Friday, May 14, 2010

Haenel 303-Super Stripping the Stock Part 1

Acquired an old NIB Haenel 303-Super many months ago. It was made in East Germany. Haven't found time to go inside and tune the rifle yet. Heck, I've barely had time to shoot this one. It's got some issues as it sits. Tom Gaylord reviewed one of these guns a while back.

From several feet away it looks pretty good.

Up close, there's some damage to the finish from sitting in a box for 25+ years.

The stain and varnish(?) on both sides of the grip is gone.

The right side is worse. The double-line border around the stippling is also poorly done and non-existent in a few spots.

Cleaned out the stippling and the border with an old tooth brush.

Bought a set of Dem-Bart checkering tools a week ago.

Used a single line cutter and chased the existing lines to deepen and define the border.

Sanded out the bare spots in the finish. The finish was puddled at the edges. Maybe it was boxed before the finish had dried completely.

Did the same to the left side. Tried spot staining the bare wood, but couldn't get it to take enough color to match.

In the right light, at the right angle, this is a really nice piece of beech.

Pulled the action. You know what's next.

Yeah, I know. I'll ruin the collector value. Hey, these guns trade hands for all of about $300. Since I'm not likely to sell it, I'm the one who has to shoot it, and it's already less than perfect...

No going back now. See how easy and decisive this can be? 100 grit paper across the finish really has the sound of commitment.

Tip: Leave the buttpad installed. I thought about a Morgan adjustable pad. Maybe the plastic base model? I'm waffling. The stock pad is marked "SUHL" and it's pretty cool. Though, it is hard plastic....Still waffling.

With the majority of the finish stripped off, here's what's lurking below.

This grain has some real potential. I'm going to try a chemical stripper on the stippling. If that's a no-go, I'll attempt to recreate the Haenel stippling technique. Looks like it was tapped into the wood. I may try a Dremel tool with a small ball mill as it seems to produce a similar appearance. Hopefully, it won't come to that.

More to come in a couple days.


Orin said...


Unrelated to this blog, but if it's true that Beeman Pell Seats are going the way of the dinosaur, you guys should jump on that. Not sure about copyright infringement, but it seems like it would be something pretty easy to turn out of bar stock. I bet an offset design that would work for many more guns (instead of only break barrels) would be a hot item.

By the way, I don't think I've commented on your blog before, but I enjoy reading it immensely. You guys are really telented! Thanks for your dedication to providing such fascinating and educational information to the public.

- Orin

Unknown said...

Hi, Derrick.

Have to laugh, as I spent all weekend stripping the stock on one of my "less-than-perfect" stocks. In my case though, it was a TF-41... So, I'd have to do about 6 more to get up to the value of your 303 :)

The sander you use, is it random-orbital or does the sanding pad reciprocate? Your stripping looked much more complete than mine (using a rnd-orb with 120 grit).

Dig your blogs,

derrick38 said...


It's a Ryobi S605D random orbital. It uses 1/4 sheets of sandpaper. I was using a 100 grit garnet paper. I'll try a chemical on the stippling, hand sand the curves of the grip and see where it is at that point. Doubt I'll take the stock past about 220 or 300 grit.

derrick38 said...


This took under half an hour. Use a garnet sandpaper It doesn't load as quickly.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the link!

Joel said...

Thanks, Derrick

I'll try it.