This topic contains 28 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  tomme boy 2 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #31977
     Rattlesnake Charlie 
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    What is your preferred method for breaking in a new barrel?

    Just finishing up building some AR-15s for Christmas presents. They are in 5.56 with 18 inch stainless barrels of good quality. I need to do some barrel break in.

  • #31979
     WCM 
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    Shoot it.

    I haven’t bought in to the shoot and clean methods.

    Seems like malarkey to me.

  • #31986
     Waksupi 
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    Stainless shoots good right out of the box. A chrome moly barrel will take a couple hundred shots to really break in. Don’t sweat it, go shoot it.

  • #31995
     Goodsteel 
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    I completely refused to buy into the cleaning recommendations……until last year, when certain evidence provided by shooters much more experienced than I were accidentally placed right under my nose.
    At this point, when I build a rifle, I put 50 patches through the barrel before I take the first shot.
    I take that first shot, then I clean till the patches are spotless (and I mean they come out looking like they went in).
    Then I’ll shoot my ten shot test group after popping two into the berm. 1 minute between shots.
    Then I clean till the patches are white again, and ship the rifle.

    The barrel is not what I’m cleaning. In fact, I’m not cleaning at all. I’m burnishing the throat in preparation for a long life.
    Do what you will, but that is policy here.

  • #32000
     WCM 
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    All factory rifles are already test fired from the factory.
    I always clean the barrels before I shoot them.

    I cleaned my Rock River and fired it fifty times.
    Cleaned it and fired it fifty more.

    I now have very little copper in the barrel after fifty shots ,and the rifle will shoot 1/2 MOA at 225yds with two different people shooting it.

  • #32002
     Goodsteel 
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    I believe you John, but I’ve been building 1/2MOA rifles for years now. Cleaning doesn’t change that. However, I do believe that an excellent cleaning regiment will extend barrel life, and round count between setbacks. You might say I “took the Pepsi challenge” with my borescope.

  • #32005
     WCM 
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    I clean all the copper out of a barrel before I put it up.
    With most rifles I clean between every ten to twenty shots depending on if I am testing loads.

    The nice thing is that many of my rifles will never see a jacketed bullet.

    My son ask me about fire lapping a new barrel.
    I told him that I won’t do it to my rifles because I feel it puts too much wear on the throat of a barrel.

    With revolvers I would do it if necessary and I would clean between each shot.

  • #32007
     Goodsteel 
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    WCM;n12323 wrote:
    I told him that I won’t do it to my rifles because I feel it puts too much wear on the throat of a barrel.

    And yet, there are many examples of rifles with very long throats that shoot extremely well.
    Lengthening of the throat in burnout is collateral damage, and does not inherently effect accuracy adversely. The gator checking and rough, “dry creek bed” surface seems to be the part that really destroys accuracy.
    in that knowledge, I’ve seen lapping bullets used to truly improve precision in a mediocre barrel, and I’ve seen them fail to produce any improvement at all, but I’ve not seen a rifle shoot worse after lapping bullets are used as prescribed.
    Have you?

  • #32009
     WCM 
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    I had a Remington model 7 in .260 that I fire lapped,and it didn’t improve anything.
    The rifle shot terribly and had a bad bore from the factory so I can’t say .

    A couple of my High Walls have too much leed in them for my desired purpose.
    I think that was done so people could use a Cylindrical bullet.
    I prefer two diameter bullets for black powder cartridge rifles.

  • #32010
     Rattlesnake Charlie 
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    I believe I’ll take three of the rifles out and do some testing. One will be shot with only some initial cleaning. One with initial cleaning and then cleaning after every 10 shots for the first 50. The third will be cleaned initially, then cleaned and lapped with JB Bore Paste as was recently recommended. I know there will be some differences between individual rifles, but I’m starting with three that have identical components.

  • #32011
     Goodsteel 
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    Rattlesnake Charlie;n12328 wrote: I believe I’ll take three of the rifles out and do some testing. One will be shot with only some initial cleaning. One with initial cleaning and then cleaning after every 10 shots for the first 50. The third will be cleaned initially, then cleaned and lapped with JB Bore Paste as was recently recommended. I know there will be some differences between individual rifles, but I’m starting with three that have identical components.

    Is this three identical rifles of new manufacture?

  • #32013
     WCM 
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    I don’t have a bore scope ,and I am no expert but all my rifles will shoot MOA or less and I have never used any break in process.
    I have always sold any rifle that wouldn’t shoot at least MOA.
    I have a high wall that I am working with now that I haven’t been able to get to shoot MOA.
    If it will not, it will be sold.

    I am sure that what TIm says has benefits as he has test it thoroughly.
    I think if you want a 1/2 MOA rifle you need a barrel like Krieger or Shilen and have a master gunsmith like Tim to build it for you.

    Getting a 1/2MOA rifle out of the box is rare regardless of what you do to break it in.

  • #32021
     Rattlesnake Charlie 
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    Goodsteel;n12329 wrote:

    Is this three identical rifles of new manufacture?

    Yes. Just as seen in the photo of my thread Christmas Presents.

  • #32022
     Goodsteel 
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    Rattlesnake Charlie;n12342 wrote:

    Yes. Just as seen in the photo of my thread Christmas Presents.

    That would be interesting indeed.

  • #32026
     WCM 
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    Yes I would be interested in what you discover.

    When I bought my Ruger #1 .30/06 I made up a variety of loads in increments of five rounds.
    I cleaned the barrel between each five shots for about 200 rounds.

    This rifle shoots great , but prefers certain powders, bullets,and loads.
    It only shoots certain loads well.

    It still takes on copper badly even after 200 + rounds of shooting and cleaning.
    It is somewhat easier to clean than when it was new,and does much better when I use Rel 16 which has a copper fouling eraser.

    I think the barrel will always probably copper up bad when I use the IMR powders.

    It seems to be a good barrel though, and shoot quite well.

  • #32031
     Goodsteel 
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    WCM;n12349 wrote: Yes I would be interested in what you discover.

    When I bought my Ruger #1 .30/06 I made up a variety of loads in increments of five rounds.
    I cleaned the barrel between each five shots for about 200 rounds.

    This rifle shoots great , but prefers certain powders, bullets,and loads.
    It only shoots certain loads well.

    It still takes on copper badly even after 200 + rounds of shooting and cleaning.
    It is somewhat easier to clean than when it was new,and does much better when I use Rel 16 which has a copper fouling eraser.

    I think the barrel will always probably copper up bad when I use the IMR powders.

    It seems to be a good barrel though, and shoot quite well.

    What I have found is that it’s the consistency of the barrel that makes it shoot (even if it appears jacked up). If it has an even or slightly choking bore, an even or slightly choking groove dia., and an even or slightly gaining twist rate with dead even land/groove relationship, then it will shoot no matter how rough it is, but it will also wear out quicker.
    The premium barrels I build with hold steady, and degrade very predictably, but the main thing they’ve got going for them is that they have these conditions in place correctly.
    There was a 308 I built from parts I found at the Tulsa gunshow. I wanted it to prove duplex loads I was experimenting with at the time. The barrel was rough and had very even chatter/tooling marks end to end and I didn’t expect much in the way of precision from it, but it turned out to be a very precise rifle indeed. Easily sub MOA but it coppered badly till I had shot and cleaned it several times. I ended up giving the rifle away as a wedding present, and that fellow absolutely treasures it.

    Often, a rough factory barrel will get filled with copper and start really talking for a while. It’s happened a few times where someone claims that their factory rifle is just as accurate as one of my customs. One guy even sent me SUB MOA ten shot groups such as I use to demonstrate accuracy. The groups were not on par with one of my customs, but I agreed that he had a very accurate rifle there, but I also warned him not to change anything and dig it out as long as he could because he was in a sweet spot with that rifle and cleaning out the copper, or monkeying with the stock will change it and he wont be able to get it back before the barrel is toast.
    I’ll never forget the day that I was at the range shooting a few weeks after our conversation, and I get a message from this guy telling me there was something wrong with his rifle. He was using the same loads, but he couldn’t get it under 1.75 inches at 100 for ten shots. First question I asked him was “What did you do to the barrel? What changed?” He sheepishly admitted that he had cleaned it with Sweets 7.62 and removed all traces of copper. The rifle was a 25-06 and I asked him how many rounds he had down the pipe. He replied that it was somewhere around 600. I then explained that it would be almost impossible to shoot that rifle back into that sweet spot because his barrel was already half gone, and his throat was surely eroded and gator checking was setting in already.
    There was another situation similar to this that ended the same way, but the guy didn’t feel like shooting 400 rounds in hopes that he could reclaim that perfect barrel condition, and had me build him a rifle instead, which cost him just a little more than the ammunition would have for the one he ruined.

    This is a good reason to follow a consistent cleaning regiment, and follow proper break in procedures. You can paint yourself into a corner where accuracy is going to fall off suddenly no matter what you do and it happens long before the barrel is used up. Follow a regular cleaning regiment and whatever you have will always be dependable. (For the record, I’m just putting my thoughts down here. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but there are many who read this forum who have not signed up).

    I guess what I’m trying to say is human beings are nothing if not inconsistent. We try a little this, a little that, try some of this over here. The trick to getting any rifle to shoot is to be consistent. Not just with your loads, your form, and your trigger pull etc etc etc, but your cleaning regiment factors in here too. Choose one that repeats itself with every range session or close to it, and do not stray from it. Without exception, when somebody calls me and says “the rifle is doing something different” it’s actually the operator who decided to do something different because good wasn’t good enough, and he read on the internet that if he just does such and such, he’ll have an edge on accuracy with his rifle, so he jumps in with both feet and it never works out too well.
    The rifle is a mirror of the rifleman, and a good rifle reflects more vividly. Consistent groups are indicative of a consistent rifleman. Even if he is consistently wrong, he’ll hit what he’s shooting at more often than a shooter who is inconsistently right. The cleaning regiment factors into this in my opinion, and it should be started immediately and continued throughout the life of the rifle barrel.

  • #32035
     WCM 
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    I have a Ruger Hawkeye that has a very strange feature of the barrel.It seem to be counter bored at the muzzle.
    I can take bullet and the base will fit down inside the barrel.
    You can see where the rifling’s end about a quarter inch down.

    The rifle is a .308 and will shoot MOA at 100 yds.
    It is the 18″ international.

    I am unsure whether it is a mistake in manufacturing or it is supposed to be that way??

  • #32038
     Goodsteel 
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    WCM;n12360 wrote: I have a Ruger Hawkeye that has a very strange feature of the barrel.It seem to be counter bored at the muzzle.
    I can take bullet and the base will fit down inside the barrel.
    You can see where the rifling’s end about a quarter inch down.

    The rifle is a .308 and will shoot MOA at 100 yds.
    It is the 18″ international.

    I am unsure whether it is a mistake in manufacturing or it is supposed to be that way??

    I’ve seen this before, but it didn’t have a negative effect. The ones I saw were bubba special though, where he read online that you can crown a barrel with a drill bit and it got away from him (facepalm). If you bought the rifle new like that, I don’t know what to say.
    Hey if it shoots good then let the rough edge drag. If it doesn’t, then send it back to Ruger.

  • #32039
     WCM 
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    Goodsteel;n12363 wrote:

    I’ve seen this before, but it didn’t have a negative effect. The ones I saw were bubba special though, where he read online that you can crown a barrel with a drill bit and it got away from him (facepalm). If you bought the rifle new like that, I don’t know what to say.
    Hey if it shoots good then let the rough edge drag. If it doesn’t, then send it back to Ruger.

    From what I have read about the accuracy of Ruger Internationals, it seems to shoot above average.
    I still believe it was a mistake when Ruger was turning the barrel down.

  • #32040
     Rattlesnake Charlie 
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    Isn’t counter boring barrels a know treatment for when the muzzle becomes extremely worn due to use of a steel cleaning rod?

  • #32042
     WCM 
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    Rattlesnake Charlie;n12365 wrote: Isn’t counter boring barrels a know treatment for when the muzzle becomes extremely worn due to use of a steel cleaning rod?

    I have read about counter boring barrels.The thing that concerns me is the rifling’s are faint where the counter bore ends. They feather out into nothing.
    I wonder with wear if the rifle will lose it’s accuracy.
    In other words they don’t go to an abrupt sharpness where the counter bore ends.

  • #32050
     Goodsteel 
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    WCM;n12367 wrote:

    I have read about counter boring barrels.The thing that concerns me is the rifling’s are faint where the counter bore ends. They feather out into nothing.
    I wonder with wear if the rifle will lose it’s accuracy.
    In other words they don’t go to an abrupt sharpness where the counter bore ends.

    As long as it provides even gas escape around the bullet upon exit, it’s cool.

  • #32057
     Goodsteel 
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    While we’re on the subject of barrel cleaning, let me give my 2 cents on bore solvents. Harsh chemical cleaners and copper removers should be used very sparingly and never allowed to sit in the barrel for long. If you’ve got a barrel that fowls badly, then it could use a few hundred patches pushed through with a tight jag, and possibly some JB bore paste. A rough barrel will be more quickly damaged by harsh chemicals, so take it easy! More patches, less chemicals! A premium barrel should be scrubbed with care, and don’t use a brush if you don’t need to. Clean with a lot of patches and clean often (especially soon after shooting. Like, before the barrel cools down) and the buildup will not have a chance to take hold.

    The solvent I like to use is Eds Red. I originally went to this because buying quarts of Hoppes No.9 was eating my lunch, and I needed something cheap. However, I have since found that it cuts powder residue very quickly and is completely benign to the barrel steel (and the copper for that matter).
    Remember that copper is not always a bad thing. It’s not like leading in small quantities, and I’ve shot some darn good groups with a barrel with a little copper wash in it. If the copper gets built up to the point that you see your groups falling off, I’d say #1: you weren’t cleaning very much. #2: that’s one rough barrel. and #3: Be gentle about removing it (or busting it down to a dull roar).
    Mark my words, I have NEVER seen a badly coppered barrel cleaned with ammonia that suddenly returned to shooting “as well as it did before”. In fact, many is the time I have seen rifles start shooting like garbage after a “deep clean” then gradually work back into shooting decent groups with repeated shooting and cleaning. Slight copper fowling is part of the precise shot. Like everything else in this sport there are very few extremes and what is needed is BALANCE. A lot of copper is bad. A little copper is inevitable. The goal here is to work with it, and keep it in check. Any effective shooter who claims there is zero copper in his barrel needs to get some time with a bore scope.

    You’re barrel condition is something that you must preserve, and nurture. Always resist scratching, etching, or corroding at all times. If any part of your cleaning regiment carries the possibility of doing one of these three, you’re flirting with disaster IMHO.
    There are things that you can do that will NEVER harm and only help.
    For instance, I believe that you could push 1000 patches through a barrel, half of them soaked with Eds Red, and the rifle would shoot better and copper less from the burnishing effect of the tight cotton. It’s the same as using a twill buffing wheel to polish steel to a mirror finish.
    The inside of a rifle barrel is not magic. It’s just like the outside, so treat it in like manner. I think some folks get a little too aggressive with the cleaning routine and it can really cause some trouble.
    Like I said, just my 2 cents worth.

  • #32060
     tomme boy 
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    Funny you talk about the ammonia to clean barrels. I used to have a H&R single shot with a varmint barrel on it. It would take about 20 rounds down the pipe to settle it down after a deep clean. Only did it 3 times before I said forget it. After that I just used mineral spirits to remove the carbon. But even that it would have a 2 shot warm up before it would shoot groups.

    My newest Savage in 223 had a very rough bore. It tore patches the first time I cleaned it when it was brand new. I actually used a box of wolf ammo on that one to smooth it out. Normally I shoot 1 clean, then shoot 1 clean and that it is. Like you said earlier, Just polish the throat. But this barrel was awful. I cleaned after every 5 till I shot all 20. It really burnished the barrel as you would say. Then steel bullets are not as soft as the ammo maker would like to make them out to be.

    What do you think of the FOAM cleaners? I like them but what are they? What agent is used to dissolve the copper?

  • #32065
     Goodsteel 
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    tomme boy;n12389 wrote:
    What do you think of the FOAM cleaners? I like them but what are they? What agent is used to dissolve the copper?

    Heck if I know. I’m no chemist, but I’m leery of trying new things.

  • #32066
     Mike F H 
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    One of the things you have to remember is,forgetting what the barrel and rifling is like,the chambering leaves radial grooves in the throat,the rougher the reamer,the worse they are,this is where a lot of the copper comes from in new barrels.Carefull cleaning and break in will smooth out the throat and reduce copper deposits further down the barrel.A bit of time spent early in the barrel’s life can be worth the time spent.

  • #32067
     Goodsteel 
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    Well said!!!!

  • #32068
     WCM 
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    Ammonia can etch barrels depending on the strength of the solution,and the time allowed to sit inside a barrel.

    I no longer use it because I have seen it etch a barrel.

    The new solutions such as Eliminator are a strong base ,but only seem to work on copper and not the barrel steel.

    For stubborn copper I use Rem Clean , which is a very mild abrasive.

    I rarely use it anymore now that I have the Eliminator.

    I do like the newer Alliant powders which have the copper eraser chemical in the powder.

  • #32073
     tomme boy 
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    Well whatever the new foaming cleaners are I really like them. I leave them in over night and muzzle down on a shop towel. You will see the amount of copper and carbon that comes out. It is not something I do very often, but when I do that is how I do it.

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