I had one that the bands were very tight on too and I used a set of snap ring pliers, the ones that are used for external snap rings and spread outwards. That spread them enough to get them on and off with out damage to the stock/finish.. Oh yea, not the ones that have the pins, but the ones that have the flats on the pliers,it works well. If ya don't have one get a cheapy set and grind them down a bit to fit that area where the tip/point and the v on the band comes together.
Sorry I can't get a pic up of them up so you could see how I ground them , but I think you'll understand, if not I'll try to explain it better if you have any questions.
Hope this helps out.