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What do you think is the average difference in MOA if an older NM, all-USGI rifle would be taken out of its custom heavy glass-bedded walnut stock and put into a USGI Synthetic stock?

There are benefits to the synthetic like less variables in humidity, temperature, etc... but is it worth giving up the bedding?

What are your thoughts for getting the most out of a field (non-competition, non safe-queen) rifle?
 

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MGySgt USMC (ret)
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This is a tough question to answer, but I'll try my best. About the only ones who could answer this are those who were/are military armorers or military shooters and you have to realize that NM military shooters were not allowed to change stocks without their Armorer at least knowing about it.

Something else that has to be added to the mix even when we are talking about a real, G.I. M14 receiver is that G.I. fiberglass stocks will also wear over time and use in the bedding area. G.I. fiberglass stocks were not fitted with the steel stock liners that wood stocks have. M14 receivers stayed tight in the liner longer in wood stocks than say an M1 Garand wood stock that did not have a steel liner or an M14 fiberglass stock that did not have a liner. Now, even a steel liner would eventually wear down and loosen up from wear as well.

Most G.I. NM M14's had the stock liners cut so a layer of fiberglass would go between the liner and receiver legs in the front and back of the receiver legs. Now, I think Ted Brown has talked about some G.I. rifles with wood stocks that the stock liners were forced inward for a tight fit on the receiver legs without bedding compound between the liner and receiver legs. We didn't do that, so I don't have experience with that.

I have to go back to the 1970's to the time when we buillt NM M14 rifles without rear lugs and rack my brain to try to remember if we ever put a NM M14 in a standard G.I. fiberglass stock and shot it for testing against a glass bedded wood stock. I don't remember us doing it in my time, BUT they had done it before because they already knew the standard G.I. fiberglass stock had too much flex in the forearm vs a wood stock. Our shooters put one heck of a lot of tension on the forearm from sling tension and that screwed up the accuracy with a standard G.I. fiberglass stock a bit.

When that testing was accomplished, we did not have a good and inexpensive way to stiffen the forearm of the G.I. fiberglass stock. The Fenwall compound we used to glass bed the rifles in those days would not do it and even the then "new" bisonite would not firm up that forearm very well and quite frankly we hadn't figured out how best to do it. Some folks used to take aluminum flat stock and mill them so you could screw a long aluminum support to the inside of both sides of the stock. That was a lot of work and it didn't stiffen the forearm enough.

It wasn't until after Gail McMillan started supplying us with his excellent fiberglass stocks that we had a fiberglass stock stiff enough so the forearm would not twist under NM sling tension. So we never got around to "officially" doing much with the G.I. fiberglass stocks after that. But that doesn't mean we didn't do some unofficial work and testing.

Our Women Marines who shot on the team had to learn to lift and lug the heavy wood stocks or fiberglass stocks. Always had to give them credit for that especially in the Off Hand shooting because women naturally do not have the upper body strength that men have. However, for some of our Women Marine and some smaller Male Marine shooters, we had to use the wood stocks so we could trim down the grip so they could use them better. That led to some unofficial experimentation again with the G.I. fiberglass stocks that would better fit their hands. But it wasn't successful with the Bisonite glass bedding we had at the time. Also and what some folks may find strange, we were not allowed to use laminated stocks for Service Rifle competition until AFTER we had been using the McMillan stocks for quite a while in the early to mid 1980's. It required a specific rule change for Service Rifle Competition.

I don't remember exactly when, but sometime in the early 1980's, my brother was working at Mullins Machine Company in Richmond and he gave me a few kits of Marine Tex to try. They used it in their high speed cigarette machines and had done a huge test of all the major fiberglass bedding compounds available at the time. Marine Tex had handily beat Bisonite as to less shrinkage and superior strength against the pounding of recoil. It was developed for the boat repair industry, so it had to be virtually water proof and shock proof. It also had to have superior structural strength for that use. The only "problem" with Marine Tex is that you can NOT eyeball the quantities of the mixture or the glass will be soft. You have to measure it by volume and I learned to use metal kitchen spoons to measure it out. I could not use it on Marine Corps guns because it wasn't approved, but I used it on some stocks I worked on for some shooter's private rifles and some civilians. After a while and from their reports, I believed we had a significant improvement in bedding material over Bisonite. So I gave a couple of kits to the Marine Corps Rifle Team Armorers to try and told them what I had learned about it. At that time I was the Instructor of OJT's (Apprenticeship Instructor), so I could not do official testing of the stuff. Tim Fischer on the team tried it and began to really like the stuff. Even when we began using Titanium Devcon, Marine Tex was still our "bedding material of choice" for the base coat because the Devcon was expensive and harder to work with at the time. We would skim glass with the Devcon over a Marine Tex base coat.

When I got transferred from the RTE Shop in 1988, they were still using Bisonite on the Post and Station and Marine Corps Match rifles as well as the base coat in many of The Big Team's and even The Big Reserve Team guns. However, they were beginning to use more and more Marine Tex on The Big Rifle Team. When I got back to the Shop in 1994, the Bisonite had been completely replaced by Marine Tex for Post and Station and Marine Corps Match rifles as well as at least the base coat for The Big Rifle Team AND Model 40A1 Sniper Rifles and our special Match Bolt guns.

Now, I don't want to sound like I'm trying to take huge credit for introducing Marine Tex to the Marine Corps. Other people outside the Corps had tried it or were trying it when I brought those first kits in. If Tim Fischer on The Big Team had not tried it enough to test it, we would not have gone over to it so totally. And of course had Marine Tex not been so good, all of that would have been moot.

OK, I'm running out of room and still have more to tell, so it will be in Part II.
 

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MGySgt USMC (ret)
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After I was transferred to California in 1988, I used nothing but Marine Tex to glass my Post and Station Marine Corps rifles and the semi auto commercial M14's and M1 Garands I did "on the side." I had already found it superior to Bisonite.

Out there, I ran into more Junior Civilian shooters and Women shooters who would have preferred a G.I. fiberglass stock on their Match rifles, so I really began playing around with them out there. The problem was how to fix that constant "bugaboo" problem of the forearm twisting too much. I kept looking at wood stocks and then an idea hit me. Why not fill in the front end of the forearm of the fiberglass stock like a wood stock? So I made a wood form that was the size of the forearm channel in a wood stock and fit it so I could use it in a G.I. fiberglass stock. I made it out of cheap pine as I wasn't sure it was going to work. I mixed up a huge batch of Marine Tex and filled in the forearm of a G.I. fiberglass stock and then pressed the highly mold released wood form into it. I cleaned up the compound that squooshed out and allowed it to set up and cure. When I broke the wood form out, I was pleased to see my design was such that the form came out without breaking. (I've glassed over three or four dozen fiberglass stocks with that rifle since and it is still going strong.) Then I grabbed the stock and really put a lot of twisting pressure on it. I was surprised how little it twisted even when I really bore down on it. I thought, "Gee, this really may work." Now since that time and to make a long story short, I've done that for quite a few High Power shooters while the M14 was still the primary Service Rifle. One shooter who was active duty Navy, went Distinguished with his M1A I built him in one of those highly modified G.I. fiberglass stocks and he swears by it as he likes a "skinny stock" to shoot. I got great reviews by other shooters I did it for as well. However, the M14 was replaced as the Service Rifle before I got a lot of those stocks out. So then I decided to use it on my Walter Mitty rifle and still do those stocks for M14 shooters from time to time.

Now, I REALLY took a long about way to answer your question, didn't I? Grin. I thought it was important I explain the main problem with a G.I. fiberglass stock with forearm twisting and how we have fixed that over the years, because it is important to answer your question.

If the G.I. fiberglass stock fits the receiver really well, it will shoot close to as well as a NM bedding job in a wood stock, though you have the problem with the forearm twisting if you don't reenforce the forearm and that would negatively affect the accuracy difference a bit. If you reenforce the forearm alone, that will make the rifle shoot better in the stock. If you glass bed the receiver into a G.I. fiberglass stock and reenforce the forearm, then it will be almost the same as a wood stock that has been set up for NM. Maybe a tiny bit worse or a tiny bit better. But of course you would never have to worry about wood shrinking or swelling or being affected by differences in climate year around with such a stock. That's why I have such a bedded and reenforced stock on my Walter Mittly rifle.

As to actual group size differences from your original question, I really can't say because so much depends on how tight the G.I. fiberglass stock would be on the rifle. However, if the fiberglass stock was tight, I think you would have to have a really good shooter before you noticed much difference in accuracy even without bedding the action and reenforcing the front end.
 

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SAI Receiver Fit in GI Composite Stock

Gus

Thanks for all of the info you've provided in this and other threads regarding modifying the GI composite/fiberglass stock for NM use.

I shot with oversize wood stocks for years, but I no longer compete seriously. I recently tried my back-up M1A in a GI composite stock and found I really liked the way it fit. So I think I will stiffen up the forearm and maybe bed the receiver.

Question: When I latch the trigger group into the GI stock, it has some draw but less than I'm used to in a bedded wood stock. My concern is that there is a gap between receiver horseshoe and the top of the stock. I've heard this is common with SAI rifles in GI stocks. Question is can and should this be corrected and by what method? It looks like the lower rails of the receiver bottom out on the stock forward of the horseshoe, especially on the right side.

I've looked all over this site for info on this and come up with an empty sack.

p.s. I believe I met Tim Fischer at Perry in 1990 (give or take) and has a nice chat. Seem to recall he was working the armorer's van?

Best regards

Jim
 

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MGySgt USMC (ret)
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Gus

Question: When I latch the trigger group into the GI stock, it has some draw but less than I'm used to in a bedded wood stock. My concern is that there is a gap between receiver horseshoe and the top of the stock. I've heard this is common with SAI rifles in GI stocks. Question is can and should this be corrected and by what method? It looks like the lower rails of the receiver bottom out on the stock forward of the horseshoe, especially on the right side.

p.s. I believe I met Tim Fischer at Perry in 1990 (give or take) and has a nice chat. Seem to recall he was working the armorer's van?
I'm pretty sure Tim was still on The Rifle Team as the Head Armorer around that time. He took a job for the government in Georgia I think it was shortly afterwards, though I don't know exactly when. He was gone when I returned to the shop in 1994.

There are TWO problems with SAinc. receivers that show up when you are trying to put them in G.I. stocks, though not all the receivers have these problems.

The first is the lesser known of the two and I think was only done for one or maybe two runs of receivers at most. For some God Awful unexplained reason, they left a step behind the right receiver leg. Even those of us who have worked many SAinc. receivers run into this so little we have to remember to check for it. You have to inlet the stock so the step area does not keep the receiver up off the top of the stock. On some of them, that allows the heel to come down on top of the stock. But on others, the heel still sits above the top of the stock.

The second problem is where SAinc. receiver heels were cast/cut so the whole rear of the receiver behind the receiver legs does not come down on the top of the stock. This is the more common of the two problems, but not all SAinc. receivers were cut like this. I have seen or heard of people gluing a wood shim over the top of their wood stock to fix this and that's one way to do it.

What I prefer to do with these receivers is glass bed under the heel of the receiver. What I'm doing is actually raising the top of the stock from the rear of the receiver legs going all the way back to the heel of the receiver. However, you do NOT want to do just that area alone or the bedding surface contact for the top of the entire receiver will be off. You need to also bed at least the whole top of the stock so the bedding under the receiver at the top of the stock will be uniform or balanced so to speak.

Now, I know that people who have wood stocks and have the second problem worry about the bedding material showing outside of the receiver as they don't want to hurt the "esthetics" of the wood stock showing all the way around the receiver. That is no problem as you can only barely see the tiniest amount of bedding material up front and only a little at the rear of the receiver and that only when you are really looking for it.

Recently I had to do this on a SAinc. receiver rifle and wood stock the owner wanted to look "as G.I. as possible" and he wanted to use one of Hawk's non working selector kits. That took a bit more thinking on where to put the clay on the receiver and even some on the stock on the front right side so the bedding material would not interfere with the connector assembly. I used Accraglass and colored it to match the wood. I cleaned up the bedding on the inside so it would not interfere with the dummy kit and afterwards, it was almost impossible to see where the bedding build up had been done.
 

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Oops, forgot to mention.

I always do the tops of G.I. stocks with bedding before I worry about the trigger housing. I use the trigger group to lock the receivers in when I'm bedding the tops even if there is little to no draw on the trigger guard when I lock them down. What that does is ensure the receiver goes down on the stock at the right angle.

After the top of the stock is bedded, cured and cleaned up, then I do the bottom for the trigger housing.

I may have to adjust or file into the stock or it may require some of more bedding material has to be put in to get enough triggerguard tension.

There is one big thing to look for on the trigger housing fit when you glass a SAinc. receiver with either of these "high cut receiver heels." Sometimes the G.I. stock pads for the rear of the trigger housing are set too far down to allow the bolt to properly **** the hammer enough to set the trigger. You check for this by quickly cycling the action and holding the trigger to the rear. If the trigger won't reset, then the rear of the trigger housing is sitting too low or too far down from the receiver.

When that happens, I have had to cut those rear pads further up into the stock to ensure the hammer will reset. This allows the whole trigger housing to be cocked upwards a little in the rear. That means you have to skim glass the front pads when you glass the rear pads or the trigger housing may not angle up when you lock the housing in place. You also have to remember to push the rear of the housing up and squoosh out the glass under it before the bedding in the rear sets up and cures.
 

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Gus

That's just what I needed. I'll probably give this a try this winter.

Thanks

Jim
 

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. . . Out there, I ran into more Junior Civilian shooters and Women shooters who would have preferred a G.I. fiberglass stock on their Match rifles, so I really began playing around with them out there. The problem was how to fix that constant "bugaboo" problem of the forearm twisting too much. I kept looking at wood stocks and then an idea hit me. Why not fill in the front end of the forearm of the fiberglass stock like a wood stock? So I made a wood form that was the size of the forearm channel in a wood stock and fit it so I could use it in a G.I. fiberglass stock. I made it out of cheap pine as I wasn't sure it was going to work. I mixed up a huge batch of Marine Tex and filled in the forearm of a G.I. fiberglass stock and then pressed the highly mold released wood form into it. I cleaned up the compound that squooshed out and allowed it to set up and cure. When I broke the wood form out, I was pleased to see my design was such that the form came out without breaking. (I've glassed over three or four dozen fiberglass stocks with that rifle since and it is still going strong.) Then I grabbed the stock and really put a lot of twisting pressure on it. I was surprised how little it twisted even when I really bore down on it. I thought, "Gee, this really may work." Now since that time and to make a long story short, I've done that for quite a few High Power shooters while the M14 was still the primary Service Rifle. One shooter who was active duty Navy, went Distinguished with his M1A I built him in one of those highly modified G.I. fiberglass stocks and he swears by it as he likes a "skinny stock" to shoot. I got great reviews by other shooters I did it for as well. However, the M14 was replaced as the Service Rifle before I got a lot of those stocks out. So then I decided to use it on my Walter Mitty rifle and still do those stocks for M14 shooters from time to time.
Gus I'd be interested in one of those stocks. Please PM me if you are interested. I want the benefits of a stiff synthetic stock like the McMillan, but I also to maintain those classic USGI lines. I just don't like fat aftermarket Garand and M14 stocks. Hueygunner's stock looks interesting, but no matter how you cut it, it costs almost as much as the McMillan.
 
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