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Old December 15, 2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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"Steel" or "Glass" this good?

My local gunsmith is an ex-military firearm shooting instructor and has his share of 1000yd. shooting match victorys (just brief history in his firearm experience) and he once told me he doesent own a gun that he has not "steel" bedded. I have heard glass bedding too...dont know if that is his own terminoligy or if they are two different methods but anyway, to my point....I thought it was a good thing to do to improve any and every rifle so i had all 3 of my bolt guns done. They are fully bedded from the action out to the end of the forearm. Since then, i have heard from several sources, includeing a few posts in TFL that this can hurt the gun. How are you supposed to determine this before you choose to have this done?

I would like the input of any of you guys that have a good understanding of this type of thing or even gunsmithing experience. Thanks guys.
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Old December 15, 2009, 07:32 PM   #2
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The term glass bedding goes way back, to the 50's I think.

Back then you had fiberglass and epoxy glues that had the consistency of honey.

You mixed the fibers and glue, poured the stuff in, and watched it flow out.

What a mess.

Modern epoxy glues are great. I have used with great success Stainless steel filled Devcon, Aluminum filled Devcon, steel filled Bisonite, and Brownell’s steel filled compound. Bisonite will pour when first mixed, but all of the others have the consistency of peanut butter.

Which is great, depending on the application.

Once these epoxy compounds cure, you have to grind them out. They are rock hard.

I don’t know the percentage of metal particles in the epoxy, but it has to be 80% by weight. Discontinuous particle reinforcement really improves the strength of an epoxy mix.

But, I have also been using Marine Tex. The stuff has the consistency of peanut butter and works great. But the box says nothing about particles in the matrix, so I assume it is just polymer. No particles.

Bedding is used to remove the slop between the action and the stock. It is not needed on AR15’s. It is needed for M1a’s, Garands, and every bolt rifle I have owned. There are three general things you need for best accuracy: Good bullets, good barrels and good bedding. Bedding is the first thing I do if I am not happy with group size. And I am surprised how many times that just fixes things.

I recently bedded this 6.5 Swede with Bisonite.

You can see the side to side movement as the action slide, and the barrel was touching in the foreend.

I relieved the forend. I slide paper between the barrel and stock and noticed just where it was binding.

I cast Devcon pillars

I used a Dremel tool and routed out a lot of wood around those pillars, completely removed the wood behind the recoil lug and poured in Devcon. Once cured, took the rifle to the range.

It shot better.

Since then, i have heard from several sources, includeing a few posts in TFL that this can hurt the gun
100,000 people die per year due to medical errors. Even badly applied medicene can kill, so can poor gun plumbing.

If the action is bent when you screw it in the bedding, more likely than not, the rifle will shoot poorly.

How are you supposed to determine this before you choose to have this done?
If accuracy is awful, or you are just one of these people who cannot leave well enough alone.
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Old December 15, 2009, 07:54 PM   #3
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Lol, you have me pegged with your last comment, ha ha. Just ask my wife.

Thanks for the info and pics, that is very good information. Two of the three i had done are Rem 700 and the other is a Weatherby vanguard. The 30-06 is a real tack driver with the handloads i have for it, so i would say it definately did not hurt that rifle.
Some gun makers advertise they have "free floated" barrels and after assumeing bedding was always good from my gunsmith, i remember thinking "why would they use that as a selling feature?"
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Old December 16, 2009, 12:13 AM   #4
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I have never had a rifle "steel" bedded, but have had a lot of them Glass bedded. It makes a big difference. I think Savage's website had a great high speed camera video of how much a stock will move with and without bedding. Really neat video!
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Old December 16, 2009, 10:24 PM   #5
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Old December 27, 2009, 07:28 PM   #6
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In stating that his rifles are steel bedded, I think your gunsmith is saying that he uses Brownell's Steel Bed, an epoxy bedding material that has a high percentage content of atomized stainless steel. The benefit being that the bedding will resist compression.
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Old December 27, 2009, 08:17 PM   #7
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Long Rifkes; Simply a beautiful job!
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Old December 27, 2009, 08:17 PM   #8
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yes, maybe so. It has a dark to medium grey tone. I know its a type of epoxy or somthing, not actual steel, lol. I mainly was commenting on how alot of guys seemed to refer to a floated barrel being the ticket. So i was thinking, "oh no, i screwed up my rifles",
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Old December 28, 2009, 01:34 AM   #9
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Someone is going to give me some grief over this perhaps, but I've used JB Weld as a bedding compound for a multitude of rifles, including a Savage 110 7 RemMag in a Bell and Carlson stock, a Savage 112FV in the OEM stock, a Swedish Mauser in a Fajen walnut stock, and a VZ-24 in .35 Whelan in a Boyd's walnut stock, among others. In every case the rifle shoots much better and the stuff remains stable after years of use. Its dirt cheap and easy to use.
I did use Brownell's Accra-Glas in my Garand when I re-did that rifle. Bedded and accurized, (peened the splines, trigger job, match sights, etc - just basic home gun shop accuracy job) and with the surplus barrel it came with, it shoots into one inch at 100 yards with Federal Gold Match 168 grain hollowpoints and handloaded Sierra 165 grain GameKing hollowpoints.
Bedding is a necessary component to the accuracy puzzle, as far as I'm concerned. LongRifles, that is just beauty....
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Old December 28, 2009, 02:40 AM   #10
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I built a 30-338 on a commercial Husky 5000 smallring magnum action,with a #3 Lilja bbl in a 20 oz Hi-tec stock.The bbl channel is free-float,but I did a solid bed job in Steel-bed in the receiver area.It did contribute to the rifle's weight.In this case,thats OK,but if I was tryng to keep weight down,I would not select steel-bed.
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Old December 28, 2009, 09:53 AM   #11
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I'll attempt to contribute.

Steel bedding, glass bedding, and "pig belly pink bondo bedding" all attempt to achieve the same end result: a tension free "nest" for the action to register to. It should be inert to ambient changes in weather as well.

There is an almost endless supply of variations of this. They range from precision castings to machined inlets made from aluminum/steel. All attempt to do the same thing.

One point I'd like to note is the use of atomized "steel" in a resin. If it is truly a ferrous metal then it is going to be susceptible to corrosion just like any other steel. I'd fear that in the more humid climates you'd end up with an orange patina over time and eventual breakdown of the casting. I'd suggest using atomized SS instead.

I use a resin designed for commercial boiler repair. If it'll survive that kind of environment, it'll take just about anything. (Hunting down inside a volcano being the exception I guess)

If using an epoxy to make a casting, the resin should have the following qualities:

1. High Shore Hardness
2. Low percentage of shrinkage
3. Long open clamp time
4. Strong resistance to chemicals/alkalies.
5. High compression strength
6. High shear strength
7. High torsional strength (the one that's often failed to be mentioned)

Hope this helped.
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Old December 28, 2009, 05:16 PM   #12
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Hi LongRifles,

That is a beautiful bedding job! What was the material you used?

FWIW, I am one of those that doesn't understand all the terminology in your first three recommendations. My prefered bedding material is Brownells Acraglas Steel which has atomized stainless steel. I am not a big fan of the regular Acraglas or Acraglas Gel though.

- Ivan.
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