Caring for and protecting walnut stocks

Louis Toadvine

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Hi all—

A google search yields plenty of discussion across the interwebs about the best way(s) to store and protect a walnut stock, but I figured this community would be appropriate given the absolutely gorgeous and valuable rifles some of y'all have in your collections.

I'm fortunate enough to own a pair of Steyr Mannlicher rifles with gorgeous full length stocks (I'm definitely a sucker for the traditional Mannlicher stock). The walnut is good ("fancy", I believe), but not super high grade like exhibition grade or anything. That being said, they're in very good shape with the nice factory urethaning, and I'm trying to determine the best way to store the rifles that both protects the steel and wood.

The rifles have the Mannox coating on the metal components, which is supposed to be nearly corrosive-proof, but I live in an area with large temperature and dewpoint swings from season-to-season and day-to-day, and I try my best to protect my firearms from condensation in the safe and cabinets. I use plenty of the desiccant packs and store most of my firearms in silicone treated gun socks.

However, upon further research I've heard a couple anecdotes about silicone gun socks tarnishing or blemishing wooden stocks over time. For every story like that, I've read a dozen counterpoints about the socks being totally safe for all woods--fancy walnut included. I've stored a Springfield M14 with more pedestrian walnut in a silicone sock for years without an issue, but that tiny shred of doubt is keeping me from storing the Steyrs in socks. They're not custom Rigby's or anything, but for me, they are worth protecting. I would be bummed to ruin the finish on them from something stupid like a gun sock.

Anyone have experience with gun socks and higher end rifles? Any other tips/tricks for protecting some of your more treasured rifles? Am I just being ridiculous?
 

Doug3006

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I've shied away from silicone gun socks out of the fear that they will blemishing the wood. Maybe my fears are unfounded. I have used plain cotton gun socks for storage which do a nice job of preventing "safe rash"....scratches or dings from removing and replacing guns in the safe. All of my rifle stocks are matt finished. I use Renaissance wax on all of my stocks. It's good protection and really makes the grain pop.

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Happy Myles

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I have several expensive rifles with beautiful wooden stocks which have been used hard for many years, decades in fact. After a tough trip, sometime a month or more, I drop the stock from the action and clean the stock with a high quality antique furniture cleaner. I cannot remember the various brands but a good antique shop can make some suggestions. Next I apply DEM-BART Waxylene (clear) Gunstock Wax per instructions. I do store them in in Silicone sleeves in a gun safe. I have not noticed any problems. Kindest Regards
 

Red Leg

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I've shied away from silicone gun socks out of the fear that they will blemishing the wood. Maybe my fears are unfounded. I have used plain cotton gun socks for storage which do a nice job of preventing "safe rash"....scratches or dings from removing and replacing guns in the safe. All of my rifle stocks are matt finished. I use Renaissance wax on all of my stocks. It's good protection and really makes the grain pop.

View attachment 424862
Fantastic product and is used by world class museums to protect firearm collections (and other wooden stuff).
 

WAB

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Another vote for Renaissance wax. Fantastic stuff.
 

SaintPanzer

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I use Renaissance Wax for everything from stocks, preventing rust on my Mameluke sword, to my table saw and jointer tables. It is NOT true that I use it instead of toothpaste. Good stuff.
 

Louis Toadvine

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Thank you all for the responses and advice. I will certainly look into Renaissance or gunstock-specific wax and high-end furniture cleaner.

Looks like opinions split between the pro-silicone gun socks and those against their use. This follows the trend I've encountered elsewhere. I see no reason why the socks would tarnish a walnut stock (especially if the rifle is being taken out and used on a fairly regular basis and not stored for decades), but I assume there's an originating story of tarnishing/blemishing somewhere to substantiate the claims.

Also, @Happy Myles: Great to hear a first hand account of beautiful wood guns taking years of hard use and still looking great. That was certainly a fear of mine when I bought my first Steyr Mannlicher—I was a bit nervous to take it out into the woods and thought I should maybe stick to the cheaper polymer wonders to do the hard work. But these rifles—even the very aesthetically-pleasing ones—are made to be used. And it might not make a lick of practical sense, but I prefer to do the work with a rifle that looks good.
 

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