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button rifling vs. hammer forging

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Novice, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Novice

    Novice New Member

    Jan 25, 2009
    Lebanon, TN
    Is there a preferred method for rifling a barrell, and if so, why?
    Does it really matter?

    I read a brief, disparaging comment about the button rifling process.

    Also, are most (steel) production barrells made by the same process and with the same material?

    What if anything should I consider about the barrell of a new rifle before buying it?

    My understanding is that a barrell typically has a life of approximately 5,000 rounds? That probably has to do with the care and material of the barrell??? This is why I am hesitant to buy a used rifle without knowing anything about it. Plus I just don't know enough in general to know what I am getting into.
  2. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Senior Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Upper East Tennessee
    Pretty much everybody stress relieves their barrels after rifling these days...its done by way of a heat treatment.

    Both methods of rifling have their good and bad points...and opinions vary on which is better.

    I say it does not matter as long as the barrel is stress relieved.
  3. desidog

    desidog Senior Member

    Nov 21, 2008
    IMO, the only notable thing, besides twist, is that the magnum chamberings have a much shorter barrel life - like +/-3000 rounds.
  4. rangerruck

    rangerruck Mentor

    Jan 12, 2006
    Texas, baby!
    a lot of peeps don't hammer forge, becuase it takes massive, espensive , equipment to do it. but it very consistently turns out very accurate bbls.
    button rifleing can be very accurate as well, even a bit more so, if you change out and put in some great " buttons" regularly, but you can get some inconsistency from bbl to bbl. cut rifleing is generally the best, but is more old school, and you need some great equipment, and it needs to be done by some real pro bbl makers.
    Now then, as far as used bbls go, unless you are going into benchrest or long range/ camp perry / other target competitions, I wouldn't worry too much about buying a used rifle. Especially with lighter bullet cartridges, or less pressure rounds. and if you are buying a 22 or other rimfire, bullet count has no meaning at all- again, unless you are going into serious competition.
  5. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Senior Member

    May 19, 2008
    Both methods have pros and cons, as noted. Generally hammer forging is cheaper per-barrel (once you have the expensive machine) but requires very large production runs, so it is seen on guns like Remington, FN, Ruger, etc. Button rifling is used on most (all?) Savage products, I believe Marlin, and various others. There is also cut rifling which is mostly used on low production match barrels. With all processes, the quality control of the process is more important than the process itself for the accuracy of the final barrel. E.g. some hammer forged barrels are inaccurate, but others are truly match grade.

    Barrel life varies enormously based on the cartridge, the rate of fire, and the expectation. A barrel expected to produce 1/2 MOA with a magnum cartridge may have a "life" of 500 rounds. If you only expect 2 MOA the same barrel might be good for several thousand. If you have a fairly underbore cartridge, shoot slowly and don't expect supreme accuracy, 10,000+ rounds is entirely possible as "life." Or if your requirement is simply that the bullet stabilize, with no particular accuracy - hence an AK may have a barrel "life" of 20,000+ rounds, but accuracy at the tail end will be nothing good. Pistol barrels may be accurate for 10's of thousands of rounds and stabilize the bullet for 100,000+. Barrels for .22 LR have essentially unlimited life if you don't abuse them.
  6. gunnutery

    gunnutery Participating Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Thanks Novice for posting the question and those that responded. I've been wondering this myself but the question would never come to me when I'm on THR.
  7. Runningman

    Runningman Participating Member

    Dec 10, 2008
  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Elder

    Jan 1, 2003
    DFW Area
    Well said.

    The method employed matters very little. The care taken to make sure that the process is completed properly matters a lot.

    I would research the company to see what customers and experts thought about their barrels. Once I found a company with a great reputation for accuracy I wouldn't care at all what method they used to make their barrels.
  9. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Senior Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    never never land...never land here!
    I lived, for sometime beside the Douglas Barrel Manufacturing Shop...

    Have taken more than a few tours through their fine establishment, and brother...the way they rifle those barrels is amazing, to say the least!

    It is amazing how they push that little 'button' through a barrel! Once I asked the guy what was in the blender...he says it was a secrete proprietary lubricant they came up with to lube the button so it wouldn't gall, and so the bore finish was smooth.

    You would think that this place would be a cutting edge hi-tech computer robotic space station type operation but....turn of the century, whale oil lamp type thing going on...now don't get me wrong, the equipment I saw for the measuring, some of the lathe tools and chemicals were indeed terminator level...but the old world, experience and skill of the employment there is beyond belief!

    guess it's like anything else...take your time, do it right, utilize skill and knowledge you'll turn out top quality product...hurry through it, crank it out for profit...you get junk!
  10. buttrap

    buttrap Participating Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    You forgot the main one that was used from the dark ages the machined bore.
  11. Horsemany

    Horsemany Participating Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    Hammer forging is said to have a harder bore surface. I've had great shooters from all the techniques. Many say custom rifles have cut or button rifled bores for a reason. Some say Sako is making some of the most accurate production barrels using the hammer forging process. I think their are a lot of variables and I have some good shooters of all 3 types. Browning and Savage are very accurate guns built with button rifled barrels.

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