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Barrel break in - what is it?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/01/2007 at 22:20
bricat View Drop Down
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Can somebody tell me what it means to "break in a barrel" how do I go about doing this on my new rifle? What is the advantage of doing this? All input on this subject is greatly appreciated.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2007 at 09:13
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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I'm glad you brought that up. No doubt there are similtaneous postings being prepared on this topic at this very moment.Many theories from it's a really good way for gunsmiths to make extra money to it's necessay for honing the grain in the barrel for accurate shooting. In general it is a concept that allows the shooter to fire a load and clean then fire and clean and repeating several times such that the lands are conditioned for optimium accuracy and barrel life. Some  barrel makers. (since they hand lap) say the only thing that needs honing is the small ring left at the boundry of the chambering die and barrel lands. Some void their warranty if moly is used, complaining of a ring build up as the bullet is stopped at the first jump and then pressure increases it enough to swage it into the rifling.

Several questions have to be asked however: if the point is honing why would one to clean down to bare metal, after only a few firings?? Why do some shooters who have never used barrel break in get such good groups?? In a way its like gun cleaning-- if you start with a clean cloths ands its dirty when you finished its gotta be good. There are many ways to get there.

Personally I like to clean a new barrel then wet a patch with motorcyle chain lube JP-1 which contains moly, and waxes which are usually a no-no but after casting and shooting a million pistol bullets I've found certain advantages to this first steps. Cast pistol bullets, if you use a lube with aluminum oxide (alox) will really smooth a pistol barrel. While the waxes can be oxidized to varnishes, the first 25 rounds are going to matter much. Usually after 100 rds. or so the barrels only need 4-5 passes of brush and swabs (even savage barrels).

More posts will come with much to digest-- and experiment with---have fun!!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2007 at 09:28
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Hello, bricat!

Breaking in barrels is a controversial and confusing topic, and you will rarely get the same opinion or advice on the subject from any two shooters.  Even the match grade barrel manufacturers disagree about what specific procedure should be used and even whether a break-in procedure should even be used at all. 

 

Basically, "breaking-in" a barrel is the process of smoothing out the microscopic burrs and tool marks left in the barrel from manufacturing through initial firing and cleaning out the resulting fouling at a more frequent interval than you would during the rest of the barrel's life.  A factory rifle barrel will almost always be rougher than a custom barrel, because usually the custom barrel has been hand lapped after rifling to remove tool marks, cause the "lay" of the surface finish to be parallel with the centerline of the bore (so the bore picks up less jacket fouling), and make the bore a more uniform diameter from end to end.

 

The most common break-in procedure I've heard goes something like this:

1.  Thoroughly clean the bore of all fouling after each shot for the first 20 shots fired.  The idea here is to remove all traces of copper after each shot while the bullets are smoothing out the bore to prevent additional jacket stripping and buildup after each successive shot.

2.  Then, clean after every 3-5 shots until some prescribed interval, largely determined by how fast you observe your barrel cleans up.

3.  Thereafter, just shoot and clean the barrel when you feel guilty or if a noticeable loss of accuracy is seen.

 

This can take quite a bit of time, since you are doing so much cleaning with copper solvents, brushes and patches between shots.  Once "broken-in," the barrel supposedly cleans up faster and easier and produces better accuracy than when brand new.  I have noticed an improvement in accuracy with some barrels after they've had a couple hundred shots fired through them, so there may be some validity to the break-in concept.

 

Personally, I don't think you really need to break-in a match barrel at all.  For factory barrels, I certainly don't think it hurts to do a formal break-in, but it may provide little benefit; I believe the jury is still out on that issue.  I personally do sort of a "mini" break-in on any factory rifle I buy.  Generally, I'll just clean after every shot for the first 10 shots or so, then clean after every 5 shots for the next 30-40 shots and then forget about it, using my normal "every now and then" cleaning interval from then on.  I can't say for certain this does anything beneficial and haven't been able to prove it either way, but I don't believe it hurts, it increases my initial range time and familiarity with a new gun, and it makes me feel better , so there are at least some benefits.  My take on the whole break-in procedure is that its merits are probably WAY overstated, but it doesn't hurt anything as long as you don't go nuts with excessive abrasive cleaning, and I don't think you'll ruin a new rifle if you choose not to do it at all.  Your barrel will "break-in" on it's own somewhat anyway just with normal shooting.

 

Here are some links, both for and against a break-in procedure, showing that even among the premier barrel manufacturers and knowledgeable gun gurus, there is disagreement about the process or even if it should be done at all:

 

http://www.kriegerbarrels.com/RapidCat/catalog/pagetemplate. cfm?template=/RapidCat/common/viewPage.cfm&PageId=2558&a mp;CompanyId=1246

 

http://www.hartbarrels.com/

 

http://www.shilen.com/faq.html#question10

 

http://www.6mmbr.com/GailMcMbreakin.html

 

http://www.montanarifleman.com/New%20Barrel%20Break%20In.pdf

 

http://www.dakotaarms.com/dakotaMag/DMholiday05/DMholiday05- pages52-54.pdf

 

http://www.eabco.com/Reports/BarrelBreakIn.htm

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2007 at 10:18
bricat View Drop Down
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WOW! thanks for all the information guys. it will be very helpful. A special THANK YOU goes out to RifleDude for those many links that he has provided. I will access those later on tonight. If anyone else has any opinions on this topic, I can't wait to here them! Once again Thank You, BRICAT
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2007 at 13:20
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Rifle Dude,

Thanks for helping us that have questions about the proper procedures during break in.  I read the links and have made up my mind on what to do, thanks again, a.c.ellis.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2007 at 15:41
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Does anyone know what procedure Remington recommends for the 700 or other long range barrels? It isn't listed on their FAQ on the website.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2007 at 16:13
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You're very welcome, a.c. ellis.

 

tengauge,

Remington does not recommend a break-in procedure that I'm aware of.  In fact, I can't recall seeing ANY factory rifle manufacturer recommend or even mention a specific break-in procedure in print anywhere, except for some of the semi-custom manufacturers like Cooper & Dakota.

 

Welcome to OT, gents!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/03/2007 at 06:34
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ted, you left out one link that i think pretty much quotes you word for word

 

http://www.riflebarrels.com/support/centerfire_maintenance.h tm

 

dan lilja's site

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/03/2007 at 07:47
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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Add Armalite and bushmaster to the list of manufacturers with break in instructions included with the gun.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2007 at 20:27
Mike McDonald View Drop Down
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Last 308 that I did in the Shilen shop on a weekend was chambered, then lapped again, then crowned.

Most accurate 308 I've ever owned.

 

Best break in I've seen is 1st ten shots with Tubbs final bullets, then shoot it.

After having witnessed this it is SOP on all my new tubes.

 

The benefit to "breaking in" a barrel in smoothing over the microscopic stuff that catches grit and:

1.Degrades accuracy

2 Makes cleaning more difficult

3.Causes checking in the throat area which shortens  accurate barrel life

 

On Remington barrels, there is NOTHING you can do to hurt one.  Without drastic measures you can't improve one either.

Get a Final Finish kit from Superior shooting and follow the directions.  It works. It is THE first thing I do to a new remmy.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2007 at 16:29
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Winchester has a rifle barrel break in procedure on their web page.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/06/2007 at 23:20
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Mike McDonald Mike McDonald wrote:

Best break in I've seen is 1st ten shots with Tubbs final bullets, then shoot it.

After having witnessed this it is SOP on all my new tubes.

 

Hey, Mike, I've never tried the Tubb Final Finish kit before.  Have you scoped some bores after firing these bullets?  I've always been hesitant to try it because I've heard mixed reviews, and it always seemed to me that it would do more polishing/burnishing in and near the throat than in the remainder of the bore due to most of the grit being removed early in the bore.  Or, is this assumption incorrect?  Does it provide an even, uniform polish through the entire length of the bore?  Dimensionally, does the bore still show the same T.I.R. on an air gage the entire length after doing the Final Finish treatment?  What about custom barrels that are already hand lapped -- would there really be a benefit on these barrels, or are you just talking about factory barrels? 

 

BTW -- do you work for Shilen? 

 

Thanks for your input!



Edited by RifleDude
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2007 at 03:42
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Originally posted by tenguage tenguage wrote:

Does anyone know what procedure Remington recommends for the 700 or other long range barrels? It isn't listed on their FAQ on the website.
      Howdy, tenguage. Yes, Remington does have a break-in procedure. Personally I don't use this one, I was just curious.   Log back on to Remington's web site, & click on the online help at the top rite of the screen, register, and log into this page. Once your in, send your question in and they will get back to you in a day or two, sometimes on the same day if you ask it in the early morning. I asked this same question, and Gloria from the Remington staff answered it for me. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2007 at 06:49
Mike McDonald View Drop Down
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RifleDude,

I use Final Finish on every PSS I do for friends.  The result has been an improvement in accuracy and ease of cleaning in each case.  I've not found a rifle that went backwards after using this kit.

Using all 50 bullets in the kit gets the entire bore polished.

As to airgauge, no one I know is going to let anyone waste an airgauge probe on a factory rifle.

Velocity does decrease slightly which is an indicator of reduced friction.

 

I use the TMS kit, throat maintenance kit, on each new custome barrel.  10 shots and your tube is ready to shoot.  I started this after a good friend by the name of Brand Cole, development engineer at Superior Shooting sent a 6XC to my partner with 10 loaded rounds of TMS and the instructions to shoot all, clean, then proceed to enjoy the rifle.

I also use the TMS kit on my accurate rifles every time I strip clean the barrel, which is about 300 rounds.

So you'll know, Brand's IQ is very high 3 digit, he was R&D engineer at Shilen where he build a couple rifles for me, and now does ammunition development at Superior.  He is also largly responsible for the development of the DTAC reticle and ballistic card system.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2007 at 10:44
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Thanks for the feedback, Mike.  Maybe I'll have to give the kit a try.

 

With regards to the airgage, I realize it's a waste of time with factory barrels.  By your comments, it sounded like maybe you worked at Shilen and was using the Final Finish kit on hand lapped match barrels, in which case, you'd have access to their air gage.  I was just curious if the fire lapping method would enlarge the throat end of the barrel a couple 0.0001" more than the muzzle end, which might be o.k. for factory barrels, but not so good for match barrels.

 

Again, thanks for your input!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2007 at 06:54
Mike McDonald View Drop Down
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Rifle Dude,

 

I have never worked for Shilen but I have done work FOR shilen.

If you ever go to their shop, in the middle section where barrels are lapped and gauged, there is a lapping machine that Brand and I built.  He did the mechanical and I did the electrical. 

That I know of it's pretty much the only unit in existance un the U.S.

 

I've also done some side by side comparison work for Doug when he was running the shop, testing ratchet barrels agains standard rifling for accuracy at distance.

 

 

I tried to airguage a PSS one time, and was .........discouraged by management for wasting a gauge tube on a factory barrel.

Scoping one will tell you why it's a waste 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2007 at 09:00
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Good stuff, Mike!  I've visited their shop and have seen the very machine you refer to.  I appreciate your feedback on fire lapping!

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