A Bed Of Glass

There's an old adage that says, “There are three ‘B’s necessary to make a rifle to shoot well: barrels, bullets and bedding.”

As hunters and avid shooters, we generally can't make our own barrels and bullets, but doing bedding is well within the capabilities of most gun owners. This is true primarily because of the advent of epoxy-based bedding compounds and their potential to easily create a perfect fit between the action and the gunstock.

Although we normally call the process “glass bedding,” there isn't any glass involved at all. Some bedding compounds do include the ability to add fiberglass strands to the mix and, to the best of my knowledge, that's where the reference to glass originated from. These days you're more likely to see powdered metal added to the bedding compounds than you are fiberglass, but we still call it glass bedding.

Whatever it's called, the stuff works. I doubt there's a custom hunting rifle made that doesn't utilize glass bedding as the method to fit barreled action to gunstock. I know that if I'm serious about keeping a rifle around for a while, I'll take the time to mix some epoxy and give that rifle a bed of "glass."

I've always found epoxy bedding has two benefits. First, it increases a rifle's overall accuracy. Sometimes the increase is dramatic and sometimes it's just serves to remove those annoying and unaccountable flyers—but there's always an improvement. Second, epoxy bedding also improves the ability of a rifle to maintain a consistent zero over time, meaning a bedded rifle is less likely to change point of impact through temperature and humidity variations as well as the bumps and thumps that any hunting rifle encounters.

Epoxy bedding is also useful for adding rigidity to those injection molded stocks that all of the popular value-priced rifles use. Besides bedding the action area, I'll often pour it into the open spaces in the forend, thus making that part of the stock much stiffer and better able to work with a bipod or sling without flexing and making accuracy-ruining contact with the barrel.

I don't have room here to give a complete set of instructions on how to glass bed a rifle; besides, there are already plenty of learning opportunities for this process on the web. As with any gunsmithing info, one of the best places to start is Brownells and their learning center, where they have complete instructions for bedding a Remington 700.

Of the many bedding products available, their Acraglas Gel compound is still my favorite. It's easy to work with, can be dyed to match the gunstock and always gives good results.

Of course, having a gunsmith do a bedding job for you is always an option, too. However, it really isn't hard to do it yourself, and the off-season is a perfect time to tackle this kind of project. I encourage you to give it a try and enjoy the benefits of a perfectly bedded rifle.

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