Refinishing gun stocks
If you want the wood grain on your old gunstock to show its best, refrain from using chemical strippers. The brush on strippers tend to raise the texture of the wood surface and no matter what you use to coat the wood, it looks dull.
Better option is to start with 60 grit sandpaper and strip away the old finish and any dinks in the wood that you do not want showing. Some of the old dents will actually look good after proper finishing. (Gives the gun some character) After the 60 grit sanding, move to 100 grit and sand smooth, then go to 160 grit, then 220 grit. While sanding each grit of sandpaper, you will be able to feel when the sandpaper stops sticking and gets smoother as you sand.
Now get some Watco Danish oil at the hardware store and follow instructions which is basically, brush on the oil and keep the wood wet for at least 30 minutes. The oil will continue to soak into the wood for the 30 or 40 minutes. As the oil cures it make the wood about 5 times harder than without the oil.
Then get some wet or dry sandpaper. (the black stuff) and wet the wood down with Watco oil and start sanding again. Start with the lower grit paper and move to the higher grit paper when you feel the sandpaper slip more. The finer the paper that you use, the shinier the wood will look. After you have sanded to the finish that you like, let the wood cure for at least 8 hours. You will need to wipe the excess oil off the wood for a while as the oil will weep back out of the grain. If there are areas that the oil dries, just put a little oil on a cloth and wipe it off.
THERE IS NO NEED TO VARNISH THE WOOD AFTER DOING THIS. And there will never be the possibility of a varnished surface scratching off if there is no varnish. The wood actually ends up being protected better than using varnish.
If there ever comes a time when the wood starts looking dull again, or if you get some surface scratches or dings, just brush on some Watco oil and wet sand it a bit and it will look like new again.
Trust me,,,, you will like what you see.