QB36-2: Reworking the stock
Introduction by B.B. Pelletier
BG_Farmer's last guest blog about the QB36-2 was so well received that he's doing another stint with the same gun. Today, he'll show us how he transformed the stock.
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QB36-2 stock rework
My QB36-2 has seen hard use around my barn lot range. While I'm not a professional stockmaker, I did want to adapt the stock to fit my needs and preferences. To get an idea of what I started with, look at Pyramyd Air's Tech Force 99 blog.
Wood, grain & finish
In general, I think the water-based stain and polyurethane finish was a viable approach to stock refinishing. Of course, there are simpler and more complex options. While looking at the pictures, keep in mind that pictures tend to make the finish look significantly shinier and somewhat darker and redder than it is in reality. I believe the red tint is inherent in the wood. There's some figure to the wood. It tends to be subtle but shows in several of pictures. As finished, the wood looks similar to the walnut-stained beech stocks of economy firearms in days gone by, although not quite as hard and perhaps not as durable.
Let’s start with the front, specifically the forearm, where I cut off 1.5" from the front, made it perpendicular to the barrel and rounded the edges. The purpose of this was not only aesthetic, but to prevent breakage and vibration in the longer, thinner sections of wood in the original design.
From underneath, the work done on the tips is more obvious. Incidentally, most of the wood removal here was done by laying the stock in a miter box, making a square cut to length, then three 45-degree cuts (at the bottom and down the sides). What little material remained was shaped with sandpaper. This is fairly soft for a hardwood, as I noted several dents.
Moving back, I rounded and smoothed the cutout for the trigger guard but didn't make it flush for reasons noted earlier. The contour was purely my preference and seemed consistent with what I was doing elsewhere.
The pistol grip is still quite beefy, but I managed to make it fit me better by removing material. I used 50-grit sandpaper wrapped around a 1" dowel to do the shaping. Note also the new action screw (which I need to blue or paint black).
Now, we’re finally back to the rear of the stock. In general, the work around the cheekpiece and butt is shoddier than I would like (of course, it wasn't intended for public viewing, either). I'm still debating whether I should leave the cheekpiece or go for a much more slender, ambidextrous stock. So, I left a little more wood and didn’t sweat the finishing too much in those areas.
The right side was more or less left alone, excluding anything necessary for matching the other side. The hollow behind the pistol grip was deepened to match what was removed from the sides and until it “felt good.” The comb was left alone, except for removing the old finish.
The rear was cut off with a handsaw at an angle slightly different from the original, providing a slightly longer bottom projection (not sure its worth noting). This also facilitated re-use of the original pad, since a decent new one costs more than I want to pay.
About 1.5" was removed from the length of pull. This allows for comfortable shooting in cold weather and moves the balance point back far enough for me to properly support my left arm on my rib cage.
I created a sharp, rounded taper in front of the buttpad, which I justified because I’d seen it in a picture of a production rifle somewhere, and doing so meant that I could keep material in reserve for when I finally made up my mind.
In summary, if you can't find a rifle that fits you perfectly and makes you happy, consider modifying a factory stock to suit your needs and tastes. Even though the one I've shown will probably please only me, it was a successful project.