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Why have a "free floating" barrel

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Young gun, Jun 16, 2007.

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  1. Young gun

    Young gun Member

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    Okay, I admit it I have shot rifles with free floating barrels and I know they are an advantage, but I don't know why they work well. I have always assumed that it because as you fire a round the barrel distorts slightly (or greatly depending on the rifle and caliber of round) and that having it tight against the stock would change the way the barrel distorts thus affecting accuracy.

    But then why glass embed barrels? why not make them all free floating? Does one have an advantage over the other?

    Please take pity on my ignorance.:eek:
     
  2. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Contact points between the stock and barrel alter barrel harmonics and can change point of impact.

    Glass Bedding when properly done costs more than free-floating. Thats the main difference.
     
  3. Young gun

    Young gun Member

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    But why doesn't glass bedding effect barrel harmonics, it is still touching the barrel shouldn't it have some effect? If it's more expensive why wouldn't people just buy rifles with free floating barrels that do not have that effect?
     
  4. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    Because the glass is far less liable then many woods and plastics to expand and displace when heated. Also, remember the other purpose of glass bedding: to provide a more dimensionally constant (i.e. less prone to thermal expansion) interface for the action under recoil. Just free-floating the barrel won't help you there.
     
  5. Outlaws

    Outlaws Member

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    I haven't heard that one. Free float eliminates contact/pressure points which distort the barrel prior to firing.

    To the OP, most people bed the action, bed the first 1" or so of the barrel to dampen unwanted harmonics, then float the rest of the barrel.
     
  6. Quintin Likely

    Quintin Likely Member

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    Well, if you're shooting from position with a sling, free floating the barrel/bedding sees to it that you aren't tugging on the stock/action/barrel with the sling which can cause POI shifts.
     
  7. USSR

    USSR Member

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    +1. That is why tactical and target rifles have free floating barrels. Glass bedding is done around the receiver, not around the barrel. If you have a heavy contour barrel, then the glass bedding is typically extended about 1 1/2 inches under the barrel, so as to help relieve the stress on the receiver.

    Don
     
  8. trstafford

    trstafford Member

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    There are 2 schools of thought by applying pressure on barrel at end of stock you reduce the vibrations which will tighten up a group, however any shifts of the stock however small due to humidity will change the point of impact. If you free float a barrel any stock warpage will not affect point of impact.
     
  9. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    There's no "One size fits all," in this deal. Some rifles shoot very tight groups when free-floated. But, not all do.

    For many, a very slight pressure at the forearm tip (I use about five pounds) dampens the vibrations to a consistent behavior--which is what's desired. However, if you do this you must always maintain uniformity in holding the forearm, from shot to shot. When sighting in from the benchrest, the support point must be at the same point as the support hand when in the field.

    About all you can do is test. One test = several thousand Internet opinions.

    :), Art
     
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