First of all, it is quite hard and dense. When properly seasoned it is also relatively resistant to warping and splitting.

The better samples also have a most attractive grain pattern which looks brilliant when finished by a craftsman.

It is also relatively widely distributed, with species which thrive in Europe and the USA.

An alternative for cheaper guns is beech, which has most of walnut’s qualities but virtually no grain pattern.

Its natural colour is a sort of pale, pinky brown, which means that it is usually stained to a darker shade for use in gun woodwork.

I have also come across rifle stocks made of maple, while I understand the Russians made probably millions of military rifle stocks out of birch – and, goodness knows, there’s enough of that in Siberia! I have also heard of myrtle being used.

I also once examined a big-game rifle stocked in an exotic African hardwood with natural black and yellow stripes.

It looked great but after more than 30 years I can’t recall the name of the wood.

  • Pierre Montebello

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    A question on gun stock

    I am a regular Sporting Gun reader, both in hardcopy and your extremely interesting website. Of particular interest are always your gun reviews and ‘shooting answers’.

    Nowadays, my only past time is trap shooting, used to shoot the equivalent of DTL in Malta but recently I have moved to Olympic Trap. This discipline is much more difficult and needs total concentration, but I am slowly working my way through to better results. For over 10 years I have been shooting a Battista Rizzini Vertex Trap, an entry level but extremely well made and sturdy trap gun.

    I will be moving to the next level, and since the Rizzini standard stocks fit me perfectly ‘out of the box’ my intention is to purchase a Rizzini Premier Trap gun. This is practically the same gun as the Vertex but with ‘higher’ grade finishes.

    I must say that the stock on my current Vertex is a one-off as it has extremely good figure and at least ofGrade 2.5 or 3 (instead of the normal grade 2 on that type of gun). It was also finished by Bottega Giovanelli in Italy, the same ones finishing guns such as the DT10 EL, EELL.

    I have tried numerous other guns, incl. Zoli, Beretta DT10/DT11, 682, 686, Browning B525 Trap (which I also own), but the Battista’s fit me best.

    I have a small problem though for which I am asking your kind help. The local (Malta) agent for B. Rizzini has a choice of three guns. Two have average stock (~ Grade 2) with the other having far better figured stock BUT there is a notch/knot in the wood. Though quite visible (darker and around 6-8 mm in diameter) it should not pose a problem with the strength of the stock. (I hope to be able to attach a picture of it.)

    Would you consider this as a defect as it is keeping me back from purchasing the gun? In comparison the other two guns seem very ‘average’.

    Thanks very much in advance and keep up the good work.