Pro Tip: Customize Your Marauder May 6, 2015 Prostaff Reports Twitter0Facebook0LinkedIn0This is a guest post from prostaffer John Hatcher. It first appeared on his blog, Hunting Underground, in February. PLEASE NOTE: This procedure will void your warranty. After almost a year of shooting the Benjamin Marauder, I decided mine was due for a makeover. Nothing crazy, just simple, functional, and relatively inexpensive. After looking at replacement stocks and seeing nothing that I liked, it became apparent I should just spruce up the Marauder’s current furniture. The stock the rifle comes with is pretty solid plus it has good ergonomics and an adjustable comb. This procedure is for the Marauder with the wood stock only. Starting with the factory Marauder stock as a template, I made a few small modifications and then sent the stock to be hydro dipped to cover up the work I did. After removing the barreled action, the comb, swivel studs, and trigger guard, all were placed in separate bags and labeled. This prevents loss and needless headache. The pressed checkering in the Marauder stock was the first thing that had to go. I didn’t want to lose any material and make the stock thinner, so sanding it off was out of the question. Skim coating it with body filler or Bondo, however, was a viable option. Before we go any further, here’s the one thing you should know about putting Bondo on a gun stock. If it is much more than 1/8 of an inch thick, it will eventually crack. This is pretty well indisputable. Bondo does not expand and contract at the same rate as the material it is applied to and eventually a crack will develop if it is too thick. All I am trying to do is cover the checkering and slightly accentuate the features of the stock where the shooter contacts it. At its thickest, the body filler is no more than 3/16 of an inch and after sanding, no more than 1/8. This should prevent the work from cracking. The area is sanded before body filler is applied to help it adhere. The pistol grip is coated as well. Since I’m a right handed shooter, I skim coated the left side flush with the existing contour of the stock and coated the right side with a slight palm swell. After the filler has cured for a half hour or so, you can begin sanding. The first thing I do is block sand it with 50 grit paper. Focus in the middle and try and knock down the high spots for uniformity. I used yellow Sharpie to show where I wanted it the contour to go. Using the 100 grit, blend the middle toward the edges. When you’ve got the rough contour you want, use 150 grit to blend the edges and smooth the whole thing out. The border where filler meets wood should be seamless. If you can feel the transition, it isn’t blended correctly. Here it is after the first attempt at blending it out. I got a little careless and rubbed through and had to go back and re apply. I got it right the second time. You don’t have a lot to work with here so be judicious in how you remove material to achieve your shape. The thickest part can be no more than 1/8 inch. Here is the fore end blended in. If you look at the top of the stock, you can see the factory stock did have a low spot in the middle. If you hold the work up to the light at an angle, you will be able to see the high and low spots. Sanding a few passes and then checking the work will ensure you don’t take off too much or fail to get it smooth. So now we’ve removed the checker panels that were meant to increase grip, something has to be added to replace it. I used Rustoleum textured paint to achieve a decent texture on the pistol grip and fore end. I used 1/8 masking tape to run the borders of where I wanted the textured panels. Since both sides have to be even and match, I laid out a center line both top and bottom. A reference line in front was used too to keep the sides uniform. I laid out a panel on the stock and fore end and tinkered with it until it looked right. After laying a primer coat, I waited about 15 minutes for it to tack and then shot the first coat of textured paint. A second coat of textured paint was applied after 15 minutes. A third was shot about an hour after. After removing the mask around the 3 hour mark, I was pleased with my results. The only thing left to do is apply a finish. You could go the cheap route and do a Krylon rattle can paint job which is not a bad option. Up to this point I have about $17 and 2 hours of effort in this project. So for an extra 5 bucks for paint, you can finish this thing off for pretty cheap. But if you want it to last, hydro graphics are the way to go. Hydro graphics are extremely durable and there are a lot of choices. It is also thinner than paint so the textured panels will have more grip. The graphics for this project cost around $75 for just the stock. It is not a bad idea to Google search for printers close to you so shipping isn’t something you have to worry about. I’m going with Kuiu Vias camo for my stock. I’m not sure what I’m doing with the Marauder’s metal yet. Maybe Duracoat it flat dark earth? Maybe flat gray? Maybe I’ll go all out and Cerakote it. I’m not sure yet. Crosman Dot Com now offers stocks for the Marauder from Realtree and Moon Shine Camo.