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Normal life of a 243 barrel.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BsChoy, Jul 8, 2010.

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  1. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    Upstate NY
    I have a serious itch for a heavy barrel 243 but, the one reservation I have is all the stuff I hear about useable barrel life. I don't shoot as much as I would like but, mainly because the rounds I shoot have a healthy amount of recoil. The 243 is a serious choice for me because the bullets are cheaper for reloading and the recoil reduction factor so I may actually do more shooting than usual.

    I was wondering if anyone has real world numbers from a rifle they have used in this caliber relating to accurate barrel life? Bullets I would use would range from 85 grain to the 105 amax's and powders would be H4350 or perhaps Hybrid 100v.

  2. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

    Mar 25, 2010
    I've heard 1500 rounds for accuracy, but that you can probably get deer hunting accuracy for close to double that. This is just what I've heard and I've not had experience with that.

    I have the same problem as you though. I love the .243 round. It's accurate, light recoil, cheap to reload for, etc. The only concern I have is the barrel life also. I've decided to just shoot it until it wears out then I will replace it. I haven't kept track of the rounds downrange, but I've got maybe 200 rounds downrange and it's still as accurate as ever. I hope it doesn't wear out in 1500 rounds, but if it does I guess it just does and I will have to rebarrel or get a new one.
  3. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    North Carolina
    It will vary of course with the intensity of the loads. If you blister the barrel constantly with light 55gr bullets @ 4000+fps, you might see throat erosion at 1000 rounds or so.
    Using heavier bullets and slower burning rate powders will usually extend that to 2500-3000 without appreciable loss of accuracy.
    Barrel steel does play a part in the wear factor with stainless barrels usually lasting longer than chrome-moly, because stainless is more tolerant of high heat.

  4. Buzzard

    Buzzard Member

    Jan 18, 2010
    A chrome-moly barrel that never gets above a static temp of 200º will last a whole lot longer than any stainless barrel shot to the point you can light a cigar off the receiver. The cooler you keep your barrel the more accurate it will be for a longer period of time. If you want to shoot hot loads, you've got two choices: shoot until it screams and swap barrels out ($500+) when the accuracy goes scattergun, or shoot moderately to save the barrel.

    A .243 loaded hot and shot hot will maybe last 1,000 rounds before groups start to open up a tad. Expect 1,500 or more if you keep it cool and don't torch the barrel. Keep in mind, this isn't an absolute number before it starts throwing bullets all over the Rockies. This is a rough guesstimate before the groups open up from 1/2" to 1 1/2". How fast it goes to pot entirely depends on how you treat it. That said, there's a few handloading tricks (seating the bullet further, only neck-sizing) which will keep it accurate for a little while longer.


    As much as I don't like quoting gun writers, David Petzal's two-part blog piece probably covers the subject better than most folks have. His numbers are conservative and far from absolute, concrete Prophesy. But they are darn close to what I've read from barrel makers.

    Like Lilja...
  5. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Member

    May 15, 2007
    Deep South
    I recently bought a .243 to shoot in NRA accross the course competition. The guy I bought the rifle from shoots .243 exclusively and gets 2500-2800 rounds before it opens up. He typically uses Broughton barrels. He has found that using moly increases his barrel life buy about 400 rounds. We shoot SMK 107s mostly.

    That said, my barrel has just under 2000 rounds on it and will be replacing it with a Hart tube chambered in .260 REM. I hope to get at least 3000 rounds on it by using light bullets (95gr.) at the 200 yard line, moderate loaded 142's at the 300 and full throttle at the 600 yard line.

    Long range shooters do burn out barrels within the 1000-1200 round range shooting 115s at max loads.

    It all has to do with how hard you push it.
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