Stocks: Laminate wood vs composite

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2009
West Tennessee
OK, another newbie question.
I've searched the archive but can't find this topic directly discussed:

What are the advantages of laminate wood vs composite?

I like the ability to sand and reshape the laminate wood to my desired contours.
On the other hand the composite's metal receiver mounting frame seems desireable.
Anybody have experiences with both and a strong opinion one way or the other?
my first project rifle continues.
I have one of each....


Composite (with integral aluminum bedding block)

In terms of performance, as long as you seal the laminate stock well and pillar bed it, I find no difference in performance/durability.

The advantage of the laminates is customization. A custom stock builder can pretty much make anything you want. Whereas the composite manufacturers, do not seem to be able to mix and match (customize) as much. For instance, McMillan makes great composite stocks - I really like the A4 forearm and the A3 butt. But they can't make it.
Provided we exclude the injection molded (tupperware) stocks, the synthetic stocks are the most stable - errr in theory.
The modern wooden laminate stocks are vacuum impregnated and pressed together under very high pressure. It terms of stability, in theory they are less stable that synthetic stocks.
Does this theoretical loss in stability amount to a hill of beans? No.
I free float my barrels and pillar bed my wooden stocks. The only one to have changed/moved on me is my Model 700 BDL walnut stock. I moved with humidity changes, so I had to re-float the barrel channel, my laminated stocks have not moved.
Synthetic stocks tend to be cold and clammy in cold weather, in that same weather the wooden laminate stocks have a preception of warmth.
Regarding the injection molded plastic stocks, the forearms are not as strong as the synthetic and laminate stocks.
Oh I don't know - it is one of those spliting hairs things. Theoretically the thermal coefficients of the synthetic stocks as a result of exposure to to temperature changes and humidity are less. Myself I like the laminate stocks better, your point is valid.
Vibration control is key to consistency. Wood helps dampen vibration better than plastic. Stiffness reduces flex which reduces vibration. Aluminum bedding blocks are stiffer than pillars in wood/frp stocks. The Tube stocks made out of aluminum are stiffer than either hence the supposed accuracy advantage.
Hope that helps:D
I own both but prefer the composites. However, many factory composites are too weak to lend themselves to accuracy or improvement. I've got mostly McMillan's with a few HS Precisions and a Sheehan which are all excellent.

If a wood laminate stock is set up properly, sealed adequately against moisture, I can't see how they wouldn't work just as well for long range hunting. But ... that's just my opinion.
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