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Barrel Break in

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Covelo-NdN, May 15, 2017.

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  1. Covelo-NdN

    Covelo-NdN Member

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    hello High Roaders, this message is in regards to breaking in a new rifle barrel. I have never "broken in a barrel" but I want to. Why, I don't know why. But I wanna try it.

    So here is my question.

    What ammunition should I use to break in the barrel? Cheaper factory or my hand loads?

    I hand load, shoot TTSX 150 grain in this 7 MM. can/should I use these?

    My plan is to shoot, clean,shoot clean first ten rounds and then go on with my life lol.

    Thanks for the feedback
     
  2. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    My personal belief is: clean it, shoot it and enjoy it. Don't obsess about some internet expert telling you to shoot one, clean, etc, etc. If it has a problem, lap a little and shoot some more.
     
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  3. denton

    denton Member

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    Some barrels benefit from breaking in, and some do not. Don't waste your time breaking in a barrel that does not need it.

    Breaking in a barrel will not improve accuracy for a clean barrel. If a barrel copper fouls excessively, breaking in will increase the number of shots you can go between copper cleanings.

    In order to break in a barrel, it must be well and truly clean.

    As the bullet transits the barrel, little microburrs scrape off copper. When the next bullet transits, the copper protects the burr and you are on your way to a build-up. The microburrs must be exposed for break-in to work.

    So shoot one round, and see if you're getting any blue on your patch. If you are, clean until you don't anymore. Then shoot another round. By and by, your patches will start to be quite clean. Switch to shooting three, then cleaning. When you can shoot three with almost no blue, you're done. Clean again and apply Ultra Bore Coat.

    I have a lovely 1917 Carl Gustaf 6.5x55. You'd think that after 100 years, the bore would be broken in. But no, it fouled quite a bit. So I did the break in routine. Now it goes a lot longer between copper cleanings.
     
  4. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Some mfg's state in their manuals that barrels need to be broke in and they give you the procedure to do that.

    My experience is that the higher end rifle mfg's who guarantee 1 MOA want you to break in the barrel. Those that don't have any claims to the accuracy of their barrels never get into barrel break in.

    That tells me that their barrels are, shall we say, not worth the effort.
     
  5. ford8nr

    ford8nr Member

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    Actually talking to a bbl mfg a couple years ago, the cheaper the gun/barrel the more it needs to be broken in. His match barrels were hand lapped, most if not all standard barrels are not and the tolerances on cheap rifles are even worse.
    Most major rifle mfgs have barrel break in procedures now. I know Winchester, Savage and Howa does,
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    All barrels shoot better after a few rounds have been through them. Some reach their full potential after 20 rounds, others may take 200. At that point the barrel is broken in. The barrel can't count and doesn't know or care when you clean it. Shoot it, clean it when dirty. Some barrels get dirty sooner than others and may be harder to clean if copper fouling is allowed to build up. This is the whole idea behind the barrel break-in procedure, you prevent copper fouling from building up in rough barrels. At the end of the day you'll see no difference in accuracy if you clean it 10 times during the 1st 200 rounds or wait until 200 rounds have been fired and clean it once. It'll take more work to get it clean if you wait until after 200 rounds. But no more than cleaning it 9 more times.
     
  7. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Back in the 90's I bought a Savage Model 10 Sierra. This is a 6 1/4 lb rifle with a 20" barrel chambered for 300 WSM. My gunsmith suggested lapping it with Iosso. I spent 3 nights swabbing the barrel with the stuff, loaded some 168gr SMK's with a starting load of IMR-4350 and hit the range. That little rifle shot the first seven 3 round groups under an inch. I have been a fan since then. My new KImber and Bergara just got the same treatment.
     
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  8. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    I've never seen any need to "break in" a good barrel. They've all had best accuracy from the start. Even good broach rifled 7.62 NATO service grade barrels from the government facility at Springfield Armory.
     
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  9. Offfhand

    Offfhand Member

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    "Best accuracy" compared to what? And how did you know?
     
  10. pert near

    pert near Member

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    It's not like I have a lot of brand new rifles to break-in, but when I have one, I use Shilen's recommended method. It's not such a big deal with only a little more effort involved, so why not.
     
  11. Destructo6

    Destructo6 Member

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    Not this again.

    Are you guys familiar with Gale McMillan? This is what he had to say about barrel break in:
     
  12. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Somebody should buy 40 new rifles all same mfg and caliber. "Break in" 20 of them and shoot the other half with same ammo and same conditions, then report back to us with the results.
    Sadly, I am currently unable to take on this project at this time. So until then, I spose we will all have our own firmly held opinions.
     
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  13. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    Okay, I'm game. You sponsor it and I'll design the test to ensure it is scientifically and statistically sound.
     
  14. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    While the makers of the more pedestrian guns do no mention the word "break in" anywhere in their manuals.

    I went back and looked at the manual for every gun I bought new and none of them had a break in procedure. I didn't look at the manual of the guns I bought/inherited used since it was too late to break them in even if it was necessary.
     
  15. stoky

    stoky Member

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    I don't think there's anything to be gained by break in of a hand lapped barrel.
    It does make sense to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer though.
    Some say that a rough barrel can be broken in anytime, after a thorough cleaning.
    meh
     
  16. Dr T

    Dr T Member

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    After my many years of doing empirical data analysis, I am not sure that 20 rifles is a big enough sample to see if break in is effective. I think the sample should be about 200 to get the confidence interval small enough. I volunteer to help share the testing load if we are going to test something like a 6.5 CM or 243 ...[Serious note: on any such test you need to focus on the confidence interval, not the p-value. Once upon a time, I had a full population of about 5 million numerical samples. As a test, I took several random samples of 100,000 from this population and calculated the mean. The means of these samples varied from 5% to 10% from the true population mean. Keep this in mind the next time you see a poll about anything.]
     
  17. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    All I know is that every new rifle I've ever bought, shot better after the first 20 rounds and better still after 100.
     
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  18. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I think there are some good barrels coming to us on some relatively inexpensive rifles. I broke my Howa barrel in per their their recommendations. It's 1 moa but I'm not sure if the barrel break in was the reason.

    I also have a new Ruger 77 and there is no barrel break in recommended in their manual. I didn't break it in and the accuracy was horrible after 500 rounds. Sent it back to Ruger and they replaced the barrel so they must have agreed that it was bad. I broke the new barrel in (Howa method) and this barrel is better but certainly much lower than my expectations. I don't think you can help some barrels.

    So here is where I have to disagree with this. My developing theory is you either have a good barrel or a not so good barrel. I think break in will accelerate the accuracy of a good barrel. I don't think it will help not so good barrels to any great degree.

    A 1 moa rifle is beautiful thing and should be the goal of all barrel manufacturers. I think we're getting very close to having that standard on all bolt guns. If Savage and Howa can do it, anyone can.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  19. stoky

    stoky Member

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    hot DANG! :D
    R we gonna do regressions and scatter plots and stuff ???
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    :thumbup:

    After owning two beautiful stainless Ruger Hawkeye 77 MkII's, it's stunning to me that they would take so much time to craft such a lovely gun with such crap barrels. If my Rugers shot like my Savages (that cost 1/2 as much) I never would have sold them.
     
  21. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    Best accuracy is as good as can be had with good bullets in proper tests. All test shots under 1/3 MOA at 100, 1/2 at 300, 2/3 at 600 and 3/4 MOA at 1000. That's as good as it gets. Single, few shot groups ranged from near zero to those limits. If one chooses to base accuracy on the smallest few-shot group fired, so be it. They're near impossible do repeat. Just like the biggest ones.

    I know because I've shot them as well as others reporting it. Some data came from Sierra Bullets' ballistic man who tested most all of their bullets for accuracy at 100 yards.
     
  22. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    In 1991, Ruger gave the USA Palma Team 20, hand crafted match rifles chambered in .308 Win. They hoped those single shot rifles would be a good thing for all to see. Their barrels made by Green Mountain had either 4 or 6 grooves; why, I don't know. Their triggers were not very repeatable in let-off. Stocks were poorly shaped for precise shooting from prone. The 4-groove ones shot about half MOA better at 1000 yards than the 6-groove ones. The most accurate one was a 4-groove but just barely held the 20" ten ring tested from prone. The rest were "wash tub" rifles. Dubbed as the size of groups they shot. Nobody, save one, on the team used them in the World Championships. Their own rifles shot the ammo under 10 inches at 1000 in tests. One who used a Ruger did so as his own rifle went south and he had no other choice.
     
  23. Corn-Picker

    Corn-Picker Member

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    I see a new business opportunity; barrel break-in bullets, custom ammo specifically designed and scientifically proven to break in your barrel without the hassle of frequent cleanings. I figure I'll buy some Winchester white box and repackage them in a fancy custom box (five cartridges per box for $14.99).

    It'll be kind of like those deer whistles that you stick on your bumper, no one can prove that they work but enough people will believe in them to support the business.
     
  24. Offfhand

    Offfhand Member

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    Tell us more about him. Thanks
     
  25. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    I chatted with Gale M. years ago at the Nationals about breaking in barrels. His remarks about the masses who do was, in so many words: "Most who claim their new rifle/barrel is more accurate after a 'break in' are actually seeing the results of finally their mastering its trigger. Their test groups average size is smaller and here's the icing on that cake; "finally, one group is the tiniest ever." He believed the barrel makers mandated breaking theirs in so they would wear out faster and more barrels could be sold.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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