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Do You Need To Break In A New Rifle Barrel?
Another Entry In The Annals Of Dumb Gun Laws
"Do You Need To Break In A New Rifle Barrel?" Total B/S on custom barrels. Trying that to get a factory tomato stake barrel to shoot like a custom is foolish. Cleaning? Never clean a barrel until groups open up, and never ever, remove all the copper from a factory barrel. For if you do, your first groups will look like a shotgun then they will tighten up. Why you ask because the barrel has chatter marks and the copper is filling in the rough spots, if you remove the copper you have to add back before it will start grouping properly again. Now just for you experts out there, if you think your stick an you are all that(under moa all day every day) there is a course of fire in Alabama (HardRock by invitation only)that only requires you an your stick to be moa from 600 yds to a grand. No one has ever cleaned that course, no one. That includes the likes of all top NRA shooters, the school for boys at Benning, and the gentlemen from Bragg. Bullet splash/holes on target are facts, never fiction. B-4
Every barrel manufacturer seems to have a barrel break-in procedure. Some have no break-in recommendations at all. I went with Al Harral's method. "Varmint Al" is a metals engineer at Lawrence Livermore Labs. They make nuclear weapons. His site has a wealth of shooting information for the precision shooter. http://www.varmintal.com/Here's Varmint Al's break-in procedure:NEW BARREL BREAK IN.... There is so much black magic out there about breaking in a barrel, that I am not going to suggest any procedure. I will merely tell you what I do with a new barrel. I take the brand new barrel and use J-B on it. That's right, I clean and polish it with J-B before even firing the first round through it. I put a light coat of J-B on a patch and give the barrel about 50 strokes from end to end with it. Then I clean the J-B out with a couple of patches of Shooter's Choice MC#7. I dry the bore with 3 or 4 patches until it is completely dry. I carefully clean the chamber of J-B too. That's it, the barrel is broken in and I am ready to sight in, shoot some groups, and work up an accurate load. I take the rifle to the range and shoot 3 or 4 five shot groups with Moly-coated bullets. I clean the barrel with Sweet's 7.62 and usually there is no copper. From then on, shooting only Moly-coated bullets, I clean the barrel when I feel guilty. If there is copper on the first cleaning, I conclude that I didn't do enough with the J-B and repeat the J-B treatment. All that these shoot-clean, shoot-clean, etc. break in processes do, in my opinion, is perform a slow, inefficient, and expensive polishing process which the J-B does better, smoother, and faster. I use a plastic coated stainless steel cleaning rod and a jag style that you wrap the patches around. I use the blue Shop Towels for patch material and I cut a roll into a number of 1-½-inch wide rolls with a sharp knife. I never use brushes in my barrels and I don't even have any. I use J-B, Shooter's Choice MC#7, and Sweet's 7.62. I am sure there are other procedures that are just as good or superior, but this works very well for me. If I have a particularly bad copper fouling barrel, I use Flitz Metal Polish instead of JB. Here and you can see what Shilen recommends for breaking in a new barrel.
Chamber polishing:POLISHING MY CHAMBERS.... When I got my 223 Ackley Improved Virgin Valley (no longer in business) barrel, it had a very rough chamber. The fired brass had marks I could see where it had been gripped by the chamber and then slid backwards a tiny bit until stopped by the bolt face. It looked almost sandblasted. There were protruding primers on some of the fired rounds. When the firing pin hits the primer, it pushes the primer and the new case forward in the chamber. When ignition occurs, the pressure expands the walls of the brass. The rough chamber, with its high friction, grabs the case at the forward position and the gas pressure first pushes the primer back against the bolt face. As the pressure builds, the brass case is stretched until the case head is pushed back against the bolt or the case supports the total load. If the case head is pushed against the bolt face, it would produce a flat primer, but flush. If the load is light, the case does not stretch so much and leaves a gap between the case head and the bolt face, but the primer is still against the bolt face. This produces the protruding primers.CONTROVERSY OR GOOD ENGINEERING.... Now some controversy. I polish my chambers with Flitz. I don't want excessive friction between the brass and the chamber wall. Some are going to argue with this, but I have thought long about this. I have tried it and it works and is good engineering. I polished the chamber in my new Virgin Valley (no longer in business) barrel and it has made quite an improvement. With a polished chamber, the friction coefficient is much less between the brass and the polished stainless steel chamber. The pressure is able to force the case head against the bolt face before the case walls grab the chamber. First, this lets the primer (on the first shot with new brass) protrude, but be immediately reseated in the primer pocket as the case head is pushed back. The brass does not stretch nearly as much as it would in a rough chamber. Now some will say that a polished chamber will increase the force of the bolt face (frame face on the Encore) and that is bad. WRONG! That is faulty logic. The force is increased on the bolt face, but that is where it belongs. As all modern rifles, the barrel and frame of the Encore are designed for strength. They are strong enough to support large diameter Magnum-belted calibers. The force from the much smaller area of the .223 case head is easily supported by the frame face. The brass case is designed to act as a bladder and encase the gas pressure. Trying to use the weaker brass to lighten the load on the action and bolt face of a rifle by having the brass grip the chamber is analogous to using a car's radiator to protect the bumper in a front-end collision. A polished chamber minimizes case stretching, reduces case head separation, and increases case life. More information on chamber finish here. To polish a chamber, I put Flitz on a cotton bore mop and a piece of cleaning rod long enough to be held in a drill motor. I polish for about 30 seconds or more at a 300 to 600 rpm speed. Sometimes I have to wrap a paper towel around the swab and put Flitz on it to get a good fit. Be sure that the end of the bore mop's metal part is much smaller than the bore and covered so it will not damage the rifling in front of the chamber.
How should I break-in my new Shilen barrel?Break-in procedures are as diverse as cleaning techniques. Shilen, Inc. introduced a break-in procedure mostly because customers seemed to think that we should have one. By and large, we don't think breaking-in a new barrel is a big deal. All our stainless steel barrels have been hand lapped as part of their production, as well as any chrome moly barrel we install. Hand lapping a barrel polishes the interior of the barrel and eliminates sharp edges or burrs that could cause jacket deformity. This, in fact, is what you are doing when you break-in a new barrel through firing and cleaning.Here is our standard recommendation: Clean after each shot for the first 5 shots. The remainder of the break-in is to clean every 5 shots for the next 50 shots. During this time, don't just shoot bullets down the barrel during this 50 shot procedure. This is a great time to begin load development. Zero the scope over the first 5 shots, and start shooting for accuracy with 5-shot groups for the next 50 shots. Same thing applies to fire forming cases for improved or wildcat cartridges. Just firing rounds down a barrel to form brass without any regard to their accuracy is a mistake. It is a waste of time and barrel life.
2 subjects. I have yet to break-in a new rifle, but I do not disagree with Mr. Smith, and especially when the manufacturer says to do so. I have done fine by doing it my way, it is my personal preference. I can speak to the proposed new Iowa law concerning permission to carry loaded firearms on ATV's. Like all new Iowa firearm laws over the last 4 years, it will pass the House with tremendous bi-partisan support, almost unanimously. The Senate leader, named Gronstal, does not allow any firearm legislation to be introduced for a discussion, much less a vote. This is the Iowa Democrat version of how a democratic republic should work.CPB
Sounds like hillbilly logic to me, B4. I Think I'll go with the nuclear weapons metals engineer.
Anonymous at 12:03 Look up HardRock, get an invite and, come show us hillbilly's how it's done. B-4
I don't believe that B-4 is really contradicting the fellows who recommend that you remove loose copper flake inside the barrel during the break-in process.If you don't clean a barrel at all before using it, less of the copper annealed to the interior of the barrel will flake because you haven't introduced the lubricants which tend to exacerbate that process. And when you clean a barrel you only want to remove loose copper flake, not annealed copper. Like B-4 says, if you are too aggressive stripping away all the deposited copper, subsequent rounds are just going to replace that copper in an inconsistent manner, causing minor variations in barrel performance until the interior is loaded with annealed copper again.The point of the break-in procedure is to ensure that the deposited copper is firmly bonded rather than loose, while you can deposit a layer of copper quicker without cleaning the barrel first, there is a greater risk of it being weakly bonded and flaking after some use.Then again, I love the idea of a rifle lovingly brought to a peak of consistent ballistic performance, but I see no need for every weapon to be that precise. Sometimes a conflict can be resolved by a few shots applied to the skulls containing the worst ideas, but generally bad ideas are widely distributed and if you need to shoot someone from a mile away you'll probably eventually need to shoot a lot of the guys keeping you from getting any closer.
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