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Big Red and Accuracy Improvements

This is a discussion on Big Red and Accuracy Improvements within the Accuracy forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I would like to hear from people that have moved their actions to a Big Red stock in lieu of the standard and have noticed ...


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Old March 11th, 2010, 08:04 PM   #1
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Big Red and Accuracy Improvements

I would like to hear from people that have moved their actions to a Big Red stock in lieu of the standard and have noticed accuracy improvement. Not from glassing it in or anything else, just from moving it to one. The idea is to find if the additional mass and weight of the heavier stocks help in accuracy by handling the recoil better and dampening the barrel harmonics as a side benefit. I had assumed they did because why else would they have chosen them for National Match stocks, and if they did, what was the other reasons. I know that Birch is 20% stronger and have observed the cells under a microscope and found them to be more densely packed than Walnut cells which would account for the additional weight. I recently acquired a couple and want to try this out for myself but would like to hear some first hand accounts of what others found in their experiments. I also found some that were not big reds and no numbers in the butt, and they were birch and larger in the grip and grip butt, fatter in the comb than standard and wider in the liner area and forestock area. Picture a big red and a standard, this is one that falls directly in between. I understand that some were made without permission that were bigger and not NM, I guess I got some of those? Let's hear it.....

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Old March 12th, 2010, 06:17 AM   #2
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Stock change

Changing stocks without including bedding is a Crap Shoot. The bulk of a new stock may or may not improve the rifle, it depends on the fit of the upper. Going in your favor, the Big Red will improve the rifle if bedded properly, this assumes there are no other problems.

It is not uncommon to get improvement for no other reason then the new stock fits tighter, sometimes in the right places, this condition does not remain as long as when bedded, the surfaces batter rather quickly with firing, getting looser with
each round. This info can spoil one's day, sorry. Art

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Old March 12th, 2010, 07:15 AM   #3
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+1 on Art's reply. With variances in receivers, you never know how it's going to shoot. I started out with a Big Red and the best I could do was 2.3". Swithced to a GI fiberglass and the results were the same. Bedded the birch and groups went down to 1.5"

A heavier thicker stock will not require as much draw pressure as a lighter one would. Fat stocks are the only suitable ones for use with a rear-lugged receiver.

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Old March 12th, 2010, 07:25 AM   #4
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Could not agree more with Art's post.

"Birch is 20 % stronger than walnut."

Oh do I WINCE when I see this referred to for gun stocks.

Birch is 20 % stronger than Walnut as to the fact you can BEND OR TWIST birch more than walnut without cracking the wood. This is true. The only place this aids a gun stock though is when you are using it in bayonet fighting and especially when using the butt stroke. Even though walnut gun stocks would crack easier than birch for bayonet fighting, they still have plenty of strength to do this job.

However, birch COMPRESSES must faster than good walnut and that means the barreled receiver will shoot loose in a birch stock faster/fewer rounds fired. That is something you DON'T want in a rifle stock.

That is why birch was only ever used as a substitute wood for military stocks when good walnut or other better wood was not available or too expensive.

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Old March 12th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #5
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Stocks

Now that I have that straight, maybe I need to have a talk with Fred. He is real big on promoting the increase in strength from walnut to birch....big smile....I know this about the two, I worked in my dads cabinet shop milling both for years until walnut got real hard to come by, doctors and lawyers love it for raised panel walls in their offices, finally went to mahogany, it is a lot of milling work to do those, anyway, a sawblade will run all day on walnut, but be toothless and dulled up on birch within a couple thousand board feet. It seemed that it was harder or the grain dulled the blade quicker being tighter packed structure. You bring up a good point about compression that I know is true. I put a buttplate on one that came off a big red on to a standard stock and it would not go down tight, I thought it was just being stubborn so I pushed with firm pressure, nothing, took it off and looked and it had two depressions where the back of the flapper hinges in that housing and left the mark in the wood, I then tried it in the walnut, same thing, pushed with same amount of pressure, nothing. Looked at the wood, no marks to speak of and not near as deep as the birch wood marks. Turns out, that the buttplate assemblies for NM are taller in length, steeper angle at the pivot housing block for the flapper and deeper block of steel causing it to not go all the way down and seat on the wood. Learned yet another new thing about these rifles. It measures a good quarter inch longer than standard on the buttplate itself. The flapper is the same and it shows a little reveal left over when closed, that is how I recognize them now.

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Old March 12th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #6
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Trust me, I get pretty tired of Fred's statements about birch stocks just so he can sell more of them. But that's salesmanhip. It used to be hardly anyone would look at a birch stock until he used that saleman's technique.

You can cut and mill walnut cleaner and longer because it has enough resistance to the cutter or saw blade. Even with then 15 to 20 year old M14 birch stocks I cut in 1974, the sap/moisture in the M14 birch stocks would load up a cutter and sometimes actually smoulder when trying to cut into them. (The birch also had a tendency to squish/bend away from the cutter and not cut cleanly for the same reason.) It would do the same thing to saw blades. So you have to stop and clean the blades and cutters more often or they won't cut birch as well or for as long.

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Old March 12th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #7
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Some clarification on my previous statement

I stated earlier that stiffer stocks required less draw pressure than standard stocks. I got a PM about that statement and realized I had a "brain fart". I was thinking of heavy barrels and light barrels. A heavy barrel is what requires less draw pressure than a standard barrel. The stock rigidness has little to do with how you set draw pressure.

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Old March 13th, 2010, 04:14 AM   #8
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I have a Big Red that I got from Fred's. Bedded my rifle to it. Shot exactly 9 matches with it before it was loose in the bedding (9x88rds=782 + practice= call it 1100rds).
Gus and Art have it right- not worth the money unless you are willing to re-bed every 5 matches.
Nice looking stocks, but NOT better than walnut or laminates.

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Old March 13th, 2010, 06:06 AM   #9
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Just fininshed bedding my oversize walnut. Will be interesting to see if it shoots loose like Rippers Birch. Will keep all informed.

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Old March 13th, 2010, 06:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ripper51 View Post
I have a Big Red that I got from Fred's. Bedded my rifle to it. Shot exactly 9 matches with it before it was loose in the bedding (9x88rds=782 + practice= call it 1100rds).
Gus and Art have it right- not worth the money unless you are willing to re-bed every 5 matches.
Nice looking stocks, but NOT better than walnut or laminates.
There is a way to bed birch stocks so the bedding lasts a good while. You need a good bedding material like Marine Tex first. Then you route out so much wood around the receiver bedding areas (particularly from the receiver legs forward and behind the receiver legs) that you only leave a thin veneer of birch/wood over what is actually solid Marine Tex under the veneer.

You need to fill in the space with bedding material a little at a time by pressing the material in place so there are no air pockets and doing it in layers. This also ensures you won't get as much shrinkage over one large glass job. I do this in two or three stages and building up the bedding material a little each tme. You have to roughen the whole surface of each layer of bedding material before you put the next layer on. Then when you have a good deal of the open space filled, you glass the rifle in.

Using a mold release agent like Ram Mold Release 225 will also ensure a much tighter glass job and longer before you have to skim glass the bedding.

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Old March 13th, 2010, 08:00 AM   #11
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And I did bed my walnut using Gus' methods. 22 matches before it needed a touch up. And Gus is right, you can bed a Big Red by building up the area bit by bit using Marine Tex. What you are creating though is a localized version of a laminated stock. Just buy and bed the Boyds. Or bed a walnut stock. But don't expect the Big Red to last longer than a Walnut, when both are bedded the same way.

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Old April 12th, 2017, 06:14 AM   #12
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Appreciate the info. I just bought a big red under the impression it was bigger and more rigged. No I'm having second thoughts.

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Old April 12th, 2017, 09:55 AM   #13
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Don't worry about it. I have built rifles on both walnut and birch. Either will work fine for both standard builds and NM builds. I prefer walnut, but I built my last personal NM rifle using a Big Red Winchester stock and it came out fine. I agree with Gus's old post on the properties of the two woods. Birch was always the substitute when walnut was not on hand. Birch was good enough for the military so it must be fine for civilian use.

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Old April 12th, 2017, 09:57 AM   #14
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What about Laminated Birch? Would lamination address the shortcomings of birch?

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Last edited by leonmckee; April 12th, 2017 at 10:08 AM.
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Old April 14th, 2017, 10:23 AM   #15
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Birch really doesn't have any short comings. That said, laminated stocks are great. Unfortunately they are not in regular production right now.

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