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1903 Springfield Rifle Stock

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by Dirk Pitt, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Dirk Pitt

    Dirk Pitt Millennium Member

    Jan 12, 1999
    After reading some of the posts here, I am not sure if this would be considered gun refinishing, but I will give it a try. I am working on a 1903 Springfield that I purchased through CMP. All the metal parts that came with it are fine, the stock was just absolutely beat to death with no hope and too much work to restore. I purchased a new stock through Boyds and it is beatuiful, I have finsihed the remaining inletting that I had to do and I am preparred to stain / finish it. The stain is not a problem, but I am not sure about the outer coating. I have used True Oil on many a stock and really like the outcome and have become pretty good with it. However, the stocks I did had no issue with being shiny / glossy. I want the protective quality of True Oil on this stock but without the gloss. Being a military type rifle I wanted to make it look as authentic as posssible with the shiny stock. I know you can steel wool the last coat of True Oil to dull it down, but there has got to be something out there besides that.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.
  2. RobarGuns


    Apr 17, 2010
    Not really our area of expertise but I have had good luck going over the last coat of true-oil with 0000 steel wool, so I'd suggest that.

  3. c133jim


    Dec 7, 2005
    Do just what Robarguns says. Use steel wool on the final glossy coat and it will dull the finish like you want it.
  4. Brucev


    Jul 19, 2009
    Finish the inletting. Then seal the inletting and all the interior of the stock with Tru-Oil. Remember to deal with the end-grain on the buttstock and on the fore-end. You might want to spray some sort of spray varnish into the two large hole drilled in the buttstock as that will help deal with any possible entry point for moisture.

    If you want a USGI type result, then limit the degree of sanding you do to the wood. Look at some USGI wood, especially pictures of the Correct Grade and Collector Grade M-1 rifles being sold by the CMP. As the wood on these rifles is original, you can see the degree of sanding given at the arsenal. You can also judge the color of the wood. If you want a USGI type finish, you can use Tung Oil, rubbed on by hand. Until the early years of WWII, tung oil was the standard arsenal finish. Boiled Linseed Oil was made available in the field for maintaining the finish. Tung Oil w/o additives will give a very good finish. You might then want to use a little Gunny Paste rubbed on with the heel of your hand. It gives a beautiful luster and the smell is wonderful. If you wish to have a more protective finish, use the Tru-Oil. I have had very good results applying it by hand sanding lightly between coats. Some folks use 4-0 steel wool. The only potential problem with that method is that odd bits of the steel get broken off and wind up in the finish. To cut down on the shine, rub the dried finish with either 4-0 steel wool.

    Your rifle will turn out beautifully. When you are finished, be sure to put up pictures!
  5. MudMarine


    Jul 16, 2010
    The tung oil option is very labor intensive in my experience. It is authentic but on "clean" wood it could take 10-15 applications. If your not too concerned about authenticity and just want something that looks good go find a small can of wood stain that is the color you like and call it a day.

    I haven't bought from Boyd's in years so I am not familiar with the finish on his stocks, but oven cleaner does wonders on removing all oil from gun stocks. Follow that up with a good steaming using wet paper towels and a clothes iron to "lift" and wood dings being careful not to mess up any cartouches. This steaming will make the wood "fuzzy" to the feel so clean it up with 000 or 00 steel wool before staining. I strongly suggest you not do any sanding unless you have actual defects that need to be corrected.

    While I'm on the topic of old service rifle clean-ups "cooking" the metal in a throw away pot of water will take care of any cosmoline.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  6. Mav1


    Sep 6, 2006
    Northern VA
    Check out "toms 1/3 mix military gunstocks wax" I would put the address but that might be advertising. I have used this on 4 - 5 cmp guns and they all came out great. Takes a little work to get the finish you want but well worth it. Each order is enough for many guns. Good luck . The last 1903 I picked up at cmp measured o and 1 with a 43 barrel. Have to love a piece of history.
  7. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

    Nov 24, 2005
    Tom's 1/3 is OUTSTANDING!
  8. emb111


    Sep 5, 2012
    I bought a 1903 from the CMPs in 2004. It looked like it had dragged through every war in the 20th Century. With the cosmoline it was an ugly mess. After checking the headspace, I decided to restore it-to a point. There was an article in Rifle Shooter Magazine in March-May 2004 that gave me some ideas.

    The rifle I received had a 5-44 High Standard replacement barrel, a circa 1930 nickel steel receiver, a 1903A3 bolt, a beat, battered, and ill-fitting Remington scant grip stock, a Remington replacement hand guard, a stripped upper barrel band, a stripped 1903A3 lower barrel band and swivel, a magazine floor plate that had been pinned shut for no apparent reason, a loose rear sight base, and a badly bent rear sight drift slide.

    I refinished the stock, but left the character of some of the dings. However, I used linseed oil and combination of stains from Brownells. I improved the fit of the action to the stock. I replaced the mismatched and broken parts and added a reproduction 1907 sling. Hot Flash Refinishing reparkerized all appropriate metal.

    It came out beautifully. It's not entirely authentic to the 1930 action, but it is a shooter. Good luck.