Sunday, March 27, 2016

Remington Model 700 Classic: My First Ever Bedding Project

My Favorite: Remington M700 Classic in 35 Whelen

The Remington M700 Classic in 35 Whelen is an accurate rifle; but it is a one shot deal.   The stock is light and thin and has a pressure point at the forend, so the zero moves after the first two shots.  Two shots are generally enough to heat the barrel and begin to change the harmonics.

Remington Model 700 Classic
Ready for Bedding
What this means is that if you let the barrel cool completely after placing a shot, the accuracy is outstanding for the next shot.  But, the barrel must be cooled all over again.

Another issue with the rifle is that the zero moves over time or with extreme weather changes. This is typical of wood stocks which have not been free floated or properly bedded.

My own M700 Classic grouped minute of angle with just about any factory ammunition I put through it.  But, it only did so out of a cold barrel and it seldom held it's zero from season to season.

In an attempt to make the rifle more consistent I free floated the barrel by filing down the pressure point and opening up the barrel channel to make sure there was absolutely no contact with the barrel.  This solved the changing point of impact when the barrel warmed up.  I now had a rifle that would shoot consistently even out of a warmed up barrel.

Bedded 35 Whelen
Bedded Model 700 Classice
In order to help hold my zero in extreme weather conditions ( I often hunt in -25 Celsius or colder ) I decided to bed the action from the tang all the way to the forend of the stock.  I couldn't find an affordable and simple pillar bedding kit available in Canada, so I opted for epoxy bedding alone.

This was to be my first ever bedding job, so I worked slowly and carefully; I dreaded the thought of having the rifle action stuck to the stock. In the end the bedding turned out good, except for one spot immediately in front of the recoil lug where I either hadn't put in enough epoxy or a trapped air bubble had caused a small gap; but the bedding in the critical area behind the recoil lug was perfect.  Otherwise, the fit was fantastic and the free floated barrel perfect.

My 1988 M700 Classic was now a bit more 2016. 

Model 700 35 Whelen
Bedded, Reassembled, and Ready for the Range

Update:  The result of my bedding/free floating job ended up being mixed.

1. The rifle became incredibly accurate .... from a hot barrel. Most factory ammunition shot half inch groups as long as the barrel was hot. (Remington 250 grain Ammunition clover leafed)

2. Cold shots though, that is the first two or three, were very inconsistent.  The rifle would not hold POI even over one day.

Since this is a hunting rifle, it was unacceptable for the first two shots to be inconsistent because any shot taken at game would be from a cold barrel.

I did some reading, and opted to try full length bedding the barrel.  I knew that this would cause my POI to move as the barrel heated up, but I was looking for first shot consistency.  My Whelen is not a target rifle.

It is obvious that my POI will still move somewhat with changes in the rifle stock due to temperature and moisture, but a bit of movement would be an improvement over what I had. 

After fully bedding the barrel, I solved the problem.  The accuracy is not what it was out of a hot barrel, but it's plenty good enough for up to 250 yard shots.  My groups at 200 yards are consistently 3 inches ... which is good enough for me, especially since the hunting conditions I usually find myself in will seldom offer shots over 100 yards.

I can see purchasing a Bell and Carlson stock eventually.  I put one on my Mark V and it did wonders for consistent POI.  I imagine it will do the same for the Rem 700 Whelen. 

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