How to make rifle stocks for a 303

Written by chris orr
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How to make rifle stocks for a 303
A good gun stock requires quality wood. (stock de bois image by Antoinexpo from

The Lee-Enfield is a British military-surplus rifle chambered in .303 calibre; it was issued to British troops all over the globe during World War I and World War II. The vast majority of these surplus rifles are in shootable condition, but the stocks are often in terrible shape. A large number of aftermarket stocks are available, but people with the woodworking talent sometimes make their own.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scroll saw
  • Band saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Router
  • Wood chisels
  • Belt or spindle sander

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  1. 1

    Investigate timber yards and supply companies to select the wood. The quality selected depends on the goal of the project. Restoring an Enfield to a shootable condition is different from a complete restoration. A complete restoration results in a nice stock, but the receiver and barrel are often refinished and restored to factory conditions or better. Gunstock blanks are readily available.

  2. 2

    Trace a pattern in the blank using the old stock as a template. Make the rough cuts using the jig or band saw. Some blanks are sold with most of the rough cuts and finishing completed.

  3. 3

    Route the receiver slot. Inlet the spaces for the receiver, barrel, trigger and magazine assemblies with a router. Use the old stock as a template. Other inlets -- holding a variety of metal parts -- must be cut in the stock. Use the wood chisels to carefully fit the pieces together. Don't cut away too much wood. A tight fit between wood and metal is desired.

  4. 4

    Smooth the rough surfaces of the stock with the sanders and chisels. Start with a heavier grit sandpaper. Change to a finer grit after each pass, until the stock is perfectly smooth. Ensure that the receiver assembly fits tightly in the new stock.

  5. 5

    Stain the stock after it has been cut and sanded. Apply several coats, and finish it with a polyurethane sealant.

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