Bedding an HS Precision Stock

HS Precision stocks are well known in the bolt action rifle world.  Often encountered as OEM stocks on  rifles from various manufacturers, they are a step up from the injection molded plastic stocks found on entry level rifles.

HS Precision was the first company to incorporate an aluminum bedding block into a fiberglass stock.   While the system certainly performs better than most entry level wood and synthetic stocks, they are often viewed as an mid tier solution when compared to premium chassis and fiberglass stock systems.

Whether or not to bed an HS Precision stock is a question often raised by shooters seeking to squeeze every ounce of precision out of their rifles.  In my experience, HS Precision stock benefit from bedding.   This is largely due to the inconsistent fit between the aluminum bedding block and the action.  In my opinion, skim bedding an HS stock should increase the level of precision obtainable with a given rifle. We’ve gotten some fantastic results with bedded HS Precision stocks.

In this post I’ll be bedding a used HS PSS stock that was taken off a Remington 700 Police, model PST012.  According to their website, this is the most popular stock HS Precision makes.  I purchased the stock used, in rough shape off the Internet.

Before we get started, please take a few minutes to review the following disclaimer:

The contents of Rifleshooter.com are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.

Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.

I ordered the following supplies from Brownells for this project:

You can purchase a new HS Precision PST012 here.

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Bedding a rifle is entirely about the preparation process.  I begin by making sure everything fits, in this case, it doesn’t.  The stock was inletted for a standard Remington 700 recoil lug and a varmint contour barrel.  The barreled action I am using has a Holland recoil lug and #7 Shilen select match barrel.  Note the action sits completely above the stock when it is placed on it.

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To lay out the barrel channel, I use a carbide scribe to trace the barrel’s outline.

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I hog away material with a barrel channel tool– if you don’t have one, don’t worry.  You could easily use sandpaper.  It would just take a little longer.

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I follow up with some sandpaper wrapped around a deep well socket.  This combination evens up the barrel channel nicely.

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A quick test fit shows everything looks great.

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As I stated earlier, preparation is key to a bedding job.  To prep the metal surfaces I degrease the barreled action with alcohol- this will allow the tape to stick to the metal parts.   I tape off the front and sides of the recoil lug.  For the front faces I use 2″ wide blue painters tape.  For the sides of the lugs I use 3M fine line tape- a specialty product used in the automotive industry.  Expensive stuff but it works great.  If you only use it for bedding stocks, one roll should last your entire life.

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Now all the metal surfaces are coated in a release agent.  I like Brownells Acra-Release.  It is an aerosol that works very well. Alternatively, you could use paste wax, I’ve found the aerosol gives superior results.

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To prepare the stock, I like to wipe down all of the bedding contact surfaces with denatured alcohol.  This removes any oils or errant release agent.

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I like to use Marine-tex for my bedding jobs; it is easy to mix, has a long open time, and can be machined when cured.  I spread a layer of Marine-tex over the contact surfaces.

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I hold the stock in a rubber-jawed vise, push the bottom metal into place (in most cases friction will hold it there- otherwise a piece of tape works) and lower the barreled action into the stock.  I use the action screws provided with the bottom metal (dipped in paste wax) to keep the parts as they would be assembled in the completed rifle.

To avoid damaging the bottom metal screws, some smiths will use long bedding screws, I’ve gotten away from this practice.  In some cases the pillars or action screw holes in the stocks allow these long screws to rotate and you may find your alignment is off during final assembly.

Excess Marine-tex will push out of the voids.  This should immediately be cleaned.  I use a combination of cotton swabs, razor blades, and paper towels with rubbing alcohol.

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Once the squeeze-out is cleaned up.  I hold the rifle by the muzzle in the vise and allow it to cure for another 24 hours.  Note: I applied some Marine-tex texturing to the stock, this will be covered in another post.

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So, 24 hours later, time to see how everything worked out.  I removed the screws and tap the top of the action with a block of plastic and carefully pull up- hopefully everything comes apart!

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This is how the compound dried.  Looks good doesn’t it?  If you look at the places where the aluminum block is showing through the bedding compound, these are the points where the action was contacting the stock.  Now the entire action is precisely mated to the stock.

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The best way I’ve found to clean up excess bedding compound is a milling machine with a 1/4″ end mill.  If you don’t have access to a mill, files and abrasive cloth work just as well.

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The stock looks good after the mill.  The last step is to drill out the excess material in the pillars.  I just use a hand held drill with a slightly oversized drill bit to accomplish this.

If the stock is going to be painted, now would be a good time to do it.  I sprayed this one with a light tan Duracoat; I’m not crazy about the color, but it works.

The stock is now ready for final assembly and the range!

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This is a view of the finished rifle.  It uses the following parts:

Do you think it is going to shoot?

BOOM! Norma brass, IMR4064 and a Sierra 175 gr. MatchKing make for quite a combo!  That is 5 shots at 100 yards!

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