First off, bedding is quicker and simpler than you might think. I timed myself.
It took 1/2 hour to remove the barreled action, remove the trigger group, prepare the barrel channel, apply masking tape to the stock, dump in the goop, wrap the barreled action in cling wrap, install the barreled action (with the takedown screw all the way in), wrap the barrel and forearm together with a bungee cord, and set the thing away in a safe corner of the house to cure.
That may sound like a lot to do in 1/2 hour, but I wasn’t hurrying, not even a little bit. Each of the things I did is simple and straight-forward.
Taking each rifle apart after curing, and removing the masking tape and excess RTV that squirted out the side, took 20 minutes per rifle. Add 10 more minutes to put the rifle all the way back together and ready to shoot.
All told, that’s one hour total per rifle, and a rather pleasant hour at that.
Even so, I made a couple discoveries. One was the result of using a different brand of cling wrap. The RTV did not stick to the wrap, or to the barreled action. The wrap let go of everything and peeled right out, like nothing ever happened to it. This cling wrap method really works, and remember, I invented it and you heard it here first. Gimme a footnote somewhere if you have a chance.
Another discovery happened because I had other things going on around here and let the RTV cure for 48 hours. Even after 48, the RTV was not fully cured on the Green Ruger! And, as you might guess, it was in that area just forward of the receiver, between it and the ‘ledge’ at the rear end of the barrel channel. There’s a lot of empty space there. So I’m upping my recommendation: when bedding RTV, wait 72 hours to cure fully.
Now, I did not precisely do the same thing I did in the article ‘Bedding the rifle‘. Over there, I cut a ‘pillar gasket’ from butyl rubber gasket material, and wrapped a small forward section of the barrel with a strip of electrical tape, to raise the barrel in the channel slightly.
For these rifles, I did not use a pillar gasket or raise the barrel in the channel. They were simply bedded ‘as is’. I was glad to discover afterward that the aluminum barrel bands fit the same after bedding, just as they did before. And once again, I was amazed at how much empty space there is between the barrel and the stock on the factory Ruger. This time around, I used lots of RTV and got the amount right on the first try. And I used lots. Basically 2/3 of a tube. And nearly all of it went somewhere.
Now that my wife’s Red Ruger is all put back together after bedding, it’s time to see how it shoots — and if bedding improved things over the last time.
Last time out with the rifle, I shot two targets, with groups at 1.22″ and 0.6875″.
With the bedding, these are the results:
Again, shooting from a mechanical rest with Remington 36-grain brass-plated hollow-points, at 30 yards. This time there was a gusty breeze at three o’clock, which will account for some — dunno how much — enlargement of the groups. I’m calling this a definite improvement. Before bedding, groups averaged 0.955″. After bedding, they averaged 0.7″. That’s a good quarter-inch, or roughly 3/4 MOA.
Now, for the Green Ruger. Last time out, before bedding, my results were:
Now that the RTV on the Green Ruger is fully cured and the rifle put all the way back together, here’s the results:
Not all that bad, but could be better. The first group was strung out vertically, so I tightened down on the takedown screw. You can see the results of that in group #2. Group #4 was maybe strung out, I’m not sure. Well, probably. I might be able to ‘tune’ this out with adjustable barrel bands, but I’m not going there with this rifle. Although I will be tempted.
Let’s do some numbers. First, let’s take out the first group from the second batch, and just say, on that group I should have had the takedown screw tighter. Then, let’s look at the average of groups for before bedding, and after bedding. Before bedding, the groups averaged 0.705″. After bedding, the groups averaged 0.786″.
So, bedding made things worse by the thickness of a penny. All things considered, I guess you’d say, I wasted my time bedding the Green Ruger. I’m having other thoughts, and a few suspicions, about these results. They have to do with, man, I aim better than these results.
While waiting for the bedding in the Brown Ruger to cure, I decided to take another run with the Green Ruger, this time with subsonic ammo. The results:
This gives an average group of 0.717. This would have been a better batch without group #3, of course. What’s bothersome is that I was doing nothing different for any of the three groups. And that has bothered me for the other batches, with other rifles.
One thing I’ve noticed is that in about every magazine (25 rds.) of regular rounds there’s at least one subsonic round. That would mean, at the factory they’re not doing a very good job of putting the same amount of powder in each cartridge. And, if there’s a variation in the amount of powder, that variation should result in vertical stringing — the faster rounds will shoot higher, the slower will strike lower. Which is what I’m seeing. My bad groups tend to string vertically. Group #3 in the last batch was strung vertically, for instance.
This would help explain why people most often report their best accuracy with high-velocity rounds, like CCI Stingers (1660 fps), Quik Shok (1700 fps), and Aguila Super Max (nearly 1800 fps). These ‘hot’ loads would fly so extremely flat that slight variations in the amount of powder would have less effect on the point of impact than standard or subsonic loads. That would mean less vertical stringing, leading to smaller groups.
So, now I have a working hypothesis. It’s time to call the local gun store and ask if they’ve finally got some .22 in stock, and hopefully it will be Stingers or something.
Now, last time out with the Brown Ruger I got these results: 0.89″, 1.04″ and 0.94″, for an average of 0.956″. That was with a scope, which was a bad experience all by itself.
This time, after bedding, I got the results below. Again, 30 yards, etc. and so forth, with a gusty breeze from 2:30. I shot more batches because I was dialing in the new Millet sight.
- .9175 (v. string)
- 1.0375 (v. string)
- .9975 (h. string)
The overall average was .6634″. I’ve noted where the groups strung vertically, which are two of the three worst groups. The two best groups are close to ‘ragged hole’ results, which I found very encouraging. It shows that a higher standard is, indeed, realistic for these rifles. The overall average is quite good, compared to the other rifles.
I’m calling this a successful bedding job. And I’m saying, these data show I should be suspicious of the ammunition.