Barrel break-in ammo?


September 12, 2011, 11:00 PM
So after months of pondering on whether to buy a beautiful Browning x-bolt white gold medallion or a boring-looking but very accurate Remington 700 Police in .308, I finally decided to go with the Beast rather than the Beauty. I know there is many opinions on whether breaking-in a barrel is necessary, but being as I bought this rifle solely for its accuracy, I want to do everything I can to ensure the best accuracy out of it. So my question for now is, does the type of ammo make any difference if it is just for break-in? I'm seeing a routine that takes 50 rounds, and 50 rounds of premium ammo is kind of expensive, especially after I just made the expense on the rifle itself. Would milsurp ammo be fine for this, or is premium ammo a must?

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September 12, 2011, 11:09 PM
copper is copper. You might try some of them fire-lapping bullets but I'm still not completely convinced that they are a good idea.

I don't buy the break-in thing, but nicer ammo might be easier on your ego. If it's shiny, pretty, and clean you will feel better shooting it. I shot 2 boxes of Rem 30-06 reduced recoil in my 700 recently and when I ran the patch through it came out without a hint of dirt. So maybe clean ammo instead of worrying about jacket material.

September 12, 2011, 11:13 PM
Whether you believe in break in or not I can't imagine why any copper bullet wouldn't work the same for the purpose.

September 13, 2011, 10:47 AM
I want to do everything I can to ensure the best accuracy out of it.

This is a good summary of barrel break in. The poster is referring to the Sept 2011 issue of Rifle Magazine.

This month's Rifle magazine has an interesting article written by John Haviland entitled "Barrel Break-in Voodoo". I won't try to encapsulate all of the points he made here; only that, although he acknowledged that various rifle and rifle barrel makers have recommended their own (and differing) recipes for properly breaking-in their barrels (including Lilja, Howa, Krieger,and the Montana Rifle Company), after running his own extensive tests and using the Hawkeye Borescope and Video Kit from the Gradient Lens Corporation to monitor and detect any meaningful changes in the barrels' conditions, Mr. Haviland concluded:"...The Hawkeye borescope, however, did not show that the regimen of shooting one or a few shots followed by cleaning altered the rifle's bore in any way, helpful or otherwise. So I'm going to put barrel break-in under the category of 'It doesn't hurt anything, and if it makes someone feel like they have accomplished something, go for it.' ".

September 13, 2011, 11:30 AM
Just shoot it.

Dr T
September 13, 2011, 11:42 AM
While I personally do not believe that "break-in" makes any difference, I will usually just grab a box of red-box Federal or silver-box Winchester (which ever is handy or more inexpensive) to use to get the scope on paper and get used to the rifle. I have found the Federal to be a bit more accurate and the the bullets are better.

After shooting a box (20 Rounds), I will do load development and final sight in with the hunting ammo.

Silent Sam
September 13, 2011, 12:03 PM
If you want the "best accuracy" out of it why not just shoot what is the most accurate that serves your purposes. In other words find or load ammo with the bullet(s) you want to use. I have rifles that shoot Rem Corelokt green/yellow box stuff as well as any premium load. I use them for deer hunting so I don't need premium bullets for that anyway. I wouldn't run any "crap" ammo through it. Why try to find out how bad it will shoot or how badly you can get it fouled?

September 13, 2011, 12:20 PM
any copper jacketed bullets will break-in your new barrel. I reload break-in pills that are at the low end of the charts, with whatever projectile has pissed me off. Yes I believe a new "rough" bore needs a good burnishing before target use. Just clean out the copper with a dedicated copper solvent. Number of shots depends on the barrel, it will quit copper fouling when it has burnished smooth

September 13, 2011, 12:43 PM
any ammo will do

i wouldn't recommend any "lapping" bullets.

September 13, 2011, 01:03 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Looks like the general consensus is "Just shoot the dern thing!" I will do some break-in for my own peace of mind, and use cheap ammo... for my pocket's peace of mind, lol.

September 13, 2011, 06:55 PM
I always recommend breaking in the rifle. I have the Hawk-Eye bore scope and I can see the advantages of break-in. It doesn't matter which brand of ammo you use, your just trying to smooth-up the rifling so they don't foul up as bad. I wouldnt use fire lapping bullets unless you have a proven bad fouling barrel. Of course you can't tell by just looking down the bore, fouling looks shiny just like the bore. I just finished cleaning a 270 that coppered bad I used the fire lapping bullets on it, 2-#4's and 3-#5's now it cleans up pretty fast. If you want accuracy go for the breakin.

September 13, 2011, 06:59 PM
Any FMJ, dont use soft points or ballistic tips.

I do barrel break in and believe it serves a purpose.

September 13, 2011, 07:07 PM
I've done it in the past. I'm still on the fence. I figured why not, it can't hurt.

That being said, use the break in procedure to hone your load if you reload or to find which factory ammo your rifle responds to.

Have fun.

September 13, 2011, 07:32 PM
Any FMJ, dont use soft points or ballistic tips.

I do barrel break in and believe it serves a purpose.

Dare I ask why the point of the bullet would make a difference?

September 13, 2011, 07:56 PM
i can't imagine why sp or bt bullets would make a diff

September 13, 2011, 08:09 PM
Think the first few times you shoot your rifle use a copper solvent bore cleaner. Somewhere in shooting your new rifle you will see a decrease in the amount of copper your are getting out of the barrel when you clean. Some take 10 rounds some take 30 or 50 but there is a difference in SOME barrels and the amount of copper that comes out of them. Barrel stops producing copper then you can figure she is broke in.

Everything you might ever hear on the subject is pretty much in the above thread.

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