Very strange wood M40 stock!

USMCSGT0331

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Mar 23, 2013
535
825
I just purchased this at an auction for a whopping $40 and it's by far the strangest M40 stock I've ever seen! It's a real M40 stock and has all the correct characteristics, but I have no idea who did the modifications. It's actually pretty stable holding it while standing, but the vertical foregrip is too far forward and would have better ergonomics if it were moved back an inch or two.

I opened up the recoil lug inlet bedding just enough to drop in Culver's M40 barreled action:

sDZ6VZM.jpeg

I9tKGMS.jpeg


Here's a closeup of the vertical foregrip:

t7Epjgb.jpeg

9nF2KDr.jpeg


Closeup of the butt modification:

T7gisIS.jpeg

BMXkkNg.jpeg


The butt now has a Pachmayr White Line recoil pad, instead of an aluminum 40x buttplate. The and of the stock was sanded and reshaped, so the original stamps underneath the 40x buttplate are gone:

wpuDpYI.jpeg

6BfIEHo.jpeg


The holes on the left side of the foregrip and buttstock are sling swivel screw holes. Here's a rear sling swivel off an M40 stock in each of these holes:

LwSj84J.jpeg

RjM75xR.jpeg


There's also something written on the left side of the stock, it says "Mortuus Via Longus." I assume it's in Latin and means something like "death by long [distance]." I guess it's a fitting statement for a sniper rifle:

8o7KxaJ.jpeg


I have a bunch of original M40 stocks to compare this weird stock to, but only one of them has this same gray bedding. Remington didn't use any bedding material when they built the M40's (their "hand bedding" was just making the stock with tighter dimensions so the receiver fits better) and the 2112 armorers typically used Bisonite as the bedding compound on the M40's during the 1960/70's. I don't know what material this gray bedding is and I don't know why the 2112's didn't use Bisonite like the majority of the bedded M40's.

I've seen a few other original M40 stocks with this same bedding, so it's probably original to the stock when it was in USMC inventory. If this is the case, then the foregrip and stock modifications were also done at the RTE shop, since the stock would have to be rebedded for a new civilian barreled action (if the mods were done outside the Corps). I don't know why someone would go through all the trouble modifying the stock and then not fit it to their barreled action.

My barreled action sort of fits the stock after I slightly opened up the recoil lug inlet, but it's still not a perfect fit in the original bedding. When I received the stock I looked closely at the bedding and it was clean, no one had touched the bedding until I decided to do so. All of this information points to the stock possibly being modified by 2112's.

JG5uYyv.jpeg

WRQRsTQ.jpeg


Modified M40 on the left, regular M40 on the right:

pPKHcwt.jpeg

fl4HFfj.jpeg


So, that's my new stock and that's all the information I have, hopefully someone here knows something about it! I think this could be an RTE modified M40 stock, there's a few indicators that it's possible and the 2112's were known to have modified a ton of M40 parts after the Vietnam War. They experimented with everything in order to create a better sniper rifle (that's how they ended up with the M40A1), so it wouldn't surprise me at all if this was one of their creations. However, this RTE connection is pretty much impossible to prove without a firsthand account from a 2112 or sniper who made/saw/used this stock. It could also be some drunken creation by a civilian who got their hands on a cheap surplus stock. I have no idea, I just think it's interesting.

What do you guys think about this strange stock?
 
Last edited:
  • Love
Reactions: sandwarrior

RUTGERS95

Private
Full Member
Minuteman
Nov 2, 2009
2,056
1,846
NJ
interesting to say the least. I'm no expert by any stretch but is it possible it was 'sporterized/Fudd fixed' after service?
 

USMCSGT0331

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Mar 23, 2013
535
825
interesting to say the least. I'm no expert by any stretch but is it possible it was 'sporterized/Fudd fixed' after service?
Of course it's possible, that might be exactly what happened. Unfortunately, we'll probably never know the answer unless we find someone who has firsthand information about the stock and why it was modified.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
  • Nov 6, 2011
    27,270
    46,312
    53
    MA
    The side swivels indicate to me a country that is European influenced.

    Americans don't typically sling rifles in that manner, if some Lt Colonel saw it in that era he would have a shit fit and ask "Who the hell do you think you are the Greek cavalry? I don't care about operation ability sling that weapon correctly!"

    It would be interesting to identify the wood grafts on the heel hump and the pistol grip adds. Are they American walnut or a species native to somewhere else?

    Kind if strikes me as a military aid item bastardized in another country.

    This is what happens when someone makes the M79 guy the Platoon sniper with no regards to ability.
     

    Son of Dorn

    Castellan
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 27, 2019
    2,101
    2,383
    There's also something written on the left side of the stock, it says "Mortuus Via Longus." I assume it's in Latin and means something like "death by long [distance]." I guess it's a fitting statement for a sniper rifle:
    "Corpse long road", in fact. I suspect "Death from afar" was what they were going for but that'd be something closer to "Mortem e longinquo", I think.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: USMCSGT0331

    j-huskey

    Jafo / Instigator !
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 27, 2001
    3,577
    8,141
    AL
    None
    Raising the drop at heel makes the stock easier to shoot in prone, keeps the rifle in the pocket instead of sliding under the armpit.

    I've seen that "type" of mod before...

    Suggested to Kelly McMillan to raise the heel on sniper stocks, bc of the underslip issue, and you see the change from the m40a1 stock to A2, A3, A4, A5,
    Making the stocks much much easier to shoot prone.
    Most specific that comb/heel change to the A1-3 stock.

    That's the first m40 stock I've seen done that way, both heel and handgrip.
    Handgrip is a poor copy off the Thompson.

    Bedding "looks" like Brownells accraglass w aluminum powder mixed in.
    Which is time period correct when bisonite was unavailable.

    Note on the odd stock, pillars appear to be made from the bedding itself.
    This was an AMU trademark of MSG Gerald R. "Old Hook" Boutin.

    There was crossover btw 2112's and AMU back in the day, RVN snipers both Army and USMC, were interfraternity in NRA high power and long range shooting, and back then, at Camp Perry, they competed hard against each other in daylight but drank hard together at night.

    A young whelp got to see this in his misspent youth... some of that misspent youth experience was mentioned in the fbi sniper rifle thread where a 2112 who had a lot to do w fbi rifles passed on much to said whelp.

    Yall stay safe.
     
    Last edited:

    Random Guy

    Private
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 16, 2012
    752
    1,330
    52
    My pet theory. When the M40s were updated to the McMillan fiberglass stocks in the late 1970s, the old wood stocks went into the proverbial dumpster, but some RTE guys salvaged a few, as some original M40 stocks survive to the present day. My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that was one of those discarded stocks, and it became someone’s pet 'art project' in the late 1970s or shortly thereafter. Possibly something a MOS 2112 did for himself in his spare time, or perhaps made as a favor to another Marine as part of the old “hobby lobby” process for a civilian M700 firearm project. It would not have been on an issued rifle, and the quality of the workmanship and bedding is pretty good. That’s my pet theory at least.

    Digressing somewhat, but here's another example of someone's pet art project on a vintage walnut stock from several decades ago:
    M1_carved_stock.jpg
     

    0812guns

    Private
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Oct 5, 2012
    260
    148
    35
    Don't leave out the chance it's a Navy stock. The Navy had a good number of M700 sniper rifles, too. I've seen several M14 stocks out of Crane with side swivels installed, and there is also the well known photo of the forward grip installed on an M14.
     

    Attachments

    • SEAL_with_M14.jpg
      SEAL_with_M14.jpg
      417.5 KB · Views: 75

    sirhrmechanic

    Command Sgt. Major
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Look at the stock next to a M79 "Thumper" grenade launcher. Note how the top of the comb rises up at the buttplate and the strange drop.

    My first impression... made in, around or for Vietnam. Possibly as an 'experimental' or possibly as a special order for someone who wanted it that way.

    The 'camoflage' on the wood also makes me think it was bound for a combat zone.

    Mortus Via Longus would be "Death from Afar." Another Vietnam cue and totally related to USMC. It was an unofficial motto. And became the 'title' for a series of books. More on that later.

    You might consider sending pictures of that to the USMC Museum and/or Historical branch at Quantico. They may have some information there and those USMC historians literally bend over backwards to help folks with good and/or relevant questions. And this is a good one!

    You might also reach out to Roy and/or Norman Chandler who wrote the 4 (maybe now 5) volume set called... Death from Afar... about the history of USMC sniping.

    An incredible piece for sure. And I think very VN period and worthy of finding out every detail possible!

    Cheers and thanks for sharing!

    Sirhr
     

    j-huskey

    Jafo / Instigator !
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 27, 2001
    3,577
    8,141
    AL
    None
    Look at the stock next to a M79 "Thumper" grenade launcher. Note how the top of the comb rises up at the buttplate and the strange drop.

    My first impression... made in, around or for Vietnam. Possibly as an 'experimental' or possibly as a special order for someone who wanted it that way.

    The 'camoflage' on the wood also makes me think it was bound for a combat zone.

    Mortus Via Longus would be "Death from Afar." Another Vietnam cue and totally related to USMC. It was an unofficial motto. And became the 'title' for a series of books. More on that later.

    You might consider sending pictures of that to the USMC Museum and/or Historical branch at Quantico. They may have some information there and those USMC historians literally bend over backwards to help folks with good and/or relevant questions. And this is a good one!

    You might also reach out to Roy and/or Norman Chandler who wrote the 4 (maybe now 5) volume set called... Death from Afar... about the history of USMC sniping.

    An incredible piece for sure. And I think very VN period and worthy of finding out every detail possible!

    Cheers and thanks for sharing!

    Sirhr

    Chandlers ded...
     

    j-huskey

    Jafo / Instigator !
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 27, 2001
    3,577
    8,141
    AL
    None
    Sorry, Not Ray... Roy.

    Roy worked with him on some books.

    Cheers,

    Sirhr

    Roy, "Rocky", Norms older brother, writer fir Sports Afield, Rifleman, and others. Knew he died earlier and u posted the 2015 date, I thought about 10 ish, was off a few years.
     

    USMCSGT0331

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 23, 2013
    535
    825
    Chandlers ded...
    2018, old age... hard miles.

    View attachment 7774059

    Rocky died over 10 or so back.

    This always pops up every few months on the forums, but Norm Chandler is not dead. That obituary is a different Norm Chandler.

    Norm is a close friend and I talk to him every few days. I even talked to him yesterday, so he's very much alive! His brother Roy passed away about 5+ years ago. Norm's son and grandson are around and doing well. I asked Norm about the stock and sent him photos, he's never seen something like this before.
     

    6.5SH

    Old Salt
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 24, 2020
    2,553
    3,582
    My 2 cents:

    The butt modification was already covered for shooting prone. IMO the fore-grip was made for someone who really liked the Hawkins position.

    ETA:
    Look at the bottom of the butt as well, that was clearly made to set on the ground at both ends.
     
    Last edited:

    pmclaine

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Nov 6, 2011
    27,270
    46,312
    53
    MA
    This always pops up every few months on the forums, but Norm Chandler is not dead. That obituary is a different Norm Chandler.

    Norm is a close friend and I talk to him every few days. I even talked to him yesterday, so he's very much alive! His brother Roy passed away about 5+ years ago. Norm's son and grandson are around and doing well. I asked Norm about the stock and sent him photos, he's never seen something like this before.