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Submitted By: Jim Brossman

Bedding You 10/22 - Jim Brossman​
Copyright 2005​

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It is generally accepted that bedding any rifle will improve accuracy. How much improvement you see depends on how well the stock, in its current condition, fits the barrel and action. Besides random pressure that a stock can exert on the barreled action, humidity can change the amount of pressure exerted even with a laminated wood stock. It's a simply a law of mechanics. If the receiver is in a fixed position and the barrel is touching on the side of the barrel channel near the tip of the stock, the barrel will experience more random vibrations when the rifle is fired then if the contact point is closer to the receiver. This is true even with composite stocks. And the fact is, even the heaviest barrels vibrate when fired. The smaller in diameter or longer a barrel is, the greater the extent of the movement of the vibrations. The whole purpose of bedding is to create a condition where the harmonic vibrations will be the same for every shot fired.

It's very difficult and costly to have a perfect fit between the stock and the barrel. Even professional gunsmiths rarely try to get that perfect fit by hand scraping the barrel channel and it would be all but impossible for the home gunsmith to accomplish. Because the action on a Ruger 10/22 is only held in with one screw, it becomes doubly important to have a good fit between the barreled action and the stock. Glass bedding provides an easy method of accomplishing that perfect fit for the professional and hobbyist alike. Floating all but the first couple of inches of a barrel guarantees there won't be any extraneous pressure points between the stock and barrel.

Notice the term "Glass" bedding. Most bedding kits on the market today use a high strength epoxy that won't shrink over time, unlike some of the more common epoxies in use. Few, if any, are really fiberglass anymore. Kits also have one more advantage; the release agent that's included really works. I have used oil, Cosmoline, grease and paste wax, which works best, but none work as well as the release agents included with kits. More than one home gunsmith has permanently bonded his barrel to a stock by using a poor substitute for release agent. Be sure to follow the instructions and safety recommendations included with your kit and be certain that the rifle is unloaded and the magazine is removed before work begins. If the stock hasn't been finished, wait until after the bedding is complete.

Preparing The Stock
My recommendation is to first remove the scope and then the barreled action from the stock. Also remove the trigger group, bolt and bolt charging handle.

Next you will want to install a bedding pillar in the take down screw hole. The pillar provides a good support for the bottom of the action to rest on and should be just slightly higher than the surrounding wood. It is intended to prevent the user from over tightening the take down screw and compressing the wood under the action. This could cause the point of impact to change each time the rifle is installed in the stock. Shown here is a Volquartson pillar that is easily installed with the drill provided in the kit. Although the Volquartson instruction doesn't mention it, it's handy to epoxy the pillar in place when bedding the rear of the action. You can also make a pillar with a piece of ¼ inch aluminum flat stock. Cut a piece about ¾ inch square, cut off the corners and drill a ¼ hole in the middle. Put a bolt and nut through the hole and using a drill motor or drill press, round to 3/4 inch diameter. Again, the height of the pillar is somewhat critical. It must be flush or slightly higher than the surrounding wood so the action rests on it and not the wood, but not so high that when the rifle is assembled that the bottom of the trigger guard binds in the bottom of the stock. If you look closely when you put the barreled action in the stock, the stock is actually pinched between the rear of the trigger guard and the action. Anything up to 1/64 of an inch should work ok.

Next open the barrel channel so that the barrel will be floating after bedding. I find it easy to use a dowel and start with 60 and 80 grit sand paper. The generally recommend clearance is to be able to slide a business card or two between the barrel and stock for the full length. When you test fit the barreled action, you will want to be sure the action is seated firmly in the stock. I wrap the action and stock with a piece of surgical tubing so the weight of the barrel doesn't lift the rear of the action and give a false reading. Be sure to snug the take down screw when checking the fit.

When the fit is the way you want it, finish the channel with 100 to 120 grit sandpaper.

Relieving The Rear Of The Stock

I find it easiest to relieve the stock using a Dremal tool with the 1/8 inch routing bit but you could use a drill with a 1/8 inch bit to make a series of holes and scrape out the remaining material. You want the bedding channel to be about 1/8 inch wide and 1/8 inch deep. The channel should extend about ½ inch along each side of the receiver and across the back. The channel should be put in at an angle so the bedding compound will be both under and around the sides of the receiver. Work carefully because there isn't much wood in this area to begin with and you will be removing much of it.

When you are satisfied with the fit, lay the barreled action in the stock with the pillar in place. With your hand, push down on the receiver and check the alignment of the centerline of the barrel with the top of the stock. The barrel should still be floating. Next you will want to wrap electrical or masking tape around the barrel close to the front of the stock. The tape should hold the horizontal centerline of the barrel in line with the top of the stock and center the barrel in the stock from side to side. It will also hold the barrel at the correct height to float the barrel and the rear of the receiver should just be touching the stock at this point.

Bedding The Receiver

Fill the rear trigger group pin hole with modeling clay and pack the underside of the receiver with clay as well. Next, according to the kit directions, apply a coating of release agent to the sides, back and bottom of the receiver and clay, and to the area on the receiver that will contact the pillar. Remember to coat the take down screw threads with release agent as well. You will need about ½ teaspoon of mixed bedding compound to do this part. Apply a couple of small dabs of bedding compound to the sides of the pillar and push in place. Remove any excess compound from around the pillar and inside the screw hole using a toothpick. Apply enough bedding compound to the receiver channel to fill the channel. Don't apply too much, you can always go back and fill any little gaps that occur. Too much compound makes it harder to remove the action later and clean up. Place the barreled action in the stock and wrap some surgical tubing or rubber bands around the barrel and stock midway between the action and the end of the stock. This is to hold the barreled action in alignment with the stock while the rear bedding cures. Install the take down screw and just barely snug it. You don't want to over tighten the screw at this time or it will pull the barrel out of alignment.

Check the underside of the receiver for any large excess of bedding compound. A little squeeze out is ok but remove any large globs. Let the compound cure for about 4-6 hours and then back the screw out one turn and then re-tighten just snug again and allow time for full cure. If you are nervous about the action sticking in the stock, now is the time to remove it and reinstall it.

When it comes time to remove the barreled action, remove the surgical tubing and the take down screw. If the barreled action doesn't come out easily, give the barrel a quick thump with the heel of your hand and the action should pop out. Remove the tape from the barrel and clean up the receiver of any clay and release agent. Clean up any excess compound and the rear of the stock should now look like this. Try the barreled action in the stock and tighten the action screw. The barrel should be floating if the receiver is held against the rear bedded area. Remove the barreled action and sand the barrel channel a little more if necessary.

Relieving The Barrel Channel and Bedding The Barrel

Now using a Dremel tool and router bit or small sharp chisel, relieve an area of the barrel channel about 2 inches long, 1/16 to 1/8 inch deep and extend it up both sides of the barrel channel to within ¼ inch of the top of the stock. Some will recommend that the bedding extends to the balance point of the barreled action. This should include the weight of the mounted scope but I find that even with a 21 inch bull barrel, the balance point for the barrel, action and scope is only about 2 1/2 inches of the barrel channel anyway.

Fill the area in front of the v block with clay and place a small strip of clay in front of the area where the bedding will go. Tests fit the barreled action and then remove any excess clay. If the barrel is not oily, the clay should stick to the barrel which makes it easy to clean up and applying the release agent. Apply release agent to the barrel, clay and v block area.

Place a strip of masking tape on the top of the stock on either side of the barrel channel where excess bedding may squeeze out. This tape can extend into the barrel channel to the top of the recessed area to make removal of the excess bedding easier. Apply a second coat of release agent if desired. Be sure the release agent covers the sides of the barrel where compound may squeeze out. Be through and leave no spots uncovered.

Mix about 2 teaspoons of bedding compound and apply to the relieved area. This should be more than enough to justfill the area with a little excess. Small gaps can be filled later or left unfilled. Assemble the barreled action into the stock. Wrap surgical tubing or rubber bands around the rear of the receiver and stock to hold the receiver in alignment with the stock. Check to be sure the barrel is centered in the barrel channel from side to side and snug the action take down screw.

After the recommended curing time, remove the surgical tubing and again pop the barreled action out of the stock. After clean up, the bedded area should look like this.

Clean up all clay, release agent and any bedding compound that may have stuck to the barreled action. Apply finish or paint to the barrel channel. Lubricate as you would normally and at this point, you may reassemble the bolt, cocking handle and trigger assembly and fit the rifle to the stock. It depends on how high your bedding pillar was when it was installed, but it may be possible that the action will not seat fully in the stock. What has happened is that the distance from the rear receiver bedding and the area of the stock where the rear of the trigger guard now fits is too long. This is easily remedied by scraping the area of the stock under the rear of the trigger guard with a small, sharp chisel. A few light passes should remove enough material so the receiver seats easily. This occurs because of inaccuracies when the stock was made and your attention to getting the barrel centerline parallel with the top of the stock.

When you are finished, the barreled action should be resting in the stock at three places, the rear of the action, on the pillar and on the bedded area of the barrel. Since the action screw is between the two outer points, it will now hold the barreled action in place with no chance of movement. Bedding should improve accuracy, help to maintain point of impact when removing and replacing the barreled action for cleaning or maintenance and minimize point of impact change from one brand of ammo to another. As a final measure, I drift out the brass bezel in the bottom of the take down screw hole and then epoxy that in place. Now when you crank the take down screw home, it isn't as likely to crush the wood underneath.

Good luck with your project and you should see some improvement in accuracy.

(used by permission of the author)
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