How to Paint Rifle Stocks

Written by joshua benjamin
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Paint Rifle Stocks
Painting your rifle stock is not a simple process, but the result is often worth the work. (bolt action rifle image by CraterValley Photo from

While few people would think of rifles as pieces of art, that doesn't change the fact that---with the appropriate tools and a little work---a good rifle can be made as beautiful as anything that flowed from the brush of a painter. It can be difficult to paint a rifle stock because of its odd shapes and because they are generally worn and damaged from years of use; but if you're willing to put in some time and effort, you can make your beat-up old rifle stock--or your brand-new unpainted stock--into something truly beautiful to look at.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Masking tape
  • Paint primer
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Razor blades
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Screwdrivers
  • Filler putty (use the two-part putty, rather than the single-part glaze and spot putt)
  • Paint primer
  • Paint

Show MoreHide


    Cleaning and Prep Work

  1. 1

    Remove everything from the stock that you can. This includes the barrel, trigger guard and trigger assembly, the firing mechanism, and the butt-plate if possible. Ideally, you want nothing attached to the stock when you start painting.

  2. 2

    Place masking tape over the butt-plate--if you were unable to remove it--and the bedding section where the rifle barrel and bolt is laid against the stock.

  3. 3

    Apply lacquer thinner to any existing paint and scrape the paint away with razor blades. Do not use chemical paint strippers, as this may damage the stock.

  4. 4

    Use your sandpaper to sand down the stock and strip it of any remaining paint or existing primer coats in preparation for your own primer and paint. Be careful not to round off any corners when sanding.


  1. 1

    Apply a thin layer of filler putty to fill in any dings, cracks, or dents in the stocks. Some stocks may not require this step if they are in good condition. Allow the putty to harden. This may take between 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the putty you use.

  2. 2

    Apply more coats of putty as necessary. It is preferable to do several thin coatings of putty rather than one thick one, as a thick layer of putty will shrink over time.

  3. 3

    Sand down the stock again with your sandpaper until it is uniformly smooth to the touch.

    Priming and Painting

  1. 1

    Re-apply the masking tape to your rifle bedding and butt-plate---if necessary--to ensure that no primer gets into these areas.

  2. 2

    Apply your first coat of primer to the puttied areas of the rifle stock. Do not apply it too thickly, as thick primer will crater and ruin the smoothness of the rifle stock.

  3. 3

    Allow the first coat of primer to dry completely before adding another coat.

  4. 4

    Apply more coats of primer to the whole of the rifle stock until the whole of the stock is uniform in colour. This is to ensure even coverage for the next coats of paint.

  5. 5

    Apply your chosen paint to the rifle stock. Rifle paints come in several different colours and types, and you will need to choose which one suits your style the best.

  6. 6

    Continue to apply coats of paint to the stock until the colour is the way you want it. Make sure you allow the paint to dry completely in between coats.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.