Does a wood gun shoot better than a synthetic one?

Discussion in 'Equipment Discussions' started by NesikaChad, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Anyone ever asked this question?

    Better yet, anyone ever tried to proof it out?

    In a round about way, I have. . .(not really, I just wanted you to roll your eyes a little)

    I had a room mate in the Marine's who's father was a home audio nut. When he learned that I had a passive interest in it, he bombarded me with publications about class A home audio components. "Audiophile Magazine" to be specific.

    What in the hell does this have to do with guns?

    We look towards the good ol record player for the answer (Vinyl rules by the way)

    High end turn tables have stylus's that come in basically two types, moving coil and moving magnet. The really expensive ones come with an outer housing made from (drum roll please) high grade English Walnut.

    Why wood? Why THAT would more specifically. It seems that walnut has this natural tendency to dampen and isolate vibration/harmonics/frequencies, what ever the appropriate engineering term is. It makes records sound better by shielding outside "corruption" of the mechanical process going on.

    Expensive too. Some of these record needles go for 15 or 20 thousand bucks. (sickos!)

    So, it got me to thinking. Maybe there is something to the whole wood gun thing. . .

    Small bore guns. The wooden stocks when bedded properly always seemed to shoot exceptionally well.


    Charles Clark, trusted long time friend and the most obsessive/compulsive/analy retentive person I know.

    "The toilet paper must always roll from the top"
    Yes, he really said this.

    Well, I built his rifle for him. Prior to me fussing with it, it shot well. Good enough to get him through the try outs and world championships in england back in 2003.

    Well, we experimented a little during the rebuild. The stock is all synthetic. An Ian Robertson built Warner Prone Stock sold exclusively by Warner Tool Company in NH.

    I gutted the entire core of the stock so that I had an egg shell when done. I layed carbon fiber along the entire interior. Kitty haired the stuff so that it was sort of unidirectional and then layed long unbraided strands from one end to the other and down into the grip. you could have used it for a baseball bat at that point.

    Next, I took walnut shavings from the stock milling machine and mixed them with an epoxy so that I had something that resembled those oatmeal/chocolate cookie things that Granny and Mom like to make to get us fat.

    I pack it in where the bedding is eventually going to go an and allow it to harden.

    I mill out my inlet in typical fashion and bed the rifle. Identical to what some of you saw in the bedding photos of one of my other posts.

    Get the gun all done and we start testing.

    This is the hardest hitting 1000 yard 308 I've ever seen.
    I got lucky.

    It has shot sub 1/3 minute of angle groups back at the big 1K line. These guns are iron sights too. Don't forget that.

    I realize how incredible that sounds, but there is a stack of plot sheets back at the house that he has faxed me from events all over the US. Oregon, Sacramento, Phoenix, Raton NM, Denver, CO, Washington state.

    Given the dramatic changes in climate, humidity, temp, and elevation don't seem to have as much influence on the group size either. Not saying it doesn't affect elevation, but once things are clicking, it always seems to shoot.

    Is it the bedding? Hell, I don't know, but it sure seems like the little experiment didn't hurt anything.

    Obviously, the machine work and what not needed to be right as well.

    A photo of the gun is shown below.

    Any thoughts or ideas? C'mon fillet me like a trout and tell me I'm full of poop. I don't care. I don't know if it worked or not. I was just glad I didn't ruin anything and have to buy him a new gun! Seriously. . .


  2. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    My personaly oppinion is that if the gun is built correctly meening that the action and stock are properly bedded and fitted together that it woulden't matter. But if your just gonna srew a barreled action into a stock the synthetic would be the better of the two especaily if the climate is going to vary alot in temp and humididty

    I love the feel of wood and the durability of the synthetic stocks , which is why alot of my stocks now are laminated

  3. pinshootr

    pinshootr Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    Don't know for sure but as soon as you mixed the wood with the epoxy sealing it from moisture you invalidated the whole question of wood verses synthetic?? now if you would have uesed a wood stock and done all these test and then took off the wood stock and put on a synthetic and compared. It might have answered the question. Just my opinion though Tod /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif
  4. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

    Jun 13, 2007
    There are quite a few in the LR BR game who think that wood (id laminates) do tend to shoot better and give better harmonics. Lot of arguements, but short on definitive proof.

  5. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Kind of the direction I have leaned towards as well. (listened to the same stuff regarding BR guns. In fact a great many of the BR guns I built at Nesika were done with terry Leonard wood stocks. Carbon/California Redwood composites.)

    Well, there is one other little part of this I didn't elaborate on at first. My Palma gun.

    It is built on exibition grade English. Whole stock, not just a psydo wood/sythetic mix. I've yet to get it out to stretch it's legs, so I guess we'll just have to see. . .

    200 yard groups look very promising though.

    As a point of clarity to other comments. It wasn't my intention to get into the associated limitations of wood, the sensitivity to moisture and such. I was just refering to wood's ability to soak up the vibes and make a happier gun during the firing process.

    I guess we'll see. . .
  6. blackco

    blackco Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Here is a different twist on the same idea (I think): Sims has all of the vibration dampening items for everyting that shoots including those things that are slid onto the barrel of a rifle. Could something be built into the stock of a gun, similar to the rings Sims puts in bow risers,that would dampen the vibration of the gun when it is shot. This MIGHT be what was going on with the wood that was epoxied into the stock of this rifle. Maybe an idea for you guys who have forgoten more than I will probably ever know about guns/gunsmithing.
  7. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Actually, I think you may be onto something.

    We've heard of the boss system and barrel tuners. that is one way to mess with it. Just tune the freq to the bullet.

    Another option I've wondered about. (I'm a highschool graduate who played with leggos a lot as a kid, so you engineers out there be gentle when I screw this up.)

    Stanley makes a hammer with a tuning fork built in the handle. Supposed to reduce fatigue and allow a framer to work longer/harder without having his forearms screaming at the end of the day.

    What if we hung a tuning fork off of the bottom of the barrel right in front of the recoil lug? What if we had it hung there and then entering a sealed container filled with a viscous fluid? (Fluid dampner like on a Small block chevy hot rod engine)

    I dunno, would it work? who's got time to try? I'm in Iraq and my armory doesn't even have a dremel tool.

    Man, no one has even said if they hate or like the gun.

    I figured I'd get at least one comment.

    (pouting like a little girl now)
  8. Chawlston

    Chawlston Guest

    I have one of the first year stocks that Terry Leonard made. When we were at Rachael's Glenn in Alabama, he was explaning to me about the wood dampening the harmonics from shot to shot it made sense. When you shoot a fiberglass stocked gun that is a glue in you can detect a ring after the shot goes off. With the wooden stocks, the ring is not detectable to me. The same barrelled action shoots better with the Redwood Carbon fiber laminate. However, I don't know if it makes it more accurate or more consistent. I know it is more consistent from shot to shot during a match shootitng them into a grouping, but as far as accuracy where it would hit the target in the same place today, tomorrow and five days from now, I don't know if it will make a difference. In multiple shot strings I know it does.

    The fiberglass stock rifle I last tested using my six shots over five days at the same target indicated that the fiberglass stocks will drill them into the same hole at 400. Actually it was a 3/8" group with .308 bullets two shots the first day and then one shot per day for the next four days at the same target at the same time of the morning. It was an interesting test.

    Anyway, wooden stocks for benchrest is not a new fad. Wooden stocks have been around for a long time at Williamsport.

    What I am interested in is if the wooden stocks can shoot with a rail gun or stocked gun with a barrel block. I guess I will have to break out the rail gun (aluminum by the way) and test it.

  9. SamSpade

    SamSpade Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2004
    Interesting question!

    I just sold a Sako that had one of the first HS Precision solid fiberglass stocks that I put on many years ago. The inletting was machined into the fiberglass. I think it was the best stock I every owned.

    I just finished pillar bedding and glassbedding a experimental stock from Boyds that is a laminate wood stock with a fiberglass outer shell. The stock has a nice solid feel to it but because of the weather here in WI I haven't shot it yet. Best of both worlds???
  10. rolltide

    rolltide Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2003
    That is one beauty of a stick! If she shoots as good as she looks, she should be hell on wheels!

    IDAHO PREACHER Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    I do vibration analysis on equipment at different plants predicting there problems. I have always wondered if I could test the vibration of a rifle being fired and tell what works best for any rifle. Maybe someone else has done this. Would be interested in finding out. IP
  12. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    [ QUOTE ]
    I figured I'd get at least one comment.

    (pouting like a little girl now)

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Some things can go with out saying!

    Having said that, I'f you'd have pictured it with out those fuddy duddy sights but an NXS, a Harris bipod, and a rear bag made of an old sock and NOT mentioned 1/3 MOA accuracy with the as shown setup you'd have received lots of positive response. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
  13. travelr47

    travelr47 Active Member

    Dec 31, 2005
    Let me start by stating I've never invested the money and time to test to see what, if any difference exists. But, if the action is properly bedded to the stock, and the barrel floated, the two would probably be equal in a perfect environment (temp & humidity stabilized). I've read that laminated wood stocks are as impervious to temp and humidity
    changes as synthetic stocks. OTOH, solid wood does absorb and move in response to the specific shooting environment the rifle originated in and was transferred into another
    (arid desert of Arizona to the rainforest of Western Washington). Synthetic stocks, not all synthetics are equal, tend to move less, or not at all. Needless to mention, the
    rifles I shoot year around, are stocked with either a McMillan or H-S Precision stocks. And unless the scope is jarred during transit, the POA and POI remains constant.
    That wasn't the case when I used solid wood stocks.
  14. lovdasnow

    lovdasnow Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    just chiming in to say, that is a sweet gun, looks great. also, interesting discusion