Barrel Break In

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by red rick, Aug 28, 2021.

  1. red rick

    red rick Member

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    Do y’all think it is necessary to break in a new budget rifles barrel . If you do , what is your procedure ?
     
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  2. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Shoot it after you clean out the manufacturing oil.
     
  3. PRD1

    PRD1 Member

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    There is nothing to be gained by 'breaking-in' a commercial rifle barrel, and little with a custom-barreled rifle. Shoot it, clean it, and expect it to shoot reasonably well, with possible improvement with continued use.

    PRD1 - mhb - MIke - barrel maker, retired
     
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  4. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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  5. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I thought as much .
     
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  6. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    Breaking in commercial barrels makes people feel good about their rifle; it is a psychological placebo not unlike breaking in a lawnmower engine or the driver’s door hinges on your new truck. The upside is that you are still shooting the rifle which is always fun.
     
  7. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Shoot it. Clean it gently.

    That's all.
     
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  8. twarr1

    twarr1 Member

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    The only thing I do is space out my shots as to not overheat the barrel. Which is a good idea for any barrel, not just a new one.
     
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  9. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    A good barrel is how it was made, and commercial barrels are basically a barrel of barrels. Good luck what comes out. After that, preventing erosion from hot loads and deterioration from hot trigger use is what preserves them.

    Keep them cool in use, clean after use, and humidity free in storage. Best you can do. Clean from the chamber to muzzle, never the other way.
     
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  10. lightman

    lightman Member

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    Barrel break-in has been argued over and over. Everything from none to some crazy number of shoot and clean cycles.

    With a factory rifle I begin by cleaning it to remove any left over junk from the machining process and space out the first few shots.

    On a custom barrel I also start by cleaning it. Then I'll shoot it once and patch it out, shoot it once and patch it out and continue to do this until the patch shows no copper. With a Krieger barrel this is usually about 6 shots or so. Those 6 shots are not wasted because I'm sighting in with them.

    Is this necessary? Who knows but it doesn't hurt anything
     
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  11. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    All barrels are more accurate after they've had some rounds through them. With some it takes longer than with others to see accuracy improve. But I don't believe in the routines of clean after every shot for X number of rounds, then after every 3 rounds, then every 10 rounds or what ever routine some advise. The only possible advantage to doing something like this is that it might be easier to clean a new barrel if it is cleaned often until the rifling smooths out.

    The barrel can't count and doesn't know if it had 3 rounds or 30 rounds through it. I shoot 'em, then clean 'em when they need to be cleaned. I start seeing better accuracy after 2 or 3 trips to the range.
     
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  12. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    True. There is a whole bunch of quackery out there, and corporate psychological "nudges", all designed, to make you spend money.

    hOIQKmk.jpg

    If you are an F Class shooter, and your barrel life is around 1000 rounds, it does not make economic sense to have an extensive break in time, or even, extended load development.
     
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  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Extensive, no.
    But I broke in a couple of aftermarket barrels IAW manufacturers' recommendations.
    13 shots in one, 33 in the other, hardly squandering barrel life, especially considering that it also got me hundred yard zeros and chronograph readings to figure come ups for longer range.
     
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  14. ford8nr

    ford8nr Member

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    We've been through this sooo many time on this site.
    Howa has a specific procedure that I don't believe is recommended to wear your barrel out.
    Better yet Kreiger Barrels, makers of GREAT barrels has a good explanation and recommendation for their barrels and why generic factory barrels ( not hand lapped ) may need more break in.

    I'd believe Jack Kreiger before a internet poster. But to each their own
    Per their web site:
    BREAK-IN & CLEANING:
    With any premium barrel that has been finish lapped -- such as your Krieger Barrel --, the lay or direction of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, so fouling is minimal compared to a barrel with internal tooling marks. This is true of any properly finish-lapped barrel regardless of how it is rifled. If it is not finish-lapped, there will be reamer marks left in the bore that are directly across the direction of the bullet travel. This occurs even in a button-rifled barrel as the button cannot completely iron out these reamer marks.

    Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, by necessity there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file.

    When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is removed from the jacket material and released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. The copper dust is vaporized in this plasma and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore when it is actually for the most part the new throat.

    If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it, copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may be difficult to remove later. So when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat “polished without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reasoning for the fire-one-shot-and-clean procedure.

    Every barrel will vary slightly in how many rounds they take to break in For example a chrome moly barrel may take longer to break in than stainless steel because it is more abrasion resistant even though it is a similar hardness. Also chrome moly has a little more of an affinity for copper than stainless steel so it will usually show a little more color if you are using a chemical cleaner. Rim Fire barrels can take an extremely long time to break in, sometimes requiring several hundred rounds or more. But cleaning can be lengthened to every 25-50 rounds. The break-in procedure and the cleaning procedure are really the same except for the frequency. Remember the goal is to get or keep the barrel clean while breaking in the throat with bullets being fired over it.

    Finally, the best way to tell if the barrel is broken in is to observe the patches; i.e. when the fouling is reduced. This is better than some set number of cycles of shoot and clean as many owners report practically no fouling after the first few shots, and more break-in would be pointless. Conversely, if more is required, a set number would not address that either. Besides, cleaning is not a completely benign procedure so it should be done carefully and no more than necessary.
     
  15. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    Ford8nr, now why would you believe a premier barrel maker with tons of barrel knowledge and experience over an internet poster like me who has no meaningful knowledge or experience with barrel making at all, because your’s is a smart position and mine is just an opinion.
     
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  16. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    These days I break barrels in on my rifles by cleaning them before I first shoot. Then I shoot them as I would shoot them if I wasn't breaking them in, and then I run a boresnake through them after every range trip and brush off the powder residue. It's funny really, cos that sounds a lot like I'm just shooting them.

    But if my rifles don't shoot 1 MOA or less after that, it's only because I'm the guy between the ground and the trigger. In my humble opinion, life's too short to worry about things like barrel break in on an off-the-shelf rifle.
     
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  17. ford8nr

    ford8nr Member

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    Problem is "off the shelf" rifles have the worst barrels for the most part. Bad / rough barrels are the ones that need break in the worse. I have a S&W MP15 that on initial cleaning pulled tufts of material off the cleaning felt. Was a long process before it stopped copper fouling to the point I lapped the barrel part way through the process. Now minimal fouling and great shooting.
     
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  18. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    That question has been debated for decades, even before gun forums existed, long before. I can't recall the manufacturers, maybe Hart and McMillian I can't recall but about 30 years ago one strongly suggested barrel break in and one adamantly opposed it. Both were highly reputable manufacturers of match quality barrels. Also not missing a trick there was: Tubb Final Finish Bore Lapping Ammunition 308 Winchester Box of 20. A few others also were marketing bore lapping bullets to "lap in" a new barrel.

    Me? I screw a new barrel in, scrub it good and clean and after maybe a few hundred rounds of less I figure it's done. Something else was cryogenic treating of barrels for stress relief which I never saw actually improve a barrel. So just find something you like and run with it. A Google of "rifle barrel lapping" should get you well started. Some of it likely depends on the quality of the barrel you start with.

    Ron
     
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  19. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I have decided that I am going to clean it before I sight it in and again after that . Then after the season .
     
  20. BWS

    BWS Member

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    Tough question because it's hard to define. Here's what I do;

    New rifle means new cases,more often than not. I "try" to keep lots of cases dedicated to that rifle,at least until they get so worn out they're at the toss'm point. Then,sometimes they're gonna be traded between other rigs.

    So,new cases get prepped at whatever level of precision the new rig is geared towards. Once on the firing line,I go slow fire forming these cases. It's sort of a "meet N greet" between me,the rig,and these new cases. Shoot 3 and inspect/clean barrel. How's everything going? What's the neck ID after firing? How's the barrel look?

    Shoot some more and see how things are shaping up on target. Still going over the rig,keeping an eye on fire forming. Clean/inspect again. This will go on for about 40 rounds(two boxes). At the end of this,I usually have a pretty good idea of what to expect. After this,probably a deep clean with some JB.

    The "break in" for me isn't so much about any conditioning on the barrel. I need to know how easy it cleans up,and if it's showing anything out of the ordinary. Will say,one of the,if not very first thing I check is chamber neck diameter. Using small hole gage on the end of an aluminum arrow. Comparing that with the as fired necks. Headspace check might work it's way in about now.

    Each rig gets it's own loading pamphlet. It's in this "break in" period that a lot of data is going into notes. IF,and that's a big one on the cheap stuff,it looks like the rig might be something special..... and it does happen,I'll start a round count.

    Takeaways are,it isn't necessarily about barrel conditioning..... there's other reasons to take the time early in a rigs life.
     
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  21. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    Anybody have thoughts on using cheap steel case/bi-metal bullet ammo to break in a rough barrel quicker? Would this actually help?
     
  22. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    I'm a Range Officer at a large state-run range. I see a little bit of everything there. Last week a guy had a brand new Winchester .243. He was taking a couple shots, cleaning, shooting, cleaning... he was there for a few hours. I asked him if that's a normal routine for him. He said, "the manufacturer says to break in the barrel this way, so that's what I'm doing." I see other serious hunters that have been around rifles their entire life and they just shoot it and clean it at the end of the day. Personally, I clean out the factory oil and shoot. No particular break-in. I think today's barrels are generally more precisely manufactured and I think it's rare that you'll get one that's not nicely polished and ready to go. Sure, there are exceptions, but I think modern barrels are pretty much ready to go right out of the box. Serious target guys might want to lap a new barrel to eek out every bit of accuracy, but for general use I don't feel it's needed. In reference to the post above, asking about bi-metal and steel case ammo.... I don't buy it, and I don't shoot it. I hand load everything anyway. A rifle is a fine, precision mechanical device and I don't mess with bargain basement ammo.
     
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  23. ford8nr

    ford8nr Member

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    Per me
    I'm also a RSO at a large private club and Certified Rifle Instructor. Makes my OPINION count no more then others. That being said for hunting accuracy and low round count break in might not be necessary. Does make cleaning easier in the long run. Then I know people who have never used copper solvent and deer still die.

    Per Kreiger Barrel
    If it is not finish-lapped, there will be reamer marks left in the bore that are directly across the direction of the bullet travel. This occurs even in a button-rifled barrel as the button cannot completely iron out these reamer marks. Kreiger barrel I'd listen to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
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  24. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Czechpoint's Owners' Manual didn't seem to recommend breaking in the VZ-58 barrel made by Lothar (Germany).
    Zastava USA had nothing about this on the single colored piece of paper with the nib ZPAP rifle.

    Z. USA basically said put BLO on the walnut furniture. There might be a good bit more for unfamiliar new shooters' safety (liability) on their website, but the gun had nothing about "breaking in".

    The manufacturing process for metal components was completed at the factories.
    These guns are not known to allow any metallic splinters to remain in the barrels' >> bores <<.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
  25. ford8nr

    ford8nr Member

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    That's probably cause the barrels on those rifles are so over bored you need the copper fouling for proper bullet fit. Kinda like an old tractor, don't use detergent oil you need the gunk !
    :rofl:
     
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