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Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?

 
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:54 PM
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Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?

Good evening to all,

I have a Model 70 Featherweight in 30-06 that I recently took down for a good clean and I noticed that the barrel is not free floating. What are your thoughts on opening up the barrel channel a bit to float the barrel?

I've read that the light weight barrels tend to do better touching the stock. While there may be some merit to that statement, I can't imagine that would always be the case--especially with a wood stock. Opening the channel would be easy but once it's done, it's DONE. I'd hate to open it up a bit and have my accuracy plummet.

Does anyone have any experience with something of this nature? Thanks,

Keith
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:52 PM
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Re: Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?

I'd surely shoot it first.
I have a couple of rems that haven't been touched and they are damn good shooters without being floated. I just reversed a float job on my rem 7stw and bedded the lug and bbl with glass after pillar bedding the screws as being floated didn't seem to help. I also have a couple of rifles (my xl7 marlin 270 is a great example) that HAVE to be floated as the stock will whack the barrel arbitrarily if they aren't.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:54 AM
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Re: Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?

If you want the different pressures on the rifle's fore end to be transferred to that barrel so it will have all sorts of non-repeatable vibrating properties, don't free float it.

While it may shoot well as it rests atop something while you shoot it from a bench, in other postions the external pressure on the fore end will be different. So will the pressure on the barrel. This is how most folks judge the effects of a bit of pressure on the barrel from the fore end touching it. Stock fore ends are not nearly as stiff as barrels so they bend quite easily.

Such is the normal stuff when receivers are not well fit to the stock's inletting for them.

I think the rifle would be better off with a thin metal shim under the receiver at the front stock screw to better fit it to the stock. That may free float the barrel and good accuracy will be at hand in any shooting position. Or properly epoxy bed the receiver (no epoxy touching the barrel whatsoever) and have at least 1/16th inch clearance around the barrel to the fore end.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:07 AM
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Re: Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?

I free floated the barrel on a per-64 featherweight Model 70 for a buddy about 15 years ago and it definitely made the situation worse.....it was a 1.5 MOA shooter before and we thought we could improve on it! After free floating it shot about 3" at best.......ended up having to put out in some wedges to put back some forend pressure to make it shoot 1.5" again.

Stock rifle, wood stock, oh how much better our equipment has gotten in the past 15 years!!
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2013, 07:45 AM
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Re: Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwinner View Post
I free floated the barrel on a per-64 featherweight Model 70 for a buddy about 15 years ago and it definitely made the situation worse.....it was a 1.5 MOA shooter before and we thought we could improve on it! After free floating it shot about 3" at best.......ended up having to put out in some wedges to put back some forend pressure to make it shoot 1.5" again.
Sloppy fit of receiver to stock inletting, in my opinion.

No bolt action rifle I know of shoots consistantly accurate from all holding methods with any part of a conventional stock's fore end touching the barrel. Accuracy levels change with different amounts of fore end bending from how it's held.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:01 AM
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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!).
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  #7  
Old 04-30-2013, 08:23 AM
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Re: Free float a Model 70 Featherweight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortgrass View Post
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.
There's no way that pressure on the barrel will be "even" if "even" means constant and never changing pressure all the time.

It'll change depending how much strain's put on the fore end by the shooters position. There'll be more when the rifle's benched with some support under the fore end and the shooter's bearing down on the stock compared to shooting offhand (standing) without a sling and the off hand is holding the rifle under the receiver. When a sling's used, there are other forces causing the fore end to bend.

There's an easy way to see how this happens. It requires a dial indicator be clamped to the barrel with its plunger on the stock fore end. With the fore end clear of all contact with the barrel, watch its dial move with different holding ways on the fore end. Or put an optical collimator in the muzzle, adjust the scope to zero on it then watch the collimater reticule through the scope as you put different amounts of pressure on the fore end that's hard padded to the barrel.

Those believing a hard pressure pad at the fore end tip pushing on the barrel is OK may well think it's OK for any other part of the barrel to rest against a hard object and great accuracy is maintained.

Ever watched someone show how their rifle held point up will let a dollar bill slip between the barrel and fore end? Then watched the same test performed with the rifle horizontal in a cradle holding the butt stock at one end and the other supporting the fore end and that dollar bill will no longer slide between barrel and fore end? Which part bent the most; barrel or fore end?

Last edited by Bart B; 04-30-2013 at 09:56 AM.
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