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Breaking in a new barrel
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

Other sources of information about barrel breakin proceedures can be had by visiting barrel maker websites. I recommend Krieger's site.

If an observer uses a 20X bore scope to look at a new barrel and, then, compare the same barrel after a shoot and clean break in cycle, the difference is often visible. Prolonged shoot and clean isn't neeed. In most cases 20 rounds or so is sufficient. Whether this all contributes to accuracy is a question debated by "experts". For sure, it is something that won't damage a barrel.
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PaulS
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

mc223 wrote:
I am asking for opinions and the experiances of the forum. I have an opinion, and will not stop asking for yours.

mc223,
How can shooting a series of moderate pressure loads followed by cleaning with a soft brush wear out a barrel faster than shooting standard loads followed by cleaning with a soft brush - or don't you clean your barrels?
Ok, that was a rhetorical question and probably seemed a bit hostile. I have broken in one barrel on a custom made gun, following the smith's advice. It shoots sub caliber groups and I couldn't be happier.
The break-in procedure was to fire one shot and clean the barrel, fire five shots and clean the barrel, fire ten shots and clean the barrel. What did it accomplish? I can only guess that it removed the sharp rolls that are formed when the barrel is machined. I don't believe that Douglas polishes or laps their barrels to remove machine tooling rolls. They might do that with their air-gauge barrels or maybe with their bench-rest barrels but not with the low dollar hunting barrels.
I know that the guys in bench rest that I know will hand lap their barrels and I know that they do it to improve the accuracy of their shooting. I hand lapped a pistol barrel to slow down the leading in it and that worked pretty good. I also know that I have not worn out those two barrels. How? I know that they both shot better today than they did before they were "improved" as you called it. My pistol barrel has had well over 20000 rounds (yes, that's twenty thousand) fired through it after I lapped it and after thirty-four years of shooting and those 20000 near maximum loads through it it shoots smaller groups today than when I could see without glasses and was strong enough to shoot it everyday for hours. If I have ruined those two barrels then I would like to ruin all of them the same way.
I have other guns that I bought used and I don't know if those barrels were put into service with a break-in process or not. They shoot well too. All my rifles shoot sub-MOA groups or they are gone. I shoot my guns for fun and food and they are all shooters.

Back to my question - how can "normal" shooting followed by careful cleaning hurt a barrel? How is that worse than shooting 20 rounds and then cleaning your gun? I guess I don't understand how shooting a gun and cleaning it is worse than shooting a gun and cleaning it. Does the four extra cleanings with a soft brush wear a steel barrel? I don't think so. I think the wear of a soft brush and some cotton patches is less than the wear that is placed on the barrel with a single bullet fired at normal pressures.

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1895ss
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

I have bought many new guns over the years and some I did try a break in method of sorts and others I just took out and started shooting and cleaned when done. All my guns shoot very well and how could any one tell if a "certain breakin method" would have made them any better. I just do what feels right and have never followed a strict breakin method and have not had any problems.

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george20042007
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

Well, I see no one can tell when a barrel is "broken in". It figures. Now I see that guns just get better when you shoot, shoot, shoot. I can't find any topics pertaining barrel breakin when visiting Manufacturers web sites.
Keep it coming...
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Daveyboy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:55 am    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

Gentleme. Just had a thought...

If I had a new rifle, I would take it to the range and fire some rounds through it. got to get it zero'd and such stuff.

It ain't gonna matter if I shoot one and then clean it with a brush and 2 patches a few times and then do some 5 round groups and clean it inbetween for an hour or so. Lets face it, you're going to be doing groups of shots and allowing the barrel to cool down anyway so you might as well push a brush through it.

There was one comment earlier about rods damaging barrels - use a bore guide and it's sorted! Jus tmy 10 cents worth. Again...

d

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george20042007
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:47 am    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

Most ranges I've been to won't allow cleaning at or behind the firing line. Some do provide a cleaning room, but, is usually inconvenient.
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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

Cleaning room? Oh you must use an indoor range....Wouldn't be caught dead in one. As a few people here in california have....I used to be a range master at a 25 yard handgun range and do part time at the rifle range at the same place. I feel out door ranges are a lot safer. Back on topic...I will stick with my earlier post...If you feel the need to "break in" your new barrel. Go for it. If you don't feel the need to "break in" your new barrel. Go for that too. I've tried both and have not seen any difference in the accuracy of any of them. It's all about feeling good and range time....

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Crackshot
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

If the manufacturer say's their rifle barrel should be broken in, in a certain fashion, then you should follow their suggestions, After all they built, and did the research & developement for this rifle, and know how to get the best from it..
Otherwise, I dont think the AVERAGE guy shoots enough to hurt any rifle barrel. Unless he shoots with heavy amounts of oil and crud in the barrel.
Now, on the other hand, the competition shooter will wear out a rifle barrel in a years time or less depending on the competition he or she is in. My Daughter is on her second barrel on her AR-15, she shoots, on average 10,000 rounds a year Shocked . (with practice and the matches).
Now you know why I use Dillon presses.... Very Happy
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

george20042007 wrote:
Well, I see no one can tell when a barrel is "broken in". It figures. Now I see that guns just get better when you shoot, shoot, shoot. I can't find any topics pertaining barrel breakin when visiting Manufacturers web sites.
Keep it coming...

Howdy George. For barrel manufacturers recommending a breakin proceedure visit Krieger, Badger and PacNor websites. For those that state otherwise, visit Hart's website.

Krieger's explanation and descriptions are probably the most detailed.

In the Phoenix area, visit Bruno's Shooters Supply or Clark Fey gunsmithing (Clark builds world class Palma rifles and Bruno smiths some of the better benchrest rifles in Valley) and you may find some concensus.

When I breakin a newly barreled rifle, it usually takes enough shots to zero it exactly that the shoot and clean process is compatible, so it is no extra effort really for me.
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Crackshot
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:31 am    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

THIS IS FROM KRIEGER BARRELS.
BREAK-IN & CLEANING

With any premium barrel that has been finish lapped -- such as your Krieger Barrel --, the lay or direction of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, so fouling is minimal. This is true of any properly finish-lapped barrel regardless of how it is rifled. If it is not finish-lapped, there will be reamer marks left in the bore that are directly across the direction of the bullet travel. This occurs even in a button-rifled barrel as the button cannot completely iron out these reamer marks.

Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, by necessity there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file. When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. The copper dust is vaporized in this gas and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore when it is actually for the most part the new throat. If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it; copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may be difficult to remove later. So when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat polished without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reasoning for the "fire-one-shot-and-clean" procedure.

Barrels will vary slightly in how many rounds they take to break in because of things like slightly different machinability of the steel, or steel chemistry, or the condition of the chambering reamer, etc. . . For example a chrome moly barrel may take longer to break in than stainless steel because it is more abrasion resistant even though it is the same hardness. Also chrome moly has a little more of an affinity for copper than stainless steel so it will usually show a little more "color" if you are using a chemical cleaner. (Chrome moly and stainless steel are different materials with some things in common and others different.) Rim Fire barrels can take an extremely long time to break in -- sometimes requiring several hundred rounds or more. But cleaning can be lengthened to every 25-50 rounds. The break-in procedure and the clearing procedure are really the same except for the frequency. Remember the goal is to get or keep the barrel clean while polishing out the throat.

Finally, the best way to break-in the barrel is to observe when the barrel is broken in; i.e. when the fouling is reduced. This is better than some set number of cycles of "shoot and clean" as many owners report practically no fouling after the first few shots, and more break-in would be pointless. Conversely, if more is required, a set number would not address that either. Besides, cleaning is not a completely benign procedure so it should be done carefully and no more than necessary.

CLEANING

This section on cleaning is not intended to be a detailed instruction, but rather to point out a few "do's and don'ts". Instructions furnished with bore cleaners, equipment, etc. should be followed unless they would conflict with these "do's and don'ts."


You should use a good quality straight cleaning rod with a freely rotating handle and a rod guide that fits both your receiver raceway and the rod snugly. How straight and how snug? The object is to make sure the rod cannot touch the bore. With service rifle barrels a good rod and guide set-up is especially important as all the cleaning must be done from the muzzle and even slight damage to the barrel crown is extremely detrimental to accuracy.

There are two basic types of bore cleaners -- chemical and abrasive. The chemical cleaners are usually a blend of various ingredients including oils and ammonia that attack the copper. The abrasive cleaners generally contain no chemicals and are an oil, wax, or grease base with an extremely fine abrasive such as chalk, clay, or gypsum. They clean by mechanically removing the fouling. Both are good, and we feel that neither will damage the bore when used properly.

So what is the proper way to use them? First, not all chemical cleaners are compatible with each other. Some, when used together at a certain temperature, can cause severe pitting of the barrel -- even stainless steel barrels. It is fine to use two different cleaners as long as you completely remove the first cleaner from the barrel before cleaning with the second. And, of course, never mix them in the same bottle.

Follow instructions on the bottle as far as soak time, etc. . . Always clean from the breech whenever possible, pushing the patch or swab up to the muzzle and then back without completely exiting the muzzle. If you exit the muzzle, the rod is going to touch the bore and be dragged back in across the crown followed by the patch or brush. Try to avoid dragging things in and out of the muzzle. It will eventually cause uneven wear of the crown. Accuracy will suffer and this can lead you to believe the barrel is shot out, when in fact, it still may have a lot of serviceable life left. A barrel with a worn or damaged crown can be re-crowned and accuracy will usually return.

The chemical cleaners may be the best way to clean service rifle barrels that must be cleaned from the muzzle -- i.e. M1 Garand, M14, etc. . .-- because this method avoids all the scrubbing necessary with the abrasive cleaners and the danger of damaging the crown. But again, as long as the rod doesn't touch the crown, abrasive cleaners should be fine.

Abrasive cleaners work very well. They do not damage the bore, they clean all types of fouling (copper powder, lead, plastic), and they have the added advantage of polishing the throat both in "break in" and later on when the throat begins to roughen again from the rounds fired. One national champion we know polishes the throats on his rifles every several hundred rounds or so with diamond paste to extend their accuracy life.

Again, as with the chemical cleaners, a good rod and rod guide is necessary. A jag with a patch wrapped around it works well. Apply the cleaner and begin scrubbing in short, rather fast strokes of about two to four inches in length. Concentrate most of the strokes in the throat area decreasing the number as you go toward the muzzle. Make a few full-length passes while avoiding exiting the muzzle completely, but do partially exit for about six strokes. You can avoid accidentally exiting by mounting the rifle in a vise or holder of some sort and blocking the rod at the muzzle with the wall or something to keep it from completely exiting.


This sheet is intended to touch on the critical areas of break-in and cleaning and is not intended as a complete, step-by-step guide or recommendation of any product.

The following is a guide to "break-in" based on our experience. This is not a hard and fast rule, only a guide. Some barrel, chamber, bullet, primer, powder, pressure, velocity etc. combinations may require more cycles some less!

It is a good idea to just observe what the barrel is telling you with its fouling pattern. But once it is broken in, there is no need to continue breaking it in.

Initially you should perform the shoot-one-shot-and-clean cycle for five cycles. If fouling hasn't reduced, fire five more cycles and so on until fouling begins to drop off. At that point shoot three shots before cleaning and observe. If fouling is reduced, fire five shots before cleaning. It is interesting to shoot groups during the three and five shot cycles.

Stainless Chrome moly
5 one-shot cycles 5 - 25 - one-shot cycles
1 three-shot cycle 2 - three-shot cycles
1 five-shot cycle 1 - five-shot cycle


Thank you for choosing a Krieger barrel.
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george20042007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Breaking in a new barrel Reply with quote

There are so many varied opinions here on this subject, it doesn't surprise me that a manufacturer wouldn't consider saying something on the subject, after all, wouldn't that be authoritative? Then you have Weatyherby. They provide you with a target for the gun you buy showing what it does right out of the box.

When I got mine, it shot that good for the 20 rounds of factory ammo I used. Then I went to my reloads. New Weatherby unprimed cases, 165 grn Hornady GR SST (30452) bullets, 88 grns of Hodgdon H1000, 215 Federal large mag primers. Took five shots at 200 yrds to re-zero, and the groups were under 1.5 inches. I went through 40 rounds of reloads with no barrel cleaning, one shot at a time, no planned cooling off period.

A day later, I shot 20 rounds of "reloads" using same formula, only now using once fired cases, and the gun properly cleaned (using my cleaning methods), got the same results. I guess the barrel is broke-in, although I wasn't out to break-in the barrel.

To say the least, I still don't know if a break in is required, even if the manufacturer has a procedure, and why wouuldn't he, expecially for those that feel "there ought to be one". Shocked Confused Read Book Computer Confused
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