other area is high/low you will have a change.


Yeah, pretty much what I'm thinking. The groups look OK, so a shorter front blade should bring it right back to where it needs to be.
 
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