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Free floated barrel versus fully bedded barrel

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Free floated barrel versus fully bedded barrel

Postby redleg37 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:52 am


I watched the sniper 101 series of videos on youtube this week and I have been thinking about barrel harmonics a lot. I also read the thread on the barrel shroud a member here made for their mosin by filling a pipe around the barrel with hydrostone.

I understand conventional wisdom seems to be to free float most barrels to allow them to flex with their harmonics not influenced by the stock in any way; what I don't understand is why people don't just bed the entire barrel length.

In my mind it makes more sense; assuming you have a synthetic, metal, or laminate stock that is not subject to environmental changes. If the barrel is completely bedded I would guess that pressure from your support hand wouldn't really effect your barrel harmonics.

The sniper 101 videos mentioned that the length between the end of the barrel and the last bedded part of the action could effect the severity of barrel harmonics effect on your bullet travel. I figure if you glass bed the entire barrel length you minimize this distance and thus minimize the effect on your bullet path.

Can someone help explain this to me? I cant help but think a fully properly bedded barrel would be better than a free floated barrel from a harmonics stand point.
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Re: Free floated barrel versus fully bedded barrel

Postby holescreek » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:14 pm

There are a lot of considerations that go into the equation, one of which is the size and shape of the barrel. A .8" diameter barrel is 300% more rigid than a .6" diameter barrel of the same caliber. Barrels move around for a lot of reasons, some good some bad. My suggestion to you is create two stock sets with one free floated and the other fully bedded and see which one performs best for you.

Ive spent the last couple years building and testing different theories while recording the rifles with a high speed camera.
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Re: Free floated barrel versus fully bedded barrel

Postby jaysny87 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:07 pm

i was reading about this a while back. I read that it was common in the 50s for gunsmiths to try to inlet the barrel channels on hunting rifle stocks to make as close to 100% contact as possible. Thinking was this would help accuracy. When synthetic bedding compounds first became popular in the 60s guys were using them to do the same thing. after that folks discovered the benefits of free floating. and then many stared to only bed the action and the chamber area. now if you look at a lot of the chassis guys use they make no contact what so ever with the barrel or even the chamber area. Mainly free floating guarantees consistency which goes hand in hand with accuracy. with bedding the barrel channel for 100% contact the harmonics could change based on how hard you torque your action screws or even when your barrel heats up the metal expands(making for a tighter fit than your first few shots). those problems are eliminated when you free float. even if you get a lot of whip with a free float it should be consistent whip. When you hand load you find your nodes and control the whip.
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