Season your 22LR barrel for best results


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Orkan
March 4, 2012, 10:46 PM
Something to consider when you are shooting 22lr is that each bullet from different manufacturers has a different type of coating on it. Those coatings are applied to the barrel under firing and require a good cleaning or can be shot out with different ammo.

27yds - 1/2" dots
http://www.gregd.net/pics/guns/22LR/IMG_1286.JPG

Prior to shooting these groups, the rifle had approx 350rnds of various different ammo comprising of wolf MT, CCI Sub HP, winchester sub HP, CCI blazer, and about 5 other brands of ammo. Then I put a new target up and decided to illustrate this "seasoning" for you guys.

Each group is 25 shots fired at 27yds with CCI SV. The group on the left was shot first, followed by a subsequent 25rnd group to the right. You can plainly see the second group is much better. The two bullets on the left edge of the group on the right were called. Shooting off a wobbly table has its challenges!

As you can see, it takes a solid 25rnds or so after switching to a different ammo for the coating in the barrel to change out. Once it does, it will start to settle in. So don't buy some new ammo, fire 10rnds, and expect to see how it will perform. It can take as much as 50-100rnds of a specific ammo before it will be shooting its best. It's always a good idea to start with a clean bore and if you switch ammo, clean the bore again.

It is also noteworthy that when switching from ammo with a heavy waxy coating such as that on CCI SV to a light oily lube such as is on wolf MT, it will take a lot more firing to get the wolf to settle in. Going from wolf MT to CCI SV doesn't take much firing at all. Again, for the most consistent results, simply clean the bore when switching ammo.

On a clean bore, you will still need to "season" the barrel with multiple shots before it will come in nicely.

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J-Bar
March 5, 2012, 07:30 AM
I guess this is why some folks never change brands, and never clean their barrels!

jblackfish
March 5, 2012, 07:52 AM
You could be right...but how do you know it was the coating? Couldn't the better grouping on the right have been simply because the barrel was warmer and both groupings, the 1st one too, improved as you shot because the barrel "warmed up?"...or something else? Just a question but I'm not sure that you've conclusively proven that the better grouping was caused solely because the barrel "adjusted" to a new bullet coating.

Flopsweat
March 5, 2012, 08:47 AM
You could be right...but how do you know it was the coating? Couldn't the better grouping on the right have been simply because the barrel was warmer and both groupings, the 1st one too, improved as you shot because the barrel "warmed up?"...or something else? Just a question but I'm not sure that you've conclusively proven that the better grouping was caused solely because the barrel "adjusted" to a new bullet coating.
Exactly. Often I am the biggest variable. Sometimes it take more than 10 rounds to "season" me. ;)

Orkan
March 5, 2012, 09:39 AM
You could be right...but how do you know it was the coating? Couldn't the better grouping on the right have been simply because the barrel was warmer and both groupings, the 1st one too, improved as you shot because the barrel "warmed up?"...or something else? Just a question but I'm not sure that you've conclusively proven that the better grouping was caused solely because the barrel "adjusted" to a new bullet coating. Prove me wrong.

The rifle I was shooting will put wolf MT or Eley into one ragged hole at 50yds. I use it for competition, and have a thousand rounds or more through it every month during the summer. The barrel on a heavy 40Xb doesn't "heat up" no matter how fast you can load her. Of the 6 40x's and several savages, rugers, etc... this always holds true. I have conclusively proven it over and over again, but I just haven't conclusively proven it to you. Frankly I have no interest in doing so. Go find out for yourself. This is something that all 22LR competitors know already.

When you switch ammo, nearly every time it will take at least half a box before it will start to "come in."

http://www.primalrights.com/PRRC_standings.html
There is the last rimfire competition we put on. I won by a large margin.

Here I am with a couple friends shooting mosquito's at 25yds. You don't do that unless you have seasoned your bore, I assure you.
http://youtu.be/IwtGAm1CXZs

I encourage you to prove me wrong. All you'll need is a couple boxes of ammo and a 22lr rifle capable of tight groups. Shoot a certain type of ammo for 50-100rnds, then switch to a tight shooting target ammo. Tell me if your first 25 shots group as tight as shots 50-75.

jblackfish
March 5, 2012, 10:02 AM
Orkan, It's an interesting point. I'm just saying that with the info you provided it doesn't necessarily prove it.

Logic on the other hand is fairly simple. Using your approach, if I provide two targets, A and B, with A having the tighter pattern from shooting my 1911 lubed with CLP and B have a larger pattern shooting the same gun lubed with Wilson's Universal, I can conclude (incorrectly) that my 1911 shoots better using CLP than with Universal. See my point?

I'm not saying you're wrong or trying to prove it - I'm saying your example is not enough to support your conclusion.

JohnBT
March 5, 2012, 10:28 AM
I thought every rimfire shooter knew about bullet lubes, changing ammo brands, accuracy and all that. I guess not.

It doesn't need to be proven all over again.

John

Nushif
March 5, 2012, 10:43 AM
Prove me wrong.

While I do agree with the notion that a seasoned barrel shoots better uh ... That's not how this whole thing is done.

"This gun shoots better than this one. And here are two groups."
"Could it be the shooter?"
"No. Prove to me it's not the gun."

Remember that YOU are the one putting forth an argument.

Orkan
March 5, 2012, 10:54 AM
Jblackfish, This pertains to 22LR only. I've never seen it make a difference with anything but 22LR.

Nushif, I'm not talking about different guns. That's a completely different argument. Please take the "prove me wrong" comment in the spirit it was intended, which was to have him go out and do it for himself. After all, giving information to someone that is not going to use it isn't practical.

JohnBT, lots of people know, but there are still some that don't, as indicated by this thread. I've known for a few years, but it was quite the revelation when I stumbled onto it.

I'm not trying to "win" anything here. This has been proven time and time again by world class competitors much more qualified than myself. It's been proven to the point that it is fact. I was just sharing it in the interest of introducing it to people that might have never heard of it.

JohnBT
March 5, 2012, 10:59 AM
"to people that might have never heard of it"

I admit I'm a little surprised that there are some who hadn't heard of it. I don't know why I'm surprised, but I am.

JT

jblackfish
March 5, 2012, 11:01 AM
Orkan, I didn't intend to insult or attack your post. I thought you were trying to prove a point rather than illustrating an already proven one. Your "prove me wrong" (sort of) supported my assumption.

Maybe if you had prefaced your post with the fact that you were only illustrating a fact already proven this could have been avoided. Sorry for my part in the confusion.

Orkan
March 5, 2012, 11:10 AM
Sorry for my part in the confusion. Likewise. :) I never said I was the best at making sense all the time. :neener:

Lizard1911
March 5, 2012, 11:24 AM
I was born before 1970, and no I've never heard of this. Mostly because I've never shot enough 22 in a manner that I would notice.
I appreciate the information,though. I've learn my new one thing for today, and it's not even Noon here yet.

rodregier
March 5, 2012, 11:49 AM
If you wanted to prove or disprove the barrel heating theory...

Clean and shot say 5 - 20rd groups

re-clean, preheat barrel and shoot another 5 - 20 rd groups.

Hair dryer or similar and non-contact thermometer for say 50C barrel starting temperature sounds about right to me.

Of course, a barrel that is properly bedded and has no walking POI as it heats up is critical.

jblackfish
March 5, 2012, 11:57 AM
Rodregier, we're not trying to prove anything. The OP has established in post #9 that he was illustrating an already-proven point. I misunderstood that fact merely questioned it. I think the matter is fairly-well settled.

russ69
March 5, 2012, 12:47 PM
The first thing you need is a good match rifle. That eliminates 99.9% of the population right there. It was a good post Orkan but you can only lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink.

Orkan
March 5, 2012, 12:53 PM
It was a good post Orkan but you can only lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink. Yeah, but at least if the horse doesn't drink I can shoot it and eat it! :neener:

9mmepiphany
March 5, 2012, 01:00 PM
"to people that might have never heard of it"

I admit I'm a little surprised that there are some who hadn't heard of it. I don't know why I'm surprised, but I am.

JT
I've known this since high school...late 60s...but then I shot on the school rifle team and saw the difference whenever some idiot cleaned on of our guns...they were stored in the school's ROTC armory.

I'm often surprised to find that something I thought was common knowledge isn't as common as I thought. But this reminds me of the reason for the existence of this forum...to pass on the accumulated knowledge to new shooters.

I was just on another forum where several shooter expressed that they were unaware that Kimber started as a rifle company making high end .22lr bolt action rifles.

I'm always surprised that 1911 fans don't know that the breachface of their beloved pistol isn't vertical

Orkan
March 5, 2012, 01:25 PM
But this reminds me of the reason for the existence of this forum...to pass on the accumulated knowledge to new shooters. http://www.primalrights.com/forum/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif

JohnBT
March 5, 2012, 03:54 PM
"I've known this since high school...late 60s"

I knew it by then. Class of '68. :)

PapaG
March 5, 2012, 07:36 PM
I've been suspicious about this for a long time..in fact have verified it on numerous occasions. My Anschutz 141, a sporter weight with a surprising ability to shoot very tiny groups, is quite perverse in getting "settled" in. Even without changing ammo, it may take from five to twenty-five shots to get down to business and produce its typically small groups. Changing from one "match" grade ammo to another will require the same "settle" in spell. I can understand the change in lube/bullet composition but it still frustrates me when I use the same ammo and have to start over before I can shoot my match.

MedWheeler
March 6, 2012, 08:45 AM
I admit I'd never heard of it, and I have shot thousands upon thousands of rounds of 22LR ammunition, mostly from two Ruger firearms (Mk-II Standard, and 10/22 carbine.) However, probably 85 or more percent of those rounds have been of one brand and type, which is CCI Mini-Mag ammunition. I've never shot "seriously" enough to notice, though. Part of the reason why I've stuck with that ammo is simply because everything else I've tried has been less than 100 percent functional in those guns.

Driftertank
March 6, 2012, 11:24 AM
"Season your barrel?"

Would you recommend paprika or rosemary?




Sorry about that. Couldn't resist...

rodregier
March 6, 2012, 11:30 AM
Just for the record, I've seen enogh references to .22LR ammunition barrel seasoning to be convinced of it's validity. At least one poster mentioned getting the barrel wamed up. Thus my comment on testing warm-up as a variable.

I have my doubts about warmup for a good barrel w/proper bedding.

Orkan
March 6, 2012, 12:44 PM
Thus my comment on testing warm-up as a variable. I don't think it has any bearing. The 22LR doesn't have the velocity, nor are we shooting jacketed bullets. Thus, the temp never gets to a point where it would matter.

I tested this once with a savage Mk-II pencil barrel. I grabbed all my friend's magazines, and ended up with about six 5rnd magazines and something like fifteen 10rnd magazines. I had friends load magazines while I shot as fast as I could accurately manage it. We did this for an entire 500rnd brick at 50yds. I used a dot drill with twenty 1/2" dots and fired 25rnds into each dot. By the end, no discernible difference could be distinguished amongst the groups. This was done with suppressor attached, so the most heat would be retained.

A pencil barreled semi-auto might get hot enough to walk, but you'd have to be firing at a rate not conducive to accuracy anyway. Granted there are exceptions to every rule, but I've not ever seen accuracy deteriorate on a 22LR due to the barrel heating up.

jsimmons
March 6, 2012, 01:30 PM
The rule of thumb is that when you change ammo or are starting with a clean barrel, you should fire one round for every inch of barrel length in order to season the barrel. I fire 25 rounds for seasoning. (just enough on my CZ452, and more than enough for my Henry and 15-22).

I'm glad you don't have to do this with centerfire ammo. :)

MyGreenGuns
March 6, 2012, 02:20 PM
People always wonder why I let everyone shoot my 10/22 before I shoot it.

superhornet
March 6, 2012, 02:33 PM
Yes, I also knew about that. My old father told me about it in 1949, while shooting a JC Higgons single shot bolt that cost 21 dollars. He did not call it seasoning, he called it "settle in". Amounts to same thing. When I went squirrel hunting he would give me ten rounds. Rounds fired had to equal squirrels brought home.

Owen
March 6, 2012, 04:41 PM
Put me in the "I thought this was common knowledge" camp.

ArthurDent
March 6, 2012, 07:19 PM
There is definitely something to this, but I'm not at all clear what is best.

Here's some more anecdotal evidence.

A couple of months ago, I took out my most accurate 22 (A cheap Marlin 795 with a scope), Freshly cleaned.

3 to 5 MOA, 5-shot groups were the best I could do.

I put the gun up dirty. A few weeks later, I went shooting with my boss.

I was consistently well under 2 MOA for 5-shot groups.

After that I cleaned the gun.

Two months later, I took it out and got groups all over the place, but mostly 3 to 6 MOA.


Dad, who knew all about guns, died when I was a kid, so I'm having to teach myself in my old age.

I have always heard that a good owner kept his guns immaculately clean.

I'm still learning, but It seems like something is telling me not to keep my 22's quite so clean.

Orkan
March 6, 2012, 07:32 PM
I have always heard that a good owner kept his guns immaculately clean. All of my rifles that see regular use live in a "fouled" state 24/7 regardless of pedigree. (centerfire/rimfire) Squeaky clean bores do not behave for long strings of fire like dirty bores do. To keep this thread on track, as it relates to 22LR... I clean 22LR least of all. The action of 22LR's need cleaned more than anything due to wax buildup.

I have a 22LR with roughly 25,000+ rounds down the tube and it has not seen a cleaning rod during that time. Yet I can set it down and stack them up at 50yds with it on command. Provided the wind is manageable. ;)

DCR
March 7, 2012, 05:43 PM
The maxim serves man well. In my book, all the examples cited, including the practices of champion shooters, are anecdotal unless and until a scientific explanation has been established, replicated in a laboratory, and peer-reviewed. Hasn't happened yet.

Don't take this as a negative or pooh-pooing what you do - whatever seems to work for you is jim-dandy by me, and I wish you the best in all your shooting endeavors. I'll just smile and nod, with this in the back of my mind.

JohnBT
March 7, 2012, 07:10 PM
In my experience there's a lot of variation depending on the individual gun, the temperature and whether the .22 rimfire bullets are lubed with a paraffin-based mixture or something like Eley's tallow-beeswax formula.

Benchrest shooters seem to have different needs than squirrel hunters and plinkers. Whatever works for what you're doing.

I still don't know if Eley uses fat from beef or sheep to make the tallow. The recipe must be 150 years old by now.

John

pockets
March 8, 2012, 12:06 PM
I still don't know if Eley uses fat from beef or sheep to make the tallow. The recipe must be 150 years old by now.
What sort of seasoning do they put in the tallow? ;)

.

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