Gunfight Friday: Carved Stocks and .30 Cals

After a couple of weeks of rimfires, it’s back to the big guns. Today, we have two .30-caliber rifles, each decorated with what we can only call “alternate checkering.” Though I am usually stuffy on the topic of checkering and prefer traditional diamond patterns, I think both of these rifles look great.

As for the calibers, these two .30s reside on opposite ends of the big-game spectrum: one is chambered for the mild-mannered and economical .308, the other for the fire-breathing .300 Weatherby magnum.

Lance’s .300 Weatherby

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My Weatherby Vanguard in .300 Weatherby is my go-to rifle. I purchased it about 12 years ago and replaced its plastic stock with a maple-burl stock blank I had been drying in my garage for several years. When I sent the blank to be shaped for this rifle, I had a tip and cap of mesquite burl added, so it looked just like the old 1960s Weatherbys. I glass-bedded and finished it myself.

It's a fine shooter and will shoot MOD (minute of deer) with no problem. I set it up for Coues deer here in Arizona with an older 12X Redfield scope. It will reach out and touch them at long distances, and it likes the Barnes 168-grain match bullets. I carved basketweave and leaves to the forend and grip areas. A .300 Weatherby needs the something to help you to grip it, because it has a little push when you fire it. I also carved an African eland on the buttstock. The eland was always my ultimate plains game trophy, and I used this rifle to take one. It has earned a few dings over the years, but I don't care—every nick and ding is a hunt memory for me.

Will’s .308

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I was living in Scotland when I built this rifle, which is my pride and joy. I brought it with me when I moved across the pond. It was formerly a Palma-style match rifle in .308 Win, but it fell into my hands when the club it belonged to had more rifles than it needed. It has an Interarms Mk X action, with a Schultz and Larson heavy match barrel. I had the barrel shortened to 23 inches and threaded for a moderator by Border Barrels. (The moderator is still in Scotland, unfortunately.) I reshaped and finished the stock myself, and later added laser-cut checkering, in the form of interlocking whitetail deer and fallow deer antlers, which I designed myself. The scope is a Redfield. I replaced the match trigger with a Bold trigger from Midway, as the rifle wouldn't have had a safety otherwise. I took seven deer with this rifle before I moved here, in 2012, and I'm yet to add to that total, but I live in hope.

There you have it: each rifle is an expression of its owner’s creativity, yet each gets the job done in the field, as well. You can choose these by artistic merit, by caliber, or by any other criteria. Thanks again for sending in the gun photos. I had been sitting on Lance’s photo since 2014, waiting for the right rifle to pair it with. Vote and comment below, and, please, keep the gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com.

Which gun do you prefer?

Will’s .308

Lance’s .300 Weatherby