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Should I?

This report covers:

  • Not inexpensive
  • Big supposition
  • Modify?
  • Carve my Russian T0Z-35 free pistol grips
  • Practice block
  • Experience with stockmakers
  • Whadda ya think?

Should I modify the wood stock of my HW 30S that I bought new in 2021? Or should I order a custom stock made that compliments my offhand shooting? I want to hear from you on this.

Not inexpensive

I went to Steve Corcoran’s website, Woods and Water Outdoors, and looked into what he can do. First I would like to say that his prices seem very reasonable — especially with the price of wood these days. Of course until I hear back from him I don’t know if his website has kept pace with those prices. Here is what his site says about spring gun stocks, “Base model pricing for a sporter design in a grade 2 Claro Walnut is $425.00 plus shipping. “

Big supposition

This assumes that I will select my HW 30S as my go-to pest rifle. Remember that I initially thought my vintage Diana 35 would be the rifle for me, but the narrow front sight post plus the too-hard trigger was a drawback. Yes, I can soften that ball bearing trigger, but what if there was a Weihrauch trigger in the wings?

This morning I picked up my HW-30S and shot one round into my pellet trap box of rubber mulch. I was pleasantly surprised by the easy cocking (22 pounds) the light trigger (stage one 6 ounces, stage two 12 ounces) and the virtually vibration-free shot cycle. And I know from reading the reports I’ve written about this air rifle that it’s very accurate at pest-type distances that I define as 5 to 30 yards.


Or I could modify the factory stock. But my woodworking skills are roughly equivalent to those of a rabid beaver with a toothache. I actually bought a flex shaft for my cordless Dremel tool, plus two Kutzall coarse rasps and a 1/4-inch flex shaft for my cordless electric drill. I have what I need to start making sawdust (man-glitter my neighbor Denny calls it) but is that a wise idea? In 10 years what will an HW 30S in the factory stock be worth, versus one with a stock that’s been terminally destroyed by BB Pelletier?

Dremel shaft
Flex shaft for Dremel tool.

Dremel rasps
Coarse rasps for the Dremel tool.

drill shaft
This flex cable for drill motors is for the heavy work.

Some of you guys would have no difficulty tackling a job like this. Reader Hank, In Canada, for instance, can turn firewood into beautiful rifle stocks. In contrast, BB Pelletier can turn a beautiful rifle stock into firewood. Each of us has our own special talents and without me in the world there would be no need for reader Hank!

BB’s careful inletting of the Williams peep sight into the Bronco stock earned him the title “Wood Butcher

Carve my Russian T0Z-35 free pistol grips

There is more on the horizon than just one custom rifle stock. Several years ago I acquired a Russian T0Z-35 free pistol in .22 caliber. It came with DIY grips.


TOZ-35M grips rear
Here is the gun viewed from the rear. The palm shelf is to the right. Okay, BB, get to carvin’.

I got the flex shafts and rasps to carve this free pistol grip. Denny says I may need to practice on something else first.

Build a Custom Airgun

Practice block

He made me a block of cherry wood to practice on. He even put a handle on it. He says that cherry is approximately as difficult to work as walnut and he wants to see what I can do. I do, as well. If I don’t carve the free pistol grips myself I may seek out a professional.

Before we leave this subject please remember that I also want to re-stock my TX200 Mark III. So there are several woodworking projects ahead.

practice block
Denny made me this cherry practice block.

Experience with stockmakers

This wouldn’t be the first time I went to a stockmaker to create or work on a stock. In 2008 I sent a Mendoza youth breakbarrel rifle down to a stockmaker in Houston (Doug Philips of Damaged Woodstocks) to create a western-style stock for what became the Air Venturi Bronco. That stock was gorgeous and, as far as I know, is still residing with Mendoza in Mexico, where it was sent as a sample.

Then in 2013 I used Philips again to restore the damaged stock on my Falke 90 underlever. As before the results were astounding!

Because of these experiences and also because I have seen Steve Corcoran’s work in person at airgun shows, I know he is the best and safest way for me to go. Yes, the custom stock will cost more than the rifle but which one of you readers ever calculated how much the gasoline or diesel that you put into your vehicle costs? If you keep a car 20 years and if you put $100 dollars worth of gas in every month, in the end you will have spent $24,000 just on fuel. Add licensing, insurance, tires, batteries, tuneups and repairs and your car costs you more to own than it did to buy.

Whadda ya think?

Okay, it’s a short one today. But I want to know. Which way should I go?

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

52 thoughts on “Should I?”

  1. B.B.

    Do both! I am all for supporting the craftsmanship of a well made stock.
    For the DIY project, I bet you will be adding as much material as taking it off.
    I thought Steve stopped making airgun stocks? Well that is at least what his website said awhile back.
    Maybe, the Godfather made him a deal he could not refuse?


    Full disclosure-for my HW 50’s I have a custom target stock, a Custom Stock from the UK, a ARH sportster stock, the OEM new and old style stocks. So do both!

  2. B.B.,
    Don’t do it, man! Personally, I would never touch the stock on my HW30S.
    I saw a Weihraugh for sale on eBay that had a DIY mod…it made me want to cry!
    I would go for the custom stock, and keep the “stock” stock…just my 2 cents.
    Look at the beauty on the wall…how could I cut into her stock?
    I just don’t have it in me to do it. 🙂
    Blessings to you,

  3. BB
    The idea of destroying a nice stock with my also non existing skills looks really bad to me. On the other hand, is a premium (expensive) stock in balance with a gun that costs the same? And to start with, is the HW 30 really the chosen one?

  4. DIY. That way, you’re probably going to end up buying the custom stock, and have to buy a replacement factory stock. Keep the airgun economy humming!

  5. Tom,

    Given your time constraint and other irons in the fire, I would advise you too get the custom stock instead of modifying the factory stock. Besides you still need to do pistol grip of the T0Z-35 for your hand. Yes the course of making a diy rifle stock can be a source of a blog but Hank already made one. Just my $0.02.


  6. BB,
    I went back and skimmed your articles on that rifle, noted in episode 1 that you said it fit you well, and gazed at the pictures of the beautiful stock.

    Contrast that with my Diana 250 in .22. For those who don’t know the gun, it is one of Diana’s more recent and transient offerings, made significantly cheaper in China, with a nondescript wood thumbhole stock sized to an orangutan’s reach. So I took a hacksaw to it and lopped off an inch (See photo. The barrel chop is because… well, I already had the saw out!) Now it fits better, although the cheek area is still too high for the sights. Next project day I’ll rasp that down a half inch or so. I’m happy to butcher up that stock because it is almost valueless, and even a hack job is an improvement. And it doesn’t shoot any worse from all the abuse, maybe even better. But to do that to a HW30S?


  7. BB
    If money is the concern, how much will it cost you to get a custom stock, compared to how much will you lose if you modify it?
    Will the modification improve it for use by someone else, or will it be modified to fit just you and render it useless for others?
    If the modification is dramatic, try to find another distressed one to modify the stock. If it would be cheaper than a custom stock.
    Use another airgun? Alternate sights?

  8. BB,

    If any air rifle deserves a fancier stock, it’s the HW30S. The plain-Jane beech doesn’t do it justice, not even the newest, jazzed-up Minelli version (by the way, is anyone else suffering from Minelli fatigue?)

    I would love to see a nice walnut stock for the HW30S, something along the lines of the HW35E, or the Diana 52 Luxus.

    The other stock I would love to see for it is a “tacticool” type with readily adjustable length of pull and comb height. That would be ideal for growing youngsters in particular.

  9. BB,

    LOL! What a conundrum! If your wallet is thin, the first thing you need to do is acquire another OEM stock. Then you need to talk real sweet to Denny. A Tyrolean style inlet may be what you want for that HW30S. The “Wood Butcher” should not attempt such a modification.

    If you should go with the custom stock idea, unless you get real lucky, it will need to be modified to fit you properly also.

    As for the free pistol and the TX200? You should seek professional help with those.

    I would suggest that you work on the Diana 35 trigger. A new front sight is on the way.

    This grip fits my hand like a glove should.

  10. BB,

    A couple more thoughts. On the assumption that you will sell your HW30S ten years from now. Yeah, right. Who are you kidding? Get with Denny today.

    The TX200 should have a new walnut or custom stock.

    The free pistol? Seek professional help.

    Carve my Russian T0Z-33 free pistol grips
    There is more on the horizon than just onme (one?) custom rifle stock.

      • BB, if you have the knowledge and skills, do your best.
        In the attachment you can see my Cometa Lynx Mk2 with all the engraving sanded, then high gloss polished stain and a new custom buttpad with a 3D printed spacer to add lenght of pull. Now the rifle feels better to me.

    • I asked this, because if you’re planning to get rid of the high comb, I’d say by all means work on the oem stock. Don’t buy a custom stock. If you are not planning to use the rifle with scope ever again, then why keep a stock that you’ll never use? Only order a custom stock, if things turn out badly with the original stock.

  11. As an old man, I have often found that the safest and best answer is “do nothing“. Politics are in trouble because nobody will compromise. Dinosaurs and other animals became extinct because they could not adapt to change. Relationships fall apart because both parties won’t work together to solve the problem. I guess what I’m saying is, leave well enough alone and just adapt to whatever is the issue with the stock. Is this a matter of “I want“ or “I need“? Just love the airgun as it is, enjoy it, and eliminate those pests with it.

  12. Tom,

    Nooooo! You should definitely not carve up the original stock of your HW30s.

    Typically I would ask questions such as, “So, do you expect to years later sell the HW30s or instead keep it for the rest of your life?” But given that paying for a custom stock from an excellent maker like Steve Corcoran is not only possible but also well within your means, your question is easy to answer. Order a custom stock. Whoever inherits it will have two stocks to sell it with or enjoy it with.

    Just say “No” to the hatchet and saw.


  13. BB

    Way more advice than you ever wanted:
    1- Leave your HW30S stock as is or put it in the closet and get another stock of your choosing.
    2-You have a hankering to carve. While you may never be an artist you can enjoy trying to be one. Anybody with your disassembly reassembly skills involving itty bitty screws and pins deserves a crack at shaping wood.
    3-You already have some good advice about avoiding wounded birds appearing in neighbor yards. Love my HW30S but not enough for this job.


  14. BB,

    It’s not clear to me what modification you are doing to the stock. If it is like you did with the Bronco to get the peep on it, just get a different Williams peep that fits it. I have a Williams peep on my HW-30S and it took no mods at all to do it. I’ll see if I can find out what the model number is. If that is what you are after, it will be the cheapest best solution.

    • I could not find the model number, but here is a picture of it on my HW (along with a weaver rail that lets me quickly add or remove a scope that does not interfere with the peep at all):

      • Alan

        What Picatinny to dovetail adapter did you use. I especially notice your elevation setting is midway of adjustment. I’m assuming you have the globe front sight that comes with this rifle. I have this Williams peep but it bottoms out against the stock enough to indent the wood. I have some adapters but they are all too high.



        • Deck,

          I use this adapter, purchased from PA. It works great on this gun, consistently repositioning the 4xAO scope I use on it with no adjustment needed. /product/utg-universal-dovetail-to-picatinny-weaver-adapter?a=7311

          Maybe the peeps are different? I use no adapter, and it has always worked from me right in the midpoint as you see it. I do use the stock from globe sight with it, using the circular insert. I did find the Williams sight model number and it is FP-AG TK. I think I got the sight from AoA.


          • Alan

            See my reply below (unless it moves) to PAC & Roamin. I think my Williams peep is not identical to yours. I currently have a Beeman AR2078A peep mounted on my HW30S that works. It is plastic but I will live with it.

            Thank you for your help.


    • Alan-

      Your Williams sight is the FP (FoolProof) model AG (airgun) with target knobs (TK).
      The FP-GR (grooved receiver) with or without target knobs has a longer stalk or staff that usually requires some stock surgery. Williams also offers the model 5D (5Dollar- Wow, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that you could actually buy this sight for that amount) AG that also fits a grooved receiver. In the past I had called the shop in Williamson, MI and requested short staff upper parts and they obliged. I believe the standard one supplied is the longer variant.

  15. Get the custom stock, write it off as a business expense!
    As for my truck…since October 2018 to the end 2022 I have spent an average of $.1377 per mile on gas.

  16. Get the custom stock, write it off as a business expense!
    As for my truck…since October 2018 to the end 2022 I have spent an average of $.1377 per mile on gas.
    Besides there is always a butcher looking to replace his handy work. Most notably without telling anyone!

  17. Personally I have and will tweak and modify almost anything. But I am no artist and after seeing Steve Corcoran’s website and the pictures of his work, I can say “He is an artist!” I love the look and feel of a custom made stock and have lusted after adding custom woodwork to my Prod. But this addition and the other mods would triple the amount of money that I have put into owning my Prod. I am still thinking about it and I may even decide to spend the money one day… or maybe not.

  18. I have a question, Tom. Are you trying to talk yourself into acquiring a new skill set? We know from past experience that you sometimes do that. Straight razors and, more recently, vintage watch repair come to mind. If the answer is yes then see if Denny will take you on as an apprentice. I for one would be interested in a series on how you progress. If the answer is no then I side with those two suggest leaving it to the professionals. It’s not like you don’t already have enough things on your plate.
    Regards, Jim.

  19. Hi BB,

    Most people now where I sit as far as “fixing” stocks 😉 I shoot my all my airguns and insist that they fit properly for the job at hand.

    What is the problem with the HW30S stock? is it minor or major? What is the risk/benefit level of the mod?

    What to do? If you are feeling adventurous, I’d say – go for it! Functionality takes precedence over cosmetics and there is no reason you can’t have both. If you are curious but cautious then see about getting a second hand stock to work on. If you want to get over the “rabid beaver” thing then I’d recommend making a stock from scratch (you did know I’d say that – right?). I’m sure that Denny would be there to help. Lastly, you could buy a custom stock from a professional.

    Those are very nice carving burrs that you have – but I would NOT recommend that you use them until you have had a lot of practice with them. They will, in an instant, remove way too much material. I use my burrs in cordless drill – the variable speed and ability to work in forward and reverse (to cut “down hill” on the grain) makes them easy to control.

    A couple of 10″ half-round rasps and files are much easier/safer to use. If you don’t have files then some 60 or 80 grit sandpaper glued to a stick or dowel works well. If using a rasp, use light strokes as the teeth will compress the wood if you are forcing the cut and the tooling marks are difficult to remove later.

    Thought I’d share this picture collage as some encouragement (note the files I’m using). For repeatability when bench shooting I’ve found that a consistent grip (amongst other things) is important. The factory grip on my Panthera is too small for my big hands so I made a custom one out of Baltic Birch plywood. I like the honey-blond color of the birch and how the highlights move in the finish. Think it looks good on the all-black Panthera and decided to make a matching wood cheek-piece and butt as well 🙂


      • There are 2 great lines in the comments today…”second coat” and RR “like a glove should”. RR wins. Guess I better renew my subscription, although I have switched to PBs for pest control. We rural folks have more options and coyotes are too big for my Hatsan .25.

  20. I would search for used stocks from folks that had custom stocks installed. Then have at them with your new tools. First, I would practice on a couple of 2x4s just to get the feel of using the tools.

  21. BB,
    Do you have a FWB 124? I think my FWB 124D would be my second choice “at the ready” gun; second two my favorite springer, my old BSA Supersport Lightning. My Lightning is just that once in a lifetime rifle for me. Most people would prefer something else, like the FWB 124. I like the 124 for weight, accuracy, power level, and light cocking force.

    I am not brave enough to start carving up one of my stocks. I would try to buy a gun with the custom stock already on it. Custom guns generally only bring a couple hundred over stock guns and often have $500 or more in custom work and accessories with them.

    David Enoch

  22. BB,
    Do you have a FWB 124? I think my FWB 124D would be my second choice “at the ready” gun; second two my favorite springer, my old BSA Supersport Lightning. My Lightning is just that once in a lifetime rifle for me. Most people would prefer something else, like the FWB 124. I like the 124 for weight, accuracy, power level, and light cocking force.

    I am not brave enough to start carving up one of my stocks. I would try to buy a gun with the custom stock already on it. Custom guns generally only bring a couple hundred over stock guns and often have $500 or more in custom work and accessories with them.

    David Enoch

  23. B.B.,

    Pesting rifle. With a “custom” stock? I guess that works but isn’t thera chance it will get banged around while waiting at the Ready Spot for an outing and even more so get rained, fogged, dusted, snowed, an banged around while taking the pesting shot(s)?
    Steve Corcoran certainly makes some beautiful custom grips and stocks but for a pesting gun? Did you win the Lottery and not tell us?

    IF you really have the “itch” and also the time…

    Get some hand tools like Hank said and buy Denny a few good dinners out and have him help you learn to FORM wood and not do butchering.


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