Wooden stock strength question - Pistolsmith

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Old 07-11-2004, 12:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 16
Wooden stock strength question

I have a birch (I think) stock from an 870 Express. Frankly, I really like this hunk of wood. It has a very straight grain and I even like the stain's color. Here's the question: How does Birch measure up for durability and strength as a stock material? I know it's nobody's first choice for esthetics.
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Old 07-11-2004, 07:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,800
Birch was selected by the military because of it's superior strength, stability, and hardness.

American walnut is harder, but much less common today.

Many years ago, Missouri and other parts of America were covered by walnut groves, and the wood was common and cheap.

Back around the mid-WWII days, walnut began to run low because of over-harvesting, and the time needed to grow replacement trees.

Birch was the logical replacement due to it's strength and plentiful availability.

Remington's birch shotgun stocks will take a hell-of-a beating, which is one reason they chose it to replace the walnut stocks they used for many years.

Strangely, several years ago, Remington went back to walnut on the Police guns.
Old 07-12-2004, 06:50 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 16
I was aware of the use of birch by the military as a substitute for walnut, which is what initially made me wonder. Your reply does give me a much warmer, fuzzier feeling about putting this stock on my shotgun. Walnut is a "harder" wood, eh? Sometimes hardness coincides with brittleness in the engineering world. Who knows, maybe birch is a better choice for a hard use stock if you don't want to go the synthetics route? Thanks, Dfariswheel.

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