Fire lapping a barrel


December 20, 2010, 11:12 PM
Who has done it?
Did it help?
Dit it hurt?
If you didn't do it, not because you have not heard of it, or got around to it, I want a legitimate reason.
I have heard that it reduces barrel life a good bit.
I want to do it on a Howa M-1500 .308 win sporter rifle in a hogue free floating stock..

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December 20, 2010, 11:33 PM
I thought about doing it to my .357 revolver because it has a constriction, but after some thorough research I decided against it.

I was concerned about barrel life as well.

December 20, 2010, 11:52 PM
I'm about to start handloading after chrismas, and honestly I'm not super concerned about losing 1000 rounds, because I will replace it before I put 4000 rounds through it.

December 21, 2010, 05:15 AM
I might try it on an old / nasty barrrel I'd otherwise replace. Hand lapping is another story.

December 21, 2010, 06:21 AM
Done properly it can enhance accuracy and reduce copper fouling. If you intend on shooting cast bullets it can make a big difference. There are severeral "levels" from Tubbs "final polish" to NECO's 5 grit series. Done badly it can lengthen the rifle's throat. Most rifles shoot a bit better in my experience, some a lot better and some barely noticeable. The best instructions and system come from Veral Smith at LBT.

December 21, 2010, 05:28 PM
alright thanks

December 21, 2010, 06:32 PM
ive used them a couple times with good results. I recently tried breaking in a barrel with the last grit of Tubbs system, made the work alot faster then normal.

December 21, 2010, 06:36 PM
sounds good, when I get the hang of loading I'll order these.

Coal Dragger
December 21, 2010, 06:40 PM
I would not fire lap a barrel that shot well, and didn't have excessive fouling problems. All you are accomplishing by doing so is shortening the barrel life prematurely at best, and potentially damaging the accuracy potential at worst.

Now if the barrel didn't shoot well, or fouled up really quickly with copper I'd give it a shot if a normal 20 round break in period of cleaning every 3-5 shots didn't clear it up.

December 21, 2010, 06:44 PM
It fouls bad after about 150-200 rounds and has to be cleaned throughout the day with copper solvent, It's a good shooter but could be better, I heard when you load these abrasive rounds you use a small powder charge. is this correct?

Coal Dragger
December 21, 2010, 06:47 PM
Yes that is correct, the abrasive compound on the bullet creates more friction (obviously) and will spike chamber pressures.

As for copper fouling becoming really noticeable after 150-200 rounds, well yeah it will in just about any centerfire rifle after that many rounds. Put into perspective there are many barrels (Savages come to mind) that will copper up noticeably after only 20-30 rounds or less.

December 21, 2010, 06:51 PM
I have seen custom rifles that were oiled and cleaned when brand new, then left alone after that.
It's a PITA to get the copper out when I was continuously injecting copper solvent into the muzzle plugged barrel, Waiting an hour, then patching, brushing, patching, and plugging and putting more solvent in.
I will sacrifice 1000 rounds to not have to do this, I mean I will likely rebarrel this action and make a custom rifle due to the strenth and design of the Howa/Vanguard action.
So I'm not too concerned about losing a litle barrel life, but I don't want it to erode it alot, or decrease the accuracy.

Coal Dragger
December 21, 2010, 07:08 PM
A lapped barrel will still collect copper fouling. If it fires copper jacketed bullets at speeds much above 1500fps it will accumulate copper fouling, I don't care what it is. Now there is the degree of how much copper fouling accumulates and how quickly. Some barrels don't shoot badly with copper fouling, in fact some shoot their best with copper fouling present. I don't really consider it to be a very big deal if there is some copper fouling present in the barrel.

If your goal is to be able to shoot 150-200 rounds without any fouling accumulation to worry about you need to stick to .22LR or video games.

December 21, 2010, 07:40 PM
If you plan to rebarrel an action and you select a quality barrel that has been hand lapped, you don't have to worry about fire lapping or even much break in. The barrel burrs have been smoothed for you.

I have an old 1903 Turk Mauser that I spent days trying to get some kind of clean, as every patch would come out that shade of green. I had some alox and different grits of lapping compound and mixed up a little batch and coated some 8mm milsurp bullets. The next day I loaded up some light loads and went to the range and fired 5 rounds of coated bullets and voila, the bore was shiny. Not real shiny, but better than it was, and a lot less green patch. Prior to that, the bore was darker than a dungeon. It was an interesting experiment.


December 21, 2010, 07:56 PM
I'm might rebarrel it eventually, but not before this one gets more use.
But the custom barrel in the future is not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the factory one that is nice, I'm not planning to shoot 250 rounds at a time, I'm just hoping I wont have to do the all day cleaning every 250 rounds, and be able to use Hoppes, and a brush and patch to remove copper and not need to use solvent every time because It gets caked up too much.

December 21, 2010, 08:01 PM
Try KG 12 for copper removal.


Buy here:

December 21, 2010, 08:07 PM
Wow, Fave'd on bar. but low on funds to order :(
Have to wait until after Xmas.

December 21, 2010, 08:21 PM
i'm so back and forth on firelapping the Howa. it's so accurate as it is. to me, if it ain't broke don't fix it. truthfully i think it's fine but it's up to the OP.
i have used some JB Bore Cleaner on a few barrels and been well pleased.
is this a target rifle or a hunting rifle?
if it's a target rifle then there is much to be desired. if it is a hunting rifle then then there is much desired.

December 21, 2010, 08:44 PM
It's a hunting rifle that has been hunting once, and to the range more, It has shot .5" groups with the rough fouling bore, there is much to be desired, but I believe a "target rifle" is the purpose, not the type.

Al Thompson
December 21, 2010, 09:08 PM
JD, try cleaning your barrel with Flitz. It's an abrasive, but fairly light. :)

December 21, 2010, 09:10 PM
well then, in that case i say burn it up. i think you will have a great time and much to report to us here. :evil:

December 21, 2010, 09:54 PM
alright, I'll look into that Al.

sappyg, What do you mean "burn it up"?

December 21, 2010, 09:58 PM
JDMorris: try cleaning your barrel with an electrochemical technique. Use Ammonia (soapy ammonia from the grocery store works well) and Lemon juice. plug the bore in the chamber area with a medium rubber beaker stopper or an old wine bottle cork (being 'tis the season, even a "new" wine bottle cork--more fun:neener:) . Take a 1/16th to 1/8th inch diameter plain steel rod that is 2 to 3 inches longer than your bore, file or grind a point on one end (to stick in the center of the stopper or cork) and wrap electrical tape around the end of the rod (about 1/2 to 3/4 shorter down the length than the muzzle ends(so as to not ground out the rod) and find a small charger from an electronic piece of equipment that you don't use any more. Cell phones charger is what I use. Voltage doesn't have to be high--3.5 to 9 volts and anywhere in between. Put the POSITIVE wire on the barrel and the NEGATIVE ON THE ROD. this is after you have put the solution ammonia etc. in the barrel. It will foam so wrap a towel around the muzzle to catch the solution. let work for 30 to 60 minutes--disconnect and dump solution (catch it in a glass container--you'll be amazed how filthy the crap is that came out of the barrel). run a patch through to check--repeat as needed. MUCHLY quicker. I did my first two milsurps' with just taping the wires to the weapon and rod. works like a charm. after finding out how well the system works, I went ahead and put alligator clamps with the proper polarity colors on the wires (also wrapped tape around the muzzle of the weapon to get a tight seal on a cheap dimestore plastic funnel. wrap enough to get a good friction fit so as to contain the foam overflow. works. you still have to wrap the rod so as not to ground out. Best of luck and God Bless to all.


added comment: don't forget to clean the rod each time you use it--clean rod=good electrical ion flow. also use the largest funnel you can find (Plastic) , less worry about foaming overflow. Good luck.

December 21, 2010, 10:02 PM
Surely you are joking..?
that is a little crazy. I don't like being shocked.

highlander 5
December 21, 2010, 10:04 PM
I've used both the kits from Midway and from Veral Smith. Used the Midway kit on my rifles but I'm not a good enough shot to tell if accuracy has improved. Now on my revolvers that's another story.
I've used the Veral Smith kit on 2 Rugers a Bisley and a Redhawk both in 45 Colt. Both had very rough bores and were constricted by .0015" where the barrel in screwed into the frame. Read the instructions and put 100-150 rounds thru both and both bores are smooth,shiny and the constriction at the frame is gone. Pushing a .454 round ball is a dream. Before the fire lapping you could feel every tight/rough spot.

December 21, 2010, 10:32 PM
The method using the eletrical circuit is not a joke. Goofygrumpy however doesn't know you are to young to legally drink.
Look on There is some more in depth info on the subject. Pretty good articles on the site in general.
I will shoot my 700 for about 132 rounds and then clean it. It might make 198 or more but I just clean it rather than take a chance of having the accuracy go off.

December 21, 2010, 10:43 PM
Wow, that is a funky way to clean a gun.
How do you clean your 700? does it foul noticeably (streaks in barrel) or just out of you wanting it clean, I "cleaned" my rifle every 40-50 rounds, but the old Hoppes No 9. wasn't getting the copper out, so I had to start using Bore cleaner.

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