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Discussion Starter #1
Just looking for some advice. I would like to clean this stock, to be able to see the beauty underneath, but I don’t want to ruin its value in any way. Is it worth trying, or just better to leave it alone?
Thanks for your input.

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I'm of course always in favor of keeping it original, but I can see why you want to clean it given the butt stock. I can't tell you what to do with your own rifle, but I can tell you that as far as my knowledge goes the only way to get that off is going to be removing the finish and using some acetone (assuming that's oil or some similar substance around the butt) and a heat source. You could try just baking the thing at 180* in your oven or wrapped in tinfoil in the back of your car in the summer. I leave all my rifles as is unless I've bought them knowing they have a cracked stock in need of repair, missing parts, etc
That being said, in my honest and unprofessional opinion, what I've observed is unless your Swede is a rarer year, SA marked, officers rifle, or other things that actual collectors are after you wont hurt the value terribly. I've acquired and sold probably a dozen swedes around that condition this last year and only one appeared to have escaped a light sanding before I acquired it; none of the buyers seemed to care as they were the "collectors" of today that have an m91/30 or Turkish mauser and have scraped enough together to get a piece of the legendary M96. They arent terribly picky, nor experienced, and just want something to shoot and show friends that represents that model; if it looks pretty without being too outlandish, all the better. Just look at all the pimp shined K98's from Mitchell's that fetch what a refurbed but original Russian capture gets. With the supply being finite and dwindling, the population of people interested in milsurps growing, and your Swede being run of the mill, very lightly cleaning it up so it presents better isnt going to scare away the majority of people buying milsurps nowadays. I have yet to see an M96 on my local classifieds in any condition at under $600 last for more than a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm of course always in favor of keeping it original, but I can see why you want to clean it given the butt stock. I can't tell you what to do with your own rifle, but I can tell you that as far as my knowledge goes the only way to get that off is going to be removing the finish and using some acetone (assuming that's oil or some similar substance around the butt) and a heat source. You could try just baking the thing at 180* in your oven or wrapped in tinfoil in the back of your car in the summer. I leave all my rifles as is unless I've bought them knowing they have a cracked stock in need of repair, missing parts, etc
That being said, in my honest and unprofessional opinion, what I've observed is unless your Swede is a rarer year, SA marked, officers rifle, or other things that actual collectors are after you wont hurt the value terribly. I've acquired and sold probably a dozen swedes around that condition this last year and only one appeared to have escaped a light sanding before I acquired it; none of the buyers seemed to care as they were the "collectors" of today that have an m91/30 or Turkish mauser and have scraped enough together to get a piece of the legendary M96. They arent terribly picky, nor experienced, and just want something to shoot and show friends that represents that model; if it looks pretty without being too outlandish, all the better. Just look at all the pimp shined K98's from Mitchell's that fetch what a refurbed but original Russian capture gets. With the supply being finite and dwindling, the population of people interested in milsurps growing, and your Swede being run of the mill, very lightly cleaning it up so it presents better isnt going to scare away the majority of people buying milsurps nowadays. I have yet to see an M96 on my local classifieds in any condition at under $600 last for more than a day.
 

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Please leave it alone. Don’t try to make it pretty.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your response. Does heating the wood release the oils? Might be better off just leaving it alone. Just a note it is SA marked
 

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I wouldn't oven treat it. That can warp a stock even at low heat. The stain to my knowledge is all original. i've got one that looks very close. Might be some greasy spots along the bottom. You can use a hair dryer and spot heat those areas gently to see if you can bubble out excess oil. Then just wipe it off with tissue. Organic residue can be removed with a damp towel and a little mild soap. Once clean you can weigh whether or not you want to replenish the BLO in the wood. That would definitely pop the grain.
 

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Finish looks original to me ! Beech does not take the dark stain well that was used post WW2 . Each piece of beech is different . I would not attempt to do anything on that stock . Leave it alone . Even though the Swedes used the dark stain because the original beech finish was very light , it is original from the arsenal . You can NEVER get that look if you mess with it . The beech took the stain as you see it and I doubt you can make it any better . Beech is just hard to work with . It won't shoot any better with a refinished stock , but it will loose value if you mess with it .

KEEP IT ORIGINAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your thoughts. Bought her over 20 years ago, and never thought of cleaning her up. Just reinforced my instincts
 

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Thanks for your response. Does heating the wood release the oils? Might be better off just leaving it alone. Just a note it is SA marked
I’m trying to be nice by not dissecting one of the posts above but I can’t restrain myself from saying that the advice given should be ignored.

Allow me to say this clearly and without ambiguity: There’s nothing wrong with the stock. There’s nothing to strip off or out of the wood on your rifle. It doesn’t require cleaning or scrubbing. It doesn’t need to be oiled or waxed. There’s nothing to fix. You can’t and won’t improve or restore your stock by monkeying with it.

Please leave it alone and enjoy the privilege of owning a nice old Swedish Mauser.
 

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If you clean that stock, it will look very bland & characterless. The flecks won't stand out anymore & it'll look monotone.

Ask me how I know.

Seriously.
 
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Light buffing with 0000 brass wool, and some cleaning wax(Tom's 1/3, Johnsons paste wax), is always worth it to me. Emphasis on ME. I know some guys disagree. All this does is get out surface dirt, and buff some nice wax into the stock, which can actually bring out the nice characteristics.
 

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All that handling grung can be cleaned off, BUT there will be an uneven appearing spot where you cleaned it. You could try mineral spirits and a rag, it may take some, but not all off and reduce the visual contrast.

Most folks on the board are purists, and that 's OK with me. My persona; experience here began last year when I brought home a $700 M-96 covered head to toe in grease and oil. I had to wear gloves to even pick it up, it was that greasy. I ask the same question and got the same answers, don't clean it. I did clean it as I wanted a shooter, I bought the rifle at that then exorbitant price because I like the '96 and enjoy shooting it. It's mine, I plan on keeping it till someone takes it away from me or my daughter inherits it. I am proud of my '96 and it brings me great joy, even if the stock is not perfectly original.

Ken
 

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All that handling grung can be cleaned off...
Ken:

With all due respect, are we looking at the same rifle? I see absolutely nothing on the stock to be cleaned. Nothing. It doesn’t even appear to be slightly dusty.

I suspect that several commentators in this thread are confusing the normal and natural color shades of the wood grain as “grung” or dirtiness on top of the wood.

I also suspect that some here have very little first hand experience with Swedish Mausers and are unfamiliar with the various wood types used. If that’s the case it explains some of the comments in this thread. If you haven’t examined certain rifles in their original, as manufactured and issued condition and configuration, you lack a baseline from which to judge whether a particular piece has been altered, modified, or in the case at hand, whether or not it’s dirty.

There’s nothing wrong with the OP’s stock. It actually appears to be a very nice example.
 

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Looks like a nice rifle as is. The dirt and grease and marks give it character. When I first started buying M91's and M91/30's I didn't appreciate the 'been there' look enough. Now I prefer the worn look to a 'shiny' new/refurbished one. Enjoy.
 

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I cleaned mine gently with a soft cloth and denatured alcohol. I didn't really care to use a drop cloth if the day was over 65 degree and/or the sun was shining when I wanted to shoot it.. I would imagine when they were new that stocks were pretty much all the same color? Since the gentle cleaning deeper oil has come nearer to the surface. And in direct sun a little oil still shows in places. And color overall is mostly even. A little darker in places where one might expect oil from lube and cleaning to be after 119 years.

My suggestion to the OP, maybe disassemble and set the stock in the warm sun. Any places that become literally wet with oil, wipe with a soft cloth. Repeat, if you wish, until you don't need to wrap your clothes and hand with absorbent cloth when shooting in the summer.
 

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Can't help but read this thread and think of all the WW2 bringbacks whose first civilian owners just wanted the stock to look prettier as they reached for the sandpaper and varnish. These are military rifles, and beauty, such as it is, is in the function, and character, and history. Unless the plan is to have your kin use put the stocks in your funeral pyre, then best not to mess with the finish without reason.
 

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Who mentioned taking sand paper and varnish to a gun?

So I'm hearing that a person should leave a fire arm that has filth and dirt adhered to all the LO that it was originally treated with even though the finish has attracted all manner of dirt from being stored in dirty places for 70+ years? Would that include all the crude that had made it's way into the barrel too? Shooting it might put unnecessary wear on it after all? Seems a little extreme to me scolding for the gentle cleaning of a stock to try and bring back something resembling what it was when it was in use?
 
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