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should i fire-lap this revolver barrel?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by murf, Feb 24, 2012.

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  1. murf

    murf Member

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    i was planning on fire-lapping the barrel of my old model 357 blackhawk. first thing i did was shoot 50 rounds through the gun this morning to get fired cases to load.

    well, the results of that 50 rounds makes me wonder if i actually need to fire-lap this barrel. the rounds were shot off a rest at 28 yards. i started with a clean barrel.

    cleaned the gun afterwards and found no excess leading or fouling. allowing for my rusty trigger pulling, i'm seeing a 4 inch group at 28 yards.

    can the gun do better, or should i just leave it alone and shoot the thing?

    murf
     

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  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Fire lapping is an Ingenious Solution to a Non-Existent Problem.

    If you want to shoot abrasive grit coated bullets, just put some grease on them, drop them in the sand, and shoot them!

    If the barrel needs lapping, do it half-way right with JB Bore-Brite on a patched cleaning rod jag.
    http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1161/Product/J-B-reg-BORE-BRIGHT

    rc
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2012
  3. BruceM

    BruceM Member

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    Although a noted Gunzine writer was a big proponent of this procedure and it became the modification "du jour" for a short period of time, my feeling is that it has been relegated to the ".45 GAP" drawer of firearms history.

    Bruce
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Sold some new barrels there for a while though!

    rc
     
  5. murf

    murf Member

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    thanks, guys.

    murf
     
  6. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Fire Lap??
    Don't kow where this Crap started but it is ALL CRAP!
    Just shoot and enjoy.
    I once knew an old guy that was a fan of "barrel lapping".
    Well, he was full of it as is the propenents of the said practice.
     
  7. bobsmith

    bobsmith Member

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    I would try different loads through that revolver and see if the accuracy improves. I would resort to firelapping as an absolute last resort keeping in mind that you may end up replacing the barrel.
     
  8. murf

    murf Member

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    new question, same pistol. it has different size chambers. two are larger than the other four.

    can that affect accuracy? can a smith easily make all chambers the same?

    murf
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Cambers? or chamber throats?

    Oversize chambers are just that.
    I wouldn't want to make them all over-size.

    Throats can be reamed to the same size fairly easily, and should be.

    rc
     
  10. murf

    murf Member

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    chambers. the throats all slug to .359". don't know if the chambers are oversized, just not the same by a couple thou.

    thanks for the info, guys. time for another project.

    murf
     
  11. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    Slug the barrel and check the tightness where the barrel is screwed into the frame.
    I recall some revolvers had a problem with the barrel section where it is screwed into the rame the frame /barrel thread fit was too tight and caused a narrowing of the bore at that point.
     
  12. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    What MY old acquantiance use to do was AUTHORITATAVELY look down the barrel and ANNOUNCE exactly how much had to be "lapped" out.
    As in my previous post.the old guy was So full of it that nobody took his "lapped barrel" theories to heart.
    The Old Guy had some TSJC (Trinidad) fame.
    Betcha some one who was at TSJC in the 1960/62 era could name the dude.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  13. murf

    murf Member

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    jaguarxk120,

    that is why i am fire-lapping the barrels. they crush-fit their barrels and that puts in a restriction. it tends to lead the first inch or so of the barrel.

    bobsmith,

    i tried a different bullet (a good one). groups shrank a bit. bottom group is bulk purchased bevel-based cast 158gn swc. top group is cast performance 187gn fngc (30 yards away over a rest).

    thanks for the inputs. i think one shouldn't expect miracles from bulk purchased bullets.

    murf
     

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  14. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    The entire barrel does not need lapping. Just the area beyond the forcing cone. Hand lapping will get you farther as the section that neds it will be lapped.

    Fire lapping runs abrasive down the entire barrel. The possibility of trashing a barrel is much greater with fire lapping as you have no control of where or how much is being removed from the barrel.

    As I recall Ruger uses hammer forged barrels and the inside is very smooth to start. Now our going to shoot a bunch of rocks through it, thats going to make it better?
     
  15. murf

    murf Member

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    jaguarxk120,

    since this pistol has other issues, a trashed barrel would be a good excuse to turn it into a custom 44 special. now if i could just win the lottery.

    first, i'm going to see if the different chamber volumes affect accuracy (would be nice to know). then, who knows. i may just shoot it the way it is.

    again, thanks for the responses. i value all of your opinions.

    murf
     
  16. x_wrench

    x_wrench Member

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    well, i hate to disagree with rc, and the rest of you, but fire lapping does have some validity to it in certain cases. i would NOT fire lap a gun that did not have a problem though. my 45-70's barrel was so rough from the factory that it would shred a cleaning patch in 4 or 5 strokes. there was always a lot of copper in it, and it took forever to clean. putting a fire lap kit through it made a world of difference. it is now the easiest gun i own to clean. it did improve the groups slightly, but i am attributing that to the bullets not having to fight their way thru the jacket remnants in the barrel. i can not imagine how long it would take a person to hand lap a barrel like that one. or if a novice could even do it without ruining it. so, in certain cases, i do believe it can be a good tool.
     
  17. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    I have a Ruger 270 All-Weather rifle that I firelapped the barrel. When I was done the gun will now shoot 3 round 1/2" groups consistently at 100 yds. (I have bragging target taped to my wall).

    The only fly in the ointment is I did not bother to test fire the rifle for groups before I firelapped it. So while I cannot say it improved things I can positively say it did not hurt anything.

    The problem I have when shooting for groups is I am never sure what I am measuring; the gun, the ammunition or my ability.

    I also firelapped the barrel of a Ruger Super Redhawk. I never warmed up to this gun as it was too heavy and balanced for me so I never put any real effort to see how well it would group.
     
  18. murf

    murf Member

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    i went ahead and fire-lapped the pistol. didn't tighten groups much from before, but i am now working up an accuracy load. we'll see.

    anyway, the barrel is not trashed and the barrel thread restriction is gone.

    murf
     
  19. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    BSA1,

    If you didn't test fire for accuracy before you fire lapped it, how did you possibly know it needed fire lapped to begin with? Sounds like a lot of these skunk oil remedies are making their way back into use again. Kinda like the ol' man I once knew, would wash his car and then tell you "She runs really smooth now!"
     
  20. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    I don't. That is the whole point of my post. While I don't know if it helped I know for sure that it didn't hurt anything.

    My reason for firelapping my Ruger was it's stainless steel barrel. My goal was to remove any small burrs and feather left by the bore cutter. I sure have a mighty smooth shiney barrel now.

    Firelapping a barrel is very easy and fun project and you are not out much money to do it.
     
  21. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    I thought Ruger barrels were hammer forged. Not cut, broached, or button rifled.
     
  22. supercopjason

    supercopjason Member

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    Man this fire lapping stuff drives me nuts. I get customers that read something about a gun being fire lapped and they just think they need it. Truth is if you want the benefit of a lapped barrel go buy you a bunch of rounds and practice and at the same time you will be wearing in your barrel.

    Wear in your barrel and improve your fundamentals= Win Win

    There is a purpose behind lapping but most people would benefit more from practicing their fundamentals. Just venting not pointing to anyone in this thread.
     
  23. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    Ya know Ron Popeil of Ronco fame is kicking himself all over the place for not thinking of fire-lapping firest.
    Just think shoot a bunch of bullets coated with sand down the barrel.
    Three easy payments of $13.00 for a total of $39.00 and he throws in the pocket fisherman for FREE!!
    Heck you can't go wrong with a deal like that!!!

    And while your waiting for your rifle to come back from the gunsmith with a new barrel go fishing with the pocket fisherman.
     
  24. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    You'd have to REALLY OVER-DO fire lapping to actually hurt a barrel. I've fire-lapped many rifle barrels and never got bad results. Some improved drastically and some seemed to not change at all, but not one ever got worse. Plus they never need cleaning other than powder residue-metal fouling is history.
     
  25. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    Barrels are lapped every day by barrel makers and rifle builders. The lapping is done by hand to remove any tight spots, if any, and smooth the barrel surface.

    I wouldn't buy a rifle that was fire lapped or use a maker that firelaps.

    There is no control over the lapping process. Your still shooting sand covered bullets through the bore.
     
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