Using the Bell & Carlson Extreme Weather #7775 / 7776 Stocks With A Two-Piece Floorplate
I couldn't resist. The Bell & Carlson ultralight stocks for Winchester Model 70 rifles are above and beyond the best stocks for the money - ultra light weight hand lay-up fiberglass construction with their famous Medalist tip-to-grip aluminum bedding chassis. The aluminum exposed under the receiver generally wrings all there is to get from a rifle, and this trusted old servant of mine shoots a consistent minute-of-angle with anything I care to put through it. These stocks are a bargain for two-hundred bucks, and ideally suited for these featherweight rifles. I'd be carrying this one all over North America and Africa so weight is important, and the aluminum sure wouldn't hurt accuracy none. The truth is I've been meaning to do it since these stocks came out a couple years ago.
There is only one minor detail - Bell & Carlson makes these as original equipment to fit Winchester's current Extreme Weather Short Magnum model rifles. These come with one piece floorplates and my trusty old 1990 rifle has the two-piecer, plus the WSM barrel is a bit thicker that the one on my old Featherweight. My skinny barrel will not create any exceptional issues (sort of an extreme free-float situation) other than aesthetics, and I can always bed it if I don't like it. However the hinged part of the magazine cover assembly is not as thick or as long as the single piece models, so I'd either have to purchase a new one, which we sell here or simply make arrangements to use mine as it is. I chose the latter with the idea that I could always get another one down the road if I found a good deal on it, and nothing would be lost to use mine as it is. Here's how I did it ... (note, this is a work-around so don't complain it doesn't look as good as the floorplate it was made for. Hey, if you want perfection spring for the right floorplate from Stocky's and skip this article. I'm only posting it because you asked me too and no one but you can be responsible for the results ...)
Here's what you have when you get all the parts on the table:
- Barreled action
(remove the cartridge bolt for safety and convenience)
- Bell & Carlson Ultralight stock
- Magazine (a.k.a. magazine box or liner)
- Cartridge follower with attached spring
(remove it from the magazine cover assembly)
- Magazine cover assembly
- Trigger guard
- Three takedown screws
(two on guard, one on mag cover hinge)
Assembling the parts loosely into the stock we can make a couple observations:
- The trigger guard is a great fit as it is. Little or nothing has to be done there.
- The hinge on the magazine cover is thinner than a one-piece unit, this makes it sit too deep into the stock to close the cover. One must add some spacers under it to get it to fit flush.
On some rifles, a couple of washers under the hinge is all it will take to assemble it all, but since this rifle will get hard use I wanted to secure the magazine box more solidly into everything so in lieu of a standard washer I decided to grind a wide "pan washer" (available at any hardware store) to fit into the recess under the hinge - it would extend just far enough into the mag box to secure it solidly into the stock.
Choosing stainless steel washers would ensure years of trouble-free hunting in the event I got busy and never replaced the floorplate, an extremely likely occurence. On my particular rifle two standard washers and one fitted pan looked to be the perfect thickness to flush everything up properly. I noticed that different brands of washers were of differing widths and thicknesses also, so I purchased a selection (total investment was $3.25) and set forth to fit the big one and assemble.
Utilizing a sophisticated complement of tooling and machinery (also known as channel-lock pliers and a bench grinder) I had at it until I achieved the desired result. This took all of about 15 minutes if you count the time I spent at the belt sander taking the burrs off the completed pan washer. Don't really know why I did that since you can't see it after assembly, but what the heck.
I also toyed with the idea of polishing it but didn't want the crew, who was standing there watching the entire endeavor, to hurt themselves laughing any more.
(I was also planning to put it in the vise and use a file so it'd be really nice and neat but was in a hurry ... wanted them all to get back to work anyway.)
As you can see it's a very efficient method of securing everything.
(I've done it before so I already knew that, but I want you guys to be comfortable with it as well.)
Here's what the completed assembly looks like ... you machinists out there can simply mill the correct piece that accomplishes this very neatly for a more professional package. This would really impress your customers I imagine.
As an added benefit I didn't have to free-float the barrel. If and when I get around to it (I lost the one Zig Zigler gave me 30 years ago) I may lay a couple inches of black epoxy under the barrel just in front of the receiver to support the chamber region, keep everything a bit more centered and make it a bit prettier. There's the perfect space there for it as you can see.
Doubt if it'd shoot any better though, sub-M.O.A. is just fine for my big game rifles and it shoots like a house afire like it is.
Here's why I did it - 7 lbs. 10 oz. scoped. Hey, there's a gap on the bottom (see photo) and it doesn't look as good as a one piece floorplate could but saved me a hundred bucks so who cares? You can't see it unless you are looking for it anyway. (DON'T TRY THIS IF IT BOTHERS YOU; DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT WAS NOT MADE TO BE THIS WAY! I'm simply showing you how you can get it together on a budget.)
I did it because now I have an aluminum bedded fiberglass stock instead of the world's cheapest plastic for about two hundred bucks. Nice Decelerator pad, too. Makes my .308 shoot like laser yet kick like a kitten. I can safely say this is my favorite deer rifle to date, what more could you ask for?