Glass Bedding a Sporter Rifle
Free floating a rifle barrel always delivers the best accuracy with
heavy barrels, but it rarely works best on lightweight barrels. The rifle stock on the left is the original factory stock that came on
my .300 Win. Mag. Browning Composite Stalker. If you own one of these factory stocks, take a close look at the forearm. You
may not recognize that this is the same stock. First, I bedded the action using Devcon Putty, and then I free floated the barrel.
I always test rifles at this point, just to evaluate the accuracy. As I suspected, the accuracy was not as good as it
should be. That is why most rifle manufacturers use upward stock pressure on their sporter weight rifle barrels. The Browning
composite stocks look great and are rugged, but they're nowhere near as solid as a top quality McMillan stock. However, if you have the
time and skill, you can make almost any factory stock become very solid. (Be sure to seal the forearm on wood stocks with polyurthane to
prevent warping.) This composit forearm on this rifle was originally hollow, with only a thin rib that added almost no stiffness at all.
This stock required bedding two 3/8" x 5" hardened steel rods inside the forearm (located under the "X").
This added the badly needed forearm rigidity. Next, I added a 2.5" bedding platform (shown by the "Y") in the forearm to provide
upward pressure against the barrel. When this is done properly, it stiffens the barrel considerably. I've found that this procedure has worked
extremely well for several lightweight rifles that seemed to have little or no hope of becoming good shooters. The snug fit of the action, and consistant
upward barrel tension is the trick to making most sporter weight rifles shoot accurately.
After you bed the action and free-float the barrel, you can then perform this separate bedding procedure to the forearm.
Make a separate contact surface (about 2.5" long) near the front tip. During this final bedding operation you need to clamp an 8 to 10 pound
weight on the tip of the forearm or on the front sling swivel. The bedding needs to harden while the rifle is resting in a level position, with the front of the
rifle supported by the barrel. This forearm platform will ensure that your stock will always deliver between 8 to 10 pounds of upward pressure against the
This particular stock was mostly hollow, and it required cutting a few wood blocks to fill large recesses. These wooden blocks
need to be bedded far below your contact surfaces. The rear of this stock was hollow, and adding a recoil pad turned out to be quite a project.
I bedded a large wooden block inside the butt before attaching a Decellerator recoil pad. My Browning .300 Win. Mag. now consistantly
shoots 1/2" to 3/4" (5 shot groups) at 100 yards with handloads. If you do this procedure carefully, you should have a rifle that appears just as it did
when it left the factory, except now it'll be a real tack driver.