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Early A4 Stock Find

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  • Early A4 Stock Find

    So picked up this early McMillan A4 stock recently.

    Someone in the previous chain of ownership had either duracoated it or hydro-dipped it in something similarly tough. Regardless, acetone and a lot of elbow grease did practically nothing to the existing top finish.

    I had contacted McMillan directly about this, and they said the only thing they could do was sand it down, primer, and then paint it. They said it would not be possible to get it back to its original finish, whether that was molded in or otherwise.

    So being as stubborn as I am, I decided to do some more finish removal testing myself. Using various grains of sandpaper and steel wool, and some careful and deliberate elbow grease, And low and behold, underneath lay McMillan's classic forest camo molded in finish. The exposed gel coat has some visible scratches in it, but I'm perfectly happy living with those if it means keeping the original molded in camo.

    So the plan is to keep having at it and hopefully get the entire stock back to its original finish. My current sandpaper process seems to work well on the flat surfaces. However, I'm a bit stuck on the stippled areas. Anyone have any recommendations on those? Maybe bead blasting?
    The rear end is teasing me...

  • #2
    Maybe a Dremel with a fine sanding attachment? I wouldnt go crazy but it would take some of the manual labor away if you were very careful. The textured areas might end up smoothed out though.

    Its just a thought I am not speaking with firsthand experience..

    Comment


    • kft101
      kft101 commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, I'm thinking if I try the same sanding technique on the stippled areas, it'll come out smooth. But it comes down to that, and it happens, guess I can always pretend it's a prototype stock that McMillan made in the vein of the smooth M40A1 HTGs

  • #3
    maybe a cheap Soda blaster from Harbor Freight??
    If the soda doesn't cut it you could always try something a little more abrasive...
    DW

    Comment


    • kft101
      kft101 commented
      Editing a comment
      Unfortunately (for this situation anyway), I'm in a city where getting and using a soda blaster is impractical.

      Does anyone have any recommendations for maybe a stock-smith who can take a swing at (carefully) bead blasting the stock to remove the outer finish?

  • #4
    Rock Miracle paint stripper. It's very aggressive. Don't go by the directions, try a dab and wipe off. If nothing happens, try another dab and let sit a short time, then wipe off. You will have to figure out how long it needs to sit on the stock and remove just the layer of paint by trial and error.
    I used it to remove a "spray and bake" finish that a current manufacturer uses on their specialty receivers. All I did was brush the stuff on with one of those cheapie throw away brushes and it started taking the finish off. I've also used it to remove old bedding material on M14 stocks. It softened the surface, I then scrape a layer off, repeat until I was happy.Like said tho, you don't want to apply and walk away. Be there and experiment with the timing.

    Comment


    • #5
      I would manually remove the finish on the smooth areas like you are doing. I would try cautiously bead blasting the textured areas only, having masked the surrounding areas first.
      You can take a Marine out of the Corps, but you can't take the Corps out of a Marine.

      Comment


      • #6
        I contacted a stock-smith that McMillan sometimes recommends for custom stock work. He suggested not bead blasting, as that could lead to pin holes in the fiberglass?

        Anyway, decided to just have at it with careful sanding on the rest of the stock. Also did that a bit along the stippled areas, but stopped when the top parts showed the fiberglass underneath.

        Overall, not a bad return to the original molded in camo underneath, I'd say. The leftover duracoat in the stippled areas give it a weathered appearance that would be typical of a well used stock that's this old.

        Now gotta send it to McMillan for some repair and inletting work to get it to a more usable state, such as covering up that tactical enemy blinder cheek piece...

        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by kft101 View Post
          He suggested not bead blasting, as that could lead to pin holes in the fiberglass?
          Not quite sure why that would be, if done carefully. Methinks he's just assuming you might be heavy handed with it. The aggressiveness of bead blasting can be easily controlled through air pressure and distance from the workpiece. Any way, it looks pretty good the way you have it now.

          You can take a Marine out of the Corps, but you can't take the Corps out of a Marine.

          Comment


          • #8
            That butt hook tho. Love those. Great little stock. What it going on?

            DT

            Comment


            • kft101
              kft101 commented
              Editing a comment
              I don't have any specific plans to build it up as of right now. My closet doesn't have any more room for another locked Pelican case, haha.

              The immediate plan is to send it to McMillan to do some rehab work on it: fill and patch up some sling swivel stud holes in the bottom and a couple places where the seam is splitting a bit, replace the ragged adjustable LOP spacer and buttpad with some new ones, apply a new neoprene sheet onto the bare saddle, and re-inlet it for DD Ross bottom metal (it's currently inlet for a one-piece Williams bottom metal).

              I for sure will have McMillan install flush cups front and rear on the bottom. Still unsure if I want them to add flush cups to the sides though.

          • #9
            Look what finally came back from the McMillan shop.

            Dang, it's just screaming for me to build it up into an M40A1 to M40A3 transition/prototype rig! In my [alternate reality] mind, I'd imagine that's what might have been built when the corps was testing on the next rifle to replace the A1 before they decided on the now classic OD green A4 stock.

            Comment


            • deltawiskey
              deltawiskey commented
              Editing a comment
              Looks great! It would be a shame to not build that rifle : )
              DW

          • #10
            Fantastic save!
            "...But they would never find anything to beat the old Springfield ...the long sleek streamline, very slim but with potent bulges, all in the just exactly right places to give it that pugnaciously forward-leaning, eager look that marked the Springfield. Beside it, the M1 looked like a fat old man puffing with a lack of training...the two most beautiful things made in America were the ax-handle and the clipper ship? ...they should have added one more thing: The Springfield '03 rifle..."

            Comment


            • #11
              Pretty impressive. You are to be commended for your patience.

              Comment


              • #12
                It turned out real nice... build it

                Comment


                • #13
                  If you still need to clean the rough areas, you might try your solvent of choice with a stainless steel toothbrush. Mcmaster-Carr should have them, as well as brass and bronze if you want to be a bit softer.

                  But honestly, it looks great just as it is!

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    From Mcmillan post on facebook
                    M40A3/A5


                    When deciding whether you want to build a replica or a clone, there are two issues you need to consider as they relate to the stock. The first relates to the butt hook itself, and the second to the cheek piece. If you are building a replica, you need to decide whether you need to build the original M40a3, the late model M40a3, or an M40a5. The original A-4 stock that we designed by the Marines had a large butt hook that was about two inches forward of the recoil pad and was pretty deep. We made about 100-150 of them before they decided it really wasn’t designed right so they had us make it smaller and move it toward the grip so that is in-line with the rear screw on the cheek piece. No other changes were made at that time, the stocks looked very similar and if you weren’t looking hard you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. So you have to decide whether you want to build a “Mod 1” or a “Mod 2”. We are in the process of making a couple dozen of the “Mod1” stocks that will be available on the on-line store. The “Mod 2” stocks are a standard item. (They won’t be called Mod 2, just an USMC M40A3.) It you have an opportunity to buy a McMillan A4 on the secondary market and want to know which stock it is, the Mod 1 is tapered from the butt hook to the front of the pistol grip in a straight line. The Mod 2 is angled from the hook to the rear of the pistol grip and has a pronounced grip cap. Once you know this it is easy to tell the difference.



                    m40a3/5m40a35Once you have decided which Mod you are building, then you need to determine whether you are building a clone or a replica. The reason you need to know is simple. The current A4 McMillan stock is a much better designed stock, and the cheek piece elevator is much better. If you want a rifle that you can take to the range and shoot, a lot, and not worry about whether the butt hook is designed right and whether the two screw cheek piece elevator will continually come loose while you are shooting, then buy our current issue A4 stock. If you want a replica you plan to shoot very little, one that sits in the display cabinet, by all means buy whichever Mod you choose, and specify the two screw Marine cheek piece.

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      ^ That's a handy post right there...

                      Comment

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