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Barrel life for Remington 700, heavy barrel

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Sniper66, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    I have a Remington 700 VSF (Varmint Synthetic Fluted).223 with a 26" fluted barrel, my favorite .223 prairie dog rifle. My brother gave me a box of 500 Sierra 55gr BK bullets so I made some test loads, found one that works very well and proceeded to load 300 rounds in preparation for my next prairie dog shoot. Then the thought occurred to me. How long does a barrel last? I've probably shot 1,500 to 2,000 rounds thru this barrel and it's still very accurate__no problems. I don't load "hot"; I load for accuracy not speed. So, what are your thoughts guys? How much life can I expect from this barrel?
     
  2. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    It should go about 3,000rnds before accuracy and speed slip. For shorter range prairie dog shooting, it’ll likely go 10,000rnds before accuracy slips past minute of rat.
     
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  3. Orcon

    Orcon Member

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    Double your current round count, add 5 to it. Multiply that by your age and divide by your current barometric pressure add 2000. Roll some bones and say some sooths. Your accurate round count is between 4500 and 10,000 rounds. I take tips via PayPal.
     
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  4. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    How long a given barrel lasts with a particular cartridge depends on your accuracy requirements. It'd probably be nearing time to set back and ream chamber for a competitive shooter, but if it's still minute of prairie dog 5,000 rounds from now, then it's not lost accuracy for your purposes.

    .223 is pretty gentle unless one hot rods it heavily, not the "barrel burner" that overbore rounds like .220 Swift and .223 WSSM are, so I expect you have a long way to go.
     
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  5. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Not really sure, but my buddies rem 700 heavy barrel 22-250 throat was so far gone the bullets almost fell out of the case when trying to find the lands. He puts maybe 100rds a year through it for 20yrs.
     
  6. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    223rem is a pretty well known quantity. Hammer forged, button rifled, vs. cut rifled, hot or not, etc... Service Rifle shooters are a fantastic data pool for this cartridge. For a hammer forged factory barrel, I’d expect speed loss and a shift in raw precision around 3,000. Get clear to 5,000, I don’t expect a hammer forged 223rem to keep a group on anything but the fattest of prairie dogs at 400+, as a rifle which shot 3/4” when new will usually be shooting 1.25”+ by then, so 5-6” groups at 400, even prone or benched. Takes the fun out of it for me. I don’t mind shooting circles around prairie dogs on some shots at 600, but 400 should be a chip shot.

    Considering a weekend laying over a town might run a few hundred rounds, and I don’t want to slip in the middle of a trip, 3000 -3,500 means a new barrel, for me. I might milk one further if velocity is holding AND I’m taking two or three rifles on a trip.
     
  7. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    New barrels arnt that expensive either....

    I'd just swap when I started to see loss
     
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  8. lightman

    lightman Member

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    It depends on how you shoot it and even on how you clean it. If you repeatably shoot it until its so hot that ya can't touch it, it won't last as long as one thats shot at a slower pace. It also depends a little on how fast you push the velocity. Basically, heat is your enemy. I agree with those that are saying 3000 to 10,00 rounds. Typically barrel life with a 223 is fairly long.

    I've had a new Krieger barrel on deck for a couple of years now but the factory barrel just keeps on holding its own. I'll probably change it this year.
     
  9. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    In this day and age there's just sooooooo mmmmuuuucccchhhhh technology at our finger tips. For +/- $10 you can not only see & inspect what your asking. You can keep a log along with either pictures or video of the progress of the wear of your bbl or any other bbl. I bought 1 of these 2 years ago to keep tract of a custom bbl I ordered to shoot cast bullets in a 308w.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/5-5mm-Andr...hash=item4654f267a3:m:mCIRXitYDZa4AGsJicVnm8Q

    The mirror head comes off the end of the camera and will fit 4 different 223rem bbl.'s I have along with 20+ 22lr bbl.'s. This is a picture of the throat of the custom 308w bbl after 500+ rounds of lead/cast/coated bullets were shot in it.
    st4tMS0.png

    BkQMWYQ.png

    Ya, 2700fps with a cast/coated 165gr bullets in a 308w. Accuracy is nothing to write home about, running +/- 1 1/2" 10-shot groups @100yds. Looking for 10-shot moa groups @2600fps+ out of that 308w. Don't know if it will happen need to do more testing. Groups were shot with bullets cast in a cheap lee 6-cavity mold, the lee 312-160tl bullet.
    tEeK5wb.jpg
    Anyway bought a cheap $10 camera to keep tract of the custom bbl.

    It would be hard to give anything other than generic answers about bbl life. I can tell you that a nm rockriver ss upper made it to 7000 rounds before accuracy fell off. Hot loads? Absolutely!!! Along with generic loads for practice. But then again that rockriver was a 1 in 8 twist not 1 in 12. It saw a lot of 77gr and 80gr bullets, your 700 will see a lot of lighter bullets. The heavier bullets have less powder and typically slower burning powders (reloader 17 & varget) compared to the lighter bullets you'll be pushing. Your 26" bbl will also have more velocity & the higher velocities have been known to wear bbl.'s out quicker.

    Do yourself a huge favor and drop +/- $10 on a camera and see for yourself. Then do us a huge favor and post some pics.
     
  10. TN Outlaw

    TN Outlaw Member

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    I agree with the consensus. If this is pretty much just a PD gun and not a comp rifle, you should be nearing the halfway point of the best of the barrel at 1,500-2,000 rounds.

    There's a good chance with loading a 223rem a little mild for most of it's life and not shooting the barrel too hot that you may only be 1/4 of the way through acceptable accuracy for 400+ yard PD shots.

    I would go ahead and have a back up rifle set up and ready for when the accuracy does start to go. That way your not only prepared for a quick swap while at a dog town but you will have a go to rifle while the Rem is down waiting on the barrel swap and load work up.
     
  11. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Shoot it til it goes to crap and rebarrel.

    Went to a shop yrs ago and a Cooper was in the rack, cheap.
    Barrel gone.

    Shop owner said dude went PD hunting and got into a mess of em.

    Once customer said it was foolish to burn up a barrel like that.

    My buddy countered with "sounds like he had a hell of a time".

    Life is for living, and some stuff has a cost. Spend the money and live.
    You wear out a barrel, get another.

    Then you can smile and say "I wore the old one out and am gonna wear out this one" :)
    The way I figure it..............if you can afford to shoot enough to wear a barrel out, you can afford to rebarrel.

    The issue comes when buying a used gun.

    OP has a VSF..........nice rig. Still be a nice rig whenever he slaps another tube on it :)
     
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  12. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    Really appreciate all the helpful responses to my question. As I said in my OP, I do not load hot. Plus, I take 4-5 other rifles when I shoot p-dogs. When I experiment with loads, I start low and build up until accuracy is attained. That usually means around .5" groups at 100 yds. Early in my p-dog shooting experience, I used to load for speed and accuracy, but learned quickly that the two often do not go together. So I focus on accuracy. The loads I just made are 55gr Sierra BKs with speed around 3000 fps; plenty for most p-dogs. Last time out I shot mostly 17HMR and maybe 200 rounds of .223. At that pace the barrel will outlast me. Thanks again.
     
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  13. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    In my experience, loading hot vs. mild, and stringing shots vs. letting the barrel cool has less effect on barrel life than the type of rifling. We all want it to last longer by running less powder, but it doesn’t pan out. I ran low node in my 6 creed barrel last year, 40.0grn instead of 42.5 max, ~6% reduction in powder. The benefit wasn’t barrel life, it was spending 6% less per shot. I got to 1,000rnds and had to add a half grain to get back over 2800, and was running a full 220fps below my starting speed for that load, and losing 30fps per match.

    Similarly, I had a 6 Dasher bench rifle which was fed rounds as fast as I could during my favored wind call as well as a 6 Dasher specialty pistol built as hunting rig - lots of time between shots, and I’m not sure it’s barrel ever even got hot. There wasn’t 500rnds difference in life when they both went down. One went down in 2 seasons, while the other took a decade, but they still went down around 2500. I get similar barrel life before accuracy and speed loss with Service Rifle barrels as I do 3 Gun barrels - I just replace the Service Rifle barrels at a higher standard of precision than I had to with 3 Gun rifles.

    If a given barrel goes 500rnds longer than another like it, I chalk it up to fluke before I would believe the improvement was intentional by some trick.

    I have a few borescopes, they can tell you when a barrel looks terrible vs. new, but can’t tell you when the barrel is toast. Your chronograph and targets will tell you when the barrel is done. Some terrible looking barrels have shot lights out. It’s also only qualitative, whereas a guy can seat a bullet to find the lands and actually measure their throat erosion if they were so inclined.

    But ALL of that said - I took the barrel off of my Seekins match rifle this month at 1440-1480rnds because the speed was falling. It was still shooting 0.6-0.7moa groups at zero day for its last match, and it killed my buck last month without argument. I could have left that barrel on it the rest of my life, and my son his life, and it would have been a fine deer killing rifle, more accurate than most any big name factory rifle on the shelf. But the barrel was absolutely trashed for my application... the good news - most barrels I just toss, but the attractive spiral fluting on this one will make a nice lamp. :rofl:;)
     
  14. joed

    joed Member

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    I don't know why everyone is so concerned with barrel life. Shoot it, the gun will tell you when it's time for a new barrel. When the time comes look around for someone to replace it with a good after market barrel.

    I've done this twice so far. Most of my cartridges are barrel burners and won't go past 1500 rounds. When the rifle tells me it's time I just have another barrel put on it. If you think your rifle shoots good now wait till you put a premium barrel on it. All the rifles I've had re-barreled are more accurate and clean up amazing fast.
     
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  15. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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  16. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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  17. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    And that would be the time to upgrade over a factory barrel !
     
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  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I recall an old article by a target shooter. He said all his friends had first class hunting rifle barrels... his takeoffs.
     
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  19. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    It makes a big difference when your barrel life is shorter than the order/delivery time and smithing lead time to get the new barrel ready.
     
  20. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    Not to derail the thread but varminterror id love to see that pistol in 6 dasher
     
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  21. joed

    joed Member

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    LOL. That's why I have 4 rifles. Living in the frozen north I would take the gun to the smith in Nov and get it back in March.
     
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  22. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Do like the rest of us, mail it to whatever smith you want to rebarrel your rifle. 4months also really isn't a bad turn around time, pretty standard.
     
  23. Orcon

    Orcon Member

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    There's a guy over at accurateshooter.com named Lee Gardner AKA Skeet Lee, he does a great job and has a fast turn around. Pretty reasonable prices too.
     
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