wpsdlrg, top level competitors have been free floating barrels in stocks with the receiver section factory routed without a perfect fit decades before epoxy bedding was even experimented with. How else did high power match rifles shoot 1 MOA at 600 yards with arsenal match ammo in the 1920's and 1930's; no epoxy bedding was around back then. They's shoot inside 1/3 MOA at 100 yards so built.
Remington's 40X centerfire match rifle stocks were factory routed then the barreled action bolted in and the barrel was free floating from the get go. They didn't ship unless they shot 1/4 MOA at 100 yards. Even the first benchrest rifles' receivers in wood stocks with the barrel free floated as the receiver was "lamp blacked" to a perfect fit shot 1/4 MOA at 100 yards.
Anschutz .22 rimfire Olympic rifles had their barreled actions dropped into factory routed stocks without any special fitting whatsoever other than a steel bar to locate the front to back position of the receiver in the stock and serve as a recoil shoulder. The barrel was free floating in the fore end. They won gold medals and set records without any epoxy bedding.
Since the 1950's when epoxy bedding first came about, the most accurate rifles have had the fore end barrel channel relieved for clearance then O rings or tape wrapped around the barrel to position it clear of the channel all the way around while the receiver set in a puddle of epoxy about 1/10th inch thick around it. So, both bedding and barrel free floating was done all in the same step.
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master
Last edited by Bart B.; January 20, 2013 at 04:15 PM.