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"Not having hard contact between the tops of the pillars and the receiver is the first step to getting ahead of this. -Al"

So there is a layer of bedding compound over the top of the pillars? About how thick?

Thanks for all the replies to my OP. Very informative.


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I keep about .050 of bedding material over the top of the pillars. Reducing the O.D. of the top of the pillar also helps the bedding material lock on to the pillar. -Al


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Al,
I don't understand why you don't want contact between the pillars and the action. What problem(s) does that cause?

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Originally Posted by JayJunem
Al, I don't understand why you don't want contact between the pillars and the action. What problem(s) does that cause?

There's a couple of reasons.

-Even the best bedding epoxies exhibit some amount of shrinkage....no matter if it's Marine Tex, Pro Bed, etc. The thicker the bedding compound is, the more the shrinkage plays into things. But you don't want a potato chip thin amount of bedding, either. When you have the pillars in hard contact with the action, over time the pillars end up as the main support points, not the bedding.

-I feel that the action should only be in contact with one type of material. Not two. Since the expansion ratio of 6061 aluminum is very similar to fiberglass, it works good for pillar material. But both are quite different from any brand of bedding material. When doing pillars for a carbon fiber, graphite or Kevlar stock, 7061 is my choice for the above reasons.

Besides performance, bedding done this way is extremely good for longevity. smile

Here's an example. This gun came in for trouble shooting. The bedding and stock work was done by someone else. It never would tune up that well. There was always about 1/2 to 2/3rds of a bullet of vertical that just couldn't be tuned out. It had multiple barrels, scopes, bullets, neck tension, powders, seating depth...you name it, it was tried. But the same characteristics showed up no matter what what components were changed. Clearly, something else was going on.

With a dial indicator, it showed under .002 of movement. But as I studied the bottom of the action, there were two subtle shadows on the bottom of the action. A clear sign that those areas were the only spots the action was being supported at. The bottom of the action was coated with Dykem and bolted in. When it came apart, the pillar marks were the only visible signs of contact.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I milled the tops of the pillars down .050, scuffed up the existing bedding and rebedded it. Suddenly, all three barrels became killer good ones. wink The gun tuned up the way it should and followed all the normal patterns exactly as it should. Ten years later, it's still winning. And the bedding is as good now as when I rehabbed it (longevity). I use the same approach whether it's a competition rifle or a hunting rig with composite or wooden stocks.

When it comes to bedding methods, every style has it's good and bad points. The approach I take has proven over the years to have more on the 'plus' side of the page than the 'minus' side. It's more work than most styles, of course. Most simply won't put in the time it takes to do a correct bedding job and/or don't take the time to really understand what it is that bedding is about. Bedding is the #1 most misunderstood and poorly done area of an accurate rifle.

Here's a few others in different stages showing the recessed pillar tops.

Hope this helps. smile -Al

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


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This was an interesting project. It's an old sleeved 722 done as a glue in....even the sleeve was painted. I redid it as a bolt in and instead of doing a wrap or painting the stock, I gave it a Rat Rod look. The gun, and an article on the project, was featured in the NBRSA Precision Rifleman magazine in 2022.

A few pics along the way as I did the pillars, mill work on the stock, etc.

Good shootin' smile -Al

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


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My preference is to cast fiberglass pillars, rather than putting glass over aluminum. This is especially so in wood stocks. The use of aluminum pillars became really popular with the early glass stocks which did not use a solid fill in the action area.
Now, this does not mean I am immune to the allure of aluminum, and I have two Model 70's and a Ruger 77 with machined bedding blocks.
As mentioned, there is always a certain amount of shrinkage; some epoxies are better than others in this regard, but all shrink somewhat. For this reason, a precision job with glass pillars will also have a layer of bedding over the pillars as well.
With aluminum pillars, I like to checker the top of the pillar and sandblast it to assure good adhesion. As I said though, my preference is to cast a glass (probably better described as epoxy) pillar. GD

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I have one that I did 20+ years ago with Brownell's Steel Bed for the pillars. After it set up, I milled a recess for a .750 O.D. aluminum escutcheon on the bottom of the stock for the front screw. Still working fine to this day. In the era of the foam filled 'glass shell stocks (Lee Six, Brown, etc.), that approach offered some benefits.

Last Summer, I worked with a Lee Six stocked BR rig where the accuracy had gone away. The foam under the action shell had dried and crumbled into small pieces.


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I still have a Lee Six stock which I bought from Lee in 1978, and never used. It is solid in the action area. A Brown Precision from two years earlier was just foam filled. These were both BR stocks. GD

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If you'd like to rehome that Six stock, let me know. smile.-Al


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I have a couple of others which are on rifles and just this one I've yet to use. Although a bit dated, they are well made and I like them. This one is kind of a nostalgia piece. I accept that I may also be a bit dated! GD

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I have a Lee Six stock that I bought from a friend this past year. I am planning on putting a Remington 40x in it but so far I have not gotten around to that project yet.
It is kind of cool looking, he had it hydro dipped in a burl wood pattern so it looks like a high grade burl stock.


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