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Well I am interested in purchasing a few firearms in the near future.
- New Inline Muzzleloader
- Shotgun, Slug Gun

But I must confess I am thoroughly confused the more I read.

I am trying to decide between Synthetic and Wood stocks, as well as Stainless vs Blued barrels. I've pretty much only owned wood and blued barrels to date and have had no problems.

I try my best to take care of them, wipe them down if they get wet from use, oil them, and maintain them regularly, etc. After a shooting session (especially MLs) they are thoroughly cleaned before storing them.

But where the confusion comes into play is primarily with synthetics and stainless.

For one, I like the idea of synthetic stocks for hunting purposes because well...I use my guns and navigate some tough/thick terrain at times and they get banged up. Every time I dent or nick my wood stocks/foreends I cringe! :eek: Hate doing that. So I have an interest in synthetic for hunting purposes and maybe sticking with wood for light hunting usage and primarily target/range shooting.

The question is...how do I determine a "good" synthetic stock from a "bad" one? I have read a bunch of posts and webpages stating how this or that synthetic stock was "horrible" or "cheap" but can't determine why, outside of being "noisy" or "hollow like".

Is there a telltale sign when I am reviewing a gun at the shop that will allow me to determine if the synthetic stock is "good" or not? I have no idea what to look for. Any recommendations there?

The other thing I am gaining a preference for is thumbhole stocks, many of which are in a wood laminate and look absolutely beautiful. But I am again worried about scarring the stock and its overall durability under adverse conditions/usage.

Two in particular I am looking at the are wood laminate are the T/C Omega Laminate Thumbole (which is stainless barrel only I believe) and the NEF Ultra Slug Hunter Deluxe. But here with the barrels, I am meh about the stainless but really like the thumbhole stock. The NEF's don't come with thumbhole, which is no big deal.

I also reviewed the T/C Omega with its standard stock and did not like the feel in my hands. On the other hand the T/C Encore felt beautiful in the hand with both the standard low throated stock, as well as the thumbhole stock (although a bit bulkier than the Omega counterpart). But the disparity in the Encore reviews and "problems" has left me concerned so I am leaning more towards the Omega at this point.

Well, lets move on to stainless barrels vs blued. To be honest, I like blued because they are darker, I really do not like the standout, bright stainless barrels. Am I just getting bit by a preference bug or for the purposes of hunting (primarily whitetails) is the a concern for glare or that standout coloring? Or is the stainless coloring just a moot point for all practical hunting purposes? I know many guys use them, so does it just come down to preference?

I've also read of the increase rust resistance of stainless vs blued, but again...I haven't experienced much rusting on blued ever, and if there was some I quickly cleaned it up and all was well again.

But in light of the stainless barrels, I have also been looking at the camo stainless ones for some guns but have concerns about the durability of the camo coating/dipping.


So that's a bit of the puzzle I'm trying to piece together, any guidance on these concerns/questions would be great because at this point I feel like I'm just getting more and more confused.

Thanks all!
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

Prior to getting the Savage ML, I went through much the same dilemma you
are experiencing.......but ended up getting the stainless laminated model. I
also read a lot of the pro's & con's, yet still decided on this model because:

Many get synthetic stocks for their ruggedness and light weight, but then
they add weight to reduce recoil, and do other "tricks" to stiffen them up.
That whole process sure sounded REAL "intelligent" to me!!

As far as nicks, dents and scratches, they can all be removed from a
wood stock (scratches can be oiled which makes them not as well seen,
dents can be brought back up with a wet rag over dent and a hot soldering
iron rolled over that area). When a wood stock gets too unsitely, it can be
sanded and refinished. How can one do ANY of this with a plastic stock?

My subdued stainless barrel didn't seem to spook any deer at all. If the
sun hit it just right, they would no doubt see a glare........but that would
also occur with a blued barrel, wouldn't it?
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

I've got a Walnut stock on my White Whitetail. I love it. I had to bed the action to my likeing. I don't like wood laminate stocks, even thou they can look fine, but are heavy and slick to the hold. When they get wet they are slick as glass. If the finish get marred they are hard to refinish. If moisture gets under the finish they swell and do come un-glued. I own a Bell&Carlson Synthetic Stock on my White Super 91. I had to bed it to my likeing. It's not got that hollow sound, and is stiff from but to forearm. Stiff or ridgid as it does have to hold a rifle action under recoil in the same place everytime. A good Synthetic Stock should have the same properties as wood in stiffness. I knew alot of CVA shooters that had fits with thier Synthetic Stock being too flimsy, and you could move the action in the stock. Most had to do as Bubba said. Add weight, and stiffen them with epoxy.

I've got 1 blue with a chrome lined barrel. Not many chrome thier barrels. I've got on blue Willson Barrel that is one tack driver. I takes cleaning after a range session in fairly shot order. I've got one Stainless Barrel that is a tack drive too. I've got a little more time before cleaning it after a range session.

As for the pro's and con's, this may help,

http://yarchive.net/gun/barrel/barrel_steel.html

This is a bounce around between,

Gale McMillan
Bart Bobbitt
Rock McMillan
Ed.Harris

these guy's know barrels.

Good luck,

JJP
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

First of all I must recommend dropping the omega, and going for the Encore. I was days away from buying an omega myself, I liked the idea of easy cleaning, but was not thrilled about how it felt in my hand. Then I picked up an Encore and it melted into me, perfect fit right from the factory. Not only that but it can become almost any caliber you need. And don't be concerned about what you read about accuracy. The only place I have heard complaints about that is on-line. I know at least a dozen shooters who have them and they are all moa guns if you know how to treat them. I know one guy that has 34 barrels, all are shooters. And you don't have to waste the extra money buying custom barrels, the T/C barrels are great.

Second, I would suggest going stainless. A stainless barrel doesn't scare game, they are ussually dull finishes and have less reflective glare than a nice blued barrel. And they are much more user friendly in the field as far as care goes.

Third, stocks are your choice. I prefer the look of a nice wood, either walnut or laminate. Although most of my rifles are synthetic. Again, user friendly. I was looking at a thumbhole for my Encore, and decided against it. The Encore stock is shaped basically like a thumbhole, without the hole.

Good luck.
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

I would second the choice for an encore in stainless.

I have one in 209x50 and it shoots great. I had a trigger job done on it from the place I bought it and it is unbelieveable. Therefore, I have that same great feel in a rifle, muzzle loader, shotgun, and/or pistol. Can't beat that!

Also, the pepper (grey) laminate stocks look great with the stainless frame and barrel. I have a pistol set and a muzzle loader set. I think you will like them as well. And at around $125, you may would want to consider two sets, one for hunting and one for the range/gun cabinet.

Good Shooting,

Smoky
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

Buckskin said:
First of all I must recommend dropping the omega, and going for the Encore. I was days away from buying an omega myself, I liked the idea of easy cleaning, but was not thrilled about how it felt in my hand. Then I picked up an Encore and it melted into me, perfect fit right from the factory. .
i certainly wouldn't discount an omega because the encore "felt better in your hands". the omega is a great muzzleloader, considered by many as the finest factory production inline on the market. "feel" is a personal thing.

prior to purchasing a muzzleloader, i tested an H&R huntsman, a knight disc elite, and a T/C Omega. tested with pyrodex, 777, and BM3. tested with various weight bullets made by PR, hornady, barnes, buffalo bullets.

i purchased the omega - ease of cleaning, accuracy, looks and feel.

for reasons encountered during testing, i would not use a break-action muzzleloader again (Those reasons have been chronicled previously, so i'll refrain from going into them again). Encores are great guns, but if you are not taking advantage of the barrel accessory program, they lose some appeal for the price. you can get into a ruger #1 for a little more money, and its a superior action.

chuck hawks loves the encore, loves the encore ML, and says that it's a great muzzleloader "not because of the action, but in spite of it." i tend to agree.
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

I didn't discount the omega because of how it felt in my hands, i discounted it because the Encore fit me better. And accuracy aside fit is probably the most important factor in purchasing a firearm.

You have to take in account the versatility of the Encore over the omega.
Accuracy is a toss up between them.
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

Every time I've hunted with a muzzle loader here in Illinois, I've had bad weather so last winter I opted for a stainless synthetic Omega.
 

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Synthetic vs Wood, Stainless vs Blued...Goo

I always go for wood and blued steel, even though I know deep down synthetic and stainless makes a lot of sense. It takes more maintanence, but that's something I don't mind doing. And I don't worry too much (well, a little) about dings and scratches, that just means you're using them the way they were intended, just call it "character".
 
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