Bedding a rifle increases accuracy by creating a precise fit between the stock and the action. This precise fit eliminates stress in the action and provides a solid foundation for an accurate rifle. My friend and I decided to bed his BAT Machine VR action into a new McMillian Stock. This stock was ordered pre-inletted with pillars installed from McMillian.
I ordered the following products from Brownells:
- Marine-Tex epoxy (904-301-102)
- Modeling clay (046-100-002)
- Acra-Release, release agent (081-028-000)
- Multi-Vise (080-000-019)
- 1/4″ Carbide end mill (317-111-250)
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I once read that bedding a rifle is all about the foreplay- I couldn’t agree more. Take your time to prep the stock and action and you will achieve great results. If you don’t, you may end up running into a problem with a bunch of wet epoxy all over the place.
Checking that the parts fit into the stock is important. Make sure the action fits properly. There should be ample space around the lug and the bolt handle should not touch the stock.
With the action degreased and taped, I take the time to make sure it still fits into the stock. In some stocks, the sides of the lugs do not have a lot of clearance, adding the thickness of the tape will prevent the action from seating. You do not want to figure this out when you have wet epoxy sitting in the stock!
It’s time to finish prepping the metal. Before I fill any voids with modeling clay, I coat all of the metal parts with the release agent. This is an important, and time saving step because it makes removing the clay at the end easier.
With the voids filled, its time for another coat of release agent. Any areas that were handled, or came into contact with the clay or razor may have lost their coating. A second application ensures everything will come apart when the epoxy dries.
In the picture above, notice I have the bottom metal already inserted into the action. This will make putting everything together easier. The front of the stock is secured in a padded Multi-Vise.
Degrease the inside of the stock prior to adding the bedding compound. Any residual release agent will prevent it from adhering to the stock.
With the barreled action and stock ready, it’s go time. I like using Marine-tex epoxy. It is easy to work with, has a relatively long working time and machines well.
I also put a layer of Marine-tex on the rifle in the area immediately behind the recoil lug (sorry, no picture of this). This will ensure a clean transition from the action to recoil lug area.
The action is placed into the stock and the two action screws are gently tightened down.
With the action screws tightened and the receiver settled into the stock, I remove the stock from the vise and secure the rifle’s barrel in the vise. I do this to remove any stress that the vise might be inducing in the stock.
Cotton swabs are your friend here- lots of them. Leave a garbage can directly underneath the action to catch any epoxy that falls off of the rifle. In addition to cotton swabs, a razor blade helps clean up the excess Marine-tex.
I leave the action alone and let it dry for at least a day. No sense in rushing here. Give everything time to properly cure. To remove the stock from the action, unscrew the action screws, remove the bottom metal, and tap the action with a block of plastic. This causes the stock to pop off.
I normally get a little bit of epoxy in the pillar holes, you can see some in the photo above. If you leave this, it can be harmful to accuracy. I remove this with a cordless drill and the appropriate sized drill bit.