The important areas to be bedded are the front of the action from the magazine well to the first inch or so of barrel and the area around where the action seats at the rear action screw. These areas need to be roughened and/or relieved to allow the bedding material to adhere to the stock.
This can be accomplished by a simple sanding with some rough sandpaper. Put new gloves on and wipe the action area down with a rag damp with degreaser to clean up any dust deposited by sanding then throw those gloves away.
Sanding Action Bedding Areas
Once the bedding areas have been roughed up, a modeling clay dam is placed between 1 ½” to 2” up the barrel channel from where the front of the action would be when installed.
Now the taping begins. My theory is “If you don’t want to scrape epoxy off it later, tape it now”. Begin taping by running an edge of a length of masking tape along the edge of the action inlet on each side. From there, tape the outside of the stock all around the work area. Here’s what it looks like when I prep one.
Taped up stock.
Once the stock is ready to go, turn your attention back to the action. Again we put gloves on and start with degreasing. Clean off the whole outside. Pay special attention to the bottom of the action and be sure to use q-tips to get into every tiny crack. The trigger doesn’t need to be as carefully worked over as the rest because it will be covered with tape. Throw your gloves away.
Action fresh from stock.
After degreasing, comes taping. I tape everything above the wood line on the action. I also tape the barrel starting from about 2” from the front of the action (corresponding to the modeling clay dam in the stock) to well down the barrel. If the action has a magazine box, I put a single layer of tape around the whole thing, making sure to cover all gaps. I tape around the trigger as thinly as possible so that it still fits in the stock, but all gaps between the action and trigger are covered.
Two or three layers of tape go over all faces of the recoil lug but the back. The critical contact for the lug is the rear face and having the gap provided by the tape on the front and sides prevents the lug from binding in the stock. Use an Exacto™ knife to trim the tape around the edges of the lug.
I like to wrap a few layers of tape around the barrel about midway down to ensure that the action isn’t bedded with a tilt and that the barrel remains free floated. It may take a little trial and error to get the right number of tape layers as you want the tape to just fit the barrel channel. If you have bottom metal, tape off the bottom of it (the part exposed when the rifle is assembled in the stock).