Short barrel life


May 9, 2006, 02:40 AM
Anyone ever had an expensive, aftermarket barrel (e.g. Hart, Krieger, Lilja, Douglas) go south on 'em after only 500-600 rounds?

This has happened to me for the second time in 4 years. In both cases, the subject barrels performed beautifully (consistent sub-0.5 MOA accuracy) from the get-go. But then just gave up on me right after having had about 600 rounds through them. Curiously, these barrels were of different makes (Hart; Krieger) and they were chambered and fitted for rifles in different calibers (.338 Lapua; .300 WSM). What's really troubling, however, is that my smith (and the guy who did the barrel work) found NOTHING in either of them that would obviously contribute to their demise (e.g. no roughening of the throats, no severe firecracking, no significant copper fouling). He even went so far as to tell me that they looked like they did the day they left his shop!

Nonetheless, after trying at least a dozen different new load recipes in each barrel (I was, at first, certain that it was simply a matter of change in the barrel harmonics and could be overcome by changing the nature of the stress that caused this), neither barrel's previously excellent performance could be reproduced.

And I'm not one to neglect monitoring throat erosion, mind you! I re-measure the throat after every 20 rounds in new barrels until I see it slow to a virtually indiscernible rate. Throat erosion had all but stopped in both of these barrels after about 260-280 rounds.

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May 9, 2006, 02:54 AM
check your muzzle real close, also check your bolt face for pock marks.

May 9, 2006, 04:30 AM
Crowns and bolt faces were still perfect in both instances. Trust me on this! I really pamper my rifles. When out in far West Texas doing serious LR training with them, I even keep my muzzles covered with custom molded covers (my smith makes these for me) and take great care to clear all debris (e.g. brass chips/shavings) from the bolt face as well as prevent jags and other cleaning rod implements from raking the edge of my bore at the crown.

Ya know, I wasn't too troubled when this happened in my .338 Lapua several years ago, but I'm freaked out that it has happened again this year in my .300 WSM . . . especially seein' as how it costs $700-800 to get a new blank and have it chambered, fitted, and Teflon coated each time this happens! Hell, I do it often enough that I should be getting near twice this kind of life out of these barrels!!!:cuss: :banghead: :cuss: :banghead: :cuss:

Bartholomew Roberts
May 9, 2006, 10:29 AM
Seeing that this happened with two different brands, I have to think it is process and not product that is causing the issue here; but beyond that I am stumped.

Vern Humphrey
May 9, 2006, 01:06 PM
Dumb question?

How do you know it's the barrel? Have you eliminated all the other possible suspects, like stock, scope, mounts, etc.? And how did you do that?

May 9, 2006, 01:52 PM
Could be a lemon got out of the factory.......

May 9, 2006, 02:42 PM
If you can't find anything wrong with the barrel. And the gunsmith can't find anything wrong with the barrel. Maybe it isn't the barrel. My first bet would be the stock. Then the sighting system. Then the nut behind the trigger.

May 9, 2006, 04:41 PM
"(.338 Lapua, .308 WSM)"

I think I may have found your culprits,,,,,,,

May 9, 2006, 05:03 PM
Some of you are grasping at straws! I pull out the 'ole torque wrench before every session at the range and check the guard screws, scope rail screws, scope ring nuts, torx screws in the scope rings, etc. before letting loose! And before a session, the rifles are always as clean as a baby right out of his mother's womb, too! I've also gone over every one of the other chief components in these sticks (i.e. the A-2 stocks in which they're bedded) and I can't find anything wrong with them!

Onmilo may very well be onto something, however. These cartridges are significantly overbore and I do tend to push them.

Still, how many of you have a rifle chambered for the .22-250 or something similar and have enjoyed 1000 rounds or more out of it before having to re-barrel it? More than a few, I suppose!

Hell, maybe it's just the that I use REALLY heavy projectiles with unsually great bearing surfaces. I don't know! :banghead:

Thanks, guys! I do appreciate your feedback. At the least it makes me feel like someone cares :( . Guess I should just be happy I'm young enough and have the vision to shoot these cannons in the first place!


May 9, 2006, 05:59 PM
I'm certainly no long range shooter, nor a gunsmith, but looking at the variables and the constants...

...the two calibers mentioned are known to eat barrels. Add in the fact that you load them hot, that will also shorten their life further. Now, whether or not such deterioration should also be accompanied by excessive throat erosion (which you're not seeing) is something I'm unable to answer. But just a semi-ignorant guess would put my money on the calibers used.

Also, define "go south" on you...just how bad did they get?


May 9, 2006, 06:09 PM
Clean as a baby out of a mother's womb?

Well, there's your problem. I watched all three of my kids born, and they came out GROSS. :D

Sorry, had to say it. Seriously, I have no idea what would cause this. Though I am curious like Coronach, what you would consider going south.

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