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Old 04-24-2013, 03:44 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140
Default Bedding the M1A rifle using a coat hanger + rear pillar

Updated on 11/10/17

Tried to restore all the pics and move hosting from photobucket to imgur.

The following is a pic heavy & write up of bedding a Springfield M1A rifle using a regular coat-hanger to establish barrel tension. I typically used the "donut" fixture but wanted to try the coat hanger
method. I will loosely chronicle my bedding a new Springfield Super Match / rear lug receiver that is NOT threaded (yet) and pillar bed it into a McMillan stock.

This also give you an idea what is involved in bedding a McMillan stock and the work involved to fit it correctly.

Lets get started-

1) New never fired M1A Super match rifle~

2) A McMillan M14 stock.

The Mac stock I lucked into finding. I called McMillan and they had one "left over" in forest green color and factory inletted for my rear lug receiver.
I am guessing that Mac does not get a lot of orders for rear lug inletted stocks so it was my lucky day.

Note~ You will need a new stock ferrule, the MAC stock does NOT come with one so order one now unless you have one already

Out of the box / factory inletting-

Finish work for the McMillan stock is proper bedding and attachment of the front ferrule (VERY IMPORTANT), front sling attachment (easy) and butt plate install. The butt plate needs to be fitted a little. The stock has some of the stock filler spilled over into the recess where the butt plate sits. There was also some parting line glass from the mold halves that needed cleaned up. This is easily done with a hand file. I will set up and drill the angle hole for the rear sling attachment later. I drilled 2 holes for stainless steel screws to attach the front sling retainer. The opposite side of that will be milled out and a square piece of key stock ( 5/16 ) will be drilled & tapped and inserted into the slot.

Butt stock cleaned up a little~

Holes (I) drilled for front sling attachment~

Rear Hardware~

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:45 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

Front Ferrule~

This is an important item and consider it part of your foundation, if its screwed up count on problems down the road. McMillan does an EXCELLENT job on their stocks and in letting.
That being said we are all human and it warrants checking your stock for straightness, channel fit and squareness. No hurry and make sure its right before moving on.
I modded a standard stock ferrule to "NM" style with the added clearance. Some may make it larger or a different shape but the main task is clearance around the gas cylinder AND that its parallel and level to the stock once mounted. I modded my ferrule then steel bedded it after trial fit and checking for alignment. Once cured over night I used a hand file (rat-tail) to clear the stock and even it up with the steel ferrule. Cosmetics & clearance for your gas cylinder.

Stock front with pencil marks where to open up ~

Modified Front~

This covers most of the stock initial fitting and whats needed to move on....

Once you have your stock hardware wrapped up you need to test fit your action in the stock. You want to make sure nothing is binding and you have clearance for bedding material where you want and need it. Since I am NOT using the trigger group to hold the action in place I want to make sure the alignment is correct that it WILL go together after bedding.

Front ferrule seated and action fits with no binding~

With the clearance you made in the front ferrule you should be able to wiggle / move around the gas cylinder up & down and side to side.
You do NOT want it rubbing or binding. Its fully seated and not sticking out or forward.

Action fits and trigger group lines up~

Test for mechanical function of hammer & trigger. You want to make sure the hammer does not follow the bolt forward when the bolt closes while the trigger is held to the rear. If it does your trigger group is likely to far away from the bolt. If so you need to remove material from the stock where the trigger group seats.

Per Mr.Gus Fisher (M14 Expert):

Take a pair good dial calipers and put them inside the stock. You measure from the two small bedding surfaces for the rear of the trigger housing up to the top of the stock where the receiver heel sits. This distance on an M1 Garand or M14 is supposed to be NO MORE than 1.725" and may be as little as 1.700". On some Armscorp's and LRB receivers I have run across, I had to bring this distance down to 1.690" because parts of the receiver were not to spec. If the distance is OVER 1.725", then you have to cut/par a little wood off the two small bedding surfaces in the stock for the rear of the trigger housing, until the distances 1.725" or less.


This next one is a little hard to describe and understand. Take the trigger group out the stock and look at the stock between the two small bedding surfaces for the rear of the trigger housing. There is a groove between those two small bedding pads in the stock. Look for an indentation at the front of that groove. The indentation comes from the trigger hitting the stock when this groove is not cut high enough and does not allow the trigger to move enough so the sear can reset. It is easier to see the indent on a wood stock, though you may not see it on a wood or fiberglass stock. Put a little grease on the back of the trigger where it is just above the bottom of the trigger housing. There is a sort of a triangular shape there and grease the top of the triangle. Put the trigger housing back in the rifle and dry fire it a few times and then take the trigger housing out. If there is a grease spot left on the stock between the two small bedding pads, you have to cut at least the front of the groove higher so the trigger does not hit it.

Now that I am satisfied that my action fits correctly I did find one detail on my receiver that needed correction IMHO. My rear lug had VERY sharp edges on all 4 sides of the rear lug. This is similar to holding a chisel against the nice Devcon epoxy you are putting around it, not good. A few minutes on a 3M Beartex wheel gave me nice corner radii that leaves a nice round corner in your bedding. I will re-blue it later.

No threaded rear hole in lug.....yet.

Stock SHARP rear lug (BAD IMHO)~

The way it should have left the factory~ Smooth radius

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:46 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

Once I fixed this little issue its time to layout your stock. Get a SHARP lead pencil and put your action into your stock. Use the sharp pencil to trace around your receiver on the top surface of the stock. Once you do this remove your action and use painters tape to tape close to the line. This just makes cleaning up excess epoxy easier and keeps it off the stock.
I either use the trigger group or my fixture to hold it in place while doing the layout work.


Traced Outline~

Painters Tape~ Keeps Devcon off of stock

I also applied tape to the forearm top surface where the coat hanger makes contact and the sides which I used a Sharpie marker & marked the location I will place the wire. I am using .090 diameter wire and the next thing is to test fit it and see how the action lies. I used a new piece of coat hanger and positioned it where I marked on the stock for a test fit.

Wire up front~

Rear or heel of action with the wire up front~

I tried a few different diameters of wire and for my barrel the .090 or larger is what I needed. This will be a rear pillar / rear lug gun when finished. I will use a clamping fixture to hold the action in
place while the bedding cures. Note that with a new piece of coat hanger wire all that is needed is hand pressure to seat the heel of the action to the stock. My fixture is just a piece of threaded rod bent like a "J" that hooks the action and a wing nut to snug it down. I am simply using hand pressure and NO WRENCH.

When I mentioned above that .090 wire is what I needed this is based off of the desired or target heel height of 1/2" above the stock for the correct amount of tension or pre-load.
I have tried a few versions of using straight wire and slightly bending one before inserting and seating the barrel and both end up sitting about the same heel height. If I bend a "V" in the wire it centers up nice. I like using a virgin straight wire and just seating my action. Since this is my 1st wire bedding job others with experience can chime in.


Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:47 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

Pull down fixture~

I prefer to use this method to pull down the receiver Vs using the trigger group.
I can control the force better using it and zero chance of having my trigger group stuck in place from Devcon.

In place~

I am pretty happy with how everything aligns and fits thus far.... A little more prep work.

These are the basic tools needed , minus a couple minor things I will mention. The picture sums it up. I am using Devcon steel putty. I personally like it the best of several I have used in the past. The Devcon steel putty stays where you put it and does not run. Its mechanical properties are excellent and its my 1st choice for bedding material. There are many others that I am sure work well but Devcon is my personal favorite. I have a new 1lb container and a partial container that is sitting next to the unopened one. You want to have enough epoxy to cover everything preferable in one shot. I have seen people do it in stages so what works for you is your call. I scribed a line in the rear lug pocket on the stock about 1/2" deep from the top. This is how far my rear lug projects on the receiver. Everything under that scribe mark and around it will be solid epoxy and a pillar through it at one point. I will need about a shot glass or more quantity just eyeballing the volume + whats needed to "butter" the horseshoe on top and around the receiver lugs and front section. Its better to have extra than not enough.

A picture is worth 1000 words, hopefully not all swearing....

My receiver is almost ready to go. I already cleaned it and removed the oil and any dirt. I filled the potential problems area's with plumbers putty. I am not sure what its made of but I have a container that is old enough to vote and its unchanged. Like a soft batch cookie I found cleaning the refrigerator whatever they put in there keeps it soft forever, spooky. My rear lug had a void that epoxy could seep through. I filled the entire void with plumbers putty. Its just roughed in now and I will smooth it up before applying the release agent. I use the "old reliable" KIWI neutral shoe polish. I use my fingers and rub ALL the exposed metal on the receiver inside and out, TWICE. I use a Q-tip rolled in polish to get the corners and places my sausage finger cant reach. You can see the milling / cutter marks on the sides of my receiver. These only appear bad and are more cosmetic than any issue to worry about. If you had any large voids I would fill them with plumbers putty or at a minimum hit it with release agent well. I have never had any problems using 2 coats of release agent on reasonable smooth surfaces.

Once I get a block of time I can be sure I will not be interrupted (IMPORTANT) I will mix epoxy and throw down the mud (Devcon).

The other items that are handy are a good supply of Q-tips, paper towels and liquid WD-40. Once I mix the Devcon and get it ready to apply I have my stock and action already in stand by. I will spread the Devcon to cover all areas that I want bedding material. Once this is done I will position my NEW .090 diameter coat hanger wire under the barrel and insert the action into the stock but not fully seated just yet. I have my clamping fixture at hand and ready. I will squeeze the action down to the stock by hand then attach my clamping fixture and snug the wing nut. Position the action the same way as your test fit. At this point you are basically done bedding and now you start cleaning up. Some guys like to wait 20 minutes or so but I am careful not to move the barreled action or disturb it. I start wiping the excess Devcon off with Q-tips, lots of them. Once you get the bulk off use the WD-40 on a Q-tip to clean up any excess on the stock and smooth the squeeze out areas. Under the stock by the receiver legs I just smooth the excess and will clean it up on the mill or use a dremel tool depending how fancy I want to be. You have a generous window to work before the Devcon sets up but its good to have your materials at hand. Get a trash can and ditch the cell phone.

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:48 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

I added a little more plumbers putty to exposed areas of my receiver ( just in case). I smoothed out the putty and applied Kiwi clear shoe polish (release agent) to all exposed receiver metal inside and out. I rolled a Q-Tip in the clear Kiwi and hit all crevices, twice. Set action action aside and its ready to go in a few minutes.

Check the stock one more time.... Blew out the bedding area with air hose to remove any dust or loose junk.... laid out my coat hanger pieces with a few spares, never know.....

Devcon measured~

Mixed and ready to apply~

I spend about 5 minutes mixing the Devcon. I have about X2 the amount needed but too much epoxy is better than not enough. Once mixed I let it sit a few minutes then started putting it on / in the stock. I started with the rear pocket / horseshoe area followed by the top surfaces then the sides. You have generous working time so no need to panic. I mix it smoothly and try not to whip it up and get air trapped in the Devcon. You are mixing epoxy, not making butter.

Quantity wise I have around 3 shot glasses (volume) of Devcon mixed up and that was more than enough.
You can "paint" the inside fiberglass surfaces of the stock with the extra. I always set some aside and make sure it cures correctly.

Now that I have epoxy in hopefully all the right places its time to insert the action into the stock. I stand the stock up vertical and hook the gas cylinder metal onto the stock ferrule and let its weight pull down. I lower the action towards the stock and stop above it. Its at this point I insert a new piece of coat hanger on the mark I made on the stock. Now I gently guide the action into the stock and let is settle down. At this point I scrape the obvious excess Devcon away from the lug area and drop it in the trash.

Once I wipe any major Devcon away I squeeze by hand the heel of the action firmly to the stock. I now attach my clamping / holding fixture and tighten.

The bedding is now done for better or for worse. If you did your prep well you have nothing to worry about but I still do just a little.

My front wire is in the same place as my test fit and all looks well.

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:49 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

Clean up time----

Once you place the action into the Devcon you should have a lot of squeeze out. You WANT squeeze out because that means you should have 100% contact.
Applying the Devcon to the stock AND the action helps to get 100% contact.

I start the clean up by wiping away the excess Devcon with dry Q-Tips. I do this over a trash can to wipe and drop. I use a LOT of tips to my wife's dismay....

Try to NOT move or disturb the barrel or action from this point on.
I prefer not to move it around but you can if you are careful. If moved handle by the stock , NOT the barrel or action.

Start wiping with dry Q-Tips~

When you get most of the Devcon off use Q-Tips soaked in WD-40 to clean up the remainder of the Devcon. Rub a wet Q-tip on the action and along where the stock and receiver meet to smooth out the Devcon line. Wet tip followed by dry one until clean. When you think its clean take a 5 minute break then come back and look again. Seems there is always a little more you find with fresh eyes. I focus on the receiver metal #1 and the contact point between stock and receiver a lesser degree. Believe me it cleans up a lot easier and faster while the Devcon is not cured (wet) with WD-40 Vs. cleaning it off your action when the Devcon is dry. It can be done but is slower and SUCKS. Ask me how I know this.....

For inside the receiver I use a small scraper and scrape away any major excess Devcon squeeze out and ignore the rest. Once the stock and action are separated I can better clean up.
I will leave it set over night / 24 hours then remove the action (fingers crossed).

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:50 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

Here is the action removed from the last Devcon bedding from my above post. I did some minor clean up but am NOT finished. I am not satisfied with the area above the left action lug and I have a small void to fill near the front / top surface. I will likely skim bed the "legs" of the receiver. I did mill clearance for the mags catch and clearance for the roll pin retainer.

I have more hand work to blend and make it pretty.

Can you tell its a Springfield??

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:51 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

I can skim bed the receiver "legs" and that will give me something to keep busy on. Right now I need some 1/4-28 Stainless steel socket head cap screws X 1 1/2" long (Ordered). This will be the screw I use for the rear lug. Right now my rear lug is NOT tapped. I will wait until I have the screw in my hand to measure and machine a pillar.Since I can position it (pillar) where I want I will center the hole near the back side of the trigger groups slot. I will set the stock up in the mill and indicate it in then drill a 1/4" hole through. Once through I will insert the action into the stock and use a 1/4" transfer punch to transfer a mark on the rear lug where to drill and tap my 1/4-28 hole. Once this is done I can machine a pillar and put the stock back in the mill and counter-bore a pocket to accept my pillar. I will make the pillar from stainless steel and Devcon it in place flush with the surface the trigger group rests on.

This is how much space you have for a pillar~

Adding the thickness of the lug means I want a fastener 1 1/2" which I can shorten for clearance. I will drill the hole through the lug.

A side by side of what Devcon covers........

As received-

Mudded up with Devcon~

Looks different now~

My tooling arrived so back on topic~

I was held up by needing some stainless steel screws and a new 1/4-28 tap.Since I am taking a slight detour from completing the bedding ( I needed to remove the action to layout the rear lug position) and machine the correct hole and counter-bore in the stock I will complete these then finish my bedding. I like stainless steel hardware. Its virtually maintenance free and you really do not need to do much for it or to it. A note about stainless steels~ If a magnet sticks to it, it can stain or rust becasue it contains iron. 300 series stainless steels are non-magnetic, will not rust and will likely outlive any owner. Gun series stainless like 17-4 can be heat treated for additional strength at the trade off of corrosion resistance.

My 1/4-28 socket head cap screws are 300 series and non-magnetic. I also needed a new tap. I prefer OSG / Greenfield taps. Use good tooling for good results.

Now that I have the screws that will anchor my rear lug I can machine a pillar / bushing for it that mounts in the stock area under the trigger group.

The Bushing / Pillar machine~

And with the magic of time you get a new stainless steel bushing / pillar-

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:52 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

Now that I have a bushing / pillar and screw in hand I can machine the stock. I set up my stock in my milling machine and I indicated it in ( aligned ) using the factory McMillan inletting cuts. I am trusting them that the factory cuts are parallel to their rear lug pocket. I used a dial indicator and indicated off of the flats so they are square and parallel. I kept the bedding tape on my stock and used paper between the vise jaws to protect the stock finish. Once I got it positioned I then used an edge finder or "wiggler" if you are a toolmaker type to find the center line of the slot and set that as zero on my digital read out. Positioning the bushing the other way I eyeballed it closer to the rear of the gun but NOT to cut into the pistol grip area when counter-bored.

Dial indicator in use~

Once indicated in you use a center drill / spot drill to accurately start the hole then drill through using a 1/4" or .250 drill bit.

Once you drill the hole through you remove the drill and I used a 1/2" endmill to counter-bore the "pocket" for the pillar / bushing. Doing it now means its centered the perpendicular to the thru hole.

If you measured correctly your bushing will fit flush and be straight as an arrow.

Bushing test fit (Ignore the Devcon )

See if the screw fits......

Flipping the stock over the hole I drilled through is centered up pretty well and that was a concern. If I did not have the stock positioned correctly the hole would have ended up somewhere unfavorable to me. Some drill from both sides but I am using this hole to position the rear lug tapped hole I will drill and tap shortly. I will insert the action into the stock then use a 1/4" transfer punch to mark the hole location. I basically will slide the transfer punch in the 1/4" hole i drilled then strike it with a hammer to transfer a punch mark where I will drill & tap the 1/4-28 hole in the rear lug.

(That is IF I can find my 1/4 " transfer punch)

Once I have the rear lug tapped I will then finish bedding around the receiver "legs" and actually torque the rear lug / pillar bolt to assist. I have to do some reading to see what the "popular" or correct torque value should be.

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:53 AM
cal50 cal50 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 140

In the final stretch now......

Tonight its "Tap the lug" night. After I get a threaded hole in the right spot I can then do the final bedding on my rifle and wrap it up.For those that do not know what a transfer punch is you shall see.... A transfer punch is a precision center punch. Its designed to slide inside a hole and transfer the center point to the surface on the other end. In my case I drilled the hole thru from the bottom of my Mac stock into the rear lug area ( .250 / 1/4" diameter). I wanted to then insert my action into the stock then use the transfer punch to mark where I drill and tap the real lug mounting hole. It worked out pretty good but not perfect. IMHO if I ever do another one I will drill the hole from both ends and meet in the middle.

After measuring the side to side position the transfer punch mark was .030 off center. Since I do not want to purposely drill a hole off center on my receiver I will add clearance to the thru hole in the stock. I had planned to open it up anyway but it bothers me when things are not what I planned.

I will open up both sides and equal amount and blend.

A Transfer punch~

Punch in hole~

Business end~

How you "transfer" the mark~

Once you get the punch mark on the receiver you can then accurately drill the 1/4-28 tapped hole. You set up the receiver as before by indicating it in so its level and square. I use a piece of reamer blank ground to a sharp point. It's this sharp point I use to position it to the punch mark on the receiver I made with the transfer punch. I only have to align it one direction becasue I used my edge finder or wiggler to find the center of the lug off of the receiver. If you have a keen eye you can get it within or under .005. You put the the pointed blank in the spindle and crank the table around to center it. Once I find the center I zero my readout on the mill. I already have the correct drill, tap, center drill and chamfer tool laid out. Always double check your tap drill size BEFORE drilling the hole. Also its good to have only the correct tooling at hand so no mix up. Don't ask me how I know this....

Center Drill~

Hole drilled and chamfered~

Tapping the hole~

I always start my tap's while its in the machine,they are ALWAYS straight this way. I start them by hand then remove and hand tap, less chance to break a tap when done by hand. In the pic I use a spring loaded tool in the spindle to keep pressure on the tap handle and start it by hand for a few full threads. Use a good cutting / tapping fluid. The Springfield receiver machined up nice and I can tell the steel is of a good quality becasue of the cutting chips produced.

If all goes well you get a mounting hole that will last past my lifetime.

Its a Springfield with a tapped lug ?....but Springfield never made any.....

Not show was trimming the 1/4-28 stainless steel screw to the proper length. I just slipped it in the stock with my bushing (under the trigger guard) and let it stick thru into the rear lug bedded pocket. My rear lug measures 3/8" thick so the screw should not stick up more than 3/8" or it could be a problem with your bolt travel. I needed to trim and chamfer about .190 thousandths from the thread length and re-chamfer.

I test fit everything again by putting my action into the stock and tightening down the rear pillar and it works without binding or surprises, need to re-blue the rear lug radius.

Now I can go back and do the final finish bedding of my rifle and re-blue the radius I put on the real lug corners.

Last edited by cal50; 11-10-2017 at 02:13 PM.
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