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Rifle bedding

07 Nov 2017
@ 06:00 am (GMT)

Gerry Moriarty

Wood stocks have that ability to absorb moisture. This moisture can then cause the stock to warp and create new pressure points on the barrel or receiver. Thus potentially affecting accuracy. I haven't experienced this to my knowledge. To avoid this potential problem I've gone to laminated or fiberglass stocks. I do prefer the traditional look of wood. Has anyone used Nathan's bedding compound to full length bed the receiver and the first portion of the barrel. Then hollowed out the rest of the barrel channel, applying several layers of tape to the barrel and using the bedding compound to reinforce the channel of the stock. After the compound sets the tape could be removed thus free floating the barrel. Would this in theory be strong enough to prevent warping? Or would there still be issues with the mag well and trigger guard.


07 Nov 2017
@ 03:06 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Rifle bedding
Hi Gerry,

It sounds a little like stabilising the forend of a synthetic stock. Perhaps a thin layer of the stabilising compound? Though this would be hard for the vertical surfaces.

Perhaps a very fine sanding, say at 1000grit and then regular application of a heavy sealant like CRC soft seal or grease to prevent moisture entering the woodwork? This will also be much easier than trying to bed the entirety of the stock, trigger unit and full forend included.

The end result of what you are suggesting would add quite a bit of weight and would also be quite the technical challenge. I imagine you would need multiple pots of the compound to achieve what your desired result would be.

07 Nov 2017
@ 11:52 pm (GMT)

Peter Bjerregaard

Re: Rifle bedding
Wood stocks are sealed with hard setting oils, traditionally linseed oil. Read Nathans maintenance book for further pointers.

A generous free-float and normal bedding alleviates further problems

If you want to go to extremes you can do like this $10,000 (sic!) European carbine, which utilizes pressure point.

08 Nov 2017
@ 02:14 am (GMT)

Trace Jacoby

Re: Rifle bedding
I have a rifle that has a slightly warped stock. It is a Remington 600 Mohawk with a 18 inch barrel. Being so short, the forend itself isn’t very long, however it has warped sideways at the end of the forend, almost touching the barrel. It hasn’t had any negative effects on accuracy yet (that I am aware of).

The wood does not look like walnut, it looks lighter, almost like beech. Once wood warps, whether due to moisture or stresses in the wood, it is usually a done deal. I’m not sure if there is any way to prevent it other than sealing out moisture, it would take a great deal of counter strength to fight the strength of the wood. I believe it is just the nature of the beast.

Just my thoughts on the matter,
08 Nov 2017
@ 03:23 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Rifle bedding
Hello Trace.
Boyds make some decent laminated stocks, and one for your 600 Rem Mohawk.
Recently they came out with a new stock and it is available for your rifle as well.

Here is their link for this stock:

You could gouge out a lot of the wood from in the barrel channel then use a forestock stabilizer as Nathan Foster sells on this site and fool with it, however I like the conceot with the above new stocks and have planned to build a new light weight rifle in 7mm-08 that I will use this stock on.
10 Nov 2017
@ 08:06 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Rifle bedding
Hi Gerry, as Peter suggested, this is covered in the Accurizing / maintenance book.

Further to this, provided the bedding job has some meat to to and a hard oil is used elsewhere, the stock will stabilize of its own accord. A generous float at the forend can be achieved by sanding and resealing.

However, if the stock maker has not allowed the timber to fully season before it was fitted to the rifle and sold, it may still shift during its interim seasoning period. The chances of this are somewhat lower these days but its still a consideration, something to watch for.

If a stock is front and rear bedded, then the stock is put aside for some months (not mated to the rifle), it may still shift (mag well) and then cause action stress - if it was stored in a changeable environment. Stocks which have been given a heavy full length bedding job suffer the least when separated. But also take note that the type of bedding compound used will also have an effect on this. There are still a number of people (and smiths) using bog like products. The Matchgrade compound you are using Gerry is immensely dense.

When I set about tricking up a wood rifle, I expect it to be used in heat, rain and snow, the whole NZ weather gamut. If possible, use pillars, remove a good portion of wood so that the bedding compound forms a contrasting picture frame border at the top line. Bed forward into the start of the barrel channel- there will be a lot of compound in this lug / action / barrel knox area. If the forend has bend like the Mohawk mentioned above, free float that one side to a knife thin edge, then sand the top line down on that one side only. The two sides are never as level as we might think and once this job is done, nobody will notice that one side was once thinner than the other. Finish with hard oil (teak / Danish), then assemble the rifle and leave the oil to set. You can pull the rifle down and recoat then reassemble. I do not like to leave the action and stock apart more than a few days after bedding, just to be sure. Nevertheless, you can keep the stock in a hot water closet to minimize moisture issues if you wish to keep the two apart for some time. Once my rifles go into the field, they do what is asked of them.

As for the level of free float, I ensure it is generous. If the customer wants a neat fit / micro gap, then I know he is more concerned about looks than accuracy and I don't actually want him as a customer so he can go elsewhere. The same goes if he wants the bedding compound to be non apparent or wood color matched at the top. Go somewhere else, I am not interested, good luck with your Creedmoor shopping.

I used to like the look of factory wood but have gone away from it because the stocks are these days all about looks and less about fit and function even if the gun maker states the opposite as being true. Some of the best I have seen were made by Husqvarna but even this rare model is not well known. If I was to go with wood now, it would be a custom design, nothing too fancy other than the grain, just a bit of extra meat up front. I would want this to emulate the stock in the photo (M700 rifle laid on pack) between the accurizing and maintenance sections of the book. Some deep black texture in the wood would make my day.

Below shows the top border on a Howa. The compound is at its thinnest at this point, Below this line, there are areas where the compound is very thick. Where the action steps down to the barrel diameter, the stock makers normally follow this contour (step in the stock). When bedding, I grind this step away so that more compound can be used. Note also the generous free float.



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