Pillar Bedding Article – Part III
When pillar bedding gained acceptance, there was little argument about how to do it right. It seemed almost everyone in the competitive arena used similar techniques. That changed with the introduction of precut aluminum pillars—experts started to disagree on the proper way to install the pillars. As with standard pillars the function was the same, which was to ensure the action area of the stock did not compress when tightening down the guard screws. How to accomplish this however became the topic of debate.
I won’t suggest the way we install our pillars is the only right way, but it is our belief that it is the best way. To be perfectly honest, the difference in performance of the various types of techniques is probably immeasurable. We believe that regardless of whether or not you can prove your ideas to be the best, what’s important is to use the technique that you believe produces superior results.
When installing aluminum pillars, we measure the depth from the bottom of the receiver to the bottom of the stock where the pillars are to be installed. We then cut our pillars about .035 shorter than this measurement. We apply the bedding materials to the stock and the receiver to ensure a uniform non-porous surface finish, filling the pillar holes with bedding material. We then place the pillars (with the screws inside of them) in the stock from the bottom of the stock. Holding the barreled action in the vise, we bring the stock up to the barreled action and start the screws. We tighten each of the screws a half turn at a time cleaning off the excess material as we go. By placing the pillars in from the bottom, along with the fact that the pillars are shorter than the distance between the bottom of the stock and the action, we create a small space between the top of the pillar and the action.
This .035 gap between the pillar and the action is filled with bedding material. By using this technique, we create a completely uniform bedding surface that is 100 percent consistent. One of the objectives of glass bedding is to produce a stress free union between the stock and the action. By bedding the entire receiver area (as opposed to the recoil lug and rear tang), we have effectively created the only “perfectly stress free” union possible. By not allowing the aluminum pillar to come in contact with the receiver, we have eliminated one possible source for unwanted stress. While other techniques are used, we believe ours creates the perfect relationship between the stock and action.