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Old 09-16-2012, 12:10 AM
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Aluminum Tape Bedding for Bolts



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A Tutorial as requested by a number of people.

First let's get a couple of things out of the way so we do not have to argue about them later.

I am reticent to say I "invented" this process but when I first started doing it about 2002 I had never heard of it and I was still 4 years from finding RFC. For a long time after coming here I was doing this with new stocks but had not mentioned it until I told Ricochet about it. If you knew Ricochet he was not going to just leave it there and when we had the SuperStock forum he did every one of his rifles by one variation or another. If you have seen his targets it probably worked for him But it is highly likely other people had tried the same thing.

I normally see this process as a step between no bedding and full glass bedded rifles. Good old Ricochet saw it as an end process meaning he was happy to stop with the tape. I even sent him a glass bed kit but he never got around to using it in the 2 years or so he had it. I usually think of it as a fast way of getting a rifle to shoot to 90% of what is capable of if completely and correctly glass bedded.

So I think that it works. Does it work as well as "glass bed"? I do not think so but it is very close if you do it right and it is perfect for people like my friend Ricochet who seemed to be terrified of glass bedding a rifle. It is certainly easier than glass bedding, takes almost no prep time where glass bedding is preparation intensive to say the least!

Why do we bed stocks at all? Because from the factory there is a sloppy fit. Due to this sloppy fit every time you fire the gun it vibrates and these vibrations make the action move around in the stock. It the relationship between stock and action is not the same for every shot accuracy will suffer. To over simplify a rifle is accurate because as the barrel vibrates the bullet will leave the barrel in the same place of the vibration every time. If the barreled action is moving around in the stock it is impossible to create nearly identical vibrations and if the barrel is not vibrating the same it is impossible for the bullet to leave the barrel in the same place on the vibration. When we bed a rifle we are trying to marry the stock and barreled action as closely as possible.

So let's back up just a minute.....pillar bedding, What is it and why do you do it? First of all let's separate pillar "bedding" because pillar bedding is not truly bedding at all. It's MAIN function is to make it impossible to crush the wood or other stock material. Some people will argue about this and they are welcome to their points of view. Correctly putting pillars in a stock can not be a bad thing but it has little to do with bedding the entire action and possibly parts of the barrel which is what this discussion is all about.

Bedding a rifle is done to make a microscopic fit between the barreled action and the stock. In it's extreme like centerfire bench rest rifles the two are permanently glued together with epoxy That is a little extreme for us. "Glass Bedding" as it has been called is using various types of epoxies with either fiber glass or powdered metal fillers to make the stock and action as closely fitted as possible. A release agent is used to keep the two from being permanently locked together.

This is my version but like many other things there are many other was to do it. I would NEVER argue my way is best. It has been used successfully by a number of RFC people in semis but there are variations on a theme and more than one way to skin a cat.

Finally to this topic, aluminum tape bedding. With this very thin aluminum tape I cut many "shims" made of this tape and stack them until it is almost impossible to get the action into the stock. I shim both sides and the back of the action or stock.

Notice I said stack them and implied on the action but I have done it, in fact started doing it, by stacking them in the stock. On my 581 which will be the rifle bedded here I chose to put the shims in the stock partly because in the SuperStock version for semis I put it on the action and I wanted to show it working both ways. The tape sticks better to aluminum or steel. The only prep needed is to degrease the area so the tape sticks very well.

How do I know where to put the tape. When you take a bolt rifle apart you can often see where the wood is darkened, even black. That means the action has either compressed the wood or more likely has rubbed back and forth and this is what we are trying to stop by supporting the barrel action better in specific areas.

We are also going to take a shot at doing something about barrel support. The 581 is a single take down action with a long barrel. Even though the barrel is almost pencil thin it is a long lever and it offers a good opportunity for the barreled action to "teeter Totter in the stock. This is a nightmare for accuracy. To be honest I have not been real happy with this new to me 1967 Remington 581, a gun I have wanted for many years.

Before doing this the best accuracy I could get was 3/8" groups @25 yards with SK Standard Plus. As you will see we are going to help that out a little. So onto the next section:
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:14 AM
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In these pictures you will see where I have stacked the tape shims and you will see where I used tire inner tube to support the barrel stopping the "teeter totter".

It is amazing easy with a 580/581/582 but Remington rifles with their tubular receivers have long been known for their ease of bedding. The good news is more 22 bolt actions are some kind of tube than other designs but even the ones that are not between this thread and the SuperStock version you should get and idea for just about any shape action:

This one has three or four shims on both sides, the same under the rear tang and one layer of bicycle inner tube rubber under the chamber end and one small strip at the forearm tip:




Did it work?

I just put a cheap BSA 6-24X scope on it and Agoetz2005 decided he wanted to do the honors of sighting it in. We were using an improvised bench being a picnic table and my old Hoppes front rest with no rear bag because this was not supposed to be a test that was supposed to come later And more will but stay with me. Using cheap Fed WalMart bulk ammo he shot while I stood next to him twirling turrets. We were shooting on 40calcritter's 75 yard range next to his gunsmithing shop. In a few minutes he was hitting every golf ball but one had rolled down behind a bowling pin and only 1/3 or so of the ball was showing. He still hit it. Shooting he again dug it out with a half the ball showing.

We decided to to get a bit more serious.

We assembled my target stand made of PVC pipe supporting two 1x2 wood up rights and mounted a couple targets. We did NOT clean between ammo types. First group pretty much matched the previous best but the barrel was just getting seasoned to the new ammo. Group two had four shots into more or lest one very small hole with a fifth shot that he called (he does not like the stiff trigger on the rifle) only about 2/3 of a bullet diameter out of the main hole. Group 3 is just one small hole! If it is much bigger than .100" I will be surprised. I will get pictures and measurements tomorrow.

AGoetz2005 had to stop there as we had to pack things up and he was really starting to suffer from eye strain.

You have to understand that my young friend Andrew is legally blind! Shooting groups is not easy for him

Anyway I will measure the groups tomorrow and hopefully take pictures but even this short test tells me this rifle is shooting WAY better than it did
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Last edited by Vincent; 09-16-2012 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:16 AM
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Thanks for this, Vincent...

Actually it's something I might be able to try myself, being too chicken (and suffering from a lack of opposable thumbs) to do a permanent epoxy job.

Question: what is this al-yoo-minium tape, and where would we find such a product? Is it sticky on one side, or just super thin AL only?

Comment: Looks like something even a klutz like me could attempt without screwing things up beyond repair!

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Old 09-16-2012, 09:47 AM
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Not sure where I saw the idea of aluminum bedding first, but I am sure it was a thread on one of the forums here. Probably an old thread of yours Vincent.

I did a little tape bedding on a Remington 511. Seemed to help, but I made a lot of other changes at the same time so I can't say how much the tape helped specifically.

The tape I used came from one of the big box home improvement centers. Just look on the A/C aisle... it is aluminum duct tape. The brand is Nashua and part number is 324A. This tape is 2.1 mils thick. The adhesive sticks very well and is good down to -10 degrees F.

When I apply a layer of tape, I use a wood or plastic dowel to really press it down, especially around the edges. Try to work out any air bubbles and creases. Wipe down with an alcohol pad then apply the next layer.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:29 PM
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Thanks Vincent! I have 2 50yd rolls of the stuff. I think I have just bout enough to bed my whole .22 collection.
As a side note to those not in the know. this is the stuff you use to seal the seams in your home's duct work. Not that grey/silver plastic stuff used for everything else. The alum stuff will permanently and tightly seal duct work. You would be shocked at the amount of lost AC/heat from un tapped ducts.
Back to the bedding. So the inner tube contacts the barrel for damping correct.? Not free floated. Whoops missed the first sentence. No reply needed
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:19 PM
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Just like Aluminum foil with glue on one side. A aircraft mechanic friend gave me mine back in the 80's when I was racing to seal aerodynamic surfaces and such. For shooting even a small roll will last darn near a life time. Rolls are 2" wide. Once you have it you can invent any number of reasons for using it.

It really can make a big difference on how a rifle shoots and lets you play with different bedding schemes with out the permanence of glass bedding.
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Last edited by Vincent; 07-18-2013 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:36 PM
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I have been following this thread with great interest. Thanks to "vincent" for the fine work and great information. Lots of time and effort to post this kind of detail of one's work.

Now to my problem which I think may be solved by following what others have done in this thread. I have a Savage MKII BTVS about 3 years old, I am the original owner. It has shot very good at times but never really consistent over time. I have done the obvious things, floated barrel, torque settings, ammo testing and heavy bottom metal plate from DIP. Used three different known good scopes and the crown looks excellent.

Today I used some lipstick to mark the bottom of the action studs, the receiver and tang (well, the rear of the receiver) as well as the bottom of the barrel forward of the receiver. I placed the action back in the stock, torqued to 16 in/lbs, front and rear, then removed the action. What I found was that the receiver only touches the stock on the left side, at the rear and at the very front on the bottom. The action studs do not contact the stock on the bottom and the barrel does not touch the stock at any point.

I believe this may the source of my inconsistent POI of this rifle. The barrel has also always lined up to the right of center although it is floated.

I want to use the tape method to bed the action as I don't really trust myself to use the standard devon method and the tape can be removed/added very easily.

I think I should add tape to the right side of the stock and in the bottom where the action studs should touch the stock. So does this sound like the route to go or ???? Thanks.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:26 PM
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These things are " try and find out" sorts of things. It definitely sounds like a more even support would help and I think you are on the right track.

Also there is the possibility that the stock is never going to give you what you want. We used to have a saying in racing:

"You can wash a dog"
"You can brush a dog, you can put a ribbon in it's hair"
"When you are done it is still a dog"

Now please do not take insult from that I am just saying there are some wounds too large to Band Aid.

I would proceed just as you suggested. I would definitely try a barrel support of rubber of some kind and try to even up the contacts Having things so unbalanced in the bed can not be helping you. If you try it and it does not work the first time re do the lip stick and see where you are.

I am very interested to hear what happens so please post your results and then we can go from there. Best of luck with it.

Oh....the barrel being off center in the stock? If it is not touching one side then it probably does not matter except visually. BEFORE you proceed on everything else try wrapping the barrel with black electrician's tape so it barely fits into the barrel channel and then putting it in the stock and see if that changes where things touch. Maybe the thing is just going into the stock crooked.

Anyway good luck and let us know. Maybe we can work this out together
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Last edited by Vincent; 11-01-2012 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent View Post
These things are " try and find out" sorts of things. It definitely sounds like a more even support would help and I think you are on the right track.

Also there is the possibility that the stock is never going to give you what you want. We used to have a saying in racing:

"You can wash a dog"
"You can brush a dog, you can put a ribbon in it's hair"
"When you are done it is still a dog"

Now please do not take insult from that I am just saying there are some wounds to large to Band Aid.

I would proceed just as you suggested. I would definitely try a barrel support of rubber of some kind and try to even up the contacts Having things so unbalanced in the bed can not be helping you. If you try it and it does not work the first time re do the lip stick and see where you are.

I am very interested to hear what happens so please post your results and then we can go from there. Best of luck with it.

Oh....the barrel being off center in the stock? If it is not touching one side then it probably does not matter except visually. BEFORE you proceed on everything else try wrapping the barrel with black electrician's tape so it barely fits into the barrel channel and then putting it in the stock and see if that changes where things touch. Maybe the thing is just going into the stock crooked.

Anyway good luck and let us know. Maybe we can work this out together
First, no insult taken. It was kind of a "WOW" when I saw how badly the action was fitting in the stock. My first thought was "maybe this stock cannot be fixed". I have already started putting tape in the stock and will update as I find something positive or negative. I feel it can't hurt to try this, I won't know until I try. I can always get another stock.

As soon as I can (if) get the action to sit evenly in the stock I'll shoot the rifle. Previously I was shooting 5 shot 1/2" groups @50yd with Wolf MT and then next time out 3/4-1" in the same conditions. I have 2 other stocks from Boyd's identical to this one and the actions fit great in a CZ and Marlin. Thanks again and I don't plan on giving up. Thanks for your offer of help, I may need it.

UPDATE: After 2 layers of tape on the left side of the stock (length of the receiver) and 7 layers on the right side I know have passed the lipstick test. Interestingly the barrel is now centered in the barrel channel of the stock. I'll be shooting next Monday to see if I have any success. I'll try it with and without the pad at the front of the stock under the barrel. Anticapating improvement but won't be disappointed if there is none. The reason is that I think this stock was inletted improperly from the git go.

Here is what I have done so far. I stopped here as I want to do this in steps, testing as I go.


Last edited by ragswl4; 10-30-2012 at 07:05 PM. Reason: Some success, so far.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:06 PM
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Results after Aluminum Tape Bedding

I don't have any targets to post that are prior to bedding but my normal 5 shot groups with this rifle and Wolf MT/SK Std + ammo was 3/4" with an occasional 1/2" group. The picture is today's shooting after bedding. The lowest shot was either me or the ammo. I probably caused it after seeing the first 4 shots go into virtually the same hole. I must admit I was excited. There is no question that the bedding greatly improved this rifle. In addition I was able to shoot some Aguila Pistol Match and Federal 711B into 3/4" 5 shot groups which previously would be 1-1 1/2" groups with the 711B being the least accurate. I also tried a pad under the barrel at the fore end of the stock. Groups got a little worse so removed it. Seems this barrel wants to be totally floated.

My hat is off to "Vincent" for his posting of this method for bedding. I have been messing with this rifle for over 2 years with little to no improvement. No question that the inletting of the stock was the problem. I now have a rifle that I can enjoy shooting rather than feeling frustration everytime I would shoot it.


Last edited by ragswl4; 11-01-2012 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:19 PM
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Man that is GREAT news. I am so glad you kept at it. I would still experiment with a barrel support but what an improvement.

I know the feeling you had so well. All of sudden the thing seems to come to life and you are on your way

I am just very excited for you. Kind of the same thing that happened with my 581 Rem with almost identical bedding. I think on the Remington bedding the "tang" or rear of the stock helped too but I have to get back to experimenting......so many project and so little time and a body that can only handle so much loading and unloading to go to the range.

Just a reminder: After a couple weeks go back and add a strip or two to the existing tape because it will settle.

You do not know what kind of a smile and a charge I just got. I just walked in from being at Vanderbilt University Hospital for a treatment and it has been a long day already. Fired up the computer and did a search for the threads I have posted in and this was the first thing I saw!! That is just great. I know how happy it makes me so You must be pumped but we also still have work to do, experiments to try to see how far you can take it and to make sure the results are repeatable. Just the same this is a great first indication things are going in the right direction.

You may also want to keep a few notes as to when and how much kind of thing as you experiment. I keep many of my notes right on my targets when I do not get too lazy

Looks like your "dog" may be a prince of a pup yet

As before if I can help in any way just let me know
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:53 PM
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Thanks Vincent, but credit to you I was just the installer. I ran out of time and ability to call "cease fires" at my range so I couldn't shoot a bunch of groups. That's my next step, test consistency. But I can tell you I had a huge smile on my face shooting that group, almost split my lips. What a relief.

You saved me from buying a new stock or selling this rifle as I was really, really disappointed and frustrated. Thanks for the suggestion to add some more tape down the road, that'll save me from scratching my head wondering what happened when the tape settled.

Believe me I am happy that you are happy with my success. Take care and mucho thanks again.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:57 AM
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Vincent, sorry I took so long to reply.
I bought the gasket material at either Advance or Auto Zone, don't remember which.
I had to ask for it at the counter, and it comes in varying sized rolls and thicknesses.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:09 PM
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Thanks from me as well, Vincent.

I recently bought a Zastava MP22 and after shooting it some I believed it needed bedding. Horizontal strings, etc. It would shoot an amazing group, and the very next one would be all over the place. You likely know the stocks and inletting on the Zastavas are not the best. So I started putting your tape method to work and the difference is easy to notice, even after just one session. I still need to recheck my work after today's range trip but I'm already very, very pleased!
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Old 03-21-2019, 11:59 AM
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Vincent; Thank you!
I have been saving this post/thread for years, and finally, figure I would like to try. There is a fellow on da Tube that just uses minimal amounts of epoxy to bed his rifle(s), but, after my first attempt at glass bedding, I'm not really anxious to put my foot back in the water.

I have a roll of aluminum tape somewhere in my basement, and think I may try the method on my rifles. My wife got me a red dot sight for Christmas, and I have it mounted on my 10-22, waiting for warmer weather to go to the range. Thing is, I'm not sure if it will be precise enough to observe any improvement. Any opinions? However; my scoped guns should have no problems with that!

forrest r; Thank you, too! The pictures have disappeared, but if I understand, Plasti-Dip is the solution of choice there?

Oboy...! Don't let a rimfire addict uhmmmm....enthusiast, I MEANT enthusiast! start to scheme!
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