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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bedding a Hakim (Instructions)

This is a continuation in the saga of Bubba’s squirrel gun
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?t=5710
The Extreme Hakim Sniper Rifle!

Now that cold weather is here, it’s time to finish up the odds and ends on this field artillery piece that have been keeping it from complete success.
Problems already addressed in the previous thread include the off center muzzle brake cap and secure scope mounting.

As previously mentioned, the Extreme Hakim is an absolutely awesome sniper rifle with the ability to whack a golf ball at 250yds with deadly first shot accuracy cold out of the case. The problem has been in maintaining that consistency after twenty or thirty rounds when it starts to heat up and loosen up.

Moving on to the stock and the bedding project:

One problem that has remained consistent since the start, the point of impact will change elevation as the gun warms up. Given that the scope mount is now solid as a rock, I traced this problem down to a change in torque in the three screws securing the trigger group to the receiver.
Close examination of the receiver and the trigger assembly reveals that both have quite a bit of give to them and are very springy along the horizontal axis. Whether this was intentional or not, if you take your time tightening down the screws, you will find that you can actually see the trigger group piece bend and tighten down against the wood. The thin side rails of the receiver also appear to have some flex.
While this may be totally irrelevant to iron sights, as they are mounted farther ahead on the non-moving solid front of the receiver, the side mounted scope is going to shift up and down no matter how solid the mount as the receiver rails flex. This rapidly translates into an elevation shift as the angle of the scope changes with the changing angle of the receiver rails. This may be only 1mm different but on a 32X scope, it can cause a 2’ drop in elevation!

This rifle came minus the spring wire locks for the screws. Bubba probably had no idea what they were for and threw them away. I have not replaced them as, with proper torque applied to the screws, the slots don’t line up anyway.
This torque problem became an issue as the screws gradually loosen up after about 20 rounds and the point of impact shifts on the scope. A quick re-torque of the screws brings it right back on target. It does point out that exact torque of all three screws must be maintained.
If you closely study the design of this rifle, it is marvelously sophisticated and was way ahead of its time period!
Note that the barrel is totally free floating and has no contact with the stock from the very front of the receiver all the way out. While it may contact the front bayonet lug barrel band, note that this hole slightly larger than the diameter of the barrel allowing it to move and flex within the hole (as evidenced by the ring hammered into the barrel by this action). This kind of free floating barrel mounting was very advanced for that time.

If you look at how the receiver and trigger group mount to the stock, note that there is a very small area where they actually contact the wood of the stock in the fore and aft ends. Only in this small area where the wood is compressed between the two is there any kind of substantial contact with the stock.
The small area of contact where the thin side rails of the receiver contact the inletting of the wood do not appear to have much consequence to overall support.

In the fore and aft ends that provide the major support, the wood is only 13mm (1/2”) thick.
The hole for the screw takes out a large percentage of this wood area leaving only a very small area for support.

*NOTE: When I started the process of inletting and removing wood for the epoxy, I discovered that the wood in this area was completely saturated through with oil and extremely soft and spongy. This readily explains why it was impossible to maintain solid torque on the screws as there is just all too much give to the softened wood in this area.
Carving out wood in this area was way too easy with a blade and a Dremel tip on the drill was like plowing through soft clay.

The rear end of the receiver, where it meets the stock and absorbs the impact was a different matter where the cross grain of the wood there made it hard as brick. It appeared to have been penetrated by some treatment of an unknown agent that was extremely hard even ¼” deep.
Only drilling into this area, to create a “stud” for the epoxy, did I eventually reach softer virgin wood ½” deep.
Fit of the rear end of the receiver against this portion of the stock would appear to be very important in preventing any movement on recoil.

Having discovered these little “issues” serious consideration will be given to bedding the original milsurp Hakim once success of this project can be evaluated.

The following series will be a step by step instructional review on the process as it proceeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Pillar Post Bedding:

Note that the center screw is supported by a steel sleeve or Pillar while the two end screws pass through a hole in the wood that is larger than the screws.
Having found that spongy wood in those areas, I quickly decided that they would have to get the same kind of treatment with steel pillars if there was to be any way to obtain consistent torque.
After much searching through hardware stores, I eventually found a 3/8x1/2 steel sleeve that fit the screws. The height was perfect as ½=13mm of the original pillar in the middle. Outer diameter was another matter and required ½” drill to bore out the holes through the wood.
Pillar Post bedding appears to be the most preferred method from my studies of the subject.
Given the condition of the wood in this area, it seemed the only logical choice.

MATERIALS LIST

Devcon 10110 Steel Putty epoxy
http://www.devcon.com/devconfamilyproduct.cfm?familyid=101&sr=1

Available at
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/ww...finementSearch&originalValue=Devcon&L1=Devcon
$31.60
Yep, expensive and the only size it comes in. You will have plenty left to do more bedding projects.
Devcon 10110 seems to be the most recommended epoxy for bedding from my reading on the subject. It is a non-shrink product that will set to the final dimensions without gaps or voids, is extremely hard when cured, and easily machined with file, grinding, or sandpaper.

Kiwi neutral shoe polish $3.25 and found everywhere.
This is a paraffin wax compound used as a release agent to keep the epoxy from binding to the metal parts. Wipe on, let dry, wipe off leaving a haze behind. Repeat until metal you don’t want stuck to has a visible white haze. Or, if in a hurry, smear it on and do your thing. Seems to work just as well wet! Good for filling threaded screw holes as it is easy to get out with alcohol and a Q-Tip.

Assorted wood carving tools and very small chisels
You need tools that can get into very tight spaces and shave off very small and precise amounts of wood. They need to have surgical sharp edges! This ain’t no Bubba job for a pocket knife!

Plumbers putty or modeling clay
This is used to plug and dike areas where you don’t want epoxy.
I had a tub of plumbers putty sitting around and find it works just fine for the job.

Drill bits
½” for the Pillar holes and pockets for the epoxy buttress
A size that fits the inner diameter of your Pillars for reaming.

White vinegar
Used to wipe off excess epoxy. White vinegar will dissolve and remove uncured epoxy using a paper towel dampened with it.

(3) Steel sleeve 3/8x1/2 bushings (Pillar Posts)
Found some at Tractor Supply in the nuts and bolts bins. I searched through many hardware stores before finding them there.

Large wood clamp

Toothpicks, Q-Tips, plastic plate, plastic knife
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Step 1:
Find the three steel pillars.
Bore out the holes and tap into place. They should come up flush on the bottom side of the trigger group.
Assemble the receiver and trigger group on the stock and torque down the screws.
Everything should snug up nice and tight.
This actually feels very solid and secure with the pillars in place and the screws turned down very tightly. Note that both will fit tightly and correctly against the wood.
*This may be a consideration for a milsurp Hakim even without the epoxy bedding as it is a quick and simple modification.
Tap pillars out again while removing the wood.

Step 2:

Moving on to the epoxy bedding, I decided to do this in small stages rather than any attempt to do it all at once. That was a good choice as you will run into some problem with epoxy squeezing out where you don’t want it, as with getting inside the pillars. You don’t want to solidly cement the screws into the receiver by accident and not be able to take it apart again!
The idea of headless studs to occupy the holes during this was a major objective but finding a 6Mx.75 pitch replacement screw proved a futile task. Trips through many hardware stores and I found nuts but no screw with that thread. This step can be eliminated as excess epoxy that squeezes out into the pillars can be easily reamed out with a drill bit if you coat the inside of them with Kiwi. Adequate pressure is applied with the wood clamp without need to screw the receiver and trigger group tightly into the stock.

For this step, we will remove wood from the REAR end of the receiver area.
DO NOT REMOVE wood from the upper portion of the stock where the top flange of the receiver rests as this will be the area the receiver rests on and presses against while clamped to allow the bottom epoxy area to form and set. That section will be done after the bottom is complete and cured.

How much?
The thickness of the wood between the receiver and trigger group is 13mm, same as the center steel pillar. I chose to remove 5mm of wood from either side leaving 3mm to be sandwiched in the middle with the hole as a guide for the new steel pillar. DO NOT remove wood from the bottom trigger group side until the top is finished as you need that area to hold the pillar.
Start by making a 5mm scribe to mark the area to be removed.
I made this out of a picture hook with the nail bent and sharpened so that it would ride along the raised portion and scribe a mark 5mm down.
Moving from back to front, you can clearly see the area where the two groups meet and tighten against, up to the point where there is only the thin impression from the side rails and the inletting for the trigger bar. We are only going to remove wood up to that point.
Work down from the top removing wood from the sides until you reach the scribed mark, 5mm deep.
Be careful working around the hole for the pillar as this wood can easily break out and you need that hole to keep the pillar in place until epoxy sets and holds it in there.

The most important part is the rear of the receiver where it butts up against the stock to absorb recoil. This is where you will want a solid block of epoxy fitting very snugly to the back end of the receiver.
So as not to have a big slug of epoxy showing at the rear of the receiver, I worked down and in on a 45 degree angle from top to bottom gradually removing more wood at the bottom extending the depth at the bottom about ¼” deep towards the rear of the stock.
To create an even more solid support of epoxy to buttress this area, At the bottom end of this angled cut, after removing the 5mm of wood around the pillar hole, I drilled a ½” hole ½” deep rearward into the stock to fill with a plug of epoxy.

Once all the wood is inletted to the correct depth and the rear hole is drilled, to ensure that the epoxy stays in place, work around the bottom edges with a small Dremel head cutter to cut a groove about 2mm deep into the side wood of the stock. This should provide a ridge on the epoxy block securely locking it into the stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Pics
1. rear bottom wood removed
2. rear wood removed, hole for epoxy plug drilled
3. putty plug and dike in receiver
4. epoxy application layer 1 before inserting receiver
5. clamp with wood clamp until cured
6. epoxy after curing, second application filling voids
note that this is before "dressing" with file and cleaning out the pillar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dress the pillars with a file.
These are smooth and we want them to be firmly gripped by the epoxy. Doing one half at a time, draw a coarse file across the outside to create grooves for the epoxy to adhere to. Wash with alcohol to remove any grease or dirt.

Insert pillars into holes. Assemble receiver and trigger group into stock and tighten down the screws to make sure pillars are correctly seated and everything lines up correctly. Disassemble, leaving the pillars in position.

Fill the round hole in the back of the receiver with a plug of putty slightly larger than needed.
Scrape off flat on the bottom then push the plug down with your thumb from the top. This will extend the plug downward, and in the right shape, to form a dike for the epoxy in front of the pillar. Fill and dike the area of the receiver by the trigger bar.
Fill and dike the cutouts on the right side of the stock.

Coat the exterior of the receiver with Kiwi, let dry, lightly wipe and coat again.
Use a Q-Tip to work a good quantity into the screw hole as we don’t want epoxy adhering in there! Coat the TOP portion of the stock (the flange area where the top of the receiver rests) to prevent excess epoxy sticking there. Also wipe a small amount around the rear top of the stock to make it easier to wipe off any epoxy that squeezes out there.
Swab out the inside of the pillar so epoxy won’t stick inside it.

Mix the epoxy resin and hardener. They recommend four minutes. Make sure it is well stirred together and completely mixed.
This stage will require only about ¾ of a shot glass quantity so only mix a small amount.
You will have a good hour for this to start to set up so you have plenty of time to work it.
In fact, it tends to be a little runny for a good 40 minutes so you may want to let it set up a little before applying. Soft enough to work into the hole and crevices yet firm enough to stay in place.

Apply with a plastic kitchen knife and toothpicks replacing all the wood you removed and just a bit more. Work it around to make sure you get out any air pockets and it is firmly adhering to the wood. Once you have applied what looks like just a little more than you need, let it sit for a couple minutes and make sure it is holding shape and not running or sagging.

Insert the receiver.
Press down gently until firmly seated. Excess epoxy may squeeze out around the edges.
While holding it in place, scrape and wipe off any excess with a paper towel dipped in white vinegar.
Inspect from the bottom and fill any obvious gaps and shape the epoxy on the bottom side. Remove any excess. Be sure not to get any on the bottom trigger group side.
Clamp the back end of the receiver with a large wood clamp.

Save the mixing plate with leftover epoxy and set aside.
They state that this is fully set in 2 ½ hours. Sources on bedding say to let it sit for 48-72 hours.
I found overnight or the twelve hour cure time stated in the instructions was quite adequate.
If you are in a rush, you can probably move to disassembly in four hours without problems.
Use the leftover on the mixing plate to determine when it is set and hardened.

After the appropriate cure time, remove the clamp and, holding it upside down, tap the barrel and receiver until it separates and comes out. What you should now have is a solid block of epoxy replacing the wood you removed that perfectly mates with the receiver surfaces. The pillar should be solidly set in the middle with the top flush with the receiver and the bottom flush with the wood on the trigger group side. There should be a good 1/8 excess ahead of that conforming to the shape of the putty plug in the receiver hole.
Any excess epoxy that got inside the pillar can be easily reamed out by hand with an appropriate size drill bit. It should pop out cleanly.

Examine all the epoxy surface areas for any voids or gaps. Rough edges and excess can be easily removed with a file.
Assemble the receiver and the trigger group in the stock and tighten down the screws. Everything should fit snug and flush.
Disassemble and look for any areas that have voids or do not adequately mate with the receiver.
These areas can be roughed up a little with a rat tail file or flat file. Remove any plumbers putty that occupies areas that need filling. Clean off with denatured alcohol.
You may require a secondary application of epoxy to fill these voids or build up an area that did not contact and take the impression from the receiver. This epoxy will bind to itself, just make sure the surface is clean and roughed slightly with file or sandpaper.
Mix a very small batch to patch these areas and repeat the process.
The end result should be a perfect mold of the receiver with clean and distinct shapes and edges.
The receiver will fit very snuggly into this impression when re-assembled.
Dress and clean up with a file.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Step 3
Front bottom

Using your 5mm depth scribe mark, remove wood from the front end. Complete both sides and the area where the pillar is seated. Be careful and go slowly in that area as, once again, the wood had been penetrated with oil and is very soft and spongy.
The 45 degree sloped notch where the front piece of the receiver mates is very hard cross grain.
It will be necessary to tap the chisel through with a hammer to achieve your 5mm depth.
When the slot is correctly cut out, again, bore a ½” or ¼” deep ½” diameter hole as a “plug” to anchor the epoxy.
Cut grooves with a Dremel bit around the edges to create a ridge of epoxy to anchor it.

Once all the wood is removed, insert the pillar and tap flush with the bottom side.
Assemble receiver and trigger group and firmly tighten all screws to seat the pillar in the proper position. Disassemble and apply Kiwi to all areas where you don’t want epoxy sticking and apply several coats to the receiver.
Be sure to fill the little screw hole on the front receiver lug with putty, scrape flat and then coat with Kiwi. We don’t want epoxy filling that hole.
Dike the hole ahead of this area in the stock with putty to prevent epoxy from squeezing out into it. Build a plug of putty for the magazine well area. Undoubtedly, this will have to be filed out after molding the epoxy.
Fill the areas where wood was removed with a batch of epoxy.
Clamp in place and remove any excess. Insert rear and middle screws and tighten down.

About two hours into the epoxy, when it has taken shape but is still not completely hard as evidenced by the leftover on the mixing plate, disassemble and remove the putty plug. Using a knife blade with a flat side, you can scrape excess epoxy and putty from the magazine well to create the necessary flat surfaces there. Purge the pillar of any excess that got into it.
Re-assemble, this time with the front screw and draw all three screws down tight. Let sit until completely set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Pics
1. Front bottom layer with wood removed, pillar in place
2. Putty dike in magazine well
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Step 4
Front bottom, trigger group

Remove wood with Dremel bit as the pillar is now firmly seated and held by the upper epoxy.
This is ground out with the bit around the pillar to the 5mm depth previously scribed.
Rough up the outer side of the pillar with the bit. Lube inside of pillar with Kiwi.
Fill with epoxy.
Be careful when you clamp here and only clamp on the flat part of the trigger group as the front is raised ever so slightly above the stock and you don’t want to damage the top epoxy and pillar seating. For the initial setup of the epoxy, I only clamped the trigger group at the front as it is slightly curved and springy as previously noted. The back side will stick up.
Once the epoxy is relatively set, as evidenced by the leftover on your mixing plate, remove the trigger group and pop out the excess that got into the pillar.
Re-assemble with the receiver in place and torque down all three screws.
The epoxy should have enough give at this point to compress down into the final position.
Let stand another 8 hours to set to final hardness.

Step 5

Rear bottom, trigger group

As with Step 4, remove wood with Dremel around pillar to 5mm depth.
Plug open areas in trigger group with putty.
Plug inside of stock area with putty and shape.
Place trigger group into stock and make sure putty dikes mate.
Remove trigger group, fill with epoxy and seat trigger group.
Clamp on trigger guard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Pics

1.Front top first layer, note a few voids
2.Front top second layer
3.Trigger group front, wood removed
4.Trigger group front, filled
5.Trigger group rear, wood removed, putty dike
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Step 6

Dress out any rough edges and excess epoxy with file and sandpaper.
Closely inspect the surfaces where the pillars meet with the epoxy to ensure that it is a perfectly flat surface that completely mates with the metal (coat metal parts with dry graphite lube or several coats of dry erase marker, assemble and screw tight, remove to see mirror impression of metal on epoxy).
Even though this epoxy is non-shrink, you may find a very tiny amount of shrinkage once the epoxy has reached a final cure leaving an ever so small protrusion of the pillar above the epoxy.
This can be easily polished down with a flat surface grinding bit on a drill until it is perfectly flush.

Assemble all parts and check for fit. It should be extremely snug and solid.
Make sure nothing is binding or rubbing on moving parts and the magazine inserts smoothly without binding.

After final curing and dressing, you should find that the receiver and the trigger group fit very precisely and it will take a little gentle tapping and steady pressure to disassemble again.

IS IT DONE YET?

This remains to be proven…
Two areas of interest were considered:
1. Center area where the cross bolt goes through the stock.
While this area does have a sizable chunk of solid metal on both sides, the actual contact area with wood is minimal and only on the receiver side. I had given thoughts to placing a pillar sleeve over the cross bolt and creating a solid epoxy block in that area but successfully creating a dike for the epoxy to form without interfering with the hammer action looked very difficult and easy to create a problem larger than it’s worth. This area is firmly supported by the center steel pillar.
2. Top of the stock inletting where the flat area of the receiver rests.
There is contact with this area as evidenced by the receiver resting on it during clamping while the lower sections set up. There is also no evidence of wear or impression as initially seen in the lower section where there is a very distinct impression left by the metal against the wood.
The epoxy adhered very well, in very thin layers in small areas, but actual strength of this bond has yet to be tested with the heavy abuse of firing at least 100 rounds.
Removing wood from this area may weaken the outer walls of the stock and could lead to cracking. While it looks extremely tempting to continue on and do this area, that decision will be put off until results can be thoroughly evaluated.

WAS IT WORTH IT?

With the time, effort and materials expended, is all this really something you want to do with your Hakim?

The results have yet to be seen with some heavy use on the range, something that will have to wait for a warm day with no wind that may not come for weeks and a fresh supply of 8mm ammo of which I am just about dry on right now.

The mounting now is as solid as a battleship gun turret and looks like it will stand up to heavy use. It is interesting to note how much spring the free floating barrel has at the front of the stock.
Future tinkering may include some dampening material along the barrel to see what harmonics changes do.

Winter chores still include the MolyFusion treatment of the barrel, cleaning up and painting the scope mount, final machining and solution for the muzzle brake, and the spare hammer and sear being polished and Moly treated to a silk smooth let off. All of these will be done before rushing out to the range again to try it out.

Several points to consider:
a. Steel Pillar bedding, from what I read during research on the subject, gets consensus as “the” way to ensure a solid connection between the parts that will not change with temperature and humidity as wood does.
The objective of this exercise was to create a uniform torque on the three screws that will not change. Hopefully, adding the pillars will solve that problem.
b. The wood was deteriorated.
It was a surprise to find out what oil saturation had done to the wood in those critical areas over the years and how soft and spongy it had become. This strongly leads me to installing pillars and even bedding the milsurp Hakim once results are evaluated.
At the least, I would recommend inspecting your wood in these areas by probing a little with a pick or screw driver and see if it is similarly soft. Drilling out the holes and inserting the steel pillars would be a minimal task that should be seriously considered. Pillars alone, without the epoxy, may be a serious consideration for a milsurp gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pics
1. Trigger group rear finished
2. Bottom finished
3. Top finished
 

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You are well on your way to having a book written on accurizing the Hakim. This is very interesting. While I doubt I will go with a traditional high power target scope, I have certainly been contemplating a scout style mount on the rear sight and long eye relief scope for my Hakim. Sure hope you achieve your goal, you have certainly put the effort into it.

I suspect some custom loaded 8mm with Nosler Accubonds would go a long way to tighten up your groups, but understand that is inconsistent with your goal of obtaining MOA with milsurp ball.

Please keep us posted on your progress!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All back together again, after several weeks in the machine shop.
Looking forward to decent weather to try out the case of 8mm sniper ammo I paid an arm and leg for.

Waiting out the weather starting a bedding project on an M44 from what I learned, seeing as how I have that tub of Devcon begging to be used!
 
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