Bedding A Rifle
At this point I place the action back in the stock and tighten the action screws enough to seat the action. This compresses the clay dam placed in the stock to fit the barreled action and allows me to diagnose if my tape is interfering with the fit of the action now rather than when I have wet epoxy down!
Remove the action from the stock and ensure that the clay dam is still in place. Check to make sure the masking tape isnít damaged. If it is, repair it and repeat the last step until you get the right fit.
Use the clay to fill any delicate holes in the action that need to be bedded, i.e., the grooves in a Savage barrel nut.
Clay applied to barrel nut
Look over the action one last time and make sure there are no areas where epoxy bedding could seep into and bond to or lock the action. A lock occurs when the bedding doesnít adhere to the action but rather wraps around it and cures, forming a sort of hook holding the action in.
Time for another pair of gloves! Dip a rag in the bearing grease and rub it on the bottom and sides of the action with a light coat, paying special attention to the lug area and any inside angle, such as where the magazine box comes in contact with the action. Donít forget about the masking tape either, especially the tape on the lug, trigger and along the wood line. You want the lightest coat of grease possible and I highly recommend a couple practice runs with the epoxy you want to use and scrap steel to get a feel for how skimpy you can be. This is not a step you want to be too stingy on.
Greased up action ready for bedding.
Once you have greased the action, set it aside and apply a liberal coat of grease to the action screws. If you have bottom metal, grease the top of it (where it mates to the stock) over the whole surface. After youíre done greasingÖ you guessed it! Toss the gloves.
Note: If you put the action back in the stock after you have it greased up, you will have to fully degrease the stock again.
Throw on another pair of gloves. Be sure you have your stock set up in the vise and that the action, bottom metal, screws and tools for assembly are close and ready to go.
Prepare your mixing containers and open the epoxy. When cutting the tip off the tubes, pull back slightly on the plunger. This will keep epoxy from shooting out the end if you live at higher elevations. Dispense more epoxy than you think youíll need into the mixing container. If any is left over, cap the epoxy by pulling the plunger out slightly and then replacing the cap.
Mix the epoxy thoroughly and apply liberally to the stock in the areas that are to be bedded, including the sides of the action. Be sure to force epoxy to the bottom of the recoil lug area.
Try to keep epoxy out of the action screw holes in the stock. Once you feel that you have all the epoxy that you will need in place, set aside the mixed epoxy, but donít throw it away.
Stock with epoxy placed, ready for action.
Press the action screws up through the stock and hold them in place with masking tape. If you have bottom metal, thread the screws through the bottom metal first and put the bottom metal and screws in place as a unit. Use a third piece of tape to hold the bottom metal in place. Clean any epoxy that got onto the top of the screws off with a q-tip. Slowly set the action down onto the stock. Remove the tape from the rear screw and thread it into the action just enough to hold it then do the same with the front screw.
Gently seat the action into the bedding by pressing down with your hands. Once you have the action seated, tighten the action screws until they are just snug to the bottom metal or stock. If there are areas around the action that have gaps in the bedding, use a mixing stick or tooth pick to work epoxy down into the gaps. Clean up any epoxy that was squeezed out from between the action and stock with a dry rag or toothpick.
Action in stock.
After about a minute, loosen both action screws one full turn, and then tighten them back down in the same manner as before, just snug. This step helps air bubbles escape.
Toss your gloves.
Remember that mixing container you set aside? Keep checking that and when itís cured to the point that it is no longer tacky to the touch and feels kind of spongy but returns to its shape when you push on it, itís ready to be trimmed.
Loosen and remove the action screws and lift the action from the stock. Sometimes a wooden dowel through the rear bridge of the action helps.
With the action removed you can use the Exacto blade to trim the soft epoxy along the wood line. Also, you can trim the epoxy about an eighth of an inch behind your clay dam to get a neat line. The clay and this eighth an inch of epoxy can be removed.
Trimming should be completed as quickly as possible and the action should be replaced as soon as trimming is completed.
Recoil lug area after trimming.
Leave the action in the stock to cure overnight, or however long the epoxy takes to reach full strength. Thatís about it for this step.
You should now have a fully glass bedded rifle!
Don a new pair of gloves and remove the action from the rifle. Use a rag, q-tips and some degreaser to clean the bearing grease from the action, screws and stock bedding. Remove the masking tape from all surfaces. Use some of your favorite gun oil on the metal parts to keep the rust off and screw it back together one last time.
Congratulations! You just bedded your rifle!
Final Product - Bedding.
Final Product - Action in stock.
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