Adventures in rifle bedding

I brought my Grandmothers old deer hunting rifle home this summer.

It’s a Remington 721 in .270 Winchester from about 1949. The action and barrel are in pretty good shape, but the stock is kind of rough and the scope is an old Lyman Challenger 2515 and low powered.

So I decided to buy a new stock and scope and fix it up a bit!

My first problem was that the 721 is old, and hard to find replacement stocks for. I did some digging around and the internet consensus was that a 700 BDL stock should fit with a little work. So that’s what I bought.

I’m a lefty, so I ended up buying a left hand stock fitted for a right hand action from Boyds.

I also bought a Mueller 3-9x40mm scope.

There were really only three major changes needed to fit the 721 action:

1. Cut down the area where the safety is.

2. Relieve the stock where the bulge in the barrel is for the rear sight.

3. Add a shim for the area where the front of the trigger guard/magazine plate fits. The shim is about .200″ thick and glued and screwed in place. I had to remove the screw when I drilled out the holes for the pillars.

I also had to cut a relief where the side mounted scope mount is attached.

And I removed some material at the very end of the barrel channel to free float the barrel.

I also decided that as long as I was replacing the stock, I would get some Acraglas and bed the action. Then I figured as long as I was doing that, I should get some pillars and install those too. What am I, crazy?

So here I am setting up the stock in my drill press to drill out the rear screw hole to 9/16″. Am I nervous? Just a little.

And here is the pile of sawdust when I was done.

After that I had to cut and file the pillars to length. The front one was only about .030″ too long, but I had to use a hack saw and cut about .150″ off the rear and then file to fit. When I was done fitting the pillars I took some chisels and gouges and cut down the area where the action sits. This is so there is some space for the bedding to occupy.

Next thing is to fill all the places you don’t want the bedding compound to go with Plasticine. I filled in the holes in the stock for the magazine and trigger area. I also masked off the edges of the stock with tape so that I could just peel off the excess bedding compound.

I also had to fill all the holes in the action. The blueish tint is because I took this photo after applying the release agent.

The moment of truth – I mixed up the Acraglas, tinted it brown and slathered it into the stock. I wasn’t sure how much to put in and actually could have applied a little more, but there it is.

Then I squished the action into it, made sure the holes lined up and put in the screws to hold it in place.

I had a little squeeze out, which is good, since that indicates that I got enough bedding compound in place. So I cleaned up the outside with some popsicle sticks and then peeled off the tape.

The next day it was time to remove the action and see what I had done. I started tugging on the barrel and nothing happened. So I grabbed my dead blow hammer and smacked the action a couple of times. Still no movement. Damn, did I manage to glue the action to the stock?

So I scratched my head for a minute and then looked at it some more.

Oops.

I bet the action will come out a lot easier if I take out the screws! D’oh!

So I took out the screws and sure enough, the action popped out with a couple more smacks of the hammer. Imagine my relief.

This is what the bedding compound looks like before I cleaned up the squeeze out.

Not the best photo but if you look close you can see one little void area by the front pillar and there is another one below the cutout for the scope mount.

I kinda stopped taking photos here for some reason. In any case, removing all the Plasticine and bedding compound squeeze out was not the most photogenic of tasks. Suffice it to say it was tedious.

I re-assembled the trigger and various parts and put the rifle back together. It looks and feels great.

So the next step is to mount the new scope. The current scope is mounted to a nice old Pachmyr tip-off mount. So I take off the old scope and try to seat the new one.

Whoops.

See if you can figure out why it won’t fit. Old scope on top, new one on the bottom.

So now I’m annoyed. I’m pretty sure no current scope will fit that mount. Which means finding a different mount, and mounts for a 721 are scarcer than hens teeth. Not to mention that the front of the action is tapped for a mount, but the rear is not.

I have ordered a Tasco base that should fit, though I’ll have to drill and tap one hole.

The two annoying things to me are the fact that I now have this large notch in the side of the stock for the old mount, and the new mount won’t be a tip-off. I might look into getting some see-through mounting rings, but then I worry that the scope will be too high.

Oh fun, fun.

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