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Tech Tip: How to Bed a Rifle With Acraglas Gel

Author Caleb Savant
one month ago

How to Glass Bed a Rifle | Step-by-Step Guide with Caleb from Brownells


Hi, Caleb with Brownells here! Today I'm going to be walking you through the process of glass bedding a rifle. Now, every gunsmith has their own technique of doing it, so I'm going to walk you through mine here, and if you follow these steps, you'll have great results. From that, you can develop your own technique. Let's get started!

Preparing the Stock

Today, we're going to be bedding my Savage Model 110. It's one of the older models, a .243 built on the older long action. The reason we're bedding it is because the fitment in the stock is a bit loose, and at some points, the forend is contacting the barrel. We're going to go ahead and remove that and bed everything to get a nice consistent fit between the stock and the action.

First, we're going to prepare the stock. As you can see, I've already cut away the barrel channel, getting it nice and even on both sides of the barrel. It's not contacting the barrel, so I have room to put the Acraglas in and get a nice solid fit that's going to float the barrel so it doesn't touch the stock.

Whenever I bed hunting rifles, I bed them the length of the chamber and float the rest of the forend. That gives excellent results in terms of fitment and shot grouping downrange. Moving back, we're going to bed around the recoil lug area. I'll show you how to prepare that on the action itself, then we'll bed around the front action screw where the action contacts the stock, and finally, we'll move back to the front of the rear action screw.

To prepare the stock, I found it useful to take some sandpaper and wrap it around the handle of a hammer. That gives you a nice round surface to follow the contours. Moving back, I'll use this barrel channel tool to remove material from around where the main contact points of the Acraglas and the action are going to be.

Prepping the Action

Next, let's get the action prepped. First, I use some clay, just any standard modeling clay will do, and plug all the holes in the action itself, except for the action screw holes because that's where our screws will go when we set it into the action. Everything else gets plugged—the hole for the trigger pin, the vent holes on the side. If you think it doesn't need to be plugged and it's in the action, go ahead and plug it because chances are if you don't plug it, you will get Acraglas in it.

Once the clay is in place, we can move on to taping off areas of the barrel action itself. We only need to tape forward of the chamber, the length of the stock, and a little bit past that. The reason we do this is to float this area so the barrel doesn't contact the Acraglas. Everything rear of the chamber will be in full contact.

Applying the Release Agent

Now we're ready to apply our release agent. The Acraglas kit comes with a liquid release agent that you can apply with any standard acid brush, but to make things easier, we'll be using the aerosol release agent. Make sure there are no heavy excess oils or grease on the action itself, then apply a few coats of the release agent. Cover everything with release agent from front to bottom because if you get any Acraglas on it, this will make it easier to clean up any spills or mistakes.

Mixing the Acraglas

Now we can start mixing up the Acraglas. The Acraglas gel mixes at a 1:1 ratio. The big question here is how much to mix—mix more than you think you'll need. It's always better to have too much rather than too little because having too much ensures you won't have any air pockets. Once you press the action into it, you can't lift it back up or you'll develop air pockets.

Open up the hardener and the resin. The kit also comes with measuring spoons. When mixing, put one part on one side of the bowl and the other part on the other side so you can visually tell how much of each you have. Mix it up until it's all one nice uniform color.

The kit comes with two dyes, black and brown. For this stock, we'll use the brown dye. Add a bit, mix it, see where you're at, and add more if needed. You can also mix dyes to get different colors.

Applying the Acraglas to the Stock

When applying Acraglas to the stock, start up front and work your way back. Ensure you have enough in there so it flows over the side when you press the barreled action in, which prevents air pockets. Pack it down into the recoil lug area because the recoil lug itself will make the mold and push the excess out when we press the action in.

Setting the Action

Now we're ready to set the action. Lift it up a bit to make sure everything is ready to go. Cover the action screws completely in rig grease to prevent any Acraglas from adhering to them, especially on the threaded area. When you press the action in, you want to see the Acraglas oozing out, which means you have enough.

Wrap some surgical tubing around the back to avoid pressing down on the front, which could lift the back of the action. Insert the action screws and snug them up, but don't over-tighten. Just make them nice and snug.

Waiting for the Acraglas to Cure

Wait for the Acraglas to cure for about 4 to 5 hours. Don't let it cure fully because you'll need to trim it while it's still pliable. If it cures fully, you'll have to cut it away as it'll be rock hard.

Removing the Action from the Stock

After 4 hours, remove the surgical tubing and break the action free from the stock. Remove the action screws and scrape out any Acraglas that came up through the screw hole. Place the butt of the rifle on the table, grip the stock while supporting the barrel with a finger, and give it a quick wrap with a rawhide mallet.

Trimming Excess Acraglas

You'll notice a very thin layer behind the recoil lug and on the back area. Use a razor blade to trim the excess Acraglas away, letting the blade glide along the top edge of the tape to get a clean edge. Remove any Acraglas from the magazine well area as well.

Final Cleanup and Reassembly

Remove the tape from the stock and cut away any remaining areas. Remove the clay from the action, take off the tape from the barrel, and clean up all the release agent using standard gun cleaning equipment. Reassemble the rifle, including the trigger and magazine box, and you're good to go!

Glass bedding, no matter what you're using, comes down to the prep work. The more prep work you do, the easier it will be to get everything cleaned up and ready to go back together. Like most jobs, the quality of the outcome depends on the quality of the prep work.

If you have any questions about bedding, feel free to give us a call on the tech line. We'll be happy to help you out. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next time.

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