Barrel Conditioning
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:13 AM   #1
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Default Barrel Conditioning

I had a New Mini-30 Tactical that was lacking in the accuracy dept and it would load up with copper in a very short time. With handloads the best I could do was about 4-5 inch groups at 100 yards with optics.

The first thing I did was have the trigger done. As this helps the shooter it does not help the firearm, so rifle accuracy is still the same.

The next thing I did was bed the action. This has always helped with accuracy and IMO a must. In the case of this Tactical increased accuracy was minimal.

Next was to tackle the rough bore and smooth it out. As I'm not one to spend hours or even days hand lapping a barrel I took the easy route. I ordered up a Tubb's Final Finish lapping kit in .308. It comes with 50 bullets, 10 each of 5 different grit size. I followed the directions and ran them through the bore.
Copper fouling was reduced, but not by a whole lot. I think I may have gotten better results if I had used their .312 kit instead of the .308, duno.
The end result was accuracy was improved and copper fouling was reduced some. In the future if I ever get another Mini, the first thing I would do would be, Trigger job, Bedding, Gas Block adjustment and of course Fire Lapping.

This was a typical 100 yard target before lapping.


This is how it ended at 100 yards after lapping.

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Old 04-29-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
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I think breaking in the barrel is probably the most over looked thing for most shooters when comes to improving accuracy, and especially for mini's?

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Old 04-29-2012, 08:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve4102 View Post
I had a New Mini-30 Tactical that was lacking in the accuracy dept and it would load up with copper in a very short time. With handloads the best I could do was about 4-5 inch groups at 100 yards with optics.

The first thing I did was have the trigger done. As this helps the shooter it does not help the firearm, so rifle accuracy is still the same.

The next thing I did was bed the action. This has always helped with accuracy and IMO a must. In the case of this Tactical increased accuracy was minimal.

Next was to tackle the rough bore and smooth it out. As I'm not one to spend hours or even days hand lapping a barrel I took the easy route. I ordered up a Tubb's Final Finish lapping kit in .308. It comes with 50 bullets, 10 each of 5 different grit size. I followed the directions and ran them through the bore.
Copper fouling was reduced, but not by a whole lot. I think I may have gotten better results if I had used their .312 kit instead of the .308, duno.
The end result was accuracy was improved and copper fouling was reduced some. In the future if I ever get another Mini, the first thing I would do would be, Trigger job, Bedding, Gas Block adjustment and of course Fire Lapping.

This was a typical 100 yard target before lapping.


This is how it ended at 100 yards after lapping.
steve,

is this something that can get "worked out" through natural use? i swear my mini tightened up its groups significantly somewhere around 300-500 rounds.

of course, this is also the time when i began to make a mods on my mini. (strut, gas block adjust, buffers, stock change). i regret the fact that i did not document each mod step by step as you were doing. all i know is around the time of my "break in" & mods, my groups shrunk from about 3+ inches to about/under 2 inches (on my best days). of course, i also contribute that to practice and suggestions from posters on my shooting techniques.

unfortunately, that makes for a lot of variables i didn't document when i was working on making my mini a shooter.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:03 AM   #4
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According to Ruger, your bore diameter is .310"-.311". Tubbs need to come out with a .310" kit. I have a 189 series in a wood stock. I recently installed an Amega front rail and a 2.5X pistol scope. I also have a MoRod on it. Last trip I was at 2 moa slow fire and bumped to 4 moa rapid with Wolf 123 grain fmj from a rest at 100 yards. I just added a Tapco AK74 style muzzle brake (no longer available) and need to try it out again. Mine was used and badly fouled. I did a lot of scrubbing.

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Old 04-30-2012, 04:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
is this something that can get "worked out" through natural use?
Yes and no. There are a few ways to "break in" a barrel. Some manufactures advise the Shoot-n-Clean. method. That is to shoot one and clean, shoot one and clean for "X" number of rounds. Then shoot 3 and clean, shoot 3 and clean for X number of rounds and so on and so on. This is expensive and tedious. The theory is that over time the bullet will smooth out the bore as long as the bore is relatively clear of copper.

If you just shoot and shoot and shoot without removing the copper build up chances are that the bore will not be lapped as smooth as if you removed the copper between rounds.

As for your Mini getting better the more you shoot it, duno, could be you are smoothing out the bore, but more likely your improved accuracy is the result of the action being broken in, or maybe both.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:13 PM   #6
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Yes and no. There are a few ways to "break in" a barrel. Some manufactures advise the Shoot-n-Clean. method. That is to shoot one and clean, shoot one and clean for "X" number of rounds. Then shoot 3 and clean, shoot 3 and clean for X number of rounds and so on and so on. This is expensive and tedious. The theory is that over time the bullet will smooth out the bore as long as the bore is relatively clear of copper.

If you just shoot and shoot and shoot without removing the copper build up chances are that the bore will not be lapped as smooth as if you removed the copper between rounds.

As for your Mini getting better the more you shoot it, duno, could be you are smoothing out the bore, but more likely your improved accuracy is the result of the action being broken in, or maybe both.
what is the apx cost of the tubb's lapping kit?
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:21 PM   #7
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what is the apx cost of the tubb's lapping kit?
The bullet kit is $35 and has 50 Sierra bullets coated with 5 different grits (1-5) 5 being the finest.

They also have a couple loaded ammo kits that run from $40 to $70.

http://www.davidtubb.com/final-finish-tms

You thinking about trying one? PM me if you are.
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:18 AM   #8
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I use JB Bore paste on a tight cleaning patch, usually I make about 30 strokes and you see a good improvement.

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Old 05-05-2012, 10:49 AM   #9
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I use JB Bore paste on a tight cleaning patch, usually I make about 30 strokes and you see a good improvement.
Glad you could make it!
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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I like to keep up with the ol' gang!

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