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My epoxy bedding following Tony Ben's YouTube series

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    My epoxy bedding following Tony Ben's YouTube series

    So years ago I tried glass bedding and old M14 stock. It was a Birch stock, decent fit but a rather small stock, the bedding came out poorly, I really was working blind so to speak and was never that thrilled about trying it again. It may have improved accuracy by a bit but hardly worth the effort.

    I started collecting a few stocks over the years and when Phil recommended Tony's YouTube series on epoxy bedding M1A's, I got inspired. It's an excellent how-to series of 4 videos, he takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to explain the process and the rationale behind bedding. It just clicked with me and got me going. I had a Big Red Sykes stock I was not using and it looked to be an ideal candidate. Those are beefy stocks to begin with and make a great candidate for this process. I decided to box-in the selector cut-out area for more bedding surfaces and it turned out to be a good idea.

    The choices for materials are important. He recommends for your first bedding job that you use J-B weld and that makes sense. It is somewhat forgiving and has a decent working time. It can be a little runny so he uses Marine Tex and gets great results. I wanted to try another epoxy I've had good luck with, PC-7. It comes in 2 cans, is fairly thick so does not run but a bit too thick in some ways. You can warm it with a hair drier and reduce the viscosity nicely without making it set too quickly. It reproduces detail well and has a good hour of working time.

    It seems to me that this is within the scope of most people who are used to working on projects, have access to a Dremel tool or some rotary tool like it, have a lot of patience and can get a clear picture in their mind of where they are going and the steps required to get there. There are risks, locking the receiver into the stock is the main one but it should not keep anyone from taking this project on. Tony recommends a really good spray-on mold release agent. It's ideal. However I've had good luck in the past with Johnson's paste wax and it worked very well
    for me. I applied it to all surfaces that needed to not have epoxy adhere and had no problems. I applied 3 coats of the wax to the receiver and that was about right. Just my choice, I'm sure the material he recommends would be easier to apply but my goal was to see if I could do this project with items I could buy locally.

    Wood removal for me was best accomplished using a Dremel and a wood-routing bit. I build guitars as a hobby so have done a lot of routing and had several bits around and they worked very well. They produce a sharp line and are easily controlled. They can be purchased at most hobby stores, even the big stores like Lowes and Home Depot carry them. A sharp chisel helped produce nicely squared off edges where that was required. I spent more time than necessary routing out the wood as it's all covered up with epoxy anyway but I'm a bit compulsive and that slows things down for me, not necessary though.

    Take the time to remove the stock liner and modify it as he suggests, if you don't have the tool to remove the two screws that hold it in place
    make one from an old screwdriver. It will do the job just fine. You need the epoxy around that metal liner for absorbing recoil shock and it needs to be thick enough there to do that.

    You can't use too much tape. I used blue painters tape as Tony uses, it works well and on a stock with an existing finish it won't harm it. Keep some paper towels soaked in rubbing alcohol around to wipe off excess and not damage the finish, though with the right amount of tape you should really no be getting epoxy on the stock. If you don't have latex gloves around, get some. They are now available everywhere. My work requires that I wear gloves all day and I prefer Nitrile gloves, I kept several pairs on hand and changed them frequently. Also keep lots of long stem cotton tip applicators around, the short ones will work but those long ones really come in handy for removing material from tight places. I can't emphasize enough having plenty of gloves close by, you will need to change them frequently. Take your time and set things out within easy reach. You should not have to rush as most of the epoxies you have to chose from give you adequate working time.

    You will need to set up a situation where you can produce the correct draw pressure on the front of the stock. Tony does this by using an aluminum block he fabricated that sits in the stock channel a few inches behind the front ferule. That works well. I chose to use a two-part silicone putty that I use at work for various medical procedures, it worked great in forming a stock rest that provided some pre-load for the rear of the receiver. That is essential as you want to build into your rifle the correct amount of draw pressure at the front ferrule when you are finished.
    It greatly enhances accuracy. It's easy to accomplish, I will try to post some photos of how I did it, his method works great as well. The aluminum foil method may be the easiest and works too.

    Here are some photos of the first steps, the barrel support and the wood routing with front clearance for the gas cylinder. A critical area for M14 function. Done correctly, this whole procedure will produce a very smooth action, you will notice how nicely the op rod slides, among many other advantages....

    Clearance for the gas cylinder and making the barrel support for draw pressure:







    I used a piece of plywood to estimate the amount of material to place in the barrel channel of the stock, this gives you good draw pressure as you need
    to push the receiver down into place and clamp it there while the epoxy sets up. Don't skip this step, it's big part of the accuracy you are trying to achieve.
    More in the next posts....
    Last edited by Bulletguide; 09-22-2015, 02:47 PM.
    Bruce Herrmann
    "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
    Mark Twain

    #2
    Routing out wood for the epoxy is not difficult but a bit time consuming. These photos are not great but they give you an idea of how this routing looks. The important areas for epoxy are
    1. Where the receiver sits on the stock
    2. In a channel you need to create between the upper and lower parts of the stock immediately above the trigger housing feet. This channel links the upper bedding to the lower trigger pad
    bedding and is essential. It forms a bridge between the two parts of the stock and ties them together. Probably the most important thing you will do.
    3. You want a nice front dam where the op rod spring guide lives, you will need to notch this out later so that the guide slides through without binding. Tony's videos make this much clearer than I can. Some views of my routing in progress...





    I used the 2 part silicone paste to block out areas of the receiver that could hold epoxy and lock it into the stock. You need to remove the pin that holds the operating rod guide to the receiver, easily done. I followed Tony's technique and replaced that stock pin with a stainless dowel pin, the bedding then holds the dowel pin in place. He recommends modeling clay and I think that may be better than what I used buy I had it around and nothing will stick to it... the cut-outs in the receiver legs are critical, I also made dams in the rear of the stock as shown and created a front bridge for epoxy which ties the whole bedding job together.
    Plan on a day or two of prep, it's just not fast and is the basis for everything you do after it. This is where you make or break the bedding job.
    Bruce Herrmann
    "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
    Mark Twain

    Comment


      #3
      Here's a quick photo of the block-out putty for the receiver, be sure to place some in the bolt release clip area and into the spring inside it,
      that would make for a mess if epoxy got in there.
      Bruce Herrmann
      "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
      Mark Twain

      Comment


        #4
        Choose your epoxy, as Tony mentions, JB Weld work well and may be best for first time users. It's easily available and also easy to add to,
        and you will need to. It's not likely that your first placement of epoxy will be enough, there will be areas that need a skim coat.

        For me it was easiest to inject the epoxy into the pocket between the top of the receiver and the trigger pads using a plastic syringe. Again I have a small advantage as I work with these every day and keep lots of them around. I cut the tip to a large enough size so I could inject epoxy into the areas where it is hard to work it in using a putty knife or small spatula. This is often where you will get air pockets.
        Anything that will aid in applying epoxy here is a plus. I used the PC-7 epoxy, mixed about 1/4 of a each can and that was enough. I warmed it with a hair drier and reduced the viscosity, making it much easier to spread evenly and reducing the chance for air pockets.
        It was an ideal material in my hands, for you Marine Tex may work better, or JB Weld. PC-7 may be the slowest drying material, it did not achieve a hard surface for a good 24 hours. It is also quite temperature dependent but it's not exothermic like Marine Tex so heat produced during curing is not a factor. I mixed it on a large aluminum scrap slab I had, it's somewhat dependent on equal parts so be careful to create equal parts hardener and base. Some epoxies are not so dependent on 50/50 mix, these are. But again, the heat did not affect set time and really made it easy to work with. Marine Tex may respond in the same way, I'm not sure. JB Weld is already a good viscosity so no problem with it. Tape everything, take a deep breath, put your wife on speed dial, turn off your phone and don't come up for air until all the material is in place. Just place it where you think you will need it, it will be fine if you've got good separating agent on the receiver. In 12-24 hours you will find out where you need more material. Here's a look at my results.



        Bruce Herrmann
        "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
        Mark Twain

        Comment


          #5
          I'm an amateur. This can be done much better, just look at Tony's videos and the photos he posted here. But I never would have started this project without his videos. I must have watched each one 4 times.

          I made up a block that fit the upper part of the receiver, notched it and drilled a hole in it so a machine screw would fit through it, used an
          aluminum plate for the bottom of the receiver and that's how I held the receiver to the stock during the setting. You don't want to use
          the trigger assembly as a lock-up. When you place the receiver into the freshly applied epoxy, you want to clamp it down using something like Tony recommends or make up a clamp like I did, using the piece of wood cut to match the top of the receiver (easy to do, use a band saw or chisel), drill a hole in it, slide a long machine screw up through the receiver and hold it to the bottom of the sock with a plate or another piece of wood. That's your clamping mechanism. Place the trigger group in, make up a clip to keep the trigger guard from closing beyond a certain point and you are ready for the epoxy to set. Tony's videos show this very clearly (I just made if clear as mud). I'll take some photos of the little fixture I made up, it applied very even pressure to the receiver and stock and held it down nicely during set-up.

          I found my groups were much better at 100 yards, the rifle is now much better than I am. Before I never felt I was getting the groups the rifle should produce. Since then I have unitized the gas cylinder using a spot weld to hold the cylinder to the band, that's about as far as I will go with this rifle. It's now much better than I am, which is good enough for me.

          With M14 stocks still pretty available, you might want to consider this for your M1A. It's the missing link in accuracy as far I'm concerned. And well withing the skills of most everyone reading this. Patience, and idea where you are headed and good materials. That's about it.

          Read this if you are having a hard time sleeping, I'd use it in place of Ambien. Boring perhaps but misery loves company. Thanks Tony!
          Great videos. He as a great understanding of the M14 platform in general, any of his videos are worth watching. Search YouTube for TonyBen3
          Bruce

          Finished rifle...
          Last edited by Bulletguide; 09-22-2015, 02:49 PM.
          Bruce Herrmann
          "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
          Mark Twain

          Comment


            #6
            Looks like you did nice work there! Nice to hear she's shooting tighter now, it's all worth it.
            m14brian

            Comment


              #7
              Bruce,
              Thanks for taking the time to post this detailed information. Looks like you did an outstanding job on the bedding!
              TonyBen is a registered member here, but haven't seen him around in quite a long time.
              Have you ever bedded an M1 Garand?
              Thanks again,
              --Brian
              Welcome to the Addiction!

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks Brian, much appreciated comments. Tony is around, just very busy on projects of his own and for others. I don't think he has the time to post as much as he would like.
                M1 bedding is somewhat different and requires a better routing set-up which I am working on now. You've seen photos of National Match Garands, bedded in a very specific way which
                requires some wood on either side of the bedding material. Free-hand routing takes a very steady hand or a routing fence. I'm trying to decide which way to go on that but that may be
                my next project. Will post results results here, there is just not that much technical info on the how-to end of things for Garands. Tony may know and I will be asking him.
                Bruce Herrmann
                "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
                Mark Twain

                Comment


                  #9
                  Congrats!!! looks good. The old NRA NM reprints are sadly lacking for detailed bedding info. So bedding your rifle is not as basic as the reprint would have you believe that is unless you want the bare bones bedding that won't live for nearly as long as it should. Jerry Kuhnhousen's Shop Manual has much more detailed bedding info. If you don't have it I strongly suggest getting a copy.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks Phil, was looking for a copy a while back, now it seems that Amazon is a good a bet as any. He was one prolific author...
                    Bruce Herrmann
                    "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
                    Mark Twain

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Bulletguide View Post
                      Thanks Phil, was looking for a copy a while back, now it seems that Amazon is a good a bet as any. He was one prolific author...
                      What he did was collect about every Ordnance Manual and Field Manual under the sun that related too the M1/M14 cleaned out the junk and interviewed a few known Match Armorers for there input. He has a lot of experience of his own that he added in as well. As good as it is, its not entirely complete it does have a few areas that are not really covered in depth other than don't do it.

                      Its as good as its going too get, until someone tries too fill in the blank area's but you have too know what's missing first..... ‚Äč

                      Comment


                        #12
                        From what I've read and learned from those who know a lot more about M1 bedding than I do, it seems the two rifles are somewhat different in the approach to the accurizing process.

                        The M1A or M14 seems to be about 60% stock and creating clearance for the moving parts-and not having the gas cylinder bind and 40% working on the gas cylinder unitizing and draw pressure
                        (which also is affected by the stock bedding).

                        The M1 is pretty different in that there are 3 pieces to the stock, each of which can have a great affect on accuracy. The actuall lock-up of the trigger group and fit of the receiver to the rear of the stock is just one part of the process. Some even glue the upper stock pieces to the barrel, remove the liner on the front stock piece etc.
                        It seems to be a more complex project and there are more places that can create problems with accuracy than with the M1A.
                        Does that seem correct? I just seems it's a bit easier to get the M1A to produce better groups than the M1. Maybe some of that has to do with the rounds they each fire....
                        Bruce Herrmann
                        "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen."
                        Mark Twain

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I look at them like two sides of the same coin.... The rear handguard once its cleared is done forever. The old school of thought with the front was too unitize the H/G too the front band with wood screws and epoxy, while this clearly works if you handle the rifle by the handguard you risk altering the rifles zero or breaking off the H/G or splintering the wood at the joined section. I think a more modern approach (Sailor proof) would be too bond them with a high temp adhesive or silicone. The silicone would offer some flex/cushion as well as some harmonic dampening If it came undone for any reason its a much easier repair, align it back up glue it on and let it set again. For removal a wire with a pair of wood handles too slice/cut the silicone away like a big cheese slicer.

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