Barrel Conditioning

Discussion in 'Mini-14 Forum' started by steve4102, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. steve4102

    steve4102 New Member

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    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.
    [​IMG]

    This is how it ended at 100 yards after lapping.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

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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?
     

  3. hawkguy

    hawkguy Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  4. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  5. steve4102

    steve4102 New Member

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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.
     
  6. hawkguy

    hawkguy Well-Known Member

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    what is the apx cost of the tubb's lapping kit?
     
  7. steve4102

    steve4102 New Member

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    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.
     
  8. tri70

    tri70 New Member

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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.
     
  9. steve4102

    steve4102 New Member

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    Glad you could make it! :)
     
  10. tri70

    tri70 New Member

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    I like to keep up with the ol' gang!
     
  11. Neurotic_Hapi_Snak

    Neurotic_Hapi_Snak New Member

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    Isn't the abrasive in JB supposed to be softer than barrel steel?
     
  12. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

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    I've got some polish and Lord knows my mini could use it. I don't think Ruger spent a lot on the barrel. Barrel conditioning gets controversial.
     
  13. Jeff_F

    Jeff_F New Member

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    I use a lead lap with JB, it works pretty fast and very well.
     
  14. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

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    I swear by JB and use for breaking in all of my new rifles. What really sold me on it was when I tried it on my .303 Enfield. Shot groups went from 3+ inches at 100 yards to 1" at 100 yards, and the only the thing I did was clean the barrel with JB. It made a big difference on my mini as well.

    I use a wire cleaning brush and wrap a patch around the wire brush. Then dip in JB and make 10 strokes. Finish off with Hoppes #9 and then a dry patch. I generally use it every 300 rounds or so, but more often with the mini for now. The barrel just isn't quite there yet. I've noticed when a barrel is right that a semi loose patch at just the right speed will whistle when it goes down the barrel. Mine is not quite to that point. :)
     
  15. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

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    Will Flitz polishing compound do ? I have some of that to clean up my SS handguns when they get really nasty. Works great but is over priced so I use it sparingly. Too expensive to use if it's not going to,produce results.
     
  16. tri70

    tri70 New Member

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    Yes, they both work well.
     
  17. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

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    All of it should be used sparingly. And once a barrel is broken in you should be able to keep the fouling down with normal cleaning (solvent). Then clean with bore cleaner once in a blue moon. The purpose of breaking in a barrel is to smooth out the surface so that it doesn't foul easily.:)
     
  18. steve4102

    steve4102 New Member

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  19. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

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    Accuracy Blues

    I just read a thread where they considered the mini's range to 300 yds. Not sure exactly who's mini they were talking about. Mine is a tack driver at 50 yds but opens up after that.

    Ruger techs say send it in and they'll give you a deal on a new one. They've spent a lot on trying to help the problem themselves to no avail.

    I am hoping the Flitz w smooth things out and I'll try to spend a wee bit more on ammo. She doesn't like the Mil surplus stuff - "Smuckers" my bud calls it cause it's Jam City. :D.
     
  20. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

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    There's a lot that goes into dialing in a gun. Finding the bullet it likes is part of it. A lot of the mil-surplus is 62gr and it was made for a barrel with a 1:7 rate of twist. The mini is 1:9. It will shoot the mil-surplus stuff but accuracy at distance can suffer. Mine doen't like 62 gr bullets. I just don't think there is enough spin in the 1:9 barrel of the mini to stabilize a 62 gr bullet. On the flip size a lot of the lighter bullets made for varmints can fly apart because they were built for the 1:12 rate of twist in most varmint rifles. Try different bullets until you find one it likes and try those bullets at longer distances.