Here is described inletting of a semi-inletted stock for an average bolt action
design. Some rifles require additional inletting not described below.
Following these procedures should equip you for other inletting tasks.
You will need
a small assortment of files, perhaps a small wood chisel, the barreled action
and the semi-inletted stock. Having some inletting black may help. It can be
found at such outlets as
. A dremel tool may be helpful at certain spots if used with great care and at
slow speed. Remove the bolt, trigger guard and magazine. Along with action
bolts, set these parts aside. They will not be needed for some time.
The first objective is to get the action to fit far enough into the inletting
for the barrel to contact and lay
upon the barrel channel. At that point the barrel and action inletting can
slowly be worked alternating between the two until the action appears that it
would fully seat if the barrel could drop far enough into its channel. There
can be some friction but do not force action into inletting as that may crack
the thin walls of the side wood. Later all friction must be removed for the
rifle to shoot with precision. If the barrel is not centered on the channel use
inletting black to locate and remove wood stress points at the action. Do not
fashion barrel channel until action is true with channel, otherwise barrel will
run off center of stock.
Study the current extent of inletting at the action area well before removing
any wood. Chances are you will have to remove at least a little from all sides
and a bit more in some areas. Remove small amounts of wood at a time equally
from all sides and check fit until the bottom of action begins to fit into the
stock. Once you get this far inletting black can help identify wood that needs
removal. Use the black very sparingly applying it only to parts of action
that, so far, will fit into the stock.
Use a sanding block on the side walls of action inletting and keep it flat
against them. Do likewise with any filing you may have to do. This will
prevent the top of the walls from becoming too thin or rounded. It is
important to keep it crisp because at this area of stock very little wood can
be removed for correction and if rounded or too thin it will show as a sloppy
Bed wood may well have to be lowered in order for action to seat far enough
into inlet. Judge this by how far the barrel is allowed to drop into barrel
channel. The barrel should be allowed to drop to or close to its diameter
(half way). Though, it is equally important that the barrel not be allowed to
drop past its diameter (more than half way). You will not know if bed wood
will have to be shaved from action inletting until barrel channel inletting is
far enough along. If it becomes necessary a small wood chisel should be used,
removing very little wood before checking fit.
Partial Top View of Barrel and Action Inletting
Keep flat of stock top sharp where it drops into barrel and action inletting.
is to be installed it is best to do it before inletting the barrel channel.
Once the action is inletted to the extent that when installed the barrel rests
on the grove of barrel channel, the channel can be enlarged. Find something
cylindrical to use as a sanding form (I hesitate to call it a sanding block
is round). I have used ink pens. A short piece of steel rod found at hardware
stores is great. What ever it is it must be smaller in diameter,
including sand paper
than the barrel is at for-end tip. If it is, with paper attached, as large in
diameter as barrel you will get rounded edges that can not be corrected because
of the large gap that would be left between barrel and top of stock.
As explained above, fashion your channel such that the barrel will seat
more, into stock when rifle is assembled. Slightly less is permissable. More
than half will cause a large gap between wood and metal since the stock will be
above barrel axis. Also, glass bedding will wrap around barrel diameter and
seize it to stock. To a small extent, and it depends upon the amount of wood
your stock can sacrifice, such problem can be resolved by working excess wood
down to midpoint of barrel and action. In such case watch that forearm remains
functionally massive enough for comfortable shooting control and that tang is
not dropped so far as to cause thinning in wrist area of stock.
Top View of Stock
Start out with about a 120 grit paper, courser if needed. Cut a square to wrap
around the sanding form. Sand the grove with the cylindrical sanding form
it. Periodically fit the barrel to check your work. If the barrel has a taper,
such as sporter rifles do and bench rifles may not, you will have to widen the
grove to match the contour. Applying downward side pressure as you sand will
do that. Take care to match the contour of the barrel as you sand. To help
prevent unwanted rounding of edges, cut the channel deep enough to allow side
pressure without cutting too high on the channel. When deep enough that a
sanding block, such as a gum eraser, can be used do so to finish the
contour without rounding its edge. Be careful not to cut too deeply at for-end
tip as that will show as a nonuniform gap.
Inletting for the recoil lug will probably already be deep enough. With
inletting black applied to bottom of recoil lug, check to see if lug bottoms
out. If so, careful use of a dremel tool set to
speed can be used to remove very little wood at a time until lug clears the
bottom of inletting. If you know you will not be glass bedding the stock, care
should be taken not to remove wood from back of recoil lug inletting. This is
the flat closest to butt end of stock, the surface which transfers recoil to
the shoulder and helps to keep rifle consistent in position relative to its
anchor points at the stock.
When finished inletting, the barreled action should drop into the stock with no
wood causing it stress and no high spots in barrel channel, recoil lug recess,
or action area.
Floor Plate/Trigger Guard
Trigger guard inletting will most likely also be undersized. The lines will be
correct, or close, so that all that is needed is to enlarge the inletting.
This is done with sand paper. The original inletting will be centered with
stock bottom and action inletting so take care to remove equal amounts of wood
from opposite sides. Wood can be removed at front of receiver bolt hole and at
rear of tang bolt hole with a slow speed dremel and sanding wheel. Remove
minute amounts and check for a glove fit. As always, keep edges sharp.
If there is no floor plate, the wood bedding of the trigger guard can be
shallowed with a small wood chisel until action and trigger guard can be
properly assembled. If there is a floor plate the assembly may not seat fully
into inletting until the outside is shaped. This is because the hinged plate
may be wider than the magazine inletting. Keeping the plate opened or removed
will allow you to complete inletting before shaping the stock.
Deepen wood bedding enough to allow full threading of guard bolts when rifle
is assembled. Do not allow threads of bolt to extend into receiver or through
the tang. Doing so can cause bolt damage and danger. If too much bed wood is
removed the guard will have to be raised with glass bedding before shaping the
stock. Often check for proper assembly as you deepen the bedding.
Bolt Handle Recess
When finished, inletting will follow contour of bolt handle in width and depth.
It will be deep at top and converge with stock face as dropped bolt handle
extends out of the wood.
If the machined stock came with any inletting at bolt recess, widen it a little
at a time until handle begins to snuggly drop into it. If there is no
inletting use a sharp pencil to mark were handle contacts top of stock and
start the cut inside the marks, keeping the initial grove narrow. Deepen and
widen very small amounts of inletting at a time, slowly working down the stock
face with small flat files for sides, which will be flat and sharp, and sanding
block for bottom. Often check fit with rifle assembled (guard bolts
installed). Keep the fit snug until bolt will lock into the closed position.
If the bolt handle is round (most are) at the point it exits the inletting,
terminate the inletting with a curve (inletted area closest to bolt knob).
The lines of inletting should follow the lines of the bolt handle. Once bolt
will close, remove small amounts of wood until bolt handle no longer touches
wood on sides or bottom when dropped into closed position. This will prevent
stress on the bolt handle which could stress the bolt, bolt face, cartridge and
action, causing precision to suffer. It takes very little clearance to achieve
this with reliability, so leave no obvious and unsightly gaps as you relieve the
bolt handle. Finish sand to 400 grit.
Partial Side View of Right Handed Remington 700 - Bolt Handle and Ejection
Top View of Ejection Port cut out
This step can be performed anytime after inletting is complete but does not
have to wait until glass or pillar bedding has been performed. The stock
should be fully inletted and completely assembled, guard bolts installed but
minus the bolt. With a sharp pencil outline the ejection cut out onto the
receiver side of the wood. The stock came cut for this but no doubt undersized.
Disassemble rifle. Use small files, round for corners if corners are round and
flat for the bottom and sides. Uniformly cut to
of pencil marks. Reassemble rifle minus the bolt. Mask all metal close to work
with tape so as not to scar. Cut sides of port 90 degrees, perpendicular with
receiver. Cut the bottom to match the angle of receiver rail. An example is
the model 700 slopes slightly downward, as shown above. The slope at bottom
should taper through the two corners, not before corners, and become 90 degrees
of stock face for the two sides. When not much wood is needed to remove,
disassemble rifle and remove masking tape from receiver. Remove only small
amounts of wood with sanding block only, periodically reassembling to check.
The dimension and angles of port should match that of the receiver. Finish
sand to 400 grit.