Pillar Bedding. What is it and why do I need it?

By Damon Cali

Posted on March 23, 2011 at 10:59 AM

A typical bolt action rifle is attached to its stock by two or three action screws. The screws are inserted from the bottom of the action, up through the trigger guard and stock, and threaded into the rifle's action. Tighten them up, and you're good to go. Almost.

Tightening the action screws down generates a pretty severe amount of clamping force on your stock, which is probably made of wood or some sort of composite material like fiberglass. It is not unusual for the clamping force from a 1/4" screw to be over 1000 pounds. Over time, the stock material under pressure will actually flow or "creep" out of the way, reducing the clamping force of your action screws. From the moment you tighten your action screws, your stock is slowly loosening its grip on your barreled action. Bad for accuracy.

It turns out that metal doesn't creep like wood or fiberglass. But since we can't make the whole stock out of metal, we do something just as good and a whole lot lighter. Pillar bedding. We insert little metal tubes (aluminum or steel - it doesn't matter) around the action screws and glue them securely to the stock. Now, your action screws are clamping metal on metal - the way things ought to be.

If you're going to go to the expense of having your rifle bedded properly, do yourself a favor and have some pillars installed. It's a simple job that will help keep your rifle shooting consistently.

Damon Cali is the creator of the Bison Ballistics website and a high power rifle shooter currently living in Nebraska.