One of the things they don’t warn you about enough when you buy a rifle is how much maintenance it needs. Sure, you were told to clean it, but you may not have been told that the wood stock needs regular work.
If you prefer the easy route like me, then the best gun stock finish for rifle care is just what you need. While you may also refinish gun stock with polyurethane, these products are the easiest to apply and maintain.
So, let’s get into this list and check the buyer’s guide to help you find the right one.
Best Gun Stock Finish
- Birchwood Casey Complete Gun Finish Kit – (Editor’s Pick)
- Flitz KG 41501 Mixed Knife and Gun Care Kit –(Best all-purpose gun stock finish kit)
- Birchwood Casey Walnut Wood Stain–(Best wood stain for gun stocks)
- Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil – (Best gun stock oil finish)
- Milsek Gun Cleaner & Oil for Refinish – (Best oil for walnut gun stocks)
- Lin-Speed Guns tock Finish and Care Oil – (Best for Small Projects)
- Minwax Antique Oil – (Best for Antique Rifles)
Best Gun Stock Finish for Rifle Reviews (Updated List)
When finding the rifle stock finishes, I considered all the important criteria, from durability to type of finish and even ease of application. I have also researched real customer reviews to ensure our recommended products are well-loved.
1. Editor’s Pick– Birchwood Casey Complete Gun Finish Kit
- Made of highest quality material
- Manufacturer: Birchwood Casey
- Bw casey complete gun finish kit
I am excited to introduce the ultimate gun finish kit I recently encountered. It is a complete package that includes everything you need to preserve every part of your rifle and make it look as good as new.
One of the most impressive things about this kit is that it does not have the problem of being a multi-purpose finish. A finish that does several things moderately well but not great. Instead, it comprises specialized products that excel in their respective areas.
In the kit, you will find a walnut stain, tru-oil finish, stock & sheen conditioner, Perma blue liquid gun blue, blue and rust remover, cleaner-degreaser, gun cloth, a refinishing guide, and a sponge. The only things missing are sandpaper and steel wool.
With this kit, I can finish a new gun from its wood stock to bluing or refinish an old one by cleaning, staining, and oiling. I will get fantastic results if I follow the instructions and remain patient.
The individual stain and oil finish benefits are also noteworthy. For instance, they offer water resistance and protection from UV and temperature changes. They do not yellow, crack or get cloudy, making them long-lasting and durable.
I am thrilled with this gun finish kit and highly recommend it to anyone looking to preserve their rifle and enhance its appearance.
- It can take care of the whole gun
- Easy to apply (comes with some applicators)
- It does not yellow, crack, or scratch easily
- The oil finish is eco-friendly
- You may not need all the accessories.
2. Best All-Purpose Kit– Flitz KG 41501 Mixed Knife and Gun Care Kit
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED: Each complete gun and knife cleaning and care kit contains (1) 1. 76 ounce polish (1) 1. 76 ounce gun, rifle, and knife wax, (1) 1. 7 ounce tactical matte finish cleaner and (1) 16 inch x 16 inch microfiber cloth.
- TACTICAL MATTE FINISH CLEANER: Anti-smear degreasing formula is perfect for stainless steel and nickel firearms and knives. It is safe on the interior and exterior of the bore. Non-toxic, non-abrasive, non-flammable formula.
- GUN + KNIFE WAX: This premium white carnauba and beeswax formula provides incredible results on gunbluing, polished or hand-rubbed stocks, stainless and nickel firearms. Non-toxic, non-abrasive, non-flammable formula.
A complete gun care kit is handy when you have several firearms and knives. The Flitz KG comes with a tactical matte finish cleaner, gun and knife wax, and a polish. You can use the formula on wood and metal pieces with ease.
The gun + knife wax is a unique blend of White Brazilian Carnauba and Beeswax, which is easy to apply and safe for the environment. You can easily use the wax, whether it is polished or hand-rubbed.
If you mistakenly apply this on the metallic parts of your rifle, it won’t damage or stain it, which is unique for a gun stock finish. It is also non-flammable, which is crucial for a firearm.
I love the microfiber cloth inside the pack, which you can use to buff the wax once you apply it to the stock.
One drawback is that the wax does not go as deep into the wood as some alternatives; thus, it is not recommended on bare wood. However, if all you want to do is revive your existing finish, Flitz KG is the ultimate choice.
- Suitable for all parts of the rifle
- Easy to apply
- It comes in a convenient package that’s ready to use
- Not suitable for bare wood
- Microfiber cloth is not the best quality
3. Best Wood Stain for Gun Stocks– Birchwood Casey Walnut
- RICH EVEN COLOR - Birchwood Casey Walnut Wood Stain brings out the richness and beauty of fine woods gives you a tough, long-lasting finish. This walnut stain is a true, brown-walnut color for the traditional look
- WALNUT - Water-soluble stain is sun-fast, true-to-color and non-bleeding. Produces a clear, rich color without grain clouding or smearing. It is very good for staining a maple or alder wood or making a light walnut wood darker
- WATER-BASED STAIN - Birchwood Casey Walnut Wood Stain is water based so color intensity is easily controlled by adding water to concentrate or using full strength for light colored woods such as birch
Nothing brings out the color and beauty of wood like a stain, and no other formula does it better than Birchwood Casey walnut wood stain.
I recently discovered this extraordinary wood stain product, a game-changer in my gun stock refinishing projects. It comes in a rich dark brown color that brings bare wood to life within minutes of application.
Whether working on an old gun stock or a new one, this wood stain product helps me achieve the desired results with minimal effort. It is water-soluble, easy to apply, and the best wood stain for gun stocks.
One of the best things about this product is that it applies smoothly and evenly without smearing or clouding the wood grain. It stays true to color and leaves a fine finish.
Although there may be some debate on achieving the right shade, I found a simple solution. By adding a little water at a time, I can achieve a lighter coat or apply more coats to make it darker.
Another great aspect of this wood stain product is that it dries quickly, allowing me to move on to other aspects of the application without waiting too long.
While there may be some mixed reviews on this product, most of them are positive, and I have personally found it to be an excellent wood stain for gun stocks. It is easy to use, and the results are impressive.
- Easy to apply
- True to color
- Doesn’t bleed or smear
- The small quantity lasts a long time
- It doesn’t come with the applicator kit
- You need several coats to get it dark
4. Best Gun Stock Oil Finish – Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil
- NEW LOOK FOR YOUR GUN - Birchwood Casey gun stock finish has unique blend of linseed and natural oils dries fast and will not cloud, yellow or crack with age. It fulfills everything you need to finish a new stock or to refinish an old stock
- RICH EVEN COLOR - Brings out the richness and beauty of fine woods gives you a tough, long-lasting finish. Resists water damage and will not cloud, yellow, or crack, unique blend of linseed and natural oils dries fast and will not cloud
- EASY TO APPLY - Use a clean cloth or wood stain brush to apply the oil in the direction of the grain. The special formula allows it to deeply penetrate wood pores within 5 minutes of application and create rich, warm glow
Here is a product that has been tried and tested for years and has yet to disappoint when refinishing gun stocks. The Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil is an oil gun stock finish made from linseed and other natural oils. The result is a long-lasting, water-resistant finish that is easy to apply and does not cloud.
This oil finish is one of my best choices. I can easily apply this formula to get a smooth finish with my fingertip. However, unlike wax, this product is meant for unfinished wood – I would need to strip the finish before using it.
Despite the small bottle size, I can get many coats on wood stock. The oil takes about 8 hours to dry between coats, which is decent for an oil finish. Not only that, but this formula also won’t yellow over time, another rarity for an oil finish.
Regarding weather protection, this gunstock oil finish prevents UV light from ruining the wood and can handle temperature changes without cracking.
This sealer can be used as a bonus feature for under-butt plates and recoil pads to protect your stock.
- Made from natural oils, so is eco-friendly
- It does not yellow, crack or get cloudy over time
- It cannot be used on finished wood.
5. Best Oil for Walnut Gun Stock–Milsek Gun Cleaner & Oil
- LEMON OIL FURNITURE CLEANER: Clean and polish your furniture and leave behind a fresh lemon scent.
- OAK, MAPLE, MAHOGANY, TEAK CLEANER: Use this wood furniture cleaner on any species in your home, from dark woods to light.
- WOOD POLISH: Milsek doesn't only clean your wood furniture. It polishes to make sure your wood surfaces are protected and restored.
I love convenience. Therefore I choose the Milsek Gun Cleaner & Oil formula. It allows me to clean and refinish my gun in just a single application.
The greatest thing about this finish is that it contains no wax or silicone. This makes it effortless to apply without leaving any greasy buildup that can cause a misfire or ruin my gun.
Furthermore, the included multi-purpose cloth lets me use this cleaner and oil on any gun stock, rifle, shotgun, handgun, or barrel.
Whether my gun is synthetic or wood, I can use this oil to remove rust, restore its sheen and color, and make it look as good as new.
I am impressed that Milsek, the manufacturer of this formula, is renowned for producing multi-purpose cleaners that are among the best on the market.
Another feature I appreciate about this mixture is that it repels dirt, water, and rust, ensuring my gun stays clean and protected for longer. However, it’s essential to note that this formula can only be used on finished wood.
- Easy to apply
- It can be used on a wide range of guns
- It does not contain harmful wax or silicone
- It is not greasy
- It can only be used on finished wood stock
- The protection doesn’t penetrate the wood
6. Best for Small Projects–Lin-Speed Gun Stock Finish
- Lin-Speed is an extreme grain revealing finish oil
- Used on Guitars, Gunstocks, Knife handles, pens, Bar Tops, Furniture, Fine Wood work
- Lin-Speed is simple to use
I love the formula for rifle stock refinishing using Lin-speed gun stock finish and care oil. This oil finish has been around for nearly seven decades, and its formula has remained virtually the same since the company first started.
Although it was originally designed for gun stocks, I have discovered that it works wonders on guitars, furniture, knife handles, pens, and bar tops.
Unlike polyurethane, this oil finish penetrates deep into the wood, causing grain raising. As a result, there are no buildups on the stock, and I can feel the wood’s texture directly. (Here’s a guide on how to prevent and fix raised wood grain.)
The oil also freezes any raised grains as it penetrates the wood, making it easy to sand before a recoat. The product is effortless to apply and provides a subtle glow that looks almost transparent in sunlight.
I can apply the Lin speed Finish with my fingertips or a sponge brush when working on numerous rifles. The small 2-ounce jar is sufficient to handle five gun stocks.
Lin speed Finish is a durable product with a quick drying time of 2 to 6 hours. This makes touching up my gun stock easy when I notice any abrasions.
- Easy to apply
- Penetrates the wood for a gentle glow
- Extremely grain raising
- Durable and convenient for retouching
- It comes in a smaller pack than its competitors
7. Best for Antique Rifles–Minwax Antique Oil
- Minwax Antique Oil Finish may be used over finished and unfinished wood
- Antique Oil Finish is recommended for interior wood surfaces such as cabinets, tables, paneling, doors and trim
- Works by penetrating the wood
Now let’s come to the fastest-drying product on my list. The Minwax Antique Oil is designed for all wood needing a protective penetrating finish. The oil seeps into the wood, and the surface dries in five to ten minutes to provide a hard, durable finish.
Apart from finishing gun stocks, this oil is the best finish for wood kitchen tables, antique furniture, tabletops, doors, cabinets, and any other wooden surface where a natural feel is preferred, rather than the plastic feel.
While the manufacturer recommends using only 2 to 3 coats, I would like to use more when applying a gun stock finish for the rifle.
Like gun stock varnish, I can apply this antique oil with my hands, and it can be used on finished and unfinished wood. One thing I love about this is the sheen I get when applying it.
If you prefer a milder look, wipe away any excesses as you smear them with a cloth.
Although this product won’t provide as much water resistance as some other finishes, this is still very durable, easy to maintain, and highly resistant to stains.
- Easy to apply
- Easy to maintain
- Best gun stock stain
- It can be used on finished and unfinished gun stocks
- It can be used on a wide range of wooden tools and furniture
- It raises the grain of the wood
- It does not offer adequate weather protection
Gun Stock Oil Finish Comparison Table
How to Choose Gun Stock Finishes
With so many options, how do you narrow down to the best gun stock finish? Here are a few things to consider in order of importance:
1. Type of Finish
There are many wood finishes,but we’ll discuss three categories that work magic on gun stocks.
- Oil – the most popular finish for gun stocks is oil-based, which can easily be applied and yield a more natural feel. It is sold in small jars as a small quantity goes a long way. It could be made from linseed, tung, or other natural oils.
- Polyurethane is a slightly thicker finish and sits on top of the wood instead of penetrating the surface. While this is the most water-proof option, it feels like a pile of plastic, so it might make handling the rifle more uncomfortable. This could be a water-based or oil-based finish.
- Wax – this finish adds a water-proof and weather-resistant cover to the wood. Wood or furniture wax is also easy to apply. Wax is usually applied over an oil finish and can be reapplied as often as needed. These products are usually made of carnauba and beeswax.
All the products on the list of the best gun finish are oil or wax. I left off polyurethane because of the plastic feel many users dislike. Again, I do not recommend putting poly over wax.
2. The Color of the gun stock finish
The next thing to consider is the color of your gun stock. Unless you want to change your old finish, choose a finish that will most likely accentuate the wood grain. Some finish yellow over time, so this is something else to consider.
Besides the Birchwood Casey walnut wood stain, all the other finishes on my list can be applied to various wood colors. If your gun stock looks too dark upon application of any of these, wipe off the excess before it dries.
The purpose of the wood stock finish is to protect your rifle, so what use is a finish that doesn’t last? The right finish should stay on for at least a year without cracking, fading, peeling, or clouding.
While you are mentally prepared to take care of your firearms, you shouldn’t have to do so every month.
4. Method of application
Applying an oil finish has several ways: cloth, brush, spray, or fingertips. The traditional method for an oil finish is using your fingertips.
You would need a cloth for wax application and a brush for polyurethane. Applying with your fingertips will help you feel the grain raising, any dents on the stock, and other imperfections that must be sanded.
5. Drying time
The drying and curing times are two important factors if you’re in a hurry. The drying time refers to how quickly you can apply a second coat, while the curing time is how long it takes for the gun stock to be ready.
6. Size of the Product
Oil finishes are often sold in smaller quantities than wax. However, oil finishes can sometimes cover as many stocks as wax, sometimes even more.
You may also factor in each product’s price and size to establish the more economical option.
As you have noticed, some of these on our list come with additional products to help with other parts of your gun or knife. Some can also be used on other products. If it means being able to kill two birds with one stone, why not?
How to Refinish a Gun Stock?
Even with the best gun stock finish for rifle, if you don’t follow these simple steps, you might ruin your wooden stock’s appearance.
1. Look for damage
The first thing you should do is look for any signs of damage. When too much damage is done, restoration won’t be enough, and you will need a replacement.
But if it’s in decent condition, you can follow the next steps.
2. Get rid of the old finish
Remove the old finish by removing the rifle stock and using some finish remover. Rubber gloves and a mask are necessary during the process. You may want to “wet” the surface using mineral spirits.
3. Use a scrub pad
Sometimes, you will need a scrub pad as finish remover is insufficient, and steel wool would only rip the grains.
4. Scrub with a toothbrush
Use a toothbrush to scrub off any leftover grime or grease. Prevent scratches by scrubbing in the checkering groove direction.
5. Apply heat
Next, take a hairdryer and remove the excess oil in the stock by placing the hairdryer on one spot. Wipe it away with a dry cloth afterward.
When the stock is finally dry, you should sand it. Prevent accidental checkering sanding by covering this part.
7. Swipe, burnish and dust It
Swipe the stock with a fine mesh scrubbing pad, then use a dry cloth to wipe the stock and remove dust. Here’s how to burnish wood.
8. Fill the grains
Apply some French Red to fill the grains and obtain a nice look.
9. Get rid of excess filler and let dry
Allow the stock to dry, after which you can get rid of the excess wood filler for deep holes.
10. Use some finish
To refinish gun stocks, use some good linseed oil on the surface to obtain a classic appearance that lasts a very long time.
How to Make Scratch Repairs on Your Old Gun Stock
Scratches can ruin the look of your gun. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to remove them:
- Dampen a paper towel piece with some vinegar and wipe the stock a few times with it
- Allow it some time to fully dry
- Grab some G96 hi-speed linseed oil and dampen a soft cloth with it
- Rub the stock with this cloth in circular motions, but gently, as this will allow the minor scratches to get filled as well
- Keep rubbing in areas that still have scratches, especially after taking some more oil in the cloth
- After the oil builds up for several minutes, do the process once again, and the scratches will disappear after 2-3 applications
- Allow the rifle to sit and dry overnight, and remove the excess oil you see on the stock the following morning.
Gunstock Refinishing FAQs
What is the best finish to put on a gun stock?
The best finish to put on a gun stock is an oil finish. It is easy to apply, durable, and can be used on finished and unfinished wood. The oil finish is also water-proof, prevents UV light from damaging the wood, and can last several years.
Can you use polyurethane on gun stock?
Yes, you can use polyurethane on the gun stock. However, many gun users don’t like the feel of polyurethane on the gun stock. Polyurethane has a plastic look and feels that sits on wood instead of penetrating it, making the rifle harder to grip. Polyurethane would be ideal for tabletops.
What is in Tru Oil Gun, and is it the best oil for Walnut Gun Stocks?
Tru oil gun stock finish is made of a mixture of linseed oil, oil varnish, and mineral paint thinners. How the main components and other additives are mixed is a well-guarded secret. There may also be tung oil in Tru oil.
Is Tung Oil good for gun stocks?
Tung oil is good for gun stocks as it is durable, penetrates the wood grain, and is relatively weather resistant. Tung oil is also a natural, non-toxic product, so you don’t have to worry about VOCs when applying it.
Is boiled Linseed Oil good for wooden gun stocks?
Boiled linseed oil is an excellent or even the best alternative for people who prefer to make their finish for wooden gun stocks. It can be hand rubbed into wood to provide a durable, waterproof, and non-toxic finish. Boiled linseed oil is usually used on bare wood. During application, in case you’ve poured too much oil, you can learn how to remove boiled linseed oil from wood in our in-depth guide.
Why should you sand between applications?
When you sand between the Tru-Oil coats you apply, it will allow you to eliminate imperfections, including bubbles, runs, and others. Specialists use 400-grit sandpaper when they notice any runs. In other cases, they go for the 0000 steel wool.
What next? Find out the best varnish for exterior wood doors in the market today.
What is the Best Finish for Gun Stock?
With so many ways to finish a wooden gun stock, it can be hard to find the right one. Unless, of course, you read a guide that summarizes it for you.
The best gun stock finish for rifle maintenance is the Birchwood Casey Complete Gun Finish Kit. Besides providing an excellent oil finish, it also comes with extras for bluing, cleaning, and staining rifles.
The kit is also easy to use thanks to the accompanying DVD, so what more could you want?