View Full Version : Remington 700 ADL free floating question.

August 2, 2012, 03:17 PM
I really want to free float my barrel, but I have the original plastic stock with a bunch of "ribs" underneath the barrel. Would it be useful to free float my barrel with this kind of stock?

August 2, 2012, 03:35 PM
Is any part of the stock actually touching the barrel? If so, then yes, pressure on the barrel will alter barrel harmonics from shot to shot dependent on the pressure applied and the temperature of the barrel.

You can check this easily by trying to pass 10 stacked 1" strips of paper (approximately .040") between stock and barrel (some use electrical tape, plastic feeler gauges... as long as you can measure it, what ever works for you)
.040" is the absolute minimum I'd accept to ensure adequate clearance... and preferably, .060"-.070", especially if the stock is a little, ah... "flexy".

There are numerous ways to check and locate the "high points" on a hollow plastic, ribbed stock (look online for detailed methods)... I use lipstick (yes, lipstick), but any way you choose is fine. All you need to do is course file and/or sand down the high spots... good to go.


math teacher
August 2, 2012, 05:36 PM
How is your rifle grouping now? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I have a 700 that I used for years with a BDL wood stock that had forward pressure on the barrel. It shot around an inch at 100 yards. However the wood stock would swell during hunting season here in the rainy Northwest. I replaced the stock with a McMillian in which the barrel was free floating. Accuracy is about the same, but I don't have to worry that a swollen stock might change my point of impact. Not a problen for you. As suggested above, try shimming the action to see if it shows improvement before you mess with the stock.

August 2, 2012, 05:37 PM
Most factory plastic stocks are made with pressure points molded into the stock at the tip. There is no perfect answer, but generally speaking MOST standard weight barrels do a little better floated. MOST thin Mountain Rifle barrels shoot a bit better with some pressure on the tip. But there are enough exceptions to the rules that you can never say for sure what might happen. If your rifle is not shooting as well as you think it should, and if it has the standard barrel contour I'd try it.

Select a deep well socket that is about the same diameter as your barrel. Wrap sandpaper around the socket and use it to sand the barrel channel. Check often, you don't want to remove too much material. You might have to move up to 1 size larger socket after a while.

I just use a dollar bill. If it will freely move from the tip of the barrel to the recoil lug it is free floated enough.

August 2, 2012, 06:17 PM
If you decide to float that barrel, I use a piece of dowel (think closet rod) that I wrap in sandpaper and sand it until it no longer touches the barrel. A mechanic's socket also works. Go slow, take your time, re-assemble frequently and check your work. Like jmr40, I use a dollar bill to check for float. If a dollar bill will slip freely all the way to the recoil lug, you're floated.

Note: Thin, plastic (tupperware) stocks will flex with pressure. If you float the barrel, then shoot it from a sandbag, or use a sling, make sure that the pressure on the forend isn't flexing the stock to touch the barrel. Some barrels shoot better with a little fore-end pressure, but it's easy to add pressure if you find out that floating doesn't work.

Bart B.
August 3, 2012, 07:34 AM
There needs to be a space between the barrel and fore end much thicker than a dollar bill. Resting the fore end on something while one bears down on the stock's cheek piece typically bends the fore end enough that it'll touch the barrel. Either before the round's fired or afterwords and the barrel bounces off it as it whips downwards at the first impulse from recoil during barrel time.

Do this and have someone slip a dollar bill between barrel and fore end and see what happens as they try to move that bill back and forth under the barrel. Most folks are quite surprised.

I've seen some rifles that when held vertically, a dollar bill will slide between barrel and fore end easily. Put the rifle horizontally on a bench with its fore end resting on a bag and the weight of the barreled action pulls it down to where the barrel contacts the slender, flimsy fore end.

Sweet Shooter
August 3, 2012, 11:29 AM
I removed the pressure points in my SPS plastic stock in an attempt to float it. The barrel, when the rifle when reassembled still pressed against the stock and slopped about when I tried to bend it about. I did not want to sand too much more away, so I tried it out just like that. Groups had opened by about 50 percent with most ammo. When I got home I used some heavy shoe/belt leather to replace those pressure points. I cut a real neat little one-inch tab that I then epoxied back in the channel at the end. Except for that contact point the barrel now has generous space all the way down. The rifle now shoots under an inch for three shots easily, and much better than before I started messing with it. I have a plan to try some sort of improvised barrel-band just for an experiment, to increase that contact pressure but I'm still looking for a way to do that. Maybe a paracord tourniquet? Ideas anyone?

I do not think the factory pressure points are satisfactory and the leather tab is an improvement. Had the barrel floated right and improved the accuracy I would have left it that way. But I'm glad I have improved on those pressure points... it feels very solid now.


August 3, 2012, 12:45 PM
I really want to free float my barrel
Want? How does the rifle shoot right now? First thing, find out how it shoots. If it shoots OK, leave it alone.

Plastic stocks do often need to be free-floated because the pressure point against the barrel is not aligned with the barrel, the factory folks just put a lump across the barrel channel, whether it works or not. But free-floating is a cure for a problem, if you have no problem, you don't need the cure. Would you wear a cast on your arm just because you thought it was cool?

August 4, 2012, 07:23 AM
You will NOT get better accuracy with a free-floated barrel.....and the standard plastic stock. Probably the opposite, in fact. The stock is simply NOT rigid enough. That is why the stock comes with pressure pads to contact the barrel at the front of the forend. You could go to the trouble of reinforcing the forend of the stock, to make it more stiff (I have done this on the ADL's), but free-floating still MAY not improve things. The plastic stock is not rigid enough even in the receiver area, which is CRITICAL if free-floating is to work. You MUST glass-bed the receiver area, if free-floating - otherwise, it is a waste of time. It is difficult to glass-bed the injection molded plastic stocks. I have done it.....and successfully.... but it ain't easy.

If you really want to free float the barrel, you'd likely be better off changing to a stiffer stock - wood, fibreglass, or laminated wood (the stiffest of all). Even then, it is still necessary to bed the receiver, or free-floating may just introduce MORE movement into the system (which will HURT accuracy).

If the standard plastic stock is warped and some portion of the barrel channel is touching the barrel (other than the pressure pads), then yes, DO address this. But, I'd recommend NOT messing with free-floating - unless you plan on making a proper job of it.

Free-floating is one of those concepts that everyone thinks is the be-all and end-all of rifle accuracy - and that is NOT the case. That is a MYTH. Free-floating will improve things with some rifles - but NOT ALL of them. The fundamentals have to be right FIRST (rigid stock, bedded receiver). Even then, with a sporter-weight barrel, FF MAY not make any improvement. My old Mauser, with a mid to heavy weight barrel (not a bull barrel, but heavier than a sporter barrel), short and stiff (17.5") and a rigid, cross-bolted stock with the receiver carefully glass-bedded, STILL is MORE accurate with barrel pressure pads in the forend.

August 4, 2012, 09:04 AM
When I got tired of marring my wood stock on hunting trips with my son, I bought an original xcr stock from eBay, converted it to a bdl, bedded the action, and free floated the barrel. My groups went from 1 1/2" to 1/2" at 100. I'm not saying you will have the same results, but I'm very happy with my setup. Also, those plastic stocks are so flimsy that you can twist the forearm easily with a little pressure. I don't see how they could apply constant pressure to the barrel in the first place.

Bart B.
August 4, 2012, 11:28 AM
I'ts been known since the early 1900's that factory routed wood stocks on bolt rifles usually benefited from pads between the forend (and other wood parts covering the barrel) and the barrel to improve accuracy. Everything from cardboard, wood, metal, rubber, plastic and whatever has made up for the short commings of plain wood bedding. M1903 Springfields, Winchester 54 and 70's as well as other target rifles from around the world have had great write ups on the details of shimming and padding barrels to the stocks with pressure at the right places to make them shoot most accurately. The Winchester 70's originaly had a screw under the rear sight on the barrel that held the fore end tight against the barrel; different tightness on that screw did effect accuracy. Even the M1 Garand's users in the late 1940's and 1950's rifle matches shimmed the trigger guard's bottom plate or receiver flats to the stock with match book covers to make bedding pressure between stock, receiver and floor plate "just right" for best accuracy.

Art Freeland, smallbore rifle champion designed a barrel tensioning device in the 1950's that put two screws 90 degrees apart at 45 degrees down and out on both sides of the barrel at the fore end's tip. A battery, wire and light fixture was made so when each ball-detent clicked adjustment screw was threaded in, the light would come on the instant the screw tip touched the barrel. This was the "zero" point. And it would change as humidity and temperature made the wood fore end warp. Afte getting the screws zeroed, they would be screws in some number of clicks and the ammo tested for accuracy with match grade rimfire ammo. What ever number of clicks were needed for best accuracy was what that lot of ammo used. One just had to rezero his .22 target rifle once or twice a day to keep best accuracy at hand.

Remington's first 40X .22 rimfire target rifles had these screws in their fore end tips. But at about the same time that rifle hit the market, epoxy bedding started being used. And that killed the fore end screw pressure on the barrel as folks just backed them all the way out and epoxy bedded the receivers. Those angled screws never worked out all that well anyway, and only a few people really saw good results with them.

Meanwhile, Anschutz rimfire target rifles from Germany were winning the international matches (as well as those in the USA) with plain wood bedding and totally free floating barrels. But they did have wave washers on their stock screws and typically shot best with 20 to 25 inch-pounds of torque on them. Those wave washers helped compensate for wood stock swelling and shrinking as temperature and humidity changed during a match.

As some have said, epoxy bedding the receiver changed a lot of this. Free floating barrels were the way to go with epoxy bedded rifles. With the receiver "permanently fixed" to the stock and the barrel free floated (no pad under the first inch or so), some tuning of stock screw torque values was all that was needed. With the M1 and M14NM service rifles, epoxy bedding their receivers was done with a spacer between the forend's ferrule and barrel so after the epoxy hardened and got cleaned up, closing the trigger guard on the barrel group put about 30 pounds of down pull on the barrel at the stock ferrule. Those rifle's barrels shot most accurate with that much down force on their barrels at that point. . . .go figure that one out.