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If you’re a frequent On Target reader, you may remember a Marlin Model 336 that appeared in last year’s Hunting issue. It was a “beater” rifle when I bought it used ten years ago, and hunting with it every deer season, knocking around the dense north woods of New Hampshire,roughened the edges even more.
Naturally, I volunteered the 336 for an article on weatherproofing hunting guns, and in the process,it received the “Full Monty” of ROBAR enhancements and weatherproofing. The original stock and forend were refinished by ROBAR, but the “plain Jane” walnut with no figure still looked pretty sorry against ROBAR’s startlingly attractive black Poly T2 and silver NP3 weatherproof finishes. And, of course, the stock and forend were not weatherproof nor sufficiently abuse-proof.
This mismatch I had to correct before the coming hunting season. The fix came from Boyds Gunstocks in the form of a custom laminated hardwood stock and forend set with an optional all-weather finish.
“Options” and “custom” are what Boyds is all about. The company offers a mind-boggling selection of hardwood stocks for rifles and shotguns from more than 250 gun manufacturers. These stocks come in dozens of styles and shapes, and in a wide variety of hardwoods—including walnut and maple in a choice of grade and 12 different colors of laminated hardwood. They also offer dozens of laser-engraved checkering patterns, panel engraving, initial medallions, text engraving, plus game animal reliefs and other engraved symbols. The cost for this services starts at a pleasing $25.
In short, Boyds allows you to customize your stock in ways limited only by your imagination.
Fit and finish on our Boyds stock set was outstanding, and we love the natural “camo” effect that the coyote brown laminate option offers. Once a “beater gun”, our fully-rehabbed Marlin 336 is now fully ready to take a beating in the backwoods of New Hampshire.
For the Marlin, I chose a Coyote color laminated pistol grip stock and forend set ($141). My Boyds stock is laminated with 15 layers of alternating-color hardwood, and like the glue-laminated wood beams used in construction, it is much stronger than solid hardwood, composite, or fiberglass. The stock is highly stable at low temperatures and will not become brittle like composite or fiberglass stocks do. The laminated construction produces an extremely rigid stock that significantly enhances accuracy on bolt-action rifles, and effectively reduces perceived recoil with any rifle.
I added a Pachmayr solid rubber recoil pad ($30) and the all-weather finish ($50) for a total cost of $221. My Boyds stock and forend set installed in only minutes and fit like it grew there. The contrasting brown and natural layers in the laminated wood are not only pleasing to the eye, the varying earth tones in place of a solid-colored silhouette offers a camouflage effect for keen game-animal eyes.
So now my “beater” 336 is a “beater” only in the fact that it can take a beating and come out of the woods still looking and shooting like a champ. That the new stock delivers not only improved form but also improved function in terms of durability and ergonomics (translation: enhanced shooter accuracy) is a welcome bonus.
You can see these stocks firsthand at your Boyds stocking dealer, or for more information contact Boyds Gunstock Industries, Inc., Dept. OT; Tel.: (605) 996-5011; Web: www.boydsgunstocks.com