How to Pillar Bed a Remington 700 BDL

By A.J. Jordan

This instruction sheet is for the Remington 700 BDL. The same theory can be applied to other bolt action rifles with some modifications to the instructions. I suggest reading these instructions fully 3 times through, asking yourself some questions, to understand the theory behind this procedure. If you can not answer your own questions after the 3rd time through, have a professional do the pillar bedding for you.

Prior to any bedding job, it is best to measure the width at the top and bottom of the recoil lug. It can happen to get a recoil lug that is wider at the bottom then the top. When this situation happens and the rifle is bedded, there will be a mechanical lock take place between the action, bedding and the stock. You will then have a glued in rifle.

Items needed for this procedure:

Bedding compound of choice

Good 6" dial caliper or depth micrometer

Hacksaw and file or preferably a lathe

Sharp wood chisel

Pillars of choice

15 minute epoxy

Surgical Tubing

Modeling clay

Plumbers Tape

Masking Tape

There are a few ways to do this procedure. This is one of them. There are a few choices in pillar design to choose from or you can make your own on a lathe. This will talk about using adjustable and non-adjustable pillars.

Remove bolt, scope, mounts, and the trigger from action. Remove barreled action and floorplate/trigger guard from stock. If your stock has a pressure point in the forend now is the time to remove it. Use a socket with some sandpaper wrapped around it to maintain the contour. I prefer about .050" clearance around barrel with action screws tightened. Wrap some masking tape around the barrel to take up the space at the end of the forend. This will allow the action to be level.

Now we need to open the screw holes in the stock to 5/8". This can be done with a piloted drill made just for this purpose. A forstner bit can be used but be certain the holes are square with the receiver.

Lay the barreled action on a bench with the magazine port facing up. Lay the stock on the action and take measurements from the bottom of the receiver to the top of the inletting (this is taken through the screw holes). This number needs to be from the front or rear of the hole, not the side as the Remington has a rounded receiver and will give false readings. Write both numbers down. It will determine the length of the pillars.

 Now you can cut the pillars to length. Add .010" to the number you came up with for a stress free bedding job. (If using the adjustable pillars adjust them to measurement + .010". Use Loctite to secure the pillars at this length.) You can use a hacksaw for coarse cut and a file to square things up and take pillars to final length. Be careful and go slow if you choose this route. Take measurements at the lowest point of the pillar to the square end. If you cut the pillars too short, it will have a negative affect towards accuracy. A lathe is much better and will leave a nice square cut.

Install the pillars on the action with the guard screws and insert into the stock. Make sure the pillars are not binding in the holes. If they are enlarge the hole with a round file. At this time open the bedding at the recoil lug with the wood chisel. Remove about .025" of stock material from the front of the action to the front of the magazine port and from the end of the rear tang to the trigger port. This will give a nice bed for the front and rear of the action and let the center be free floated. Be careful not to go too wide on the top of the inletting. Kind of bell out the inletting below the stock line.

Use acetone and degrease the pillars. Mix some 15-minute epoxy to use on the pillars. Use just enough (minimal amounts) to hold the pillar in the holes. If there is a problem with the bedding job it will be easier to get them out. Place the barreled action (with pillars installed via action screws) into stock. Carefully remove the action screws leaving the pillars in place. Install the floorplate and action screws to hold the stock and action together. Do not torque the screws snug is fine. Press up on the floorplate to ensure the pillars are flush with the bottom of the inletting. Wait 30 minutes and carefully remove the action screws. This should release the action from the pillars and the stock.

If everything looks ok, it is time to bed the action. Now is the time to fill the holes and recesses of the action with modeling clay. This will prevent bedding material from flowing inside the action and causing a lot of grief later. Put a layer of tape on the sides and the front (muzzle side) of the recoil lug. This will give .010" clearance for removing the action. Put 5 layers of tape under the barrel. This will give you a free-floating barrel with .050" of clearance. Put a coat of release agent on the action, barrel, screws, holes, basically anywhere that you do not want bedding to stick. Give the same parts another coat of release agent. This will make sure you hit the spots you might have missed the first go around. Put a layer of masking tape on the top edge of the stock. This will protect the finish when the bedding oozes out over the stock.

Mix the bedding material of choice exactly as directed. Not close, but exactly! This will ensure a proper hardening during the curing period. Dye can be added to color the bedding so that it matches the stock.

Add bedding compound to the fill the remainder of the gap around the pillars. Add bedding to the stock from the recoil lug area back towards the magazine port and at the rear tang. Be sure to add enough bedding compound. The excess will ooze out when the action is installed.

Use a cotton swab from the bottom to the top to remove any bedding that found its way into the holes of the pillars. Take another and dip it in the release agent and coat the inside of the screw holes in the pillars. This will ensure the screws do not stick. Work the bedding with a wood ice cream stick or toothpicks to work out any air pockets.

Install the barreled action and secure with the guard screws. Turn the screws so they are snug. DO NOT TORQUE THE SCREWS! Wait a couple hours and crack the screws loose and re-snug them. I like to do this every couple hours. This will help prevent the screws from freezing. Wait 5 days, yes 5 days for the bedding to cure and remove the screws. It takes 5 days for bedding material to fully cure. At the point where the bedding is starting to get firm, I like to use a knife and remove the overflowing epoxy from the rifle. Be careful not to cut or gouge the finish on the stock or scratch the blueing.

The next day, remove screws from stock and strike barrel and action smartly from the top with a plastic mallet. Turn the rifle upside down; hit barrel just ahead of forearm to pop it loose. You may have to see-saw the barrel and action out, depending upon the recoil lug. If you used the release agent properly everything will be fine. Remove the tape from the barrel, recoil lug and the sides of the receiver.

Clean up the stock and magazine well. Drill out the column holes to .9/32 - .302" letter "N". This will give us clearance for our screws. The screw holes need .015"-.020" clearance per side, the barrel .050" free float to front of receiver, the recoil lug .010" clearance on sides, front, and bottom. The bolt handle should have .020" clearance on all sides and bottom out on the action only, not the stock. The magazine well should have .050" - .060" clearance on all sides. The trigger and pins should not come in contact with the stock.

Assemble the action and stock. It should not bind. With the screws snug, loosen the front screw and watch the barrel and forend tip. It should not move. Use a dial indicator on a magnetic base attached to the barrel with the indicator on the stock. You should not have more than .002" movement when tightening and loosening the action screws. If you have more than .002" you have stress built up in the fit. It will not shoot well and you'll need to locate the problem (usually a high spot or something is touching; bolt, screws, magazine box, etc) or re-bed the rifle again.

If all looks well and you are pleased, now turn the rifle over and bed the floorplate. Use the same procedure as bedding the action. Use plenty of release agent on the trigger guard and screws. Be sure to fill any gaps around the pillars. Wait 5 days; yes 5 days for the rifle to fully cure. Clean the release agent off your metal parts and you are finished. Grab your newly finished project and some ammo and go test it out.

Go SLOWLY. Take your time. After you have done a few bedding jobs you will be a pro.

CONGRATULATIONS! You just did a first class job and saved yourself $75-$150 that a gunsmith charges to do this project. With this savings you can buy more ammo to become more familiar with your rifle AND join or extend your NRA membership.


No warranty expressed or implied, or legal responsibility for the correctness, completeness, or application of this procedure to a specific situation is intended.