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How do you break in your barrel?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by biologicole, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. biologicole

    biologicole Member

    Seems like I hear about a lot of different theories and methods regarding barrel break-in. What are your thoughts about barrel break-in? Is it really necessary? How do you do it?
  2. Philippe

    Philippe Well-Known Member

    Shoot bullets thru it......
  3. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    i swab the barrel clean and shoot it.
  4. Steve CT

    Steve CT Well-Known Member

    For a truly high end firearm that you intend to shoot with incredible accuracy under very controlled circumstances with ultra sophisticated ammunition, there are barrel lapping products and procedures that you can easily research on the Net.

    For the other 99.99% of us shooters-Shoot It! A Lot!
  5. RX-178

    RX-178 Well-Known Member

    Step 1. Shoot it.

    Step 2. Clean it after shooting it.

    Step 3. Repeat steps 1-2
  6. smallbore

    smallbore Well-Known Member

    I just clean 'em & shoot 'em. . .then clean them after shooting.
  7. NoobCannon

    NoobCannon Well-Known Member

    Bullets....lots and lots of bullets.
  8. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

  9. wrs840

    wrs840 Well-Known Member

    I don't know if it's necessary, or even "good", but here's what I do with a new bolt-action rifle that I intend to be able to take a precision shot with, not competition, but hunting:

    Use a bore guide and clean from the breach. Get a properly sized Tipton composite rod.

    Patch with Hoppes #9 twice, waiting a few minutes after each. Follow with bronze brush dipped in Hoppes #9. Ten strokes, five in, five out. Wait a few minutes. Patch until "clean". Patch once or twice with RemOil. Wait a few minutes. Dry patch.

    Shoot one round.

    Repeat the above four or five times.

    Then repeat shooting four-or-five rounds between each cleaning two or three times.


    The idea is to reduce the probability of embedding any specs of machining burrs left hanging on the rifling or anywhere else.

    I'm not sure if it actually accomplishes anything useful, but it's what I do, and it makes me feel good. I'm starting to sight in the scope as I do it too, and since I like Burris Signature scope mount rings, I'm also spending some time dinking around with the eccentric inserts for a while before I touch the Scope adjustment screws anyway.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  10. belercous

    belercous Well-Known Member

    The same debate goes on about how to break-in wives, car, boat & aircraft engines too. It really all comes down to use it as you would normally, but don't overheat it until it gets broke-in. Bring it up to max temp, then back off. Repeat as neccessay until the temp stabilizes under normal useage.

    All of these things will run hot when new, but they'll soon stabilize.

    FIVETWOSEVEN Well-Known Member

    *Bang* Repeat as needed till out of ammo or time.
  12. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    I beg to offer a differing opinion:


    On a .22 barrel, I and many others have discovered that excessive cleaning reduces the accuracy. I clean the chamber often, but the barrel goes 250-300 rounds before cleaning. My 10/22 took 2nd place against 11 center fire rifles in a 100-yard bench rest competition, so it must work.
  13. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    It's worked for me for 40 years!
  14. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    To those about to post that 'its a waste of ammo'.

    No, you don't break in the barrel by shooting bullets into the berm or into the air.

    You shoot them at targets, just as you normally would shoot.
    Do your live ammo function check on the new gun.
    Sight in your scope.
    Chrono for velocity.
    Shoot groups with different ammo.
    Begin load development (if you handload).

    You do everything as normal. There is no waste of ammo.
    You simply clean with copper cleaner between shots,
    for the first dozen rounds or so.

    No waste whatsoever.

    Someone on this thread will still post that it's a waste of ammo.
    Perhaps they don't read the whole thread before posting.
    Or perhaps they just don't get it, and never will.
  15. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    I'm certain he is correct, regarding elaborate break-in procedures.

    But simple break in procedures do no harm whatsoever.
  16. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    But does break in help every barrel?

    I had a 308 with the roughest, ugliest, crappiest, most ripped up bore ever.
    Run a cleaning patch through, and the cleaning patch comes out all fuzzy from the rough bore.
    No kidding, it was so rough it made a patch fuzzy.

    Break in didn't help it.

    I have good production barrels (not match barrels) from good barrel makers.
    I always break them in. No harm in it. They now make me happy. I'm sold.

    A hand-lapped Lilja, or Krieger, or Broughton match barrel probably gains nothing from break in.
    The careful and complete lapping procedure does that for you.
  17. ehanger

    ehanger Member

    1. Buy ammo

    2. Load ammo in gun

    3. Shoot until empty

    4. If not satisfied, repeat steps 1-3

    5. ????????

    6. Profit
  18. Shienhausser

    Shienhausser Well-Known Member

    I broke in my 686 with around 1,000 rounds of .357 in 4 weeks. Oh yeah.
  19. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I don't outright dismiss barrel break-in, but I think that most of the good you are going to do with be with the first ten rounds. That is going to do most of the burnishing of the throat and rifling.
  20. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I use two methods that have to date worked very well for me. I first lap the barrel by hand using a very fine lapping compound and a no non sense lapping tool. I then clean it and make sure the action and barrel are as bone dry as can be accomplished. For this I use acetone to remove any possible residue form the compound and oil, or cleaning solvent. Then I load up some full house loads and shoot the first 10 without letting it cool down at all. I then scrub it clean and again remove every element of oil or solvent from it betweem cleanings. I contniue this process for 50 or so rounds or until I'm convinced it is grouping consistently well.
    Another method I don't use any more is using the bullets that already have the lapping compound on them. I didn't care for this method because it is too easy to over lap the barrel with those, and you can't really know if you've gone to far before it's too late.
    There are numerous methods many of us use and some that don't even bother with break in. It's your call, just don't over lap the barrel or you may end up with a prematurely worn barrel, especialy if you use the lapping bullets that are available for accomplsihing this task. I've seen a couple of fine barrels ruined because of someone putting too many of these lapping rounds being put through the barrel.

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