Breaking in a new Barrel

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by bessemerbob, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    Breaking in a new Barrel


    Well this topic seems to get mixed reviews, but on a new gun I plan doing only target shooting at 200-300yrds I want to make sure everything is done right. So who believes in the barrel break in, and what’s your method?

    Oh my gun is a Savage 12FV in 223
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  2. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Active Member

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    I FIRMLY believe in barrel break in and/or hand lapping the barrel. What I do is hand lap it, then clean between every round for the 1st 15-20 rounds, then clean between every 3 rounds for 20 rounds,then you're done.
     

  3. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    To break in my DPMS. AR in .308 the manual suggested to clean it after every shot for the first 25 rounds then after every10 shots up to 100 rds.. It shoots sub-moa groups now and it has an 18" bull barrel. I don't know if that's because of the break-in - but I'm sure it didn't hurt! The important thing in thr future is to clean it properly to remove all copper fouling.
     
  4. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    I really want to start this gun out right, I plan on speanding a lot of time and in the long run alot of money making this a great range gun. So I will be sure to spend the time breaking her in. So would it be ok to buy those bulk reloads to do this step. If Im going to be shooting that many rnds it would be nice to just go with some of the dirty cheep junk, or would it?
     
  5. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    Not sure what you mean by "dirty and cheap", but Ultramax comes to mind...stay away from steel cased crap as many manufacturers recommend against it's use for various reasons. You never mentioned what type of gun you are breaking in, but all of my AR's came with specific warnings against steel cased ammo. I can go into a long diatribe about why, but I think that's already been covered here somewhere. In either case these days you won't get 100 rds. of factory .308 ammo cheap. Even Wally World's Winchester FMJ's are $18/bx.
     
  6. Gene Langston

    Gene Langston New Member

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    I believe in shooting it to break it in. With a lot of rifle barrels now, especially hammer forged barrels, They're about as slick as they can be. It won't hurt to break in such a barrel, and most are now hammered, but I don't think it will do any good, either. No harm, no good...at least IMO. Even with cut rifling. What you're doing is shooting, cleaning, shooting, cleaning...ad infinitum. Why not just clean it after you shoot, same difference. Or is it?

    However, it will insure you get your barrel clean. Savage does not hammer forge their barrels, a plus on them.
     
  7. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    I have the Savage 12FV in .223..... The dirty cheap ammo I was talking about is the ultramax. Its reloaded stuff you can get a box of 50 for like $20...... But its dirty dirty dirty!
     
  8. SlamFire

    SlamFire New Member

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    Don't tell me you didn't take my post down, because you DID.

    I searched my Rem. 700 Police manual end to end, even in the foreign languages. There are torque spes for tightening the receiver screws. There's no discussion about barrel break in.

    Just out of curiosity, because it's a new gun, I put it on the rack and ran a brush full of Hoppe's down the tube. Then I ran a jag/patch. The patch came out BLACK -- like the gun had been fired 50 times.

    Couple wet patches and another dry, the dry patch came out clean. I don't think it's bullet fouling so much as maybe mfg. residue.

    Let's note too that the sling swivels weren't tight. I took the barrel off the stock and gave it a rub down with a polymer lube/protectant that I have.

    Jewell says don't oil the trigger mechanism. Jewell recommends that you flush out the trigger assy w/ lighter fluid or similar after running patches down the bore. (I use a bore guide to keep the solvent out of the trigger mech.)

    The gun's NOT ready to shoot out of the box.

    On a bench gun, I run patches every five shots anyway. We'll run patches every shot for the first 100 or so.
     
  9. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    If you can find Ultramax ammo for $20 per 50, I'll take it all! Have you shot Ultramax ammo or are you basing the comment about it being "dirty" on word of mouth, or price? It's cheaper than new factory, but it's certainly not in the surplus price category. Factory direct I have a price list showing $124/200 of the cheapest .308 they offer which is 110 grain Sierra HP.

    Ultramax's reman ammo is not at all "dirty" and I have shot TONS in .40 S&W, .223 and .308.

    Not trying to jump on you, just wondering if you have experience with Ultramax.
     
  10. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    Just passing on what I have been told. Never shot it myself, but people have almost slapped it out of my hand when I pick up a box at the gun shop......
     
  11. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    Savage dosent say much about break in, but they do have a link on there site on how to do it.... Makes you wonder...
     
  12. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    Was it an owner or employee at the shop?:D

    It is good ammo just so you know.

    As far as your break in procedures, as stated already, some say yes some say no. If you decide on a clean-shoot-clean you're not doing any harm if you want to take that route. ANY abrasives are a bad idea no matter what anyone says. Including JB, Flitz, etc. If there is a burr or machine mark that requires an abrasive to get rid of, send the thing back. Any modern barrel worth a darn *should* not require that kind of treatment.

    If you think about it all you're doing is accelerating errosion.

    With my 700 LTR I shot one,clean,one,clean for 25 rounds. Then five, clean for another 25. Result: shoots great.

    Just built an Encore with a SS Bergara barrel. Just took it out and shot it for groups. Result: shoots great. :confused:
     
  13. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    If you think about it all you're doing is accelerating errosion.

    Jeep, what do you mean by this? Last thing I want to do is cause errosion!
     
  14. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    He's talking about using Flitz or JB to hand lap the barrel prior to shooting.

    This comes up all the time and there is always 9 or 10 different answers about what this person does, or what that person who shoots competition does, etc.

    For the modern barrels, it's really not a huge deal to do anything more than a thorough once over before going to the range. Machining processes have gotten much better and ammo is much better, therefor the barrel itself is in better shape than a comparably equiped weapon from the '60s.

    If you feel strongly about it, go ahead and do it. Shoot a shot, run a brush and patch. Shoot another shot, run another brush and patch. Do that a few times. Bump it up to 3 rounds, then brush and patch.

    After one range session, and about 20 rounds, you are done - and you might feel better.

    The fact of the matter is, if you are building a $10K Benchrest competition rifle, you might want to take a little bit of extra care on a break in - but on a factory stick, with a little love and TLC, it will be ready to perform, as expected, as long as your expectations aren't .25 groups at 500 yards. :D

    JD
     
  15. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    Might as well let JD talk for me since he says it better. Maybe my wife will listen to him...(I wouldn't wish that on ya bro...)

    Just what he said about using abrasives. If there is a burr or imperfection, which doesn't happen very often, you cannot pinpoint it and abrade just that small single imperfection. If you push a patch with abrasives through a bore you will contact and thus abrade more than just the imperfect spot. I really think your Savage will shoot great outta the box. Some "studies' show a barrel settling in after a few hundred rounds, but that is a few hundred normal firings not trying to force it to break in. You can't force decent bourbon to age can you?

    If you want to tweak stuff before you shoot, the best tip I can offer is to lap your scope rings BEFORE you mount a scope. This simple and relatively cheap step has brought some of my inch at a hundred rifles to sub MOA. If it's still not up to your expectatations after a few hundred rounds, go from there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  16. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    Dillinger Jeep, thank you both for your help on this. Its clear now what I should do. I think I will still do a water down version of the break in, but nothing like the 100rnd day at the range. Granted my bench rig isnt going to be in the 10K range but I think in the end it will come in around $1500.00

    Thanks again gents.
     
  17. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Active Member

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    Newsflash-ALL premium barrels from TOP quality barrel makers are hand lapped BEFORE you ever see them. That means ALL competition barrels, and all records are broken with hand lapped barrels. I do this for a living, and have done so for almost 28 years now, so I would like to think I know at least a little about it.

    Look at any factory bore through a bore scope and you will be AMAZED at how rough the bore/rifling looks. Trust me-you WILL hand lap or break in the barrel after that. Button rifling does seem smoother than cut rifling but they STILL need to be hand lapped for BEST results. I do this automatically on all MY rifle barrels except those that was hand lapped at the barrel maker. Remember I do this for a living and have a 6 month waiting list and NO unsatisfied customers. It's true that factory barrels have came a long way, but they still are seriously behind top quality barrel makers in quality. You MAY get a factory barrel to shoot 1/2" groups at 300 yards but the odds are against it due to necessary factory tolerances. Exactly like getting a rare engine from the auto maker that the tolerances just happened to stack together perfectly for a blueprinted engine. Just my opinion.
     
  18. bessemerbob

    bessemerbob New Member

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    Bear, sorry for the ignorance but what is hand lapping?
     
  19. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    True. And Not true. Many manufacturers of custom barrels do hand lap them, but they are the people making the barrels and they are doing so in a much tighter tolerance than your average Joe, with a bench vise and some bargain Flitz he got from Brownells.

    You have been building rifles this way for a long time Bear, and you know that you have to perform all chamber work in the same relation to reaming the chamber, in relation to the bore, in the first place. You don't cut a chamber, pull the barrel from the machine, put it on the shelf, then come back in a month and cut the muzzle break threads.

    No one is claiming that a factory barrel is going to compete with a custom. But as steel has gotten better, so have the factory barrels. They still aren't up to MY standard of what makes an accurate rifle, but if you pull a Winchester or Remington Barrel of today, and pull one that the troops bought off the shelf for Sniper Duty in Vietnam in the late 60's - you will notice a HUGE difference.

    And I don't think the OP was looking to have his new stick compared to the best from the world of gun making either. He was asking about his Savage. And since it's probably a factory barrel, the kind of accuracy and the kind of attention to detail is probably not there for your AVERAGE shooter to notice a remarkable improvement that free floated the action, reloading fire formed brass and just getting some trigger time wouldn't improve. :p

    Best I have seen is Howa/Weatherby's .99" at 100 guarantee that isn't full blown custom.

    If you get one of Bear's rifles, or have him re-work yours, you can expect that kind of tack driving accuracy - but for a factory gun, go and shoot it, clean it a few times between rounds, and see what YOU think.

    NO TWO RIFLES ARE EVER GOING TO PERFORM THE SAME!! Even if they have the same everything, were built by the same guy and you are using the same ammo.

    At the end of the day, doing a trigger job, having a stock that fits you and having a free floated action is going to yield FAR better groups than the condition of your factory barrel when it left the box and you have put 30 or so rounds through it. :D

    JD
     
  20. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Active Member

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    I guess I tend to get carried away because I'm doing it all the time, and seldom see rifles that the owner don't want extensively customized. Everybody has their own way of doing it, and that's mine. In my experience, hand lapping will clean up a bore (factory rifle) considerably. I do some tuning on factory rifles, and that's part of the package, as well as chamber work and action truing. It's sometimes shocking to see how good a properly tuned, otherwise factory rifle, will do. Basically you're tightening tolerances & hand fitting the factory cannot afford to do.

    Hand lapping is NOT recommended for amateurs. It's VERY easy to destroy a barrel if you don't know what you are doing. Hand lapping is when you run an lead slug, slightly undersized & coated with fine lapping compound, the length of the barrel to slick & smooth up any microscopic burrs that will rip pieces of bullet jacket from the bullet. It improves accuracy, makes for an easier to clean barrel, USUALLY makes for more accuracy, and reduces fouling.I won't get into the actual nuts & bolts unless asked.

    Hand lapping also uniforms the bore where it could have tight spots along the length of the bore. Proper hand lapping removes so little barrel material it cannot be measured by conventional means except for air gauging and so forth. That's the topic of another post. Dillinger is right that barrel steel, and manufacturing methods have vastly been improved within 1 or 2 generations.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009