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Epoxy & Pillar Bedding Details / Instructions
I'd guess Stocky's Bedding Gel is identical to Brownells AcraGlas Gel, only less expensive in the industrial-size quantities we buy it in. Looks like it, smells like it and sure works great for everything I've used it on. Same goes for the release agent. I don't want to call it 'generic' because most likely it's the exact same stuff direct from the exact same source, I discovered it after a great deal of searching for suitable bedding compounds. (If you'd rather have the brand-name kits, we carry them too.) Stocky's Gel was designed to take advantage of the latest technological advancements in epoxy research. It has the best possible advantages built into it for those that want a butter-smooth, no run pillar and bedding epoxy that provides the strongest possible bond to wood and fiberglass-composite gunstocks. In today's hi-tech age there's tons of epoxies out there, literally one for every conceivable application, but none as time-tested in the firearms community and certainly none easier to work with.
So we got some inexpensive containers and offer it here for a lot less than you'd otherwise pay. This way we can also make up kits that include our pillars with just the right amount of epoxy for pillar installations only, through full-length bedding kits. If you want pricing on quarts or gallons give us a ring.
We have our own pillars machined from solid aluminum tube. You'll notice there's a "V" shaped end and a flat end. There's deep ribs cut into the side to allow a lot of epoxy, creating an excellent mechanical lock into the stock as well as the normal epoxy bond. We have them machined about 3/8" long to allow for special applications so they must be trimmed for the particular stock you are using them in, simply flatten the "V" for use in flat-bottom receiver applications, install the "V" up for 700's and similar round-bottoms.
Trimming the pillars is the pain-in-the-butt of the accurizing process. The machinists out there will want to use their mill of course. If you know a machinist since it'll only take a moment to do perhaps you can take them to him once you have them marked correctly for length (see below.) Otherwise, we suggest simply using a hacksaw to cut them a bit long, then carefully filing the last little bit.
If I were making suggestions to the new hobbyist simply looking to accurize his rifle in-house, inexpensively, to the best of his ability, I'd say pass on the pillar install yourself, leave it to a pro if at all. But I'd highly recommend doing your own epoxy bedding job. It's easy to do in an evening (on your (protected) kitchen table if necessary) and will get about all your rifle has to offer out of it, especially when using a good fiberglass or laminated hardwood stock. I've seen plenty of non-MOA factory rifles shoot well under an inch, some under 1/2", following a simple epoxy bedding job.
2. Insert pillars into holes, mark for length and prepare for cutting.
3. Cut off the V end for flat-bottom receivers; cut off the flat end for round receivers (V supports receiver). File square, deburr and polish ends with emory cloth and/or steel wool if desired.
4. Put on the rubber gloves.
5. Using mixing stick, mix a teaspoon of each component until all one color.
6. Wet-out the inside of the holes you drilled in the stock with epoxy.
7. Fill the grooves of the pillars with epoxy.
8. Press pillars flush (or slightly below) into the stock. Be sure the V groove is parallel with the centerline, you can use needle-nose pliers or simply insert a #2 pencil to adjust if necessary.
9. Wait a day or 2 before mounting and shooting.
2. Using a Dremel tool, course sandpaper or other implement, remove the finish in the area to be bedded. This is generally the region from the forward end of the magazine, thru the recoil lug mortise, to the chamber portion of the barrel; to a distance of about 1/8" below the top of the stock. Leave it as rough as practical because the epoxy will adhere better, in fact you can rough it up even more with some course sandpaper if desired. Don't worry, you will not even see it once completed.
3. Prepare stress areas for a thicker layer of epoxy: Undercut (like a dovetail) the area behind the recoil lug. Create 5 or 6 depressions around the front pillar for extra epoxy thickness. The goal here is to create some 'holes' to work epoxy into for added strength.
4. Put on rubber gloves. Using the swap provided, put a thin coating of release agent on any metal part that may come in contact with epoxy. This may include screws, etc.. Let dry completely before proceeding. (Stocky note: Pam no-stick spray vegetable oil works O.K. as release agent for small parts and screws also.)
Special Notes: If there are any holes or other recesses that epoxy could get in to cover them with tape and/or fill them with modeling clay. Personally, we prefer to simply avoid these areas (like the trigger region, bolt release linkage, etc.) Put release agent over the tape. Failure to do so will result in a permantly stuck metal! Some folks also like to put a piece of blue tape on the front of the recoil lug while bedding. This will make it a bit easier to take your rifle apart down the road by making the lug mortise bigger (looser). We don't do this because we like a tight lockup but you may want to.
5. Mix remaining epoxy, color (if applicable) to match and lay it into the stock evenly, like you are frosting a cake. Save a dab of mixed epoxy for timing the cure.
6. Put in the metal slowly and evenly, let it squish the epoxy where it wants/needs to go. Tighten the takedown screws slowly, turning one screw, then the other, back and forth until they are almost hand tight.
7. Using a mixing stick (wipe it off if necessary) run it down the stock-to-metal joints to remove any epoxy where it may have extruded.
8. Let it sit for a couple minutes and finish tightening as usual. If you have a particular torque setting use it.
9. Repeat Step 7. Rubber-glove covered fingers work well too. (Stocky Hint: Clear, white vinegar works as a solvent for epoxy. Q-Tips or a cloth, dipped in it and run down the seam, makes for a really, really professional job. It temporarily turns the glue white but don't fret - it'll cure to the proper color.)
10. Every hour or so test the cure by visiting the dab of mixed epoxy you saved in Step 5. Once the mixture is fairly hard (just past rubbery) you may carefully remove the metal. This is about 4-5 hours at 75°F. Rap the underside of the barrel just in front of the forend tip with your palm. Careful use of a rubber/wood/leather mallet (or a length of 2x4 pine) in the same spot sometimes frees stubborn receivers. The most common tight spot is the recoil lug, remember all you're trying to do is release the bond with the release agent, one commonly must 'see-saw' the barrel and tang slightly. Do not bang on the screws or anything else for that matter.
11. Rinse the release agent off the metal with hot water and wiping it down. Using hot water heats the metal and causes the remaining moisture to evaporate quickly. A fairly damp chamois works well on the stock regions that agent is covering. The agent creates a thin 'skin' that may also be simply peeled off.
12. Once the epoxy has hardened completely (24 hours) you can lube the metal slightly and put everything back together. We recommend waiting the better part of a week prior to shooting (next weekend). You'll notice that the epoxy will continue to cure for a very long time, eventually becomes very hard, like glass.
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