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Posted: 3/31/2008 6:28:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/31/2008 7:38:27 PM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]
With the advent of the aluminum pillar stock mating system a couple of decades ago, the need to have a gunsmith "bed" a precision rifle's action into its stock was supposedly made obselete. However, some gunsmiths continued to experiment with the technique, trying various materials from acraglass to Devcon "plastic steel". Vectorsc is a big believer in the ability of a nicely custom-bedded rifle to shoot tighter groups and exhibit greater consistency in general. Since I had worked up a good handload for my Winchester 70 Stealth but still felt that the rifle hadn't reached its potential, I jumped at the chance to learn Vectorsc's stock bedding technique.

Here is the gun, and a typical group size before I'd developed an optimized handload.

Calculating the ideal overall length to use in my handloads was key to shrinking 5 shot group size down to about an inch or so, but the rifle still exhibited a "cold bore shot" which was sometimes fully two inches high and one inch left of subsequent shots, which annoyed me.

Here is a photo of an unaltered HS Precision stock. I didn't have the foresight to take a "before" picture of my own stock, so this one is off a google search.

The action mates with the aluminum pillars front and rear to provide a consistent platform from shot to shot, without the reciever wiggling around in the stock. How consistent was the factory setup? We were about to find out.

Link Posted: 3/31/2008 7:07:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/31/2008 7:42:56 PM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]
What Vectorsc and I did was to mask off areas where we definitely did not want any bedding material, such as the barrel channel and box magazine area, and then mix the bedding material and apply it to the appropriate areas of the aluminum pillar where the action mates with the stock. The recoil lug area is most critical but we also bedded the rear tang area and about the first two inches of barrel, where the barrel is thickest and closest to the factory stock. In addition to spreading out the torque of the action screws even more, the area underneath the first two inches of barrel helps to act as a heat sink right underneath the chamber.

After slathering the bedding material (we used two-part titanium impregnated Marine epoxy) into and around the appropriate areas with a popsicle stick, the barreled action was torqued into the stock, causing a thin but strong layer of epoxy to remain in areas where the action previously had not been contacting the aluminum pillar. Excess epoxy bedding material oozed out through certain areas and had to be wiped off quickly with a Q-tip, or else cut off with an exacto knife hours later after curing had already occurred.

A "release agent" was generously applied to the entire underside of the reciever and barrel in order to prevent us from literally gluing the action and the stock together. The release agent used was a very specific brand of car wax, which the epoxy will chemically fail to adhere to. However, we made a mistake during this phase. At one point the front action screw did not have enough release agent applied to it and became epoxied to the stock. Any doubts about the epoxy's strength went away when a posi-lock screw extractor tool simply broke in Vectorsc's hands rather than turn the screw. Eventually the screw simply had to be drilled out and a replacement screw set ordered from Brownell's. Less than two thousanths worth of epoxy adhering to the underside of the screw caused us several hours worth of this headache.

In the finished product, the action now fits so tightly in the stock that even with all action screws, floorplate, box magazine, and triggerguard removed, you can hold the rifle upsidedown by its stock and the barreled action (with optic and bolt installed!) won't fall out.

You can see a mirror image of the cartouches stamped in the bottom of the action has been imprinted in the bedding material. This is a tight fit! The point is, with such a perfect mating of action and stock there is less "wiggle room" for the barrel and action to move around in the stock from shot to shot. Result = increased consistency.

In addition to the other work, Vectorsc also added stippling to the stock using JB Weld. Again this involved careful masking of the stock, application of the material with a popsicle stick, and then slapping the still-goopy material with the popsicle stick until the surface of the JB Weld raised up like a thousand little ice cream cones. After curing, the stippling was incredibly sharp, too sharp for my tastes, so I knocked down the sharp tips of the tiny hard cones with a nail file until it felt right in my hands.

The two-tone grey/black stock is interesting looking, but by the CMMG 3-gun this weekend I intend for the gun to be dressed in woodland camoflauge from head to toe curtesy of Norrell's new line of air-dry Moly Resin.

We didn't do all this work to help the rifle's looks though! The real proof that the technique still works would only come when the rifle was shot. I took the rifle out to a fun shoot in St. Louis this weekend and let several other people bust clay pidgeons with it using a variety of surplus 7.62 NATO ammo that I and they had on hand. I only got the chance to shoot one group for accuracy using my handloads.

Here it is. This is a 5 shot group of 180 grain Sierra Match Kings sitting on 40.0 grains of Reloader 15. They chrony at nearly 2900 fps out of the 26 inch barrel. Point of aim was the upper left corner of the black square, so the point of impact is just a tad bit high. That's ok.

The very first 5 shot group of handloads fired out of this gun, with a warm and dirty barrel, is the best group I've ever fired out of any gun I've ever owned. Depending on how I want to measure it, from center to center I get either .40 inches or a straight up half-inch. Compare to the groups posted above and you can see I'm just ecstatic about the results of the work Vectorsc and I put in to the stock!

In addition, there is another side effect of the job we did, one that is more subjective than group size but is still real. The action of the bolt moving back and forth in the reciever is smoother than before, as if I have trued the bolt lugs or "blueprinted" the action. Vectorsc says this sometimes happens, and its a result of the torque forces holding the action to the stock now being spread out over a larger, smoother area instead of bending or twisting the receiver slightly as it mates to the stock at two or three small pressure points. Hard to believe that it could make a difference, but the action of the gun is smooth as silk now and I didn't alter any of the metal components of the rifle in any way! Its crazy!

Anyway, I'm bringing this thing out to the CMMG shoot this weekend. If you want to shoot it bring your own ammo. Hopefully I'll have time to construct some more handloads. I wonder if it will shoot 168 grain bullets better than it used to...hmmm....
Link Posted: 3/31/2008 7:37:35 PM EDT
Well I have some south african setting in my closet that needs to see the light of day

Link Posted: 3/31/2008 7:47:37 PM EDT
Good to see that it did such an improvement on the groups.

I'll be at the CMMG 3-gun this coming weekend as well. Would it be worth it to bring my LTR to play with, or is it mainly AR-style rifles for the long distance work?

Brings be to another question. Duke, Do you do work on bolt actions? I am looking to get a tactical bolt knob, and maybe the same thing you just did to your rifle, done to mine. I mentioned this briefly when I took your ccw, but never got around to it.
Link Posted: 3/31/2008 7:56:45 PM EDT
Looks damn good to me! I know next to nothing about bolt actions, but what exactly is bedding? and what is the puropse of bedding a bolt gun? I know it probably has something to do with keeping the bbl snug to the stock for greater accuracy............or something. Please school me!
Link Posted: 3/31/2008 8:13:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/31/2008 8:18:28 PM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]
Here's a wiki entry for you that explains it better than I could, ak4784:


Jeeppilot, I actually have a tactical bolt handle for Rem 700 lying around that I never got around to installing on a gun I owned previously. We could work on your LTR if you wanted. Bring it to CMMG, I'm pretty sure they are going to have a 300+ yard open shooting range available.
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 4:06:26 AM EDT
Nice work Duke......

Damn i keep saying i need to built up a precision rig........makes me wonder why i haven't already......
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 5:02:50 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 5:44:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By eric10mm:

Originally Posted By -Duke-Nukem-:
This is a 5 shot group of 180 grain Sierra Match Kings sitting on 40.0 grains of Reloader 15. They chrony at nearly 2900 fps out of the 26 inch barrel.

I'm gonna hope that 2900fps figure is a typo on your part. Otherwise, somehow, your gun/load is magic and probably over SAAMI pressure limits.

Otherwise, great write-up!

You know what, it was the 168 grainers that went that fast with the same powder measure, I haven't chronied the 180s yet. I just remembered that. The barrel sure has alot of velocity, I started with 42 grains and was getting more than 3000 fps so I backed it off by 2 grains. Think I should back it off some more until I'm only getting 2600 fps or so?
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 5:57:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2008 5:58:06 AM EDT by rmdye]
cool post, my precision rifle sits in the safe, me and long distance/precision shooting is a joke. thats why i own a precision gun and a sharps. yes Ron is stupid.

i figure in another 6 months i will have forgot every thing i have known about shooting and i can maybe retrain my self since its been so long since i had any serious range time. sad really, i could probably drop the yearly range fees i am never there.

looks good bud, it looks like it tightened up allot!

Link Posted: 4/1/2008 6:26:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/1/2008 6:28:58 AM EDT by eric10mm]
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 6:55:30 AM EDT
Nice job on that rifle! I am surprised that glass bedding stocks is a dying art. I grew up in Alaska and pretty much every big game rifle had a glass bedded stock. My dad still has a .358 Norma Magnum with a glass bedded stock. It is a little less powerful than a .375 H&H. Ammo for that cannon is very hard to find and very expensive as it is not currently produced. A couple of years ago Norma ran a lot and it was selling at Cabela's for $48.00 a box of twenty.
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 7:25:25 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 8:18:04 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 10:48:15 AM EDT
That's a pretty sweet setup duke. The group I shot with it on Saturday was the best group I've ever shot with any firearm at any range.
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 4:09:23 PM EDT
Gotta love a good dime gun!
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 7:42:27 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 7:43:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By eric10mm:
But that "stipple job",.....OY!!!

It blends in alot better when its painted. Vectorsc, post some pics of your painted Savage already.
Link Posted: 4/1/2008 7:47:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/2/2008 7:34:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/2/2008 7:35:40 AM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]
I don't know what Pac-skin is but I'm decent at Pacman.

Link Posted: 4/2/2008 7:51:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/2/2008 9:16:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/2/2008 9:17:23 AM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]

Originally Posted By eric10mm:

Stick-on, rubbery grip helper. Like skate tape, but thicker and made of grippy rubber instead of grit. Cut to fit. Almost feels like Hogue's "overmolding".

Oh, so you mean the stuff that eventually peels off and ruins your finish and annoys the shit out of you. Been there done that back in my IDPA/IPSC days. I hate that stuff so much that I eventually bought a $160 fixture to start doing my own frame checkering jobs because none of the stick-on/glue-on/wrap underneath the grip products were worth a damn.

I'll be pretty surprised if JB Weld peels off.
Link Posted: 4/2/2008 9:21:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/2/2008 9:46:21 AM EDT
How much did the materials and everything cost to do this job? I'd really LOVE to do it, but I'm concerned I'll mess it up.

I'm in the KC area if you're bored and you'd like to do this again!

Link Posted: 4/2/2008 11:55:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By eric10mm:
And "ruins your finish"? Compared to what, JB Weld?

I guess you skipped over the part where the whole rifle will be woodland camo, hopefully by the weekend if I can get away from lawyer stuff long enough to do gun stuff.
Link Posted: 4/2/2008 1:16:45 PM EDT
This thread reminds me that I've been wanting to replace the crappy factory stock on my Savage 10FP....
Link Posted: 4/2/2008 8:57:11 PM EDT
Well, the paint REALLY helps. You won't notice the Weld of JB again.

My camera = 6000SUX model. Bad. Duke, lets snap some pics later.
Link Posted: 4/3/2008 1:17:34 AM EDT
I bedded my rem 700 .243 a few months ago. I had a nice synthetic stock, but came across a really nice grained walnut stock that seduced me into buying it. I soon found out that the gun was a much tighter fit in the synthetic stock, it would shoot a little less than 1" 5 shot groups. When I switched to the walnut my groups turned into almost 2" nightmares. Not to mention I had the same problem as Duke, the first shot from a cold bore would be a flier.
I took her back apart and roughed up the tang and area around the recoil lug as well as the first couple inches of the barrel channel, masked off the no-no spots and used good ol JB weld for bedding. I just used PAM (yup the cooking spray) for a release agent and it worked like a charm. When I first went to take it apart after it had set up good, I thought it had JB'd itself together permanently. This wasn't the case, it was just a super tight fit. It will now shoot 1/2" groups and I couldn't be happier with it. Everyone with their super high dollar synthetic stocks look at me funny when I pull out my "Deer Rifle", but they about drop a load when they see the groups she'll shoot. Not bad for a $5 bedding job
Link Posted: 4/3/2008 6:52:41 AM EDT
Nice Frankie! But of course, we need pics of your Fudd Sniper. LOL
Link Posted: 4/4/2008 12:50:06 AM EDT
It is pretty Fuddy I will try to get some pics up sometime this weekend for ya, I need to refinish the stock. Someone must have shot a dozen coats of satin urethane on it and the checkering is filled in with the stuff So right now its all apart ready to be stripped and waiting for a nice hand rubbed oil finish. If I get time I'll toss it together and snap a couple pics though. Believe it or not, even after trying handloads, its favorite food is cheap federal 100 grain soft points.......go figure! It falls in the 3 rifles I will always keep category, my 30-30 winchester, the 700 .243, and my retro 601 build.
Link Posted: 4/4/2008 2:03:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/4/2008 2:29:50 AM EDT by frankieb]
Ok, tossed it together real quick. Here's some pics, I didn't put the scope on as it is in my bedroom closet the same room as the sleeping, rabid, she-devil and I don't want to wake it up

Link Posted: 5/17/2008 6:45:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/17/2008 6:48:50 PM EDT by -Duke-Nukem-]
Frankie, this thread died and I didn't even see the pics of your Fudd sniper before just now. Wow I love that stock, its gorgeous! Beautiful!

I wanted to show a couple of pics of what the big Winchester looks like now and another group I shot with it today. Its pretty well sighted in now and definitely prefers the 180 grain bullets to the 168 grain ones. I installed an adjustable trigger from Rifle Basix about a week ago, got it exactly how I wanted it and the Red Locktite flowed shortly thereafter. Its now a very clean, light pull with minimal overtravel. Perfect.

I also added an Eagle cheek rest, which brings my cheekweld up just a hair, makes the rifle more comfortable, carries 5 spare rounds and gives me a pouch to put stuff like spent casings or a bullet drop chart.

I wanted to paint it with Norrell's air dry but couldn't get the air dry to work worth a damn. So, since the gun was already prepped and everything, I figured what the hell, I'll just Krylon it for now. The Krylon is already wearing off but it gives the rifle character, I kinda like it. Later on I'll probably redo the whole thing in a durable finish, but for now I mostly wanted to see if my camo masking ideas would really work or not.

The only colors I used were OD green and tan. The black splotch on the forearm is from the Krylon already peeling like crazy right down to the previous black finish. Oh well.

Here's today's group that I bothered to keep. I shot a few that were this good but this was the only one I kept. 3/4 of an inch center to center, on a day when I was having difficulty keeping my heartrate down and the reticle was just bouncing up and down, up and down, with each beat of my heart.

Man I really need to take this thing beyond 100 yards and soon. I feel like I'm driving a Ferrari at 55mph right now.

Link Posted: 5/18/2008 9:37:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2008 9:39:29 AM EDT by j20owner]
Nice group!! I like the look, but can't bring myself to paint my 700.

Oh, looks like the calipers need a little cleaning and oiling, too.
Link Posted: 5/18/2008 11:57:34 AM EDT
I like the camo pattern Looks like its shooting darn good to me, let us know when you get er out to shoot some long distance. Thanks for the compliments on my stock Duke.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 6:51:38 PM EDT
lawyers, Video Games, and Guns...

Hmm.. there should be laws against that..
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 7:53:45 AM EDT

I have a .243 Remington 710 that I got on sale at Wal-Mart (for $200 ) that shoots 3/4 inch 5-shot groups at 100 yards, with factory Federal ammo.

I haven't started reloading yet, but I wonder if I could improve that with handloads and bedding?

Link Posted: 7/21/2008 7:57:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By the_naked_prophet:

I have a .243 Remington 710 that I got on sale at Wal-Mart (for $200 ) that shoots 3/4 inch 5-shot groups at 100 yards, with factory Federal ammo.

I haven't started reloading yet, but I wonder if I could improve that with handloads and bedding?

The 710 has a weird way of mounting its stock to its action, it would be interesting to bed it and see if it made any difference. If you can shoot 3/4 MOA out of a 710 that's pretty damn amazing to begin with.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 9:52:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By -Duke-Nukem-:

Originally Posted By the_naked_prophet:

I have a .243 Remington 710 that I got on sale at Wal-Mart (for $200 ) that shoots 3/4 inch 5-shot groups at 100 yards, with factory Federal ammo.

I haven't started reloading yet, but I wonder if I could improve that with handloads and bedding?

The 710 has a weird way of mounting its stock to its action, it would be interesting to bed it and see if it made any difference. If you can shoot 3/4 MOA out of a 710 that's pretty damn amazing to begin with.

Actually, I bought the rifle because my Father in law bought one on clearance at Wal-Mart and I shot three consecutive 5-shot groups that each measured 5/8 inch at 100 yards. I sold a Savage .30-06 that couldn't hold better than 18" (yes, eighteen inches) at 100 yards, and had $100 left over.

Wal-mart was liquidating stock because Remington was changing the 710 design. I got it when it still had a very heavy barrel, recessed target crown, crappy detachable 4 round mag, and behemoth heavy rigid grey polymer stock.

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