Re: Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?
This question has been asked many times before. Light weight barrels don't always shoot to their best free floated, and some don't shoot to their best with forearm pressure. Forearm pressure is different than "touching the stock". Forearm pressure is an 'intensional pad' of wood (or plastic, in the case of the Rem. 700 SDS stocks) fitted by a stockmaker, just behind the tip wood. It is there to provide upward, even pressure on the barrel. Too much upward pressure is when that pressure doesn't help. "Touching the barrel channel" is a different condition. It involves wood that should have been removed as the metal was fit to the wood. Your stock is a factory stock, so, I'd go ahead and float the barrel and see how it shoots. It may take some additional load development as the harmonics of the barrel will have been changed. If accuracy is worse, or not improved and I thought the forearm pressure was better, I'd use bedding material (like MarineTex) to put the pad back in. I'd shim under the front of the receiver, put my bedding material in place, insert the barreled action with release agent back in to the stock and let it dry for 24hrs. I'd then disassemble, remove the shim and reassemble. You'd have uniform upward pressure on the barrel. On factory rifles with the pressure pad, few are fitted uniformly, it'd just be luck. With wood, all surfaces need to be sealed. Under the butt plate or pad, under the grip cap (if it can be removed), and of course, the barrel channel. I'm a big believer in glass bedding a wood stock as this seals the wood (as good as it's ever going to be 'sealed'). Wood, being the natural material that it is, will never be completely 'sealed' and will be effected to one degree or another by the atmosphere. Short answer,, sometimes the pressure point helps, sometimes free floating is best. It takes experimentation (no wonder stockmaking costs!).
"Shoots real good!": definition; it didn't blow-up in my face. 1993 graduate Montgomery Community College 2yr. gunsmithing program