1903 2 Groove vs. 4 Groove Barrel


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lencac
December 19, 2007, 02:38 PM
Hey Guys: Recently in talking to a couple of folks at the range and from a couple of things I've seen online I'm wondering if perhaps 2 groove (lands) barrels are even slightly more accurate that the 4 thin groove (lands) barrels. I know the military tested them against each other and the noted result as I understand it was that one does not wear out any faster than the other. But I don't think there was any mention of how they compared for accuracy. The folks I spoke with at the range both old timers, said the increased bearing surface had the effect of improving accuracy. The online stuff I read, although not directly stating this lead me to think that the 2 land barrels were perhaps a bit more accurate. My 1903A3 that I built with a Krieger barrel has a 4 land barrel but unlike the lands in the mil-spec 4 land barrel where the lands are thin the lands are in the Krieger are wide and is 50/50 as far as lands and bore diameter. It will shoot 1/2 MOA.
What say you guys?

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SlamFire1
December 19, 2007, 03:35 PM
I have two groove and four groove A3's. There is no significant difference in accuracy between the barrel types.

But then these are wartime production barrels. They are not target barrels. I do not have an air gage but it would be interesting to air gage some of these. They probably vary all over the place in the tube.

Your Krieger barrel is a far better barrel than any wartime 2 or 4 groove barrel.

Folks have experimented with grooves, the number of grooves for years. Even number, symmetrical grooves are easier to cut or button rifle than odd number.

When you get above four grooves, whatever improvements are based on faith, not reason.

Essex County
December 19, 2007, 03:35 PM
I'm and old timer, but I oened a half dozen in the seventies. I do remember the best of the lot was a two groove. This proves absolutely nothing. Essex

Khornet
December 19, 2007, 03:37 PM
with 2-groove barrel shoots 1/2 MOA. I did glass bed it, and work up a handload, but the action and barrel are stock. Great rifles.

Gewehr98
December 19, 2007, 03:51 PM
And it shoots just fine, especially when I run my 168gr MatchKing handloads through it.

As stated before, wartime expediency often "forces" tolerances in manufacture, so a poor-shooting two-groove Springfield barrel is more than likely an issue of quality, vs. design. Uncle Sam spent a goodly amount of time and effort checking out the two-groove vs. four-groove differences before commencing production on the former. ;)

http://mauser98.com/03a4bench.jpg

cracked butt
December 19, 2007, 07:15 PM
Absolutely no difference, though I've heard that 2-groove barrels have a slightly shorter life before the accuracy drops off.

On the upside, 2-groove barrels are outstanding cast bullet shooters, mine not being an exception.

iamkris
December 19, 2007, 07:30 PM
Small Arms Review just did a story on 2 groove versus 4 groove. The Army testing showed a VERY slight advantage of accuracy to the 2 goove but not enought to make any difference to the average shooter. There was a ~10% increase in pressures but again, not enough to significantly change wear, barrel life, etc.

lencac
December 19, 2007, 09:45 PM
Holy sniper rifle batman! That is a real real nice piece Gewehr98 but funny name for a guy with that kind of 03 :rolleyes: Ok, let the cat out of the bag ... can you tell us something about the rifle in the pic. I LIKE IT !!
But I can't resist so I'll post a couple of pics of one of my sweeties.
http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/8430/img2383cw6.jpg
http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/2433/img2883zq6.jpg
http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/5944/img2991yu0.jpg

gcrookston
December 19, 2007, 10:00 PM
I've had 4 grove (11/41 dated remington and 1927 dated NM) and a couple of 2 groves (Smith Corona and 03a4 rem), Can't say as I've really noted much of an accuracy gap. Perhaps that's why the war department got rid of the extra expense for the additional 2 groves.

iamkris
December 20, 2007, 03:56 PM
Perhaps that's why the war department got rid of the extra expense for the additional 2 groves.

Nope, it was because the Pratt & Whitney rifling machines they were using (state of the art at the time) were 1 groove cut rifling machines. The production was excruciatingly slow and the rifling process was the production bottleneck.

The move to 2 groove was purely for production capacity reasons.

Oohrah
December 22, 2007, 03:28 AM
I have five with only two not wearing a two groove barrel. About
equal in accuacy and all have new barrels. A sixth rifle is an A4
unfired Sniper that is one of the last 100,000 produced. It also has
a two groove barrel.:D

lencac
December 22, 2007, 04:11 AM
I want to see a pic of the unfired A4 ... pleeeeeeeeease :D

U.S.SFC_RET
December 22, 2007, 08:48 AM
I have a two groove barrel that shoots wonderful and I can't complain.

Gewehr98
December 24, 2007, 12:27 AM
Nope, it was because the Pratt & Whitney rifling machines they were using (state of the art at the time) were 1 groove cut rifling machines. The production was excruciatingly slow and the rifling process was the production bottleneck.

Their speed (or lack thereof) isn't a problem anymore, at least, not when I saw them at the Krieger Barrel factory last year. I'm still a big fan of their cut-rifled barrels, so I cannot comment on what one considers "state of the art". :D

Roswell 1847
December 24, 2007, 01:19 AM
My Savage No.4 .303 has a two groove barrel and shoots one hole groups at 50 yards. The single hole measuring 1/8 of an inch larger than the bullet diameter. Thats with a less than stiff handload of 43.5 gr 4320 pushing a .312 Hornady 150 gr spirepoint.

My bore had to be lapped and polished out and measures .304 X .314 near as I can mike a slug. A friend slugged his and found it was .316 in the grooves.

Reason I lapped my bore was an area of what looked to be chatter marks from a worn spud . There was also some light pitting. Its smooth and shiny now.

From old sources it would seem that bores with odd numbers of grooves shoot better than even numbered grooves with multiples of three shooting best whether even or odd, a 6 groove shooting as well and generally better than a five but a five or a three shooting better than a four.

PS
Glad to hear that two groove bores handle cast bullets. I can get all the cast .311 bullets I want , but haven't tried them because I figured they would tend to strip in a two groove barrel, at least at any respectable power levels.

cracked butt
December 24, 2007, 09:06 AM
Glad to hear that two groove bores handle cast bullets. I can get all the cast .311 bullets I want , but haven't tried them because I figured they would tend to strip in a two groove barrel, at least at any respectable power levels.

I'm not sure about 2-groove enfield rifling....

The 2-groove rifling in the 03a3 is very wide and is roughly 1/2 of the surface of the bore (1/2 lands 1/2 grooves) while the grooves in a 2-groove savage enfield barrel are very narrow. I haven't tried cast bullets in my enfield yet simplay because I don't have a bullet that fits it yet- mine is .316" across the grooves.

Oohrah
December 26, 2007, 03:44 AM
Lencac
Wish I could post a picture, but no diginal camera or computer
literate to do so. I have a complete article downstairs from an
American Rifleman. I was able to identify through the serial number
listed as to the time frame of manufacture. 500,000 of the A4s
were put together. The only flaw was a stock chip where the barrel
band is. Not noticeable as it appears they stained and finished in that
condition, The extractor (blued) has slight blue removal from rubbing
on the receiver bridge where the bolt was worked. Also came with
a single piece Redfield mount (rings never installed). No rings or scope
came with it, but I do have either 1" and 7/8" rings that would fit it. As
with all A4s, no front or rear sights are provided. I have seen a few,
but never one that was unfired, and often wondered how on earth they
were tested. Perhaps they were confident that they were 100% and
it was up to the shooter to make them work. I've owned this since the
early 60's, and never fired it for that reason. Besides I had other 03s
that were as common as BB guns back then:D

lencac
December 26, 2007, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the info Dick. So does that mean that the stock does not have the arsenal proof mark indicating that it was test fired? Wonder what that thing is worth .... care to venture a guess.
As far as the pic goes if you got a friend perhaps that would take a photo and have him/her e-mail it to me I'd post it for you. I would really love to see it.

Oohrah
December 26, 2007, 06:37 PM
Stock markings P in a circle right on the pistol grip cap flat.
Left side under the magazine cut off is a square box with BA
on the top line, under it what looks like a lower case y or j or
G and the next two letters are PL. Barrel date is 9-43. Stock
I just noticed has a few handling dents, but everything remains as I
received it from DCM. Don't know if I have the box, but do have the
original DCM papers. No idea of the value, but I understand prices
rise. They did not match scopes to them as several were used. I
really wanted to get a Lyman Alaskan for it just to have it as an
accessory. Once you install rings on the Redfield mount, you can tell
rings were installed as the rotation of the rings removes the parkerized
finish. If you have any indication of value, let me know. Pretty sure
if it had the scope and rings, it would have a higher value.

lencac
December 26, 2007, 08:20 PM
Dick ... my understnading is that the "P" in the circle is the proof mark of being test fired .... that is a good thing though. FYI, the test firing procedure as I understood it was firing multiple rounds from the firearm that were intentionally "overloaded ammo" to see if it would take the abuse. If the firearm showed no ill effects than the armorer stamped the "P" on it.
Would you consider selling it as is ?

lionking
January 10, 2008, 11:13 PM
thanks for this guys,I'm looking at a auction site and the different dealers list a 2 or 4 depending,it was getting confusing as to just what was "better"....this clears it up because now it seems 4 groove is been touted as better for no reason really.

I have a 4 groove currently,I plan on getting more 03a3's but 2 groove is now ok with me after reading this thread.

lencac
January 11, 2008, 04:04 AM
I would agree lionking. Assuming the condition is like new I would have no problem with either. I have actually been told by a few old timers that they think the 2 grooves are a bit more accurate. But who knows. I have both and both will shoot better than I am capable of.

aka108
January 11, 2008, 11:45 AM
One of my No. 4 Enfields is two grooved. I don't find any difference between it and the 4 grooved. Heard the two grooved were use to cut production time and costs.

cracked butt
January 11, 2008, 12:38 PM
I'm looking at a auction site and the different dealers list a 2 or 4 depending,it was getting confusing as to just what was "better"....this clears it up because now it seems 4 groove is been touted as better for no reason really

There probably are a lot of 'new' 2-groove barrels floating around out there. I bought mine new in arsenal wrap off ebay for around $100 a couple of years ago. The barrel doesn't look all that great, you can see lots of tool marks in the grooves, but it shoots really good and doesn't foul much.

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