I will post this hack here and also GTA, but be sure to read to the end before objecting.
I typically use 4 ought (0000) grade steel wool on my finishes to get the shine and smoothness (avoiding the orange skin texture) I want. Having worked in furniture stores and for a painter I learned some tricks here and there, but I've come across one all on my own recently and wanted to share!
When you use steel wool, especially with firearm or airgun stocks, and depending on the type of wood and it's condition (hairs raised from refinish or accidental Introduction of moisture and so on), you can leave a good bit of steel wool embedded in the grain of the wood, in the hair, or cause a color distortion from burning (from friction) or from micro fibers catching deviations/pockets/fibers that are invisible to sight or touch. So here is my solution.
Copper Scourers. Yes the ones you use for dishes and cleaning. They are available in 4 packs at Walmart and other stores, and usually around $4. They do not break apart, they do not burn, and the pieces in the metal mesh are quite large in comparison to any steel wool grade.
So I know what you are thinking now: but if the mesh is courser, more rough, how is the finish product going to come out as smooth as it would with a 4 ought grade? The answer is pressure. I've been experimenting this week with it and if you apply light pressure, it has produces the same quality as the 4 ought, but without any fiber catching, burning, and so on. Additionally, there is a Huge problem with steel wool in heneral, but before stating that let me also add that you could also do the rough work with the copper scourers during the first several coats and then go to 4 ought if you feel you (wait for it) ought to.
Now here is my big problem with steel wool. Rust. Anytime you are working on a stock with steel wool, whether.you know it or not, thousands of pieces of it go in the trigger, action, and air reservoir areas, making your gun susceptible to rust. You are basically introducing a catalyst for this reaction. Not so with the copper scourers.
Walmart 4 pack
Go with the grain (obviously)
Light pressure, very light, and let the total amount of passes be exponentially more (for me 10 times more since I am doing it so light)
Do still clean (nor for metal fragments but rather poly or linseed/Tung oil material.
PS I will post a pic of the stock I'm using it on after I am done with it.