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dragunovsks 07-01-2008 08:27 PM

Barrel break in???
Got my AR on Sat. and was told by a couple of guys who own AR's themselves that I should break in the barrel. I've never done this with any other gun I bought but if it needs to be done with this one, I'll do it. I spent too much on the gun not to take care of it. Is this really nessessary or is this just 'urban myth' per say?

Dillinger 07-01-2008 08:28 PM

I'm sorry, you may have posted it in another thread, but what kind of barrel do you have on there?


dragunovsks 07-01-2008 08:49 PM

I did see it in another thread right after I signed up but didn't read it. It's a 20", 5.56mm barrel on a Century Arms. Not sure of the rifling, I know it's a pretty thick barrel (AR-15A2).

Dillinger 07-01-2008 09:08 PM

Is it a standard GI Barrel? Or did you get a custom one?

You can measure the twist by inserting your cleaning rod and makring how far into the barrel it takes to make one full revolution of the cleaning rod, my guess is it will be around 8 or 9 inches in before you get a full revolution. That will tell you the twist rate - 1:8 or 1:9

In any event, barrel break in always leads to an argument from two sides. 1) You have to break in every barrel OR 2) Urban Myth

Now, having said that, we at the shop, do recommend a break in period before you start trying to fire for groups to measure accuracy. We don't do much, fire one round, clean and patch, fire one round, clean and patch, up to maybe 6 or 8 rounds. Then we do three rounds at a time for a series of two to four times, cleaning after each three round set, letting the gun cool after each time. Then we give it a good cleaning, fire one test round and then shoot for group. We always recommend cleaning before you leave the range, if you can. However, the average rifle that leaves the shop has a new custom barrel on it, and some $$ spent on 'smithing, so take that for what it is worth... Several custom barrel manufacturers, I believe Kreiger and Shillen are on the list, say that it is not NECESSARY to break in their barrels, but they don't discourage the practice either... That said, the faster you shoot out their barrel, the sooner you need a new one. :D

On my standard issue GI Barreled AR - I didn't do the single shots. I did groups of three, cleaned and patched, then groups again for maybe 3 or 4 series and called it a day. The weapon isn't a custom build, so I was more worried about fit and function than supreme tack driving percision as I knew that is not what I built if for...


dragunovsks 07-01-2008 09:22 PM

Oh yes, it is a GI barrel and I will try that with the cleaning rod. I was also told that certain kinds of ammo are coated with a certain substance that transfers to the barrel and causes it to be less accurate. Is there any truth to this? If there is how is this ammo marked and what brands are the best? I bought a box of 55gr. Wolf FMJ when I bought the gun.

Dillinger 07-01-2008 09:29 PM


Originally Posted by dragunovsks (Post 30031)
Oh yes, it is a GI barrel and I will try that with the cleaning rod. I was also told that certain kinds of ammo are coated with a certain substance that transfers to the barrel and causes it to be less accurate. Is there any truth to this? If there is how is this ammo marked and what brands are the best? I bought a box of 55gr. Wolf FMJ when I bought the gun.

That is a good question for RL357MAG - I recently read something that he posted in another thread that I had not personally heard before. I will see if I can find it, because it was an informative read for me personally and I need to refresh myself....

IF you buy ammo that is corrosive, you can shoot it in your gun. Now, obviously I would recommend being more dilligent with the cleaning duties, especially not letting it sit for days after the range before getting around to giving it a good scrubbing. Will it gum it up and ruin the life of the gun? No, probably not as long as you practice good, sound cleaning procedures and take care of your weapon.

Look - no weapon was designed to be abused; fed crap ammo; submerged under water; dragged through brush and buried in the mud - but lots of them have been and continue to run. Why? Because their owners take care of them and clean them up afterwards. Now, I am not recommending do this before trying to win a National Match Championship - but you can subject a weapon to a little abuse and still get a perfectly good life out of it IF you take care of it. I wouldn't spend my whole life shooting coorrosive ammo through the gun, but if you made a mistake and did it, you aren't going to pitch the weapon and start over from scratch, are you?

Maintain your gear and it will continue to perform and function for you. Eventually parts wear out, or break down, or need replacing, and that is part of the fun, because by then, someone else came up with something better that you are simply going to HAVE to buy... LOL :D


jeepcreep927 07-01-2008 09:44 PM

I spent literally weeks looking for an answer to this before I fired a single round from my 700 LTR. As Dillinger stated, there is no definitive answer as to how acuracy is effected. I did the 1 round clean for 10 rounds then 3 rounds clean for 21 more, just because. I have noticed that it takes almost no effort to clean the bore, and I have zero copper fouling so it may be a benefit in that respect. If you have a GI chrome lined barrel breaking it in will do absolutely nothing since their is some variation in the consistancy of the chrome lining. I have read in several places that moly coated bullets tend to have a detrimental effect on the first few inchs of the bore. If you are talking about the bullets that are meant specifically to "break in" a barrel, I wouldn't touch those period, nor would I use Flitz or any other abrasive no matter how mild. Any of these products will do nothing more than acellerate errosion. If there is a clear obvious burr than I suppose the above products could be used to address a single flaw, but not the entire chamber and or bore. If the entire thing NEEDED abrasive compound polishing, then there is an issue with manufacturer's quality control. I also suspect that with a GI barrel, taking the time to follow a break in regiment wouldn't net you any noticable accuracy gains. My .02.

G21.45 07-01-2008 10:17 PM

Dillinger's recommended barrel break-in is about as sensible as it gets. I've had acquaintances drive me nutz with days and days of single and multiple shots out of their new rifle barrels. When they should be shooting, instead they are stinking up the rifle shack with a bottle of Hoppe's #9.

At risk of appearing facetious, I'm not entirely certain what good all this barrel cleaning does for people's rifles. The better marksmen I shoot with always outshoot the poorer ones; and, so far, no amount of barrel break-in has changed that basic reality.

Do you need to clean and reasonably shoot-in a new rifle barrel? I think that to some extent you do. (If nothing else it, 'irons out' the new rifling and cleans up any residue left behind by the manufacturing process.) The only question I've ever had is how much is enough?

I'll suggest this: If you're a benchrest shooter, then, a more rigorous barrel break-in regimen might be appropriate. If you're a hunter or combat shooter, I think a more modest break-in should be adequate.

When I was a young man I never broke in my new rifle barrels; and, at matches, the only shooters who ever beat me were the guys with heavy bull barrels on their rifles. Rifle for rifle I could always outshoot anyone else on the line.

This has lead me to the opinion that a properly bedded barrel, a heavier barrel, a barrel with better harmonics, or a better fitting stock is worth a whole lot more than some of these ridiculous barrel break-in regimens I've watched modern riflemen go through in recent years.

Did somebody say; 'Wolf ammo' and, 'accuracy' in the same sentence? Too funny! I'd suggest that you give your new rifle a good cleaning before you shoot it the first time. Then clean out the barrel again after the next 3 or 4 single shots. Do some more light shooting, and - that same day - give the barrel (and action) another good cleaning.

After that initial range session, be sure to clean the rifle every time you take it out for, at least, the next year. Every so often remember to use a copper solvent on that barrel, too. If your experience is anything like my own you'll have more trouble developing an accurate round to shoot in that new rifle than you ever will with any protracted bench shooting regimen of barrel break-in. ;)

For whatever it's worth: I do use Flitz Polish on my pistol barrels. After almost 5 years of regular use, the only thing that's become more inaccurate is the shooter and not the barrel.

Flitz swears, up and down, in their literature that their polish is not abrasive. I have noticed that Flitz and Iosso Bore Cleaner seem to be identical cleaners; Iosso, also, states that their bore cleaner is completely non-abrasive.

(Gee, I sure hope so because I've been regularly using it on all of my bores for many years now.)

coltm4 07-02-2008 10:47 PM

it can't hurt to do a barrel break in. my friend is a sniper for a local police agency and he said he did it to his rifle. so, i did broke in my barrel on my 700 LTR.
i wouldn't recomend wolf ammo for an AR. it is cheap but i'm not a fan of the steel cases. there's no data backing this but i figure steel cases will wear out my extractor faster than brass.

Dgunsmith 07-03-2008 03:07 AM

IF it is a chrome lined GI style barrel....any attempt to "break it in" is a waste of time. As is expecting accuracy from a chrome lined is impossible to get a consistant, concentric chrome lining. It is used in military barrels to increase barrel life as a machinegun.

Dittos : Using Wolf and accuracy in the same sentence is a true oxymoron !

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