Did you know that Boyds offers nice walnut stocks? Boyds is well known for their colorful, laminated rifle stocks, but it’s not as well known that they also offer walnut and maple in standard, X and XX grades.
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About the Rifle
My Marlin 1895 was built during the years when Remington owned Marlin. This .45-70 rifle has always been accurate and reliable, but the walnut stocks left a lot to be desired. To be fair, the forend stock was pretty nice with a good finish, decent checkering, and some good grain showing. The buttstock though? A flat finish and lackluster wood did not match the forend at all.
I considered replacing the factory stocks with Boyds laminated stocks. While this would have been a great choice for durability and weather resistance, I couldn’t withstand the temptation to put some nicer walnut on the Marlin.
About Boyds Stocks
Located in Mitchell, South Dakota, Boyds started as a one man shop and has been in business since 1981. Boyds offers a staggering variety of rifle stocks in various types of laminates as well as in X or XX walnut or maple. (Note that availability does vary.)They cover at least 255 makes of firearms and 1200 different models! Chances are, they make a stock to fit your rifle. Also, these stocks are made in America, by Americans, and I respect that!
Marlin’s 1895 requires a two-piece stock, both a buttstock and forend. To get both the buttstock and the forend to show up on Boyds stock configurator, I had to specify the rifle as a Marlin 1895 GBL, which it’s not. The walnut I chose is listed as XX. It is not exhibition grade walnut, but I wouldn’t expect that at Boyds price.
It does, however, have a nicer figure, particularly the buttstock, than my rifle came with. I ordered the XX walnut and specified the lighter color finish as well as the Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad and laser checkering.
Dimensionally, the buttstock is a near perfect duplicate of the factory stock but with the addition of a nice recoil pad. The forend, on the other hand, is considerably thinner than the factory item.
First, ensure the firearm is clear and unloaded, then remove both the forend and buttstock. The buttstock is incredibly easy to remove, requiring only one screw to be removed from the tang. The forend isn’t complicated, but pay extra attention to that magazine spring and follower! They can go shooting across the room. I used Wheeler’s professional spacesaver set to remove the factory stocks.
The inletting was good, but not perfect. We had to do some hand fitting on both pieces. This is very different from what we’ve experienced with other Boyds stocks for bolt action and semi-automatic rifles.
The need to fit the stock has me wondering if the 1895 differs based on who owned the company when it was built. It’s possible that these stocks would have slipped right onto some other version of the 1895. Sanding away some of the interior wood exposed bare walnut I need to reseal before using the rifle afield. That’s easy enough to accomplish. Once the required wood was removed, it was a simple task to break out the Wheeler tools again to reassemble the rifle.
All in all, I think it came out great. The rifle is set up with a 2.5x Leupold in quick release rings as well as a barrel mounted Skinner peep sight and Skinner bear buster front sight.
To get a feel for the stocks, we did some casual shooting. We used a mild “trapdoor” level handload with IMR 3031 and the inexpensive Berry’s 350 grain plated flat nose bullet at about 1410 fps. The new buttstock is almost exactly the same size and shape as the original, but with the addition of a very welcome Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. This pad reduces felt recoil and provides a more pleasant shooting experience. The Pachmayr Decelerator is great on hard-kicking rifles.
The forend is much slimmer than the original forend on this rifle. I rather like the feel of this thinner version— it seems to make the rifle lighter and point more quickly. This could just be an illusion, but it’s a nice one.
Boyds XX walnut stocks offer a good way to dress up a rifle at an affordable price. They look and feel great, and were simple to install.
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