I understand the basics of each one's manufacturing process, but which one is better and why? Is the difference worthy of a lot of consideration when making a purchase decision for a hunting rifle?
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December 28, 2008, 09:22 AM
The "best" is what they used to make the barrel on the rifle that has all other features you want. In other words, it is not something worthy of a lot of consideration buying a hunting rifle.
December 28, 2008, 09:26 AM
Some of the most accurate rifles in the >$1000 price range are button rifled (namely, Savage). really all depends how well it's done...
December 28, 2008, 10:40 AM
My understanding is this:
Button rifling has the potential to make very good barrels. If worn equipment is used the barrels will not be so good. Of course, the buttons themselves wear after each barrel is made so you're depending on the manufacturer's QC to stop using worn buttons. In the end, you get more barrel to barrel variation than cold hammer forged.
Cold hammer forging is more expensive to set up but barrels made that way cost less, assuming you make a few hundred thousand of them. The barrels made this way are also stronger as the steel has been cold worked.
Good article here with many details and pics: http://www.rifleshootermag.com/gunsmithing/RSgunsmith1/
December 28, 2008, 12:22 PM
It depends on the manufacturer and their level of QC. A manufacturer can choose to make a lot of barrels really cheap and really fast, or do it right and make really good barrels.
Domestic manufacturers seem to favor hammer forging because it allows them to produce cheaper barrels to help ther bottom line, not necessarily better barrels. A Tikka or Sako barrel is also hammer forged and is of much higher quality than the Remington or Ruger barrels. I've often heard it said that a Remington will shot close to moa with good handloads, and a Tikka will shoot tat well with off the shelf factory loads- from what I've seen and shot from the two manufacturers, in my opinion this assessment ispretty much true. Remington selling their rifles on the virtue that their barrels are hammer forged would be like a pistol manufacturer selling pistols on the virtue of having lots of MIM parts.
December 28, 2008, 12:45 PM
Hart and Krieger are two of the top barrels used by benchresr shooters. Hart button rifles, Krieger cut rifles, both win matches.
If there was difference in how a barrel performed due to rifleing type, I`m sure these guys would be all over it.
December 28, 2008, 01:43 PM
Most of the smaller commerical barrel makers are still using WWII era rifling equipment.
Hammer forging technology is hideously expensive. I think Ruger was the only manufacturer to spend the money to purchase a hammer forging machine. Maybe FN USA has one, don't know.
Interesting article on hammer forged barrels and accuracy.