Breaking in a Savage 12FV 223


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Bear2000
September 20, 2007, 10:19 PM
I just picked up a Savage 12FX (actually, FVXP - I think the XP means "Dick's Sports" package) in .223 today. I was out the door for around $440 with a Simmons 4-12x40 scope after a variety of discounts. Not bad I think.

Anyway, this is my first high-power bolt action rifle (I'm graduating from a 10/22) and was wondering if anyone had any tips for breaking it in. Specifically, should I be using high quality ammunition for the break in? I picked up a 150 rounds of Ultramax 55 gr ($50) and 40 rounds of Remington UMC ($20). Novice that I am, I thought that the Ultramax - being all brass - would be better than, say, the cheap Wolf 223. After reading more about it here, I'm not so sure. While I doubt it's going to blow up my gun, I am worried that feeding it through might affect the long-term accuracy of the rifle.

Am I worrying too much?

Also, should I be cleaning the barrel after every shot or two for the first #? of shots?

Finally, anyone have any luck with Cabela's bulk 223 ammo, which seems competitive and comes in nifty boxes...

Anyway, thanks for your input. I'm new to the forum here, and new to shooting in general (I've only had the 10/22 for a week now and already felt the need for a .223!), but have learned a great deal from the posts on the board. I would have never considered the Savage, which I'm confident was a good choice for my first bolt action.

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Bartkowski
September 20, 2007, 10:28 PM
I shoot 7.62x39 wolf ammo, and have had no problems so I would say that you will be safe. And accuracy shouldn't be affected by shooting this ammo, but you shouldn't expect great accuracy from this ammo. Anyway, the gun should be very accurate, tell us how it shoots.

RugerOldArmy
September 20, 2007, 10:31 PM
Barrel break-in procedures are a religion for some, but I'm an athiest and shoot them normally. New Savage barrels are known to copper foul at first. I'd bring some Sweets or other strong copper remover, and expect less from the first 150 shots or so. After that, Savages are good shooters. I reload, so I can't comment on factory ammo much, but after those first 150, try some Black Hills with the 69 Gr Sierra bullets. My .223 Savage liked them a lot.

tbtrout
September 20, 2007, 10:33 PM
You are going to get replies for breaking in and for just shoot it and have fun. Personally I think a break in procedure is a myth invented by ammo companies to sell more ammo. Not to mention a waste of good shooting time when you have to clean a barrel after each shot. Shoot it and have fun. Use your ammo for practice and not thinking of it as break in shots. Sight in your scope and enjoy your rifle.

SUBMOAS
September 20, 2007, 10:33 PM
Straight from Lilja Barrels.......
Break-in Procedure
For an effective break-in the barrel should be cleaned after every shot for the first 10-12 rounds or until copper fouling stops. Our procedure is to push a cotton patch that is wet with solvent through the barrel. This will remove much of the powder fouling and wet the inside of the barrel with solvent. Next, wet a bronze brush with solvent and stroke the barrel 5-10 times. Follow this by another wet patch and then one dry patch. Now soak the barrel with a strong copper removing solvent until all of the blue mess is removed from the barrel. The copper fouling will be heavy for a few rounds and then taper off quickly in just one or two shots. Once it has stopped or diminished significantly it is time to start shooting 5 shot groups, cleaning after each one. After 25-30 rounds clean at a normal interval of 10-25 rounds. Your barrel is now broken-in.

My .02

Bear2000
September 20, 2007, 10:42 PM
Thanks SUBMOAS - I just printed out your instructions and will take them to the range with me. I wonder if I'll be patient enough to be that thorough, but I will try to clean the barrel at least every couple of shots.

Now, how do I convince my wife that after buying two guns in two weeks that I still need a shotgun and a pistol, and will probably need a .308 by spring once I become proficient with the .223? This may be the hardest question of all!

What an addictive (and expensive!) hobby this is turning out to be! But a friend of mine in Arkansas took me shooting this summer (M1 Garand, M14, .45 1911) and I was hooked!

Powderfinger
September 20, 2007, 11:46 PM
See what David Tubb (11 time National High Power champion at Camp Perry) has to say here.
http://www.davidtubb.com/

He offers a barrel polishing system called Final Finish.

skinewmexico
September 21, 2007, 12:47 AM
Of course, Lilja only offers a break-in procedure because their customers demanded one. Prior to the internet, they didn't. And Tubb's system will cause your throat to erode.

RugerOldArmy
September 21, 2007, 07:33 PM
Of course, Lilja only offers a break-in procedure because their customers demanded one. Prior to the internet, they didn't. And Tubb's system will cause your throat to erode.

+1

Whitman31
September 21, 2007, 09:38 PM
Shilen doesn't recommend a break-in period for their barrels, doesn't recommend against it either. They state that they introduced a break-in procedure because customers wanted one.

One the other hand, Shilen's are hand lapped...

I vote no break-in...

jhansman
September 21, 2007, 10:40 PM
I used the procedure laid out on Savage's site for barrel break in for my .223 12VLP. http://www.savagearms.com/cs_barrel.htm I have no idea if it helped, hurt, or made no difference at all. I just figured if I was going to spend that much on a rifle, I might as well follow the manuf. suggestions. Great rifle, BTW.

Powderfinger
September 22, 2007, 10:37 AM
Not all Shilen barrels are hand lapped. Match grade CR/MO barrels aren't, but can be for an extra charge.
skinewmexico,
Please provide evidence/proof that Tubbs' Final Finish products cause detrimental throat erosion. I have 2 new barrels that I planned to break in with Tubbs' and don't want to ruin them.

RugerOldArmy
September 22, 2007, 11:37 AM
Please provide evidence/proof that Tubbs' Final Finish products cause detrimental throat erosion. I have 2 new barrels that I planned to break in with Tubbs' and don't want to ruin them.

Powderfinger: You can probably prove that to yourself by yourself. Consider that there is an abrasive coating on the bullets, and that you asked for proof or erosion.

David Tubb is indeed a skilled high power marksman, as proved by his record at camp perry, but if you're asking questions about precision and accuracy, you'll get better information from the benchrest set than the high power set. It takes (perhaps) more pure shooting skill to win Camp Perry, (the impact of reading wind in Benchrest is also a critical skill), but the level of precision required to win benchrest is much higher. I think you'd be better served by posting a question on Benchrest.com or 6mmBR.com if you're looking for objective answers on the effects of shooting abrasive bullets.

FWIW, I'm of the opinion that barrel break-in procedures and products like final finish do more harm than good. In many cases, more harm is done to a barrel by cleaning than shooting, for example, if bore guides arent used when cleaning with a rod or using bore snakes. If you're looking at using any abrasive, I'd just aconsider a very mild one like JB bore paste, and only to smooth things out if copper fouling is an issue (perhaps if you're of the Moly religion too.).

Eyesac
September 22, 2007, 12:03 PM
Personally I think a break in procedure is a myth

browningguy
September 22, 2007, 04:18 PM
Never met Tubbs, wouldn't know him from Adam, except that he sure can shoot.

However, I would hate to see anyone using "recommendations" from people that probably haven't tried the product, and never would because it goes against what they have always done. I'm old too, but when something new comes along that works I have an open mind about it. Remember that here is much in this world that is obvious, but also incorrect. I haven't used Tubbs finishing system on any of my 40 rifles, but I just ordered one in .308. Please remember that when using this system you are sending a small number of bullets, coated with an extremely fine abrasive, down the barrel to help smooth it out.

Of course it's going to remove some material as it polishes the bore, that's what it's designed to do, but it certainly is not going to erode the throat. Go read the actual tests, their are a bunch of them available with before and after group sizes.

RugerOldArmy
September 22, 2007, 05:08 PM
...remember that when using this system you are sending a small number of bullets, coated with an extremely fine abrasive, down the barrel to help smooth it out.

Ignoring for the moment any aspect relating to the precision of such a 'firelapping' procedure, what is the perceived benefit over just firing rounds and cleaning?

You're just causing more wear faster, and eliminating the need for what is done by the premium barrel makers when lapping with a rod: cutting off the ends of the blank (and crowning etc.) Note that (premium) barrel makes air-gauge barrels for uniformity.

Tubbs system, BTW, involves a series of bullets and various abrasive grits. Assuming barrels vary, how does the user-gunsmith determine the number and sequence of bullets necessary to remove the areas of his barrel that collect copper? What would be the impact of using an improper number?

Both procedures will wear the bore, one is just faster, and costs more. Wouldn't one also expect that the coated bullets are of a greater diameter than the uncoated ones? What exactly will the final bore diameter be?

Consider, if you will, just exactly where the greatest wear would occur in the bore firing those abrasive bullets. Would it be the leade where that over diameter barrel obdurates, or would there be more wear near the muzzle?

Any links to the reviews? Are their any tests that include air-gauge results? Any bore scope comparison of the edges of the lands on a final-finish barrel versus a 'control' group barrel that just had 100-200 shots fired through it with some copper cleaner used?

Otherwise, what merit could possible be in the reviews? Simply shooting and cleaning with copper remover will remove the rough spots that collect copper and accuracy will improve. You would need a statistical sample of final-finished barrels versus a sample of 'control' barrels that came from the same lot.

Is there a single NBRSA champion that uses and endorses this method? Is there any other discipline in shooting sports other than Benchrest that achieves a better level of precision?

Tubb, after all, is selling the product. I don't know him either, but would that bias his recomendation?

No disrespect intended, I just don't believe the system can withstand debate. A gunsmith, like a doctor, should adopt the philosophy of 'First: Do no harm'.

I'm probably wasting my time here, for this type of thing is religion for many folks, and is often based on just as much science.


However, I would hate to see anyone using "recommendations" from people that probably haven't tried the product, and never would because it goes against what they have always done.

I havent tried it. But I understand the concept of 'cognate dissonance'. It wouldn't apply to those that haven't tried it, but would to those that have and are inclined to rationalize or justify what they've done. Now clearly, the poster of the above quote stated he hasn't tried it, so it wouldn't apply to him.

I haven't tried it, but I'm reasonably confident that shooting myself in my itchy foot wouldn't be a good thing.

Again, just my $.02, and worth every cent of that ;)

skinewmexico
September 23, 2007, 01:23 AM
Savageshooters tested them. Not real scientific because they weren't looking for that, but it move .013" in that particular test.

Bear2000
September 25, 2007, 10:19 PM
Thanks everyone for the great tips. I'm doing my best taking your advice, although I'll admit I'm having trouble not loading in another round when I should be stopping to clean.

Anyway, I'm shooting 1.5" groups at 100 yards now, which is not bad, I suppose, for someone who's only shot 50 rounds of .223 and only a 10/22 before that. I also don't have a bipod or shooting rest, just the sight vice I used for my Ruger 10/22. I can't wait for my bipod and rest to get here tomorrow from Midway.

Thanks again for the help.

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