Despite the availability of drop-in stocks for most of the popular guns, there is still plenty of work for the gunsmith.
by Paul Mazan
When your customer walks through the door with a broken stock on his Remington 870, 700, or 1100, finding a replacement that will bolt on is no problem. The same is true with most Winchesters, Savages, Rugers, Mausers, and Brownings. However, the customer that walks in with an old, long out of production gun is going to present you with some challenges.
Not too long ago, your only option would have been to buy a blank and spend more time and effort than the gun was worth, and I know of several old guns that were junked for nothing more than the lack of a stock. Today, there are several sources for semi-inletted walnut stocks for these old guns. They won’t drop right in but, with some fitting, can get that old gun back out in the field. Even if, in your mind, the gun is not worth the cost of the fitting of a replacement stock, that is really your customer’s decision and I suggest you let him make that call.
A good example is an old American Gun Company hammer gun in 16 gauge that came in recently. This was one of the many “hardware store” guns made by the Crescent Arms Company and the original stock was not just broken but entirely gone. The gun had been owned by the customer’s grandfather and he wanted it repaired. Now, I could have used the old line that it would cost more to repair than the gun was worth and I would have been right. I would also have been wrong as this gun’s value to its owner was not determined by the Blue Book or the collector market. This gun’s value was its sentimental value, having been used by the man’s grandfather, and he didn’t care that it was going to take $200-300 to restock a gun worth $100. The owner wanted it fixed and that is my job. I gave him the details and allowed him to decide. Once he was willing to pay what I needed to restock the gun, the Blue Book no longer mattered.
Read more in our October 2012 issue. Back issues are available.