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Join Date: Oct 2007
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What follows is my technique for bedding a Model 70 Winchester.
To start with, disassemble the rifle. Remove the trigger, bolt stop, and ejector parts. Wipe the action down with Varsol to remove any grease or crud.
Apply two layers of masking tape to the front, sides, and bottom of the recoil lug. Apply two layers of masking tape to the rear flat surface of the tang.
Now for the stock.
Drill a 5/8 inch hole through the stock at the front screw location. I usually drill right through from bottom to top but if you prefer, you can drill from top to bottom and stop about 1/8 inch from breaking through. Do the same thing at the tang but use a 1/2 inch drill bit.
Using a sharp chisel, remove wood from behind the recoil lug. Cut at an angle from rear to front so that the wood is near original height at the front of the mag well and angles down to the bottom of the recoil lug mortise at the front. Remove a layer of wood on the sides of the inletting from 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick to within 1/16 of the top of the stock. Just go back to the rear of the receiver ring. At the rear tang, remove wood from the outline of the action, angling down to the hole. Leave a small spot at the extreme rear of the tang. Just enough to locate the tang. Set the barreled action into the stock and note how it fits. It should be necessary to elevate the front a bit. To do this, you will wrap masking tape around the barrel at the forend tip until the barreled action sits level. When it's right, the barreled action will be sitting level and will be touching at the extreme rear of the tang and at the tape. There will be no other contact.
Now, and this is the really important part, apply release agent (I prefer paste wax, thinned slightly with varsol) to every part which will or even might, come into contact with the bedding compound. If the guard screws are the type with rolled on threads- where the shank of the screw is smaller than the threads- You should wrap a couple of layers of masking tape around the shank before applying the release agent. Apply wax to the exterior of the stock as well. This will make clean-up easier. Coat the trigger guard and floorplate.
Install the trigger guard and floorplate into the stock and hold them in place with some tape. Install the front and rear guard screws into their respective locations and apply some tape to hold them in place.
Now, mix up your epoxy of choice. My preference is the original Acraglas. This stuff is a little messy to use but it is hard, highly resistant to chemicals, and doesn't degrade over time. I thicken and re-inforce the mixture with chopped up glass fibers. To start with, I don't thicken it too much because I want it to be a little bit thinner so as to be able to get it down around the screws. What I am doing is I am casting fiberglass pillars at each screw location. When the holes are nearly filled, I add more glass fiber to the mix and apply the mix to those areas where I have removed wood. When you do this, you want to try and be sure you have left no voids nor trapped any air.
Next, apply some mixture to the receiver. Behind the recoil lug, on the sides of the action just above the front guard screw location, and behind the tang. This ensures that there will be no air trapped.
Now, set the barreled action in place. When the receiver contacts the screws, start threading them in but don't go too far. The rear screw will, ultimately, be tightened just until the tang contacts. The front screw will be tightened until is starts to pull the action down, then will be backed off 1/8 turn. For added security while the epoxy cures, you may wrap some tape around the barrel and stock at the forend tip or use some surgical tubing at the same point. When you are done, the barreled action will be resting, stress free, on the tang and on the tape at the front. The front screw will just be holding the floorplate in place and the rear screw will just be locating the trigger guard in relation to the tang.. You may remove most of the excess epoxy which has squeezed out. If you are like me, you will also have to wipe it off the floor and, perhaps, even off of your shoe!
Let the epoxy cure for a full 24 hours. Remove the screws. Check the rifle over to make sure there is no epoxy forming a mechanical lock. If so, carefully remove the epoxy with a sharp chisel. Remove the trigger guard and floorplate.
To remove the barreled action from the stock, I like to rest the front of the barrel on the seat of a chair and the toe of the stock on the floor. I then push down on the forend carefully. The barreled action should come out quite easily.
Drill out the guard screw holes to 17/64". Clean up the barrel and receiver and reassemble the trigger etc. Assemble the rifle. The middle guard screw should be just tight enough to contact. It's only purpose in life is to locate the front of the trigger guard. The front guard screw should be pretty damn tight and the rear screw slightly less so. To preserve the precision of the bed, it's not a bad idea to loosen the guard screws when the rifle is being stored then re tightening before going out to shoot. If a rifle is well bedded, you should be able to shoot a good three shot group, remove and replace the barreled action, then put two more shots in the group. In other words, there should be no point of impact shift.
Some may prefer to bed the receiver in the middle so that the middle screw becomes a working part of the bedding system. There is nothing wrong with this and it may even be advisable but it complicates the procedure.
Pitfalls to be avoided:
Do not forget to apply release agent to anything! Epoxy is a superior adhesive and forgetting release agent is good way to see just how good it is.
Be sure and mix the epoxy thoroughly and according to the recommended mix ratios. Don't add extra hardener in the belief that it will make the mixture harder and stronger.
There you have it. I have used this method to pillar bed Winchester rifles for forty years and it produces good results. With minor variations in preparation, one can bed the entire receiver but again, this complicates the procedure. It does, however do a great job of sealing the stock against moisture. GD