As I noted in my ABRA match report last month, there are a couple things I want to change/fix/modify on the Boyds Pro-Varmint stock to make it a better fit for benchrest shooting. In this article we will cover the first of those modifications which will be to fix the toe of the buttstock which as delivered had about a 5-degree angle to it. This angle on the toe would cause the rifle to cant when the rifle recoiled and thus I would have to re-level the rifle in my bags after every shot. Not something you want to do or should have to do on a benchrest rig.
First off, let’s identify and verify the problem. To do this I used a couple combination squares, my Tipton Bench Vise and an angle finder. The stock was placed in the bench vise upside down so that the toe is facing up. I then used one of the combination squares to square the flat side of the stock to the flat surface of the bench vise. I then removed the blade from the second combination square and placed the anvil (with level) on the flat bottom of the stock bridging the magazine well opening to verify the stock was level in the vise. With the stock verified to be square and level, I then placed the angle finder on the toe of the buttstock to determine what angle it was at. The angle should be zero degrees, but as you can see in the accompanying photo it was actually about 5-degrees.
The fix is rather straight forward and simple – the toe of the buttstock just needs to be filed/sanded flat. For this I used a large bastard file, a 6″ magnetic torpedo level, a couple sanding blocks and various grits of sand paper ranging from 60 to 320 grit. With the stock secured in the vise and squared/leveled as described above, I used the file to knock down the high side of the toe until I thought I was getting close to it being level. At that point I affixed the 6″ magnetic torpedo level to the file to ensure I was keeping the file level while making my final cuts to level the toe out side-to-side. I then made a few passes with the file parallel to the toe length-wise (butt to forearm) to ensure the toe was flat along it’s length.
Once I was happy with my results using the file I switched over to using the sanding blocks. I started with 60-grit paper and progressively worked my way up to 320-grit paper making sure to remove any scratches left from the previous coarser grit paper. The last step was to make a couple quick passes over the edges with the 320-grit to knock down any sharp corners.
To refinish the modified area I opted to use a spray-on aerosol high gloss finish from Gun Sav’R. I have used the matte version of this finish before on other stocks and had great results, but since this Boyds stock came with the high gloss finish I wanted the repair to match. The stock was taped off using 2″ 3M painters tape to prevent any overspray from getting on other areas of the stock, and an old towel was used to protect my bench vise from overspray. With such a small area to spray it literally took less than 30 seconds to apply several thin coats to the toe area which were then left to cure out overnight. Gun Sav’R states to allow 6-12 hours between applications, but no more than 24 hours.
The next morning I lightly sanded the previously coated area with 600 grit paper to knock down any high spots , wiped it down with a tack cloth, then hit it again with a couple more light coats of the Gun Sav’R spray. Once the second application had cured out for a full 24 hours I noticed it wasn’t quite as shiny as the original Boyds finish so I chose to lightly scuff the rest of the stock with 0000 steel wool until I had a nice uniform sheen. After a quick wipe down I then applied several coats of Johnson’s Paste Wax to the entire stock.
That pretty much sums up this first modification to the stock. The next modification I plan to make to the Pro-Varmint stock is to address the forend and convert it into a proper 3″ flat benchrest forend. My next ABRA match is this coming weekend, with the State Championship Match coming up in August and the Club Tournament following in September. With that in mind I probably won’t tackle the forend until after the season is over as I don’t want to risk missing one of those big matches because I messed up or the gun isn’t ready. Plenty of time in the off-season for that kind of stuff.
Stay tuned as my next match report should be posted early next week. Keep’m in the ten ring!