Wood Stock Rifles: Is Classic Making a Coming Back?

Long ago, having a wood stock on a rifle wasn’t special. But as we entered a new age of guns, polymer, aluminum, fiberglass, and other materials rapidly took over the industry. We’ve come full circle, and companies are making new guns with wood stocks again. This shouldn’t be surprising, as just about everything comes back around.

1970s furniture, mullets, classic cars—you name it, and someone is remaking the past. I could do without the mullets and bellbottoms, but I like the classic wood stocks on rifles. I’m not against polymer; in many cases, I even prefer it. Tactical guns that need to be light and versatile do much better with polymer and fiberglass stocks. There is a reason the military, law enforcement, and others have moved away from wooden stocks and handguards.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t appreciate the quality and aesthetics of classic-looking hardware on modern guns. Companies like Woox, Boyds, Woodshop Wednesday, and more are making some great-looking stocks and handguards for modern guns. Wooden stocks hold more sentimental value for guns that will be passed down through the family. For those who appreciate the craftsmanship, here are a few of my favorite wooden-stock rifles.

Rifles with wood stocks.
Modern-day rifles with classic wooden stocks are growing more popular each year. [Photo: Jason Mosher]

Henry Homesteader 9mm Rifle

Remember the saying “less is more?” When Henry introduced the Homesteader, I wasn’t sure what to think. A lever-action company making a 9mm semi-auto gun sounds like something that will either be great or end in disaster. It turns out that the Homesteader is an awesome rifle that is fun to shoot and, so far, reliable. It doesn’t have Picatinny rails, M-LOK accessories, or any modern-day must-haves. But that’s what makes it appealing, isn’t it? It is a modern 9mm blowback rifle with an old-school look to it.

Henry Homesteader 9mm with Glock mags.
If you want simple and reliable, the Henry Homesteader is a great gun. Glock magwells are available. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Part of what makes this gun so desirable is the wooden stock and handguard. I’m sure they could have gone with a fiberglass version instead of Walnut, but then it wouldn’t have caught my eye. Years ago, I worked in the real estate world. Back then, they would say a person starts to make up their mind about a home before they step inside. This is somewhat true of firearms as well. It grabs your attention, and then you want a closer look. For an out-of-the-box model, Henry hit a home run with this one.

FM Products Ranch Rifle .223/5.56

This isn’t your typical .223 rifle, and they do make it with a Magpul stock for those who do not want a wooden stock. But for those who want to pay just a little more, you can upgrade to a WOOX Gladiator 870 stock. The first time I saw a WOOX stock up close was at TriggrCon in Wichita, Kansas, and I was impressed. This is part of what made me take a second look at the FM Ranch Rifle. The other thing that stood out to me was the mixture of wood on an almost AR-15 platform.

FM Products Ranch Rifle.
It’s not an AR-15, but it uses AR-15 mags and is chambered in .223 Wylde. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
FM used a mixture of modified AR-15 parts to make a custom-looking rifle. They designed the trigger to work backward (it pivots from the bottom instead of the top), and it has a side charging handle. I’m still on the fence with the trigger, but I love the look and feel of the gun. Not wanting to make everything proprietary on this gun, they made it work with a Remington 870 shotgun stock. This was smart as WOOX already makes this stock and can easily provide it for the FM Ranch Rifle. When you buy the gun, WOOX wooden M-LOK covers come with it to help the handguard match the stock.

Ruger PC Carbine

Adding the Woodshop Wednesday wood stock to the Ruger PC Carbine is one of the best upgrades I’ve ever made to a PCC. I wanted to give the PC Carbine a PPSH-ish look. The only problem was I couldn’t find a single wood stock for it anywhere. Eventually, I found Woodshop Wednesday, and making wood stocks for the PC Carbine is all they do—at least for now. This small family company makes one of the best-looking wood stocks I’ve seen to date.

Ruger PC Carbine
The Ruger PC Carbine with Woodshop Wednesday Classic stock. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Each one is wet-sanded and hand-finished by the owner. It takes just a few minutes to switch out the mag release and receiver. When ordering the stock, you can select from several sling options, and two stocks are available, the sport and classic. I chose the classic because it looks a great deal like the PPSH stock. With my Magpul drum, this is about as close as I’ll get to a PPSH without spending a small fortune. It’s a blast to shoot, and everyone who has seen it wants a closer look.

AK-47 and SKS

Of course, the AK-47 and SKS in 7.62x39mm are not modern guns, and they have always been made with wooden stocks. Many companies now offer them with modern stocks, but I like the classic look. Each of the guns I mentioned above is a newer model with classic stocks. I can’t talk about wooden stocks, however, without mentioning the infamous AK-47. Often referred to as the “mud gun,” the AK-47 originated in Russia and has a unique look.

AK-47 and SKS rifles.
The AK-47 and SKS are not modern-day guns, but it’s hard to ignore them when talking about wood stocks. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Made with Baltic Birch and tented with shellac (no stain), this was a cheap and effective stock for their rifles. Now, companies from all around the world make the AK-47 and use a variety of wood for the stock. The SKS is another classic gun that rests in a wood stock system. It was cheap to make and reliable even though it didn’t have removable mags. But over time, it has become one of my favorite rifles with a wooden stock.

Will the Wood Stock Classic Comeback Continue?

Like I said in the beginning, not everyone likes wood stocks, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t know if this trend will continue, but I hope to see a few more modern guns with wooden stocks developed this year. Finding companies like WOOX, Woodshop Wednesday, and others is another way to give your rifle the look you want.

My guess is we will continue to see this trend, and I’m excited about the prospect. If you haven’t had the chance to check out some of these guns, I would suggest it. Henry and Ruger both offer interchangeable mag wells, so you can use Glock mags in them. Great companies, great guns, and great stocks are just what the doctor ordered. The only question is, which one do you like most?

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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