Geared up to start bedding your rifle to improve accuracy?
Only to get stuck while selecting the right bedding process.
We know how confusing things can get with all those parameters to care about. Gunsmiths usually prefer two types of beddings, glass bedding and pillar bedding.
So, when it comes to glass bedding vs pilar bedding which one’s better?
Glass bedding is the efficient one compared to pillar bedding for a short-term fix. Both of them will fill all the gaps between the stock and the receiver. However, pillar bedding is a bit expensive and difficult compared to glass bedding. But it’s totally worth it if you are thinking about a long-term fix.
We’ve tried to give you a head-to-head comparison between them in this article. This will cover everything you’ll need to know before choosing the right one. Let’s get on with it!
Table of Contents
Mythbusting: Does Bedding Actually Increase Accuracy?
Accuracy is one of the key metrics for a rifle user. You expect to hit your desired target every time you pull the trigger. If not, then what is the point, right?
There are many factors that affect the accuracy of a rifle. Before knowing how to increase your rifle’s accuracy, let’s know about how it may be reduced.
Firstly, if the mechanism of the gun is not stable, your shooting accuracy might drop. The whole action should return to its original place with each shot. If not, it’ll create instability, causing the barrel to vibrate with each shot differently.
The barrel’s vibration plays a key role in maintaining the accuracy of your rifle. It must vibrate identically each time when you pull the trigger. If it’s out of sync while firing, your bullets might go in different directions. As a result, you will miss your desired target.
Now to increase stability there are a few measures you can take. One of these include bedding your rifle stock.
In general, bedding is a connecting bridge between the receiver and the stock of your rifle. Here, bedding helps to relieve the stress developed on the receiver while shooting. The recoil can create a gap between the action and stock. The main purpose of bedding is to reduce the stress developed in this process.
The close-fitted surface between the receiver and the stock reduces the developed stress. The reduction in stress will help hold the action firmly to the stock. Thus, reducing the flex and making the whole process more stable.
Therefore, any type of bedding will improve the shooting accuracy notably.
Glass Bedding vs Pillar Bedding: At Glance
If you are looking to improve the accuracy of your rifle, bedding can help. Because we’ve compared bedded and non-bedded rifle’s accuracy. The difference in accuracy between them is like day and night.
There are a few types of bedding that you can do on your stock. The two most frequently used beddings are glass bedding and pillar bedding. Both of them are quite conventional and easy to execute.
It is possible to do glass bedding without pillars. However, you can not do pillar bedding without doing glass bedding first.
Both of the processes are linked with each other. So, comparing them is like comparing between glass bedding and free floating the rifle. Before we get into details, let’s take a look at the overall comparison between them.
|Category||Glass Bedding||Pillar Bedding|
|Time Needed||8-10 Hours||10-12 Hours|
|Machining Expertise Required||None||Minor|
|Items Needed||Check Price||Check Price|
Glass Bedding vs Pillar Bedding: Head-to-Head Comparison
Glass bedding and pillar bedding have very few differences between them. Choosing the right one for yourself can be a big dilemma. But there is no need to be afraid!
So, here we’ve compared them under some basic criteria to help you out.
To begin with, you need some materials to get on with the bedding process. So, the first question arises, what is the cost of the whole bedding process? Well, it depends on the materials you buy and the process you choose.
Between the two processes that are mentioned, glass bedding is cheaper. So, how much does glass bedding cost? Well, there is no exact value. Because it depends on the products you’ll need to do the glass bedding.
Items Needed to Do Glass Bedding
The products needed for glass bedding can be easily gathered. Here, we’ve compiled a list of items that you’ll need to do glass bedding.
- Epoxy ( Resin and Hardener)
- Thickening Agent
- Releasing Agent
- Modeling Clay
- Masking Tape
- Mixing Cup
- Mixing Sticks
There are so many variants of these items in the market. And choosing the best one can be really tough. To make your life much simpler here are some suggestions about these products-
|West System G/Flex Epoxy (2-4oz)||Epoxy resin and hardener are used as the key component in the mixture. It’s the best epoxy for pillar bedding from our observation. The support it provides when under stress is exemplary.||Check Price|
|Brown Dye||Used to give the mixture a wood-like color.||Check Price|
|Black Dye||Used for giving a natural texture to the bedding.||Check Price|
|West System 407-5 Low-Density Filler||This is the best thickening agent that compliments the West System Resin.||Check Price|
|Release Agent||Applied on the receiver to prevent bonding with the epoxy resin.||Check Price|
|Modeling Clay||Modeling clay will fill the voids inside the receiver. This one is really easy to remove from the voids.||Check Price|
The approximate cost of the products is around 80-120$. It may vary depending on the qualities of the materials.
On the other hand, pillar bedding requires a bit more money. Since glass bedding is a prerequisite to glass bedding, the cost is a bit higher. The key difference is that you need to buy the pillars for this type of bedding.
There are various types of pillars according to diameters in the market. Here are some pillars which we tried out while doing pillar bedding. You can choose any of them according to your need.
The approximate amount is around 150-225$. However, this is subject to change. Therefore, you might think, is pillar bedding worth it? The accuracy of pillar bedded rifles is superior to that of glass bedded rifles. It’s been proven after testing practically.
Winner: Glass bedding costs half compared to pillar bedding. Therefore, Glass bedding is the winner in this category. However, if you don’t have budget restrictions, pillar bedding will serve you better.
The time required to do each process is a matter of concern. The time required for both of them is not the same. This can be a key factor while choosing one process over another.
The time required to finish a bedding process depends on your expertise. You’ll need more time while doing pillar bedding as machining is needed there. In contrast, the glass bedding process doesn’t need any machining. Thus making it a less time-consuming process.
The time required to apply the bedding agent is the same in both processes. However, the drying of the bedding requires a vast amount of time. You need to let the epoxy mixture dry for almost 8 hours on average.
Winner: Here, glass bedding edges as a less time-consuming process.
As mentioned earlier, glass bedding is a prerequisite for pillar bedding. For this reason, the process of these two beddings is quite similar.
However, the pillar bedding process will need some machining and there’s nothing to panic about. Because the DIY pillar bedding process is quite easy. It is considered easier than removing pitting from a gun barrel.
You’ll need to do some basic drilling to make the hole for the pillars. After using a lot of drilling machines, here are some of them that we deemed as the best.
|AVID POWER 12V Cordless Drill||Portable battery-powered drill and budget-friendly.||Check Price|
|DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill||Battery-powered high-performance power drill with a wide variety of applications.||Check Price|
|BILT HARD 10 in Drill Press||Professional drill press packaged with vice and drill bits.||Check Price|
You can choose any of these according to your budget and desired application.
You may also need to do some filing to adjust the length of the pillars. This job is quite easy to do. However, you must be very careful while using these types of machines.
Otherwise, you may get injured. So, while operating the drilling machine, wear protective glasses and goggles.
Filing and drilling are very crucial for a successful pillar bedding process. Apart from these, you’ll need to do everything similarly in both processes.
Steps Required for a Succesful Glass bedding
Glass bedding is needed in both of the processes as mentioned earlier. So here, we’ve mentioned the steps you’ll require to do glass bedding.
Step 1: Preparing the Stock and the Receiver
Firstly, you’ll have to rough out the surface of the stock. Then apply to release agent on the metal pieces of the receiver. Otherwise, the glass bedding compound will get attached to it.
Step 2: Preventing Bedding Mixture from Spreading
Then apply masking tape on the stock and receiver’s surface. This will prevent the bedding mixture from spreading everywhere. Also, apply some modeling clay to fill the voids of the receiver
Step 3: Preparing and Applying the Bedding Compound
Next, you’ll need to prepare the bedding compound. For this, mix epoxy resin and hardener with your preferred dye. And then apply it cautiously to the stock.
Step 4: Securing the Structure
Screwing the action into the stock is the next step. After that, you can bind the whole structure together with some plastic tubes. That’ll help to secure the whole structure.
Step 5: Finishing
Finally, you’ll need to let it sit for 8-10 hours to dry. Once it’s dry chisel and sand the unwanted residues.
And voila! The glass bedding with aluminum pillars is done on your rifle.
Winner: Except for some simple machining processes both of the processes are quite similar. Hence, if you are okay doing filing and drilling with some regular tools, try pillar bedding. However, if that’s too much of a hassle, then glass bedding should suffice.
Required Machining Expertise
The term “machining” might scare you off. But let me assure you, there’s nothing to be scared about, even for a novice.
You’ll be needing to drill some holes inside the stock. Also, you’ll need to file the metal pillars according to the required size. If you are familiar with the hand drill, the job will be pretty easy for you.
The filing process is almost like sanding wood. So you have nothing to be worried about from a technical perspective.
In both processes, you’ll have to chisel and sand down the bedding compound residue. This is a finishing procedure that is quite easy. The excitement of finishing the whole process makes this more interesting.
Therefore, pillar Bedding might strike you as a more problematic process than glass bedding. Because pillar bedding needs some filing and drilling. Whereas, glass bedding is a total machining-free process.
Winner: If you are worried about machining then glass bedding is the way to go. But if you have a bit of time and courage go with pillar bedding. The improvement in accuracy will be really significant.
The main reason for bedding is to relieve the developed stress after shooting. It is mandatory for the action to revert back to its original place after every shot. Otherwise, there will be a slight deviation after each shot. This will eventually result in the bending of the barrel.
The stress reduction will increase the stability of the whole shooting process. So, relieving stress is required to get a smaller group size. Smaller group size means the rounds you’re firing are concentrated in a smaller area.
Glass bedding will fill all the gaps between the receiver and the stock. This reduces the vibration to a great extent. The reduction is a big improvement compared to a non-bedded rifle.
However, the receiver might bend when guard screws are inserted after epoxy application. Because some force is required to tighten the guard screws. This stress development can be avoided by using aluminum pillars.
In pillar bedding, the pillars are inserted after aligning them with the receiver perfectly. These pillars work as the foundations. These foundations prevent the receiver from bending while tightening the screw guards.
The next portion is applying pillar bedding epoxy. This will serve the same purpose as glass bedding.
Winner: If you’re looking for improvement in the short term, glass bedding will be enough. But in terms of stress relief pillar bedding is far superior.
Does Stock Type Affect the Bedding?
Bedding is basically done on stock and the receiver is set on top of it. So, it’s the stock that might be affected by the bedding procedure. There are various materials that can be used to make stocks
There are a few types of stocks that can be used in a rifle. They all have their pros and cons when it comes to bedding.
You might wonder if it’s possible to bed every type of stock. As the epoxy might not be compatible with every stock material. Another thing to consider is whether the stock is favorable for glass bedding or not.
We have tried to find the answer to these types of questions. Wooden and synthetic stocks are the most used stocks in rifles. Let’s try to understand the effects of bedding processes on different stocks.
Effect on Wooden Stocks
Wooden stocks are the most common stocks in rifles. Machining wooden stocks are easy as they are versatile. Preparing the surface before applying the epoxy is easy in this type of stock.
The wood gives a good hand feels and a better grip. As a result, this will be the desired stock for your rifle. Glass bedding can be done easily and perfectly on the wooden stock.
However, the problem occurs if you want to do pillar bedding. The force required while machining might rupture the wooden stock. You’ll need to be cautious while setting it on the vice too.
Otherwise, there might be some scratches on the outer surface of the stock. We recommend putting some packaging paper between the vice and the stock.
Also, it’s tough to match the exact texture of the wooden stock by applying dye. Though it won’t affect the performance, it’ll ruin the aesthetics.
Effect on Synthetic Stocks
Synthetic stocks are a bit tricky when it comes to glass bedding. Materials such as kevlar or fiberglass are comparatively easier to bed.
The problem occurs when you try to bed other types of synthetic stocks. The epoxy might not stick well to the plastic materials.
Synthetic stocks need some preparation before bedding as well. You’ll need to make the barrel free-floating before starting the bedding process.
Try filing the fore-end of the stock. Run a one-dollar bill between the stock and the barrel. If it moves freely then the barrel is free-floated. If not, file a bit more.
You’ll need to score the surface of the stock and create some bunch of notches. This will help the epoxy to stick with the synthetic stock.
However, the uncertainty of the epoxy sticking to the stock is a huge concern. To eliminate this problem aluminum bedding blocks are included in some synthetic stocks. They are affordable and no bedding is required.
So, you should ask yourself, is bedding synthetic stock worth it? Considering the uncertainty, buying a synthetic stock with a bedding block is better. You don’t have to go through the hassle of preparing the stock as well.
Here are some suggestions of the stocks that we tried-
|Hogue 15803 Stock||It’ll fit a Howa 1500/Weatherby long-action with standard barrel. It’s also included with a full bedding block.||Check Price|
|Hogue 70831 OverMolded Stock||Remington 700 BDL Long Action will fit perfectly with it. This comes with pillar bedding as well.||Check Price|
|Hogue 70203 Rubber OverMolded Stock||Remington 700 Long Action Barrel fits with this stock. Standard Barrel will also fit with this and the bedding block is a plus.||Check Price|
The mentioned stocks are all tested and recommended by reputed gunsmiths. So, you’re welcome to choose any according to your rifle and budget.
So Which Type of Bedding Should You Go for?
Now, you’ve reached a point to make the decision. We’ve discussed all the pros and the cons to make your decision easier.
Now, glass bedding requires less effort and gives a basic accuracy boost. On the other hand, pillar bedding requires more effort. But it’ll enhance the accuracy by a significant margin.
The amount of stress relieved by the insertion of pillars is quite marvelous. But the insertion of the pillars increases the cost in the pillar bedding process.
So, if you want short-term improvement in reduced cost, go with glass bedding. But if you want a massive improvement in accuracy, we recommend pillar bedding. The extra cost is justified by the output you’ll receive.
What does free floating a rifle barrel mean?
The free-floating barrel is a design of a firearm. It’s normally used in precision rifles. It helps in the process of accurizing rifles. It’s a design where the stock and the barrel do not touch at any point.
What kind of wood is used for a rifle stock?
Walnut is the most used kind of wood in rifle stock. It is the most favored wood for the production of the stock. Along with this myrtle, birch, maple is also used to make rifle stocks.
How thick should rifle bedding be?
The bedding initially should be at least 1/8 inches thick. This is a must where the rifle will experience the most force while recoiling. Pillar bedding and action screws are strong enough to withstand the stress developed.
Fixing the accuracy of your rifle is important. We understand choosing the right type of bedding procedure can be a hassle. We have gathered everything we could on glass bedding vs pillar bedding. Usually, pillar bedding is the way to go for a long-term solution.
Hopefully, we could help you in choosing the right process for bedding your rifle. If you are still facing some problems, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Stay blessed and stay safe! Godspeed!