I too have great deflection when locking the gibs, although I think it's reversed for me. I think my top lock causes more deflection than the bottom. I'm a novice, so I'm not sure this info will help, but I had a similar problem with gib strip binding, but mine was from over tightening the gib adjustment screws. I got past it by loosening the top gib adjustment screw quite a bit and then trying to run the head down. Since the gib strip comes out from the top, when you loosen the top screw and run the head down, the gib strip will likley stay in place at first while the head slides down. Worked for me anyway. May also want to try to get some lube down in there to help. I'd try to avoid using a punch on it.