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Old 09-16-2012, 01:10 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, 01:14 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 01:54 AM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:16 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, 10:47 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, 03:29 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, 09:19 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 12:16 PM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:39 PM
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Thumbs up

Neat, guys!!!!!!

So, if I got this concept right.. the tape is to get the action tight and centered in the stock, the rubber pad(s) helps dampen the vibration and support the barrel just a tad. That's basically all there is to it? Way too simple!!!

Methinks next trip to the big box store might include a roll of bedding tape. Heck, a while ago I got some funny looks when I bought 5 #144 springs.. the clerk asked me what I wanted 5 of these odd springs for, so I told him they were for trigger jobs...

Now if I can find one of the neighborhood kid's bicycles parked unattended, I might have the pressure pad bit worked out too!!

You guys have seen how most of my rifles shoot in many of the games & challenges here. not too shabby, but always have room for improvement It'll be a while before I try this out - I think I <will> give it a try.. I like simple & easy !!!

Thanks again, Vince... something I hadn't thought much about till now!

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Old 09-17-2012, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by COW 54 View Post
Neat, guys!!!!!!

So, if I got this concept right.. the tape is to get the action tight and centered in the stock, the rubber pad(s) helps dampen the vibration and support the barrel just a tad. That's basically all there is to it? Way too simple!!!

Methinks next trip to the big box store might include a roll of bedding tape. Heck, a while ago I got some funny looks when I bought 5 #144 springs.. the clerk asked me what I wanted 5 of these odd springs for, so I told him they were for trigger jobs...

Now if I can find one of the neighborhood kid's bicycles parked unattended, I might have the pressure pad bit worked out too!!

You guys have seen how most of my rifles shoot in many of the games & challenges here. not too shabby, but always have room for improvement It'll be a while before I try this out - I think I <will> give it a try.. I like simple & easy !!!

Thanks again, Vince... something I hadn't thought much about till now!

Hope it helps. I do not remember what rifles you shoot. This can be done a number of ways but on this rifle it is just a simplified version of how I bed a Model 700 or 788 Remington as this rifle is more or less a mini 788 anyway

Chances are the more problems your rifle has the more it is going to help, the older the rifle is the more likely it is going to help if you find those black rub marks inside.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:38 AM
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Oh, I just remember I have 2, 788s. More projects to try.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by scooter22 View Post
Oh, I just remember I have 2, 788s. More projects to try.
I have never used it on centerfires but a member here PM'd me and said he had seen it used on a shot gun to get the pattern more centered on where it was pointed. I think he said it was a .410 break open. I would expect that other than using it for barrel pressure points you may have to keep an eye on it as recoil may, or may not, move the tape around some and you will need to add second or even third "tune ups" as the recoil mashes the glue.

That is just a guess for me. I would certainly not be afraid to try it on a centerfire especially something like a 22 Hornet or a .223. That actually gives me an idea for using it on the forearm of my .223 T/C Contender "Super14" pistol.

That is the thing with this kind of bedding. Get an idea and 20 minutes later you are ready to test with out any permanent alteration to the firearm. Combine it with the rubber barrel supports and the possibilities are almost endless.

As far as the rubber supports if you want something thinner go to WalMart or elsewhere and buy a can of tire tube patches. They come already cut to small neat patches that are thinner for places where the inner tube is too thick.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Vincent View Post
Just like Aluminum foil with glue on one side. A aircraft mechanic friend gave me mine back in the 80's we 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.
FWIW, the aluminum tape that I have also came from an aircraft mechanic but is 3/4 " wide. I did not know that it came in 2" rolls. Like you said, it's very handy stuff and I'd like to get some in the 2" width.
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:45 PM
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Interested to see what the groups were. Since I've been shooting about 5, 5 shot groups a year here lately.
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:47 PM
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FWIW, the aluminum tape that I have also came from an aircraft mechanic but is 3/4 " wide. I did not know that it came in 2" rolls. Like you said, it's very handy stuff and I'd like to get some in the 2" width.
Almost any hard ware store has it. The stuff I bought to have for this tutorial is 2" wide. 10 yards long. It is listed with 3 languages that say "Aluminum Foil Tape" the company is IPG or Intertape Polymer Group and is says it has:

Aggressive adhesive
Blocks oder and moisture
Helps prevent heating and cooling loss
Excellent for metal repairs

At local mom and pop hardware (not Big Box) it cost $4.29 + our steep tax.

I still had about this much left of my 25+ year old roll but I bought this to make sure what I was telling you was true for what you could still buy. I did not want to have something so special others could not get it. My friend that gave me this was working on the Space Shuttle.

He once gave me a pile of machine screws and nut plates to hold in the underpan of my roadracing kart because Nylocks fell out at the rate of about 5-7 per 1 hour race there was so much beating and vibration in 140 mph kart. This was true for about 150 Karts in various classes and people just replaced them as they disappeared. I did not like that and asked him what he would do

Pan used about 30 of these things. It was 1982 or so and when I took my kart through the tech inspection one of the inspectors looked at me like I was crazy. Turns out they were titanium and the guys asked if I was rich because they were about $8 a piece at the time. we never lost another pan screw or nut plate in 8 more years of racing

So I bought this roll just to be sure I had not been using some kind of Space Tape and did not know it The IPG tape is right on .003" thick and does indeed have an aggressive adhesive.

If you could keep it in place you could probably use aluminum foil but why screw around with that if this stuff is so cheap and will give you enough to do about 100 rifles?
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:49 PM
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Interested to see what the groups were. Since I've been shooting about 5, 5 shot groups a year here lately.
They are in the shed and it is raining pretty good when I get a break I will bring them in......probably the next hour but the are tiny for someone that does not shoot groups I know that.

Screw it I'll just get wet. I'll go get them now.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by toomanyguns View Post
FWIW, the aluminum tape that I have also came from an aircraft mechanic but is 3/4 " wide. I did not know that it came in 2" rolls. Like you said, it's very handy stuff and I'd like to get some in the 2" width.
Look at the big box home supply in the duct work area. Mine was left over from a HVAC upgrade.
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