I removed the action from my stock after about 5-6 hours. That makes it sound like I just grabbed it and gently pulled on it. Okay, let’s break it down a little bit.
First, don’t forget to remove the screws that are holding the pillars to the action. It’s not going to come out well if you skip that step (not speaking from experience).
Next, when you remove the action, it’s best to pull it straight out. That advice comes from a professional, not from me. I was not able to pull mine straight out. I seemed to have achieved some of the dreaded mechanical lock. It was in solid and wasn’t wanting to come out. No amount of pulling would get it. Maybe a rubber mallet would have been just the thing. I decided that a piece of 2×4 is softer than barrel steel.
You can see that it wasn’t a matter of a little tap. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to be this brutally honest about your stupidest mistakes? It wasn’t even enough for me to bash the barrel while holding the stock with my hand, although I could see that it did loosen it. I had to attach a sling to the front swivel to get it out. This project stopped being fun that day.
Anyway, here’s what was there:
You can see the broken portion where I believe I had the mechanical lock. It broke free in that spot. It’s a matter of cosmetics, but I did want it to look good.
The Devcon took advantage of the space between where the receiver was dammed and where the stock was dammed. That’s a matter of inconvenience. I could have shoved more Play-doh in to create a better barrier, but it would have affected how the action went in, which in hindsight I had to deal with anyway. So I’ll put this question out to folks who know better, is it normal to have the Devcon fill into the center like that, or is there a good way to keep it out?
The smooth looking portions are the impressions of the bottom of the receiver. The less defined parts are where the Devcon was up against the Play-doh and Silly Putty. Although the flat portions look cool (to me anyway) for the most part, most of it has to be removed to get the action to go in.
The next step is to begin strategically removing the excess bedding. For this is used Dremel attachments, files, and stones. The Dremel was probably the most useful. Hardened Devcon is very tough. My Dremel attachment and several of my files seemed to be quite a bit more dull not too far into the job. The exception was one of the Dremel attachment that’s a stone- nothing to dull there.
Prior to reassembling the receiver I cleaned the trigger assembly in white gas (Coleman fuel), based on a suggestion from Timney Triggers. After it dried I put a drop of naptha (lighter fluid) in the hole in the housing that reveals the engagement surfaces for lubrication.
I had not been sure how much of the bedding would remain. The sides needed to be almost completely removed down to the wood. I had a project because I didn’t dam off the slot for the safety, so I had to very carefully remove all that bedding. The first time I got the action to go in the safety worked, but not properly. The button that allows the bolt to be cycled with the safety on did not have clearance to pop up when the safety was turned on, so I needed to relieve the opening a bit more. Once the receiver fit, I had to check the magazine fit from the bottom, which revealed the necessity to remove a bit more material. You get the picture. Remove and fit. Repeat as necessary.
I really wanted it to look professional. It turned out looking like crap. I could have done much better. The sinking feeling that began with the sinking of the action into the uncured Devcon never quite went away. Another part of it was that I didn’t quite know what it should look like when it was done, in terms of how much bedding needed to go and to stay. I could have backed off with the Dremel at the appropriate time and pick up the files to keep my lines straight and pretty.
I also ended up with some voids due to not cramming the Devon in effectively enough. Most of the voids went away with the removal that I would have done anyway. Obviously the one that looks like a big black eye in the middle of the bedding is the one just aft of the recoil lug. I did some extra research on this issue and learned that most people who seem to know what they are talking about say that flat bottomed receivers require a little more deliberate spreading of the bedding to avoid voids(that was a good sentence- Al Sharpton himself would be hard pressed to come up with that. Proud be I much, er, I have much proud to be, uh, well that part wasworthy of Al Sharpton).
The slightly discolored looking area is from a Sharpie when I was trying to figure out where the safety needed more clearance.
If I decide later that I care I will clean up the area in the barrel channel where I learned that blue tape won’t deter the Devcon from rolling on in and hardening. It just looks like crap; I don’t think it affects anything. And like Mrs. Rifleslinger said, “Who’s going to see it anyway?” Well, just me, her, and you isn’t too bad.
I am happy that the important parts of the bedding, around the recoil lug and pillars, seem to look alright. I can even clearly see the imprints of the machining marks from the bottom of the receiver.
Now you, like me, are wondering if the whole thing is going to crack and fall apart upon the first shot being fired. You’ll find out tomorrow. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.