Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Accurizing A CMP M1 Garand - Stock Prep

Stock Prep

The second part of accurizing your rifle is stock preparation. Your CMP stock will be filled with years of dirt, grease and cosmoline. The critical areas of the stock will probably be compressed due to the recoil of the action, so when we remove this inbedded stuff, your wood will change.

Now, I'll admit I can't give every single detail of the M1 Garand...but I do know wood working. Wood, even though it has been shaped and used, will change over time. So the object here is to start from as close to ground zero as we can, then reseal the wood and remove the areas that rub against the barreled action.

There are many differing methods of removing the old finish from a Garand. Some guys will use oven cleaner and some will use furniture paint remover, and some will use the dishwasher.

I used the dishwasher method, and it worked perfectly for me.

I had some photos of that process which I did soon after I got my Garand, and some how I've lost them. However here is a site where they show exactly how that process works.

Remove your metal from the stock. The tricky piece is the band from the upper hand guard. I took a narrow pointed nail punch and secured it into my bench vise then put one of the holes onto it. I was able to remove my band that way. Thinking back on it I don't think I removed the metal from my lower hand guard, I just put that in complete.

Keep in mind that you'll use a regular dishwasher cycle and have it set to 'air dry' not heat dry.

My stock wasn't a historical piece by any stretch of the imagination. It was gouged, dented, dinged and had only one set of numbers beneath the hand grip.

After the cycle was complete, most all of the dents and dings were gone. The cartouche numbers remained, so I was a happy camper.

The wood itself looked totally different after it had been striped this way. A shocking pale gray chunk of lumber. I would have never thought that walnut would have taken on this color.

When you have done this the second thing that you'll notice is that your wood feels really rough. This is normal as the walnut fibers themselves are releasing. This is normal.

Now you'll take some 320 grit wet-dry sandpaper and smooth over the stock and hand guards. After you smooth over with the 320 grit, take some 0000 steel wool and go over it again.

This next part is very important. We will now need to seal the wood...all surfaces, inside the stock and outside. I use Tung Oil. Specifically I use Formby's Traditional Tun Oil Finish, Low Gloss.

Take some 320 grit wet-dry sandpaper, a small bowl to hold some Tung Oil and begin to "wet sand" your stock set. Wet sanding your stock set will create ultra fine particles which will combine with the Tung Oil and help seal better. Your first two coats will probably absorb quickly. Two coats are only needed at this point, we'll do a final finish last.

Now hang your stock set to dry for a day or two.

Here is what I started with:

Here is what I finished with:

Now that your stock is dry, put everything back together and check for ANY areas where the wood rubs against the barrel with a strip of paper. Sand those areas off and then reseal those areas with Tung Oil.

Let dry and then take her to the range to check for accuracy.

This process alone gave me this comparative set of groups.

Next up...we'll get the stock ready for glass bedding.

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