Break-in For A Rifle Barrel?


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Auburn1992
March 25, 2008, 10:53 PM
I've heard many different things about breaking in a rifle barrel. I've heard that you just need to clean the barrel the first time before you go shooting and no other break in is required. I've also heard clean every 5 shots with 1 minute in between shots for 40 shots. What is the truth behind breaking in a rifle barrel?

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Buzzbox
March 25, 2008, 10:55 PM
It depends what type of rifle, and for what purpose.

If it's a chrome lined AR, just shoot.

If it's a blueprinted precision stick, then a break in may be in order, depending on the barrel.

And if you shoot competition, maybe, maybe not.

--It depends.--

General Geoff
March 25, 2008, 11:27 PM
Just shoot it. :)

Strongbad
March 25, 2008, 11:32 PM
That's a pretty solid explanation. There are a million different versions of virtually the same process. The process being smoothing out the bore by shooting the gun, then cleaning, then shooting, then cleaning etc.

Some people shoot 1, clean, 1 clean etc. for the first 5, 10, 15, whatever. Then they'll move to cleaning every 10, etc.

The break-in for every barrel will be different. Some will require more than others. Let the barrel tell you. I believe that a good many shooters spend too much time performing needless break-in cleaning cycles. That's not to say that it isn't necessary, I just think a lot of folks over do it. I've seen situations where guns were not allowed to shoot to their full potential, simply because they were constantly being cleaned. Sometimes a little bit of copper lining is a good thing.

esmith
March 25, 2008, 11:50 PM
Well being that i am not that great of a shot i don't care in the least bit, even if it is broken in it won't make a difference. I also believe its a bunch of bogus because the break in is supposed to take away a chunk of the barrels life which i believe is stupid, as i want the most out of what i pay for. If those of you who want to break in your barrels, go ahead, but im not wasting my time. Plus i really only like milsurp rifles, so i don't think my sks and mosin(s) need to be broken in.

W.E.G.
March 26, 2008, 12:02 AM
Let's look at the question another way.

Is there any credible source which has demonstrated that "break in" (whatever that is) produced a barrel with better accuracy capability than an identical barrel that was NOT "broken in?"

I didn't think so.

I will concede that some really crummy barrel with a big burr on the rifling might benefit from some special attention (which might consist of simply firing it until the burr wears down). I find it horribly ironic that the crowd who generates the most chatter about barrel "break in" seems to be the folks who spent a lot of money on a premium barrel. My premium barrel BETTER NOT come with some sort of defect that requires me to buff or scrape the inside of the barrel before it will function properly.

lvcat2004
March 26, 2008, 01:21 AM
Ok, let me ask a question along a similar line....

I bought a moderately priced rifle in 308...

Some people say they only use "match ammos" for their moderate/high-priced rifles. I bought some Igman miltary surplus 308's that are supposed to be "decent". Any problem with shooting cheap ammo throught a nice gun??

Auburn1992
March 26, 2008, 01:25 AM
The gun I am talking 'bout is a Remington XR-100. Which I would call a moderately priced gun (atleast for myself).

Billy_H
March 26, 2008, 01:27 AM
Any problems? No, not really. I mean unless you get some really bad stuff that is just dangerous...

You might end up having to clean a bit more but I would think the biggest thing would be using a cheap ammo that is not as accurate/consistent as you and your rifle.

If you're going to be doing precision shooting you will want an ammo that performs consistently and as expected...it's that repeatability that is key (among a whole host of other things lol).

Auburn1992
March 26, 2008, 01:35 AM
What does "hammer forged" mean when it comes to barrels?

skinewmexico
March 26, 2008, 10:27 AM
What does "hammer forged" mean when it comes to barrels?

It's a cheap way of making disposable barrels, invented by the Germans in WW2 to make MG42 machine gun barrels. Basically takes a barrel blank, and beats it onto a mandrel until it's the right length. Some of them shoot OK, despite the massive amounts of induced stresses. It's something that no precision or competition barrel maker does.

Gale McMillan wrote the best article ever on barrel break in, do an internet search and you'll find it. And your barrel doesn't know, or care, what the ammo in your gun cost. Only the people selling it do. Cheap ammo just probably won't be as accurate.

Jim Watson
March 26, 2008, 10:43 AM
Kreiger did a pretty good piece on barrel break-in, too.
I don't think they are getting rich off the frequent barrel replacements required by that 13 shot process. And by the time I went through the 40 round break-in recommended by the plutocrats at Pac-Nor, I had chronograph readings on several loads and rough zeros out to 600 yards. Shooting that would have had to have been done anyhow. I don't buy the McMillan break-in bugaboo.

One gunzine writer said that since most of the burnishing effect is done by a bullet down a clean barrel, it makes little difference if you clean every shot for ten or every ten for a hundred, if you get it CLEAN.

LongRangeInternational
March 26, 2008, 11:52 AM
Run a damp patch (I use Kroil) down the bore before your first ever shot, patch dry, shoot.

Then establish a regimented cleaning program. Always clean the same so that your cold bore shot is always the same.

In the Advanced Scout Sniper course, we only used 4 patches a day, 2 carbon solvent, 2 copper solvent. That's it. My M40A3 shot a solid .5 MOA reliably and the cold bore shot was always the same.

Don't buy into the barrel break in BS.

Auburn1992
March 26, 2008, 01:12 PM
Would it be fine if I cleaned it say every 20 rounds I put down the barrel?

LongRangeInternational
March 26, 2008, 01:40 PM
Sure, if you stick to it Auburn.

Hart Rifle Barrels writeup on break in. (http://www.hartbarrels.com/F_A_Q.shtml)

ants
March 26, 2008, 02:15 PM
Hey, Auburn. Go to Ed Brown Custom (same web site as the Ed Brown 1911 pistols) and go to the Rifle page, then to the Owner's Manual section. Go to the bottom of the owner's manual and read the instructions for breaking in a barrel. It takes two boxes of ammo and about an hour. Whether you use Hart, McMillan, Brown or any other procedure, go ahead and do it.

Here's the bottom line: If a super match barrel is properly lapped by a competent gunsmith experienced in match barrel finishing, it doesn't need to be broken in. The lapping will do that. If it's a factory barrel (even a factory target rifle) the break in process will be a reasonable substitute. It will NOT make a super match barrel out of a factory target barrel, but it will make your target or hunting barrel shoot as well as that particular barrel can shoot.

The break in procedure is so simple and fun (you get to fire the first 40 or 50 rounds in your brand new rifle!) that it doesn't make sense to skip it and hope for the best from your new target rifle.

Art Eatman
March 26, 2008, 02:17 PM
My uncle was an armorer for the National Guard when he was still in high school. He later became a gunsmith. He and my father got me into the .30-'06 business when I was sixteen.

My uncle was born in 1906, so his armorer deal began in 1925-ish. He never mentioned "break-in" to me. From 1950 until 1999, I'd never heard nor read about "break-in" until the subject arose over at TFL. I first read the American Rifleman's "Dope Bag", the 1940 issue...

We shot a serious bunch of half-MOA groups through all those years of ignorance.

Just clean befoe shooting the first time, on general principles. After that, routine cleaning will do just fine.

LongRangeInternational
March 26, 2008, 02:21 PM
I've shot some great groups from rifles that weren't "broken in."

Here (http://longrangeinternational.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=135) is a great discussion on the topic lead by one of my instructors in Marine Scout Sniper School; woj8541. Just a suggestion, but his input is worth listening to.

LongRangeInternational
March 26, 2008, 03:12 PM
Great post ,Art.

JHansenAK47
March 26, 2008, 03:30 PM
Sometimes a little bit of copper lining is a good thing.
A good example of that would be my russian capture K98. The barrel is frosty and won't shoot good after being decoppered for a couple of shots. After I put a couple rounds down the pipe the groups magically shrink. It isn't that the barrel is no longer cold because if I run water and my boresnake through it the groups hold to the next time I take it out.

Afy
March 26, 2008, 06:31 PM
Irrespective of the barrel... clean before shooting. Shoot ... and clean afterwards.

A bench barrel in .300 WM will alst about 1200-1500 shots before starting to loose accuracy irrespective of break in. Or so I believe...
I dont see the point.

Strongbad
March 26, 2008, 07:51 PM
Quote:
What does "hammer forged" mean when it comes to barrels?

It's a cheap way of making disposable barrels, invented by the Germans in WW2 to make MG42 machine gun barrels. Basically takes a barrel blank, and beats it onto a mandrel until it's the right length. Some of them shoot OK, despite the massive amounts of induced stresses. It's something that no precision or competition barrel maker does.


It may have been used for making disposable barrels in WWII but there are many companies using it in high quality rifles presently. CZ and Ruger to name a couple. As for the stresses, they may not have cared about that in WWII either, but today they're all stress relieved. Regardless of whether or not they're cut rifled, button rifled, or hammer forged.

Sorry, off topic but I thought that needed clarification.

Bartkowski
March 26, 2008, 09:32 PM
Didn't Gale McMillan do a write up of how barrel break in was just made up to sell more barrels?

I don't do anything to break in barrels, and have had no problems so far. The firearms I own that were bought new did not go through a break in period, at least on purpose. The most accurate is a remington 7600 in 30-06, it shoots .75, I shoot about an inch sometimes a little less with federal fusion 180gr.

skinewmexico
March 26, 2008, 11:47 PM
Hammer forging is still a cheap way to mass produce barrels, which are ok from certain manufacturers. Nothing to brag about.

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