Skim bedding and pillar installation on a Remington 700

The safe and empty rifle is disassembled.

Skim bedding and pillar installation on a Remington 700

The rifle we are working on is a Remington 700 308 in a McMillan A5 stock and Surgeon bottom metal we built here. The stock was inletted for the bottom metal by McMillan prior to installation.  Since the pillars supplied with the Surgeon bottom metal were snug in the stock inlets, we initially installed them with some success and the rifle shot between 1/2 and 3/4 minutes.

In an effort to improve performance, we decided to skim and pillar bed the action in place.  If you are unfamiliar with pillar bedding, take the time to read this article by Kelly McMillan, it is excellent.  It is worth noting that the precut pillars included with the Surgeon bottom metal ensure the correct spacing between the bottom metal and the action so the cartridges feed without issue.

Its worth noting that installation of the pillars is fairly straight forward in this case- the stock has been CNC inletted for the bottom metal and pillars.  Installation of pillars in a stock not machined for them is a far more involved task.

Brownells provided the following for use in this project:

  1. Marine-Tex epoxy (904-301-102WB)
  2. Modeling clay (046-100-002WB)
  3. Acra-Release, release agent (081-028-000WB)
  4. Surgeon bottom metal (100-004-303WB)
  5. Metalite abrasive cloth (657-110-120WB)

The following documents the process we used to pillar and skim bed our rifle and is presented for information purposes only and should not be considered instructional advice.

Note: we are not bedding the base of the barrel with a “barrel pad” since this rifle will likely be used in a switch barrel configuration.

The safe and empty rifle is disassembled.

The safe and empty rifle is disassembled.

The trigger needs to be removed prior to bedding,

The trigger needs to be removed prior to bedding,

We secure the stock in a multivise.  Note the holes predrilled by McMillian for the pillars.

We secure the stock in a Multivise. Note the holes pre-drilled by McMillan for the pillars.

To begin, we wrap the barrel (behind the badger EFR) with tape to center it in the barrel channel.

To begin, we wrap the barrel (behind the badger EFR) with tape to center it in the barrel channel.

A "worm" of clay is placed forward of the recoil lug.  This will act as a damn to prevent the epoxy from flowing too far forward.

A “worm” of clay is placed forward of the recoil lug. This will act as a damn to prevent the epoxy from flowing too far forward.

We use 120 grit abrasive cloth to remove paint from the surfaces which will be skim coated with epoxy.

We use 120 grit abrasive cloth to remove paint from the surfaces which will be skim coated with epoxy.

 

Voids in the stock and action which would not have epoxy and packed with clay. The front and sides of the recoil lug are wrapped in tape.

Voids in the stock and action which would not have epoxy and packed with clay. The front and sides of the recoil lug are wrapped in tape.

All metal parts are coated with Acra-release aerosol.

All metal parts are coated with Acra-release aerosol.

 

We never skim on the release agent.  Bad things happen if you don't use enough.  The threads of the two action screws are coated as well.

We never skimp on the release agent. Bad things happen if you don’t use enough. The threads of the two action screws are coated as well.

 

The Marine-Tex is mixed in a jar- this is about 3X what you need- we got a little carried away.

The Marine-Tex is mixed in a jar- this is about 3X what you need- we got a little carried away.

The pillars are coated with a layer of Marine-Tex.

The pillars are coated with a layer of Marine-Tex.

The pillars, coated in epoxy are slid into place.

The pillars, coated in epoxy are slid into place.

All mating surfaces that we want to skim receive a light coat of Marine-Tex.  Note that we leave a little space around the pillars so the screw aren't coated with epoxy when we push them up through the bottom.

All mating surfaces that we want to skim receive a light coat of Marine-Tex. Note that we leave a little space around the pillars so the screw aren’t coated with epoxy when we push them up through the bottom.

This is the tricky part.  The bottom metal is placed in the action.  It sticks to the clay.  The action screws are them pressed up through the pillars while the action is slowly lowered.  The screws are then tightened in place.

This is the tricky part. The bottom metal is placed in the action. It sticks to the clay. The action screws are then pressed up through the pillars while the action is slowly lowered. The screws are then tightened in place.

The action screws are both tightened. The excess Marine-Tex will flow out.

The action screws are both tightened. The excess Marine-Tex will flow out.

We like to clean the majority of epoxy immediately.  We use a lot of wooden splints and cotton swabs.  Ideally, switch swabs frequently, we often use an entire package.  Any remaining residue is cleaned with a cotton squab and alcohol.

We like to clean the majority of epoxy immediately. We use a lot of wooden splints and cotton swabs. Ideally, switch swabs frequently, we often use an entire package. Any remaining residue is cleaned with a cotton swab and alcohol.

After the Epoxy has dried but not fully cured, we remove the action.

After the Epoxy has dried but not fully cured, we remove the action.

A sharp razor knife removes ridges and excess bedding material.

A sharp razor knife removes ridges and excess bedding material.

The thick coat of release agent from the metal needs to be removed.  We found d"solve from Brownells works very well.

The thick coat of release agent from the metal needs to be removed. We found d”solve from Brownells works very well.

The skim coat worked out well.

The skim coat worked out well.  After the rifle is assembled  we will head to the range and see how much the accuracy has improved.

190 grain SMK at 100 yards.  Not bad!

190 grain SMK at 100 yards, .254″ not bad!