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To flute or not to flute? That is the question.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by KBintheSLC, Nov 5, 2007.

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  1. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    I'm going to pick up a DPMS LR-308 soon, and I am wondering if I should get it with the fluted barrel instead of a standard bull barrel.

    What are the real differences between fluted and not?.. (better heat dispersion, less weight, etc.)?

    Never had a fluted barrel so your wisdom is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. ALS

    ALS Member

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    A non fluted barrel has more accuracy so I'm told by military snipers.
    Now the disclaimer, most of us on the board will never be good enough shots to see the difference between fluted and non-fluted.
    I have two tactical's with fluted barrels. I got the fluted barrels on them for the LOOK. I know I'll never be good enough to shoot either gun to the pinnacle of their inherent accuracy. So it doesn't matter whether they are fluted or not.
     
  3. JesseL

    JesseL Member

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    For a given barrel diameter, an unfluted barrel will be stiffer and heavier.

    For a given barrel weight, a fluted barrel will be stiffer (and of a slightly larger diameter than an unfluted barrel of the same weight, but there' not much reason to care about that).

    It sounds like you need to decide between a little more accuracy and a little less weight.

    IMHO, issues of heat in relation to barrel fluting are a red herring. I doubt there is a significant difference and any gain in surface area is probably offset by a loss in heat sink mass.
     
  4. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I've shot Remington 700 rifles with both, if there's a difference, I've never been good enough to draw it out. I'm thinking there are many other setup factors much more significant.
     
  5. rjohnson4405

    rjohnson4405 Member

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    I sure like the way fluting looks, especially on a stainless barrel. :cool: As far as inherent accuracy the others have covered it.
     
  6. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    I think the weight factor would sway me to go fluted. Like you guys said, the accuracy difference is not likely to be noticed.
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Fluting gains a significant amount of surface area, but If they flute only a small portion of the barrel, then it is not very worthwhile.

    Most benchrest barrels are unfluted. If they were considered more accurate evryone would be using them.

    They do look cool, save weight, stiffen the barrel, and give more surface area to help cooling. :)
     
  8. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    When I was shopping for my Bushy Varminter, I handled both stainless unfluted (Varmint Special) and the fluted Varminter. Shouldering both made me choose the fluted barrel. The unfluted was heavier than I felt comfortable with.

    I don't think most people are going to notice a whole lot of difference in the performance of two rifles, fluted vs non-fluted. But, pick them up and you WILL notice a difference. Let that help you decide.
     
  9. moojpg2

    moojpg2 Member

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  10. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    Really good info, moojpg2. From your page:

    I'm getting a stainless Wilson barrel on my M4gery, and have been planning to have it fluted. I must confess, more for the looks than the accuracy, but it's comforting to know that it may actually improve accuracy.
     
  11. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    That quote is incorrect. It should read that the fluting would increase accuracy 20% over a barrel of the same 'weight'...not contour. Taking material from a barrel ALWAYS reduces its' stiffness and hurts the potential accuracy. If you read and grasp the entire article, you will see that the quoted statement is in error.

    The beauty of fluting is the stiffer barrel...due to the increased diameter...vs a non-fluted barrel of the same weight.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    I have several rifles with fluted barrels that I use in 1,000 yard competition, and here is my take on this. A fluted barrel is neither more accurate nor less accurate than a nonfluted barrel; that is more a function of the smith who does the chambering. Forget about fluting a barrel for heat dispersion purposes; the difference is negligible. I also would not flute a barrel strickly for the purpose of reducing a rifle's overall weight; there a easier ways to do that. IMHO, the only logical reason to flute a barrel is to allow you to use a long, heavy contour barrel and not have an unbalanced, muzzle heavy rifle.

    Don
     
  13. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    If weight is really an issue, get a composite barrael. Mostly I think fluting looks neat. I have been told by several makers that to properly flute a barrel, the fluting should be done after drilling but before reaming and rifling, otherwise you are just inducing stress. I looked at fluting my 27.5 inch straight taper Hart bbl to lose soem weight. I decided to lose a few inches instead.
     
  14. ROMAK IV

    ROMAK IV Member

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    My Savage 112VSS has a fluted barrel, but the flutes are so small they are probably more decoration than anything. As for your decision, I would suggest trying to find an example of each model and seeing which one seemed easier and more comfortable to shoot, From what I have heard from the various DPMS owners, even the thinner 16" barreled rifles are exceptionally accurate. Heavy barrels aren't necessarily more accurate, but they tend to be more consistant and the groupings don't shift when the barrel heats up.
     
  15. S&WKING

    S&WKING Member

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    i was in the same boat but didnt have much of a choice when i decided on DPMS 204 but if you do get the fluted get the black in the flutes it looks so nice but i have to wait 2 months to get mine
     
  16. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Yep. And the only way it can really be done without inducing stress or causing variations in bore diameter, is to be done on a barrel that is to be cut rifled. With button rifled barrels, contouring and fluting is done after the barrel is rifled.

    Don
     
  17. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    RecoilRob is exactly right.
     
  18. birdbustr

    birdbustr Member

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    Looks like everyone has done some thinking about this fluting thing. I think really its just personal preferrence, but maybe there is some merit from the consensus. I personally have both of my big game rifles with fluted barrels mostly because of the cool factor.
    1. Close to heavy barrel accuracy without the weight of heavy barrels.
    2. Heat dissapation (sp?)
    3. Stiffer barrel
    4. They just look cool
     
  19. Dan360

    Dan360 Member

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    I have heard that some custom barrel makers refuse to flute their barrels due to risks and safety issues. I believe that Shilen goes as far as saying that fluting their barrel will void any warranty and that they don't recommend it at all on any barrel.
     
  20. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Member

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    Fluting is a purely aesthetic decision, just like fluting a bolt, poking holes in your stock forearm, or jewelling your trigger face, period. The stiffness / heat dissipation talk is just that: talk. Yes, there are miniscule engineering differences. Do they matter? Nope. Not unless you plan on cutting your flute depth too close to the bore inside diameter. Then they matter a lot. :evil:

    But I'll be the first to admit fluting -- especially spiral fluting -- looks really cool!

    Rich
     
  21. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Ah, and what method of rifling does Shilen use? Button rifling. It's no wonder they don't recommend the procedure. As Boots Obermeyer said, "Any fool can pull a button through a barrel!"

    Don
     
  22. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    RecoilRob, what the author said was :

    So he believes that group size can be improved by fluting over the same contour unfluted barrel, and an additional improvement by using the same overall weight fluted barrel.

    I happen to agree with most others that fluting will probably not improve accuracy in most barrels to to manufacturing stresses. Even though I am not an FEA expert, I wonder why you couldn't engineer a fluted tube to be stiffer than the original structure, it seems imminently doable to me.
     
  23. USSR

    USSR Member

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    First, the reduction in group size quoted above only reflects the results regarding THAT PARTICULAR BARREL WITH THE MACHINING WORK DONE ON THAT PARTICULAR BARREL. You simply cannot make an across the board statement that fluting (or nonfluting) will result in either a gain or loss in accuracy. The metallurgy of no two barrels is identical, nor is the quality of the machining the same.
    Second, it is simply not possible to remove material from a barrel and have it be as stiff as the barrel you started with. The stiffness comparison is always made between two barrels of an identical length and weight.

    Don
     
  24. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    I have a fluted Bushmaster carbine. It handles better than the same carbine did with a non-fluted full diameter barrel. It's also damned accurated, but that isn't a function of the fluting.
     
  25. Mute

    Mute Member

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    It's simple physics. You flute the barrel, it will not be as stiff as it was before the fluting. Period.
     
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