Fluted Barrels


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WayBeau
January 30, 2012, 03:51 PM
Is there an advantage to having a fluted barrel, or is it just an aesthetic thing? I like the looks of them, but was just curious if they improve accuracy or handling.

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brickeyee
January 30, 2012, 03:53 PM
Saves weight.

JDGray
January 30, 2012, 03:53 PM
My Rem 700 LTR .223 is my most accurate rifle, and the barrel just happens to be fluted. It sure dont hurt accuracy!:)

mdauben
January 30, 2012, 03:58 PM
It also provides more surface area, which should disipate heat faster if you are doing alot of shooting.

joed
January 30, 2012, 04:14 PM
About 5 years ago I purchased a new Savage 12 stainless with Choate stock and fluted barrel. Believe I paid about $850 for the rifle and kept it 3 months. No matter what I did the POI would change as the barrel heated. After the second shot you could see the bullets just walk up and to the right from where the first 2 hit. Even took it to my gunsmith who couldn't do anything with it either.

I'll never own another fluted barrel after owning that rifle. Others praise them.


And before someone gets me mad by saying a fluted barrel is stiffer than a non fluted barrel read below.

If we compare a fluted barrel to one that is not fluted, both weighing the same, the fluted barrel is stiffer. This is because the fluted barrel will be of a larger diameter than the unfluted barrel of the same weight and length. Increasing the diameter of a barrel greatly increases its rigidity.

It sounds like fluting a barrel improves barrel accuracy by increasing barrel stiffness. If you read the whole statement and take it in total, it simply states that a fluted barrel will generally be more accurate than an unfluted barrel (of the same weight) because it is larger in diameter and hence stiffer.

Joemyxplyx
January 30, 2012, 04:21 PM
Thicker barrels are stiffer than thin barrels. Thick profile barrels tend to be more accurate than thin barrels. Fluting is done to remove excess metal from a thick barrel while retaining the thick profile. The idea is the thick parts of the barrel provide stiffness while the flutes remove weight.

AFAIK there are no empirical studies of how much this works. I think fluting should work to provide accuracy with light weight.

I do know spiral fluting will destroy the stiffness of the barrel while providing no advantages except looks.

LoonWulf
January 30, 2012, 04:28 PM
why would spiral fluting be worse then strait flutes?

MtnCreek
January 30, 2012, 04:34 PM
Several months ago, USSR posted a link to some really good info on this.

Short answer was a button rifled (most common) barrel should not be fluted and a cut rifled (not as common) barrel could be fluted. If you asked him, he might give you a link to the full story.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
January 30, 2012, 05:25 PM
I have a couple of fluted barrels from Hart. The way it was explained to me, I came away with the understanding that fluting was done for 3 reasons. Weight, Cooling, and Aesthetics. The ones I have are extremely accurate and they don't seem to heat up as quickly on P-Dog shoots as my bulled barrels tend to. They are .220swift and .22-250. One of them is the spiral fluting (.220swift) and the other is straight. I see no difference whatsoever in stiffness but I will admit that the spiral barrel seems to be much more sensitive to harmonic changes than the bulled barrels are.

243winxb
January 30, 2012, 05:29 PM
Skip flutes & tapered barrels if you want top accuracy.

Damon555
January 30, 2012, 05:39 PM
My experience has shown that there is very little advantage. The weight savings and added surface area for cooling is minimal. They sure are pretty though......

jmr40
January 30, 2012, 06:54 PM
You get some of the stiffness of a heavy barrel with some of the weight savings of a thinner barrel. Not sure if it really works as advertised or not, but in my experience it doesn't hurt.

My Winchester EW has a standard profile, but fluted barrel, my Featherweight has a much thinner, non-fluted barrel. When the stocks are removed and the barreled actions weighed they are exactly the same.

The EW is more accurate, but it is impossible to say the thicker fluted barrel is why. It could be any number of reasons, but at least in theory the thicker stiffer barrel should be more accurate.

Joemyxplyx
January 30, 2012, 06:58 PM
why would spiral fluting be worse then strait flutes?

The stresses from firing try to wave the end of the barrel up and down. Look at some slow mo videos of rifle firing. The thicker the barrel, the more it resists this waving motion. The primary resistance to the waving motion, compression and tension, is at the outside of the barrel.

I visualize this as like a wood beam under compression and tension. If you take a 2x4 between two supports on edge (stronger than laying it flat) and load some weight on it, the tension is right on the bottom of the 2x4. Nick the bottom with a knife or saw and the 2x4 will break.

This is why wooden I beams are replacing 2x10 rafters. All the tension stress on the I beam from the weight of the house is on the bottom of the rafters. The wood between the top and bottom of the rafter is to keep the top and bottom separated. You can drill holes all day in the middle of the rafter. Just don't cut holes in the bottom of the rafter.

A fluted barrel is like a rafter in that all the stress are at the top and bottom of the barrel. The flutes remove metal while the ridges between the flutes provide the stiffness. Spiral fluting removes the metal that is handling the tension and compression of the barrel. A spiral fluted barrel is no stiffer than the size of the barrel at the bottom of the flutes. Something like twisting an I beam into a corkscrew pattern. All the structural integrity and strength goes away.

I hope I made this clearer. The concept is not that hard. It's just that it's visual. Explaining it with words is difficult for me.

helotaxi
January 30, 2012, 07:28 PM
There is some merit to the premise that the increased surface area of a fluted barrel allows it to cool faster; however it also needs to be pointed out that the reduced mass of the barrel causes it to heat up faster. Compared to the same barrel before fluting, it will get to the point that it must be allowed to cool after fewer rounds fired. The net result is somewhere akin to a wash.

Driftwood Johnson
January 30, 2012, 07:32 PM
Thicker barrels are stiffer than thin barrels. Thick profile barrels tend to be more accurate than thin barrels. Fluting is done to remove excess metal from a thick barrel while retaining the thick profile. The idea is the thick parts of the barrel provide stiffness while the flutes remove weight.


I agree.

ns66
January 30, 2012, 08:41 PM
in theory i agree fluted barrel has some merits
but
fluting need to cut steel, which will introduce metal defect/fatigue/deformation, so is it really better? i don't know

USSR
January 30, 2012, 08:59 PM
I believe this is the article that MtnCreek referred to:

http://www.border-barrels.com/articles/bmart.htm

Fluting should only be done with a cut rifled barrel, otherwise you can wind up with the problem that joed had with his Savage. I have two fluted barrels, one a Krieger, and the other an Obermeyer, and have had no problems with a wandering POI. As far as the benefits of a fluted barrel, the only practical one I can see is balance: it allows you to have a heavy contour barrel without making it totally muzzle heavy. A well balanced rifle should have it's center of gravity near the front action screw.

Don

mljdeckard
January 30, 2012, 09:16 PM
I would guess that the difference is so slight as to be negligible if every other aspect of the rifle isn't already perfect.

sage5907
January 30, 2012, 09:23 PM
I hunt in areas that have a fine dust problem. The dust gets into the rifle action, on the scope lenses and anywhere else that offers a landing surface. For that reason I wouldn't even consider a fluted barrel. BW

nastynatesfish
January 30, 2012, 10:29 PM
the stainless one is my mauser 308, 24" barrel. it shoots in the 4s-5s up to 10 shots as fast as i can reload it.
the bottom one is my 7mm mag it will shoot in the 7s all the time. ive put 18 rounds into 1.1 in at 100yds.
my buddies sendaro wont do it and they both have 26" barrels .835 at the muzzle. ill keep my fluting. its for some people, not for others. the 7 mag is my hunting rifle

awgrizzly
January 31, 2012, 05:00 AM
I gotta say guys, you're being handed several good sounding reasons to buy a fluted barrel (maybe add the triangle one too) besides it looks cool. What we gotta do here is not look a gift horse in the mouth and go cool. It's a guy thing. =o)

Geno
January 31, 2012, 06:57 AM
For me, there is zero benfit. I fire between 3 and 5 rounds, then allow my rifle to cool completely. Too, I like heavy rifles. My M700 Police (fully equipped) weighs 19 pounds. :D

Geno

madcratebuilder
January 31, 2012, 07:05 AM
This is what Kreiger has to say about fluted barrels.

Q: How does fluting a barrel help?

A: Fluting reduces weight while increasing rigidity (over an unfluted barrel of the same weight, ie: smaller contour) and changing barrel vibration and whip. By exposing more exterior surface area, it also aids in cooling your barrel. On the barrel contours that we will flute, we expect the same practical accuracy out of a fluted barrel vs. an un-fluted barrel as long as it is fluted by us. A note on fluting done by others: We have researched and performed fluting using many different methods over the years and have really perfected the system we use. Like any other outside operations performed on our barrels, we will not be responsible for the results of other methods of fluting performed by gunsmiths/machinists other than Krieger Barrels, Inc.

joed
January 31, 2012, 07:24 AM
Fluting should only be done with a cut rifled barrel, otherwise you can wind up with the problem that joed had with his Savage.

Don

You're the first to explain why that rifle had a wandering POI. After 2 shots it would start to wander and always in the same pattern. For 3 months I played with the bedding hoping it would help, nothing did. My rifle builder said it was the barrel but never blamed the fluting. For what I paid for that rifle I was not going to sink any more money into it.

Since then I will not own a rifle with fluted barrel.

Below is a 6 shot group with that Savage. The first 2 shots were always good with anything after going up and right. Once cool it would repeat the same pattern again. I still have nightmares of these groups.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t14/jzurinda/Targetsavage.jpg

WayBeau
January 31, 2012, 01:46 PM
Thanks for the replies. I always thought it was just an aesthetic thing, but after reading the replies here, I'm definitely coming around to the functional advantages. I'm not a target shooter, but who doesn't want the most accurate rifle they can have?

kfgk14
January 31, 2012, 05:37 PM
Weight, balance, aesthetics, cooling properties, and for the weight it is more rigid (I.e, a barrel at .850 with flutes is more rigid than a barrel of equivalent weight but lighter profile without flutes).

Sniper66
January 31, 2012, 06:02 PM
I have 26" fluted barrel Rem 700 VSF .223 and a Rem 700 VLS .223, which has a heavy 26" barrel with no flutes. I have killed lots of prairie dogs with both, sometimes shooting 5-6 shots with no cooling time and have noticed no difference. They both shoot with excellent accuracy.

1858
February 1, 2012, 12:26 AM
+1 on the flutes. Accuracy International uses fluted barrels on their AWM rifles and I doubt they do it for looks. All three of my Krieger barrels are fluted with MTU contours and I see no difference in POA/POI between cold bore shots or when the barrels are hot. Flutes done properly are just fine and do reduce weight (compared to barrel with same O.D. and contour) and increase stiffness (compared to barrel of same weight).

joed
February 1, 2012, 09:56 AM
After my venture into fluted barrels I think there is more to it then just buying a gun with a fluted barrel. My Savage was a disappointment yet I hear people with Remington rifles not complaining. It may depend on how the rifling was cut and when the fluting was done.

USSR
February 1, 2012, 10:15 AM
After my venture into fluted barrels I think there is more to it then just buying a gun with a fluted barrel. My Savage was a disappointment yet I hear people with Remington rifles not complaining. It may depend on how the rifling was cut and when the fluting was done.

Yeah. Savage barrels are button rifled, while Remington barrels are hammer forged, which may be more forgiving regarding the flutes. Still, I would not buy a fluted barrel that was not rifled using the cut rifling method.

Don

WayBeau
February 1, 2012, 10:22 AM
I was just on E.R. Shaw, simply because I was curious, and they're saying that Helical (spiral) fluting provides increased stiffness over straight fluting. I read Joemyxplyx's replie and he makes perfect sense. I wish Shaw had gone into more detail as to WHY their spiral fluting is stiffer because now I'm just more confused and don't know what to believe.:scrutiny: Guess I need to hit up Google and see what I can find out.

MtnCreek
February 1, 2012, 12:23 PM
It’s just the structural properties of the fluting design. Triangles are more ridged than squares.

Picher
February 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Regarding barrel cooling: Cooling depends on the surface area of a barrel. A fluted barrel has more surface area than an equivalent length of equal diameter or smaller.

However, a bead-blasted surface of an equal diameter to the outside diameter of a fluted barrel has greater surface area. So if cooling and accuracy are important, just get a large diameter barrel and have it bead blasted.

A fluted barrel after bead-blasting will provide greatest cooling, but may not shoot as accurately as a non-fluted one.

Bead blasting has no affect on accuracy, except to keep barrel temperature lower, which could minimize warpage in some barrels, thereby increasing accuracy a bit.

USSR
February 1, 2012, 02:42 PM
I had both my fluted barrels bead-blasted, for no other reason than it was better for applying the baked-on Teflon/Moly finish that I put on it.

Don

SharkHat
February 1, 2012, 02:46 PM
Itís just the structural properties of the fluting design. Triangles are more ridged than squares.

I agree that triangles are structurally more rigid than squares. I'm having trouble resolving how that equates to a more rigid barrel when you're talking about material being removed. (To my thinking it doesn't)

Again, this all goes back to original barrel diameter. Think about this:
Take three identical barrels. Leave one original, cut straight flutes into one, and cut spiral flutes in the third. Which is the most rigid?

joed
February 1, 2012, 04:24 PM
Yeah. Savage barrels are button rifled, while Remington barrels are hammer forged, which may be more forgiving regarding the flutes. Still, I would not buy a fluted barrel that was not rifled using the cut rifling method.

Don

I will remember about the button rifling. Last year I wanted to pick up a Remington VSSF II but the ultimate decision to pass on it was because of the fluted barrel. I bought an SPS VS instead and changed the stock.

Doubt I'll try a fluted barrel again anytime soon.

USSR
February 1, 2012, 06:27 PM
I'm having trouble resolving how that equates to a more rigid barrel when you're talking about material being removed. (To my thinking it doesn't)

Again, this all goes back to original barrel diameter. Think about this:
Take three identical barrels. Leave one original, cut straight flutes into one, and cut spiral flutes in the third. Which is the most rigid?

SharkHat,

You can't make the comparison with two identical contour barrels, one original and one with material (flutes) removed. The comparison is made between two barrels of identical weight. For example: a Krieger #9 contour barrel weighs 6.5#, while a #10 contour barrel weighs 7#. Now, you flute the #10 contour barrel, and it now weighs 6.5#, same as the unfluted #9 contour barrel. The #10 contour barrel will be more rigid than the #9 contour barrel of the same weight.

Don

SharkHat
February 1, 2012, 06:45 PM
USSR/Don, I agree completely.

I don't think I was clear enough in the reason behind my comparison. I was trying to demonstrate that the removal of material does not add to the rigidity of the original barrel.

MtnCreek
February 2, 2012, 09:22 AM
I agree 100% that with two identical barrels, one being fluted and the other not, the nonfluted barrel will be more ridged (and heavier). What I was saying about the spiral fluting is that having the fluting (or actually the ridges of the flutes) at an angle (like 45 or 60 deg) with the axis of the bore would be more ridged. This is just the way my simple brain looks at it and my logic could be very flawed. The reason I think this is because when fired, a barrel does not ‘recoil’ up similar to the rifle, from what I’ve seen, it whips.

awgrizzly
February 4, 2012, 01:36 AM
Seems to me the straight ridges of the fluting would provide a rigid backbone against flex while a spiral ridge would allow flexing. Consider a flexible metal pipe which is usually constructed of spiral wound bands of metal. I don't know this is so, it's just intuitive.

Joemyxplyx
February 4, 2012, 09:30 AM
awgrizzly said: Seems to me the straight ridges of the fluting would provide a rigid backbone against flex while a spiral ridge would allow flexing. Consider a flexible metal pipe which is usually constructed of spiral wound bands of metal. I don't know this is so, it's just intuitive.

That's pretty much what I was trying to say. Long ago I went through the math for I-beam stiffness. In general, the farther apart the top and bottom of the I-beam are, the stiffer it is. But as the I-beam gets taller, the risk of the beam twisting grows. If the beam twists, it loses strength and catastrophically fails (falls down). It seems to me a spiral fluted barrel is basically already twisted.

There might be a case for the spiral fluted barrel being stronger in torsion, but I can't visualize it. Augers and corkscrews don't have much longitudinal or torsional strength. And I don't see the torsional forces on the barrel being nearly as significant as the longitudinal ones.

Just saying.

HOOfan_1
February 4, 2012, 09:49 AM
Doubt I'll try a fluted barrel again anytime soon.

unfortunately, it is hard to find a varmint or target rifle that is not fluted anymore. When I bought my varmint rifle, I was trying to look for non-fluted barrels, because I just plain thought fluting was UGLY

lovethosesooners
February 4, 2012, 12:54 PM
I have a 22-250 stainless heavy barrelled Savage that is very accurate without any shift in POI in any 3 shot groups I've shot.

The thickness of the barrel may/may not be reason it's so accurate-beats me, but it is a great P dog gun.

My experience has been that it may heat up a little slower, but it also cools down slower.

But, it sure is cool looking!

joed
February 4, 2012, 12:58 PM
HOOfan_1, you're right, it is getting hard to find unfluted anymore, but they are there. I wish my first fluted barrel hadn't turned me so totally against them.

Others on here have decent luck with them. I really wanted a Rem 700 VSSF II last year but the fluted barrel just turned me off. But, I bought the SPS VS and changed the stock with a B&C and got away for $400 less.

I've owned more heavy barrel guns then regular and have to say they really excel at long range shooting.

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