Best way to break in new barrel


August 28, 2003, 11:41 PM
I know this is opening a can of worms. I bought A Savage 10fp .223, And while im waiting for my mounts and scpoe to arrive. I was wondering what peoples thoughts are on best way to break her in? Last rifle I cleaned the bore every 3rd shot for first 50 rounds.

Thanks Tom

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August 28, 2003, 11:47 PM
A Savage? If you only could look at the typical Savage bore through a borescope, you'd realize that the bore surface has little to do with accuracy. You'd also realize that all the toothpaste in Spain isn't going to smooth that out. Up close, Savage lands and grooves look like photos from the NASA Viking mission.

Shoot your gun. No Voodoo time wasting cleaning incantation is going to change the nature of that barrel. It will shoot well from the first shot and will only wear over time and use.

The best way to break in the gun is to sight in the scope. There, you're done.

Don't take the above wrong. Savage makes a fantastic and accurate gun for the buck. They do it by focusing on what's important, and leaving out what's not.

4v50 Gary
August 28, 2003, 11:58 PM
The late great Gale McMillan told us just to shoot the darn thing.

August 29, 2003, 12:40 AM
I'm going to go with the Gale McMillan school and just recommend shooting it.

six 4 sure
August 29, 2003, 01:19 AM
Trying not to sound like a broken record, but I agree with 4v50 and DF. Gale had an excellent response to this on TFL here and here There may be another one, but I couldn’t find it quickly.

I would suggest everyone read Gale’s posts at TFL. I try to reread them every six months or so. We lost a grate one when he passed away.


August 29, 2003, 02:13 AM
I'd bet all my paycheck for a year that if you take 2 identical Savage 10's, and break them in McMillan style (no breakin), and then the traditional 1-shot/clean method, you'll notice a profound difference. I've done it with 2 Ruger 77/22's and I can show you the difference. It's there, no question, no doubt. 100%, it's there.

What is the difference? As I've said 10 times on this forum (and no one seems to pick up on or debate, or they just ignore) it's not necessarily a question of accuracy. Ask the benchrest guys why they do it on factory barrels.

It helps to seal the microscopic pores in the metal, so I'm told, but what I know is it makes the gun easier to clean, and less prone to fouling....which has a beneficial byproduct in that you can stay accurate for a longer period of time (hence the Benchrester's fondness for this procedure). If this method was BS (as McMillan states), then the top benchresters in the world would have surely found this to be the case - yet they break their barrels in PRECISELY because of what I'm saying. It keeps a barrel from fouling and makes cleaning easier.

I've done it both ways and stick with the break-in on the guns I rely on for very good accuracy (below .5 MOA). Combat or plinking guns (or those with chrome lined barrels) need no such treatment.

McMillan was only challenging ONE facet of the claim, and can be said to be partially correct but even a GOD such as he can be wrong or narrow minded.:rolleyes:

Put it this way, does it hurt anything? Why not give it a shot and see if I'm not right. I didn't believe in it at first either (sounded like voodoo) but I know from my own personal experience, which trumps blindly following McMillan anyday.

August 29, 2003, 02:35 PM
Put it this way, does it hurt anything?
Well, I believe that was the gist of Gale's assertion. ie that it reduced barrel life while doing nothing for accuracy.

August 29, 2003, 03:21 PM

Realistically, how do you know you didn't just happen to pick the more accurate of the two rifles?

Art Eatman
August 29, 2003, 04:19 PM
swingset, you didn't go quite far enough into what McMillan wa saying. If a barrel is truly a target barrel per his standards, it doesn't need the breakin; it's already smooth.

Again, by his standards, if a "breakin" does indeed help, it wasn't such a much of a barrel to begin with. I rather doubt that mass-production barrels are air-gauged and all that; shallower cuts and more passes for the rifling...

Generally, the normal pattern of shooting a hunting rifle, where you shoot maybe a dozen or so rounds--to maybe a box--and then take the rifle home and clean it, is in itself a breakin of sorts. Just shooting burnishes the surface of the barrel.


Quintin Likely
August 29, 2003, 07:32 PM
Savage barrel break-in:

Step 1: Ensure bore is clear of obstructions.
Step 2: Shoot the durn thing :)

My .223 10FP makes nice little one hole groups at 100 yards with no break in whatsoever. I've asked the barrel break-in question myself, and I've come to the conclusion that the rifle shoots pretty good without any break-in, and me personally, I don't think I'd notice or care about any differences gained or lost by breaking in a barrel. And short of a hardcore benchrester, I don't think the average Joe would notice the difference either.

August 29, 2003, 08:38 PM
Yet again (and again, and again) my main point is glossed over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:banghead:

I made NO CLAIM THAT IT WILL GREATLY INCREASE ACCURACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you guys even read? Seriously, where did I say one of my guns was more accurate than the other????

As I've said 10 times on this forum (and no one seems to pick up on or debate, or they just ignore) it's not necessarily a question of accuracy.

Simply this guys, in my experience (and that of many benchresters whom I know and trust) that on a factory barrel it will help to make cleaning easier and to reduce fouling if you follow a modest breakin procedure. I'm not a metallurgist, I don't know why, but it works and I know it does. If you don't, or you don't believe, that's your tough luck....but don't accuse me of saying it makes a factory barrel more accurate. It simply makes it harder to foul up and takes less cotton to get it clean. What about this makes you uncomfortable?

Gale McMillan doesn't really address this. He attacks the practice on accuracy and barrel life, which is NOT the reason I choose to break in my barrels. I don't think it will make a tackdriver out of my gun, but I do think it helps to reduce fouling, and I've seen it first hand and so have very highly acclaimed shooters. It's not just me folks.

And, honestly, how in god's name is it going to shorten barrel life to shoot once, clean, shoot once, clean etc. for the first few rounds? Ok, I'll give him this - it will shorten it by about the same amount of rounds that the breakin takes - about 50 rounds or so.:rolleyes:

August 29, 2003, 09:02 PM

Did somebody wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

:D Stinger

August 30, 2003, 02:50 AM
Swingset is right, he does only care about cleaning, not accuracy.

August 30, 2003, 06:33 AM

Why don't you take your wisdom to the upper tiers of benchrest shooters - indeed challenge the very best ones out there who choose to "breakin" their barrels, and show them what real accuracy is all about?

I'm going to go out a limb and say you're one of those people who dismiss this breakin nonsense having never experienced it, tried it or really given it much of a serious look. You read an article, form an opinion, or just close your mind and that's that.

I'm no slouch behind a trigger, and I've owned and shot a long time in competition, I'm not talking out of my rear end. You wanna put a stock gun, unbroken in, next to me on a bench and see how long you can hang with me, I'd be more than happy to give you a real world lesson. Apparently, for some people, it's the only way to crack their thick skulls.

I'm done with this topic. I'll go do something constructive like talk to a cat or something.:rolleyes:

August 30, 2003, 09:23 AM
i do not get to Ohio often since my Mother & Father passed on, but if you ever want to come out West & see all the splendor of this enchanting side of the "Ol Miss", i'd be more than willing to host you at my range for a real "shoot out"...., if you are speaking of Colt AR-15s, which is about all i have..., i will break out one of my NIBs & we'll run the test..., you bring one of your "broken in" ARs & i will open a box & give it a try OK ??

i am no slouch either..., been doing this game for over 50 years !!!!!!!!;) :D :D

Art Eatman
August 30, 2003, 12:16 PM
"Is what you thought you understood the same as what I thought I meant?"

:D, Art

August 30, 2003, 12:36 PM
Geez, I thought I was agreeing with the guy.

I'll have to work on my people skills.:D

August 30, 2003, 03:25 PM
Thanks Gentlemen for the posts I now have food for thought. I hope my post didn't raise to much of a stink :eek: It wasn't my intent.

Thanks Tom

August 30, 2003, 05:23 PM
If it helps any, swingset, I also thought SPE was agreeing with you.

Great thing about the internet, that we can easily misinterpret the written words.
The intent and content don't look the way the person might have heard them in his own head as he wrote it, or sound the way he might have said it.

I sent something to my best friend and he was WAY OFF in how he read it.
I had to call him on the phone so he could HEAR MY VOICE the way I wrote in and intended it to be.
THEN, it was OK. :)

That said, I'm of the shoot-the-gun and break it in that way crowd.
Until I get a new gun that requires a warranty break-in. In that case, I'll cover my ??? and do it their way, as prescribed.

August 30, 2003, 09:04 PM
I think swingset said he was done with this thread because he knew plenty people would take him up on his challenge.

The first time someone can explain to me what break-in accomplishes, on a metallurgical level, I'll believe it. Until then, its voodoo.

In my studies of metals in mechanical engineering, we learned that the largest particle visible to a conventional microscope is a "grain." I've never heard of metals having "pores" to "seal."

Like I said, explain to me what's happening and why its beneficial, and I'll believe it.

August 30, 2003, 09:21 PM
I think that the good accuracy of many rifles with not so smooth bores is kind of relavent. If a Savage bore can look like that and do sub MOA, how important can the bore surface be?

After all, it's not like the bullet can tell the difference. If it comes out of the muzzle with the rpm and velocity every time, who cares if it was shot down a sandpaper barrel? The coefficient of friction from "metal pores" has got to be nothing compared to the friction of getting squeezed down to bore diameter and forced againt 20 inches of rifling.

Art Eatman
August 30, 2003, 09:59 PM
Aw, most of us were thinking in terms of accuracy, and he said he'd noticed that there was a "before and after" thing about ease of cleaning.

Whether or not it matters if you just shoot some and then go clean, or shoot/clean/shoot/clean, etc., is where the differences of opinion arise.

I just figure folks oughta do what pleases them.

:), Art

August 31, 2003, 09:25 AM
How about I throw this into an already "lively" thread. You might consider the David Tubb Final Finish system for break-in. I have used it in the past and it will also reduce fouling and ultimate cleaning time. Further, I have noticed slightly increased accuracy in factory barrels I have used this process on. I will agree, break-in should not be necessary on high end or hand lapped barrels, to me the hand lapping IS the break-in. But I dont think it can hurt the others. A post above mentioned how rough a factory Savage barrel is, try this product and re-scope the barrel, it will be noticably smoother.

What I really think, if you THINK it will make your barrel shoot better, why not try it. You know shooting is 50% mental, 50% physical, and 50% equipment....


Good Shooting!!!!!!

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