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Carbon wrapped barrel ?

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Unread 06-13-2012, 04:19 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 12
Carbon wrapped barrel ?

As above ,are they a good job for a light weight custom hunting setup ?
I can get a#4, around 3.5 lb 7mm/ 25" .... how much lighter would a carbon wrapped be ?
Is there better manufactures than others ?
Any pros or cons with a carbon barrel ?
Regards 7N.
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Unread 06-13-2012, 04:34 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Tampa, FL and the PNW
Posts: 31
Re: Carbon wrapped barrel ?

The greatest benefits are heat dissipation and weight reduction. A carbon barrel will dissipate heat at a much faster rate than steel, resulting in a lighter barrel with heat dissipation qualities of a much heavier one. The main drawback is cost.

IMO, if your rig is purely for hunting you'd be better off with a feathweight/lightweight contour barrel since you probably won't be taking enough shots to benefit from the cooling properties for which you will be paying more for. AFAIK, the carbon-barrels won't significantly reduce the weight of a "mountain" type barrel as they are already using a minimal amount of steel.
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Unread 06-13-2012, 04:43 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
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Re: Carbon wrapped barrel ?

Originally Posted by s5traut View Post
The greatest benefits are heat dissipation and weight reduction. A carbon barrel will dissipate heat at a much fast rate than steel, resulting in a lighter barrel with heat dissipation qualities of a much heavier one. The main drawback is cost.
Any particular manufacture more accurate or better quality that another ?
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Unread 06-13-2012, 04:55 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
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Re: Carbon wrapped barrel ?

I have not owned nor shot carbon barrels (for the reasons that added into my first post), so I can't speak to specific brands.

The area I see them being the most useful is for varmints, where the heat dissipation qualities in a lighter package would be an ideal solution if you were walking/hiking into a varmint town where you would be doing high volume shooting.
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Unread 06-13-2012, 06:55 PM
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Re: Carbon wrapped barrel ?

They'll weigh half or a little less than a steel barrel with the same contour. As far as accuracy goes especially in a LR right the lighter weight works against you.

There's a heck of a cool factor involved with the new technology but to be honest I see a heck of a lot of them for sale used with very low round counts which makes me very skeptical of them overall.
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Unread 06-13-2012, 08:49 PM
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Re: Carbon wrapped barrel ?

I have fitted alot of carbon fiber barrels to custom rifles and have learned a few FACTS from my actual hands on testing. This is what I know:

If you take two barrels, for example, two #4 contour barrels, one carbon wrapped, one all steel, the all steel barrel will be dramatically stiffer. Also, the weight reduction on the wrapped barrel will not be much at all.

If you take two barrels, for example, 1.200" straight cylinder barrels,one carbon wrapped, one all steel, the all steel barrel will STILL be stiffer then the carbon wrapped barrel but in the comparision between these two large diameter barrels, the carbon wrapped barrel WILL BE much lighter in this application.

I know this because have taken barrels, chucked them up in the lathe by the shank just as they would be supported by the receiver, then hung 10 lb weights off the muzzle end and measured the flex in the barrels for comparision. In every case, all steel barrels had less flex then the carbon wrapped barrels.

Its true that carbon is stiffer then steel for a given WEIGHT. That is what gets left out of the advertisments. Let me explain further. If you take two rods that are 30" in lenght, both weighing 5 lbs. One all steel, the other all carbon fiber. The carbon fiber rod will be several TIMES larger in diameter then the all steel barrel and yes it will be slightly stiffer as well. Unfortunately, its not practical to wrap that amount of carbon fiber around a barrel sleeve. As such, the strength increase advertisment is simply FALSE in a rifle barrel application.

Now onto barrel weight.

AS mentioned, if your comparing two rifles with large contour barrels, the carbon fiber barrels will be DRAMATICALLY lighter but their barrels will not be stiffer.

IF your comparing sporterweight barrel contours, You can build an all steel barreled rifle that is only marginally heavier then any carbon fiber barreled rifle so application is critical to get the advantage out of these barrels.

Now lets talk about barrel life.

Yes its been proven that carbon fiber barrels cool faster then all steel barrels. It has also been proven that the barrel sleeves used in carbon fiber barrels also heat up faster!!!! So its a bit of give and take here. I would say for a high volumne varmint rifle you could see some benefit in barrel life but in my testing, even with large capacity, hyper performance long range rifles, the barrel life advantage is less then 15%.

Considering that a good quality carbon fiber barrel will cost easily twice what an all steel barrel will cost, in my opinion, its not worth it, especially for a big game rifle that will be fired much more deliberately with low volume shooting.

I have tested a couple ABS carbon wrapped barrels in my 338 Allen Magnum and put them through some torture tests along with two all steel barrels, one from Lilja and one from Krieger. The ABS barrels both used Rock barrel sleeves. The test was to fire five, 10 shot strings. Shooting was done by shooting 10 shots as fast as possible. Let the barrel cool to the point I could just hold my hand on the barrel, repeat with 10 more rapid fire shots and continue to repeat until 50 rounds were down the barrel.

I did this with all four barrels, two ABS, one Lilja, one Krieger. After the test all barrels were pulled, cleaned and inspected for throat erosion and heat cracking. In the end, The ABS barrels had roughly 8 thou less throat erosion(throat length) then the Lilja barrels but they were identical, within +/- 1 thou of the Krieger. Heat cracking appeared to be nearly identical in all barrels.

From this torture test it was clear that if you mistreated ANY barrel with a chambering like this, you would not be saved by a very high dollar barrel which is advertised to offer dramatically longer barrel accuracy life. Just not the trueth.

I have also tested a couple rifles shooting them as they should be, this time both were in 7mm Allen Magnum. One was a Lilja 1-9 4 groove, #8 contour, 30" fluted barrel, the other an ABS 30" 1-8.7, 5 groove, similiar contour to a #8 with Rock sleeve.

Both rifles were shot and cleaned regularly, never more then three shot strings. Noticable accuracy drop off started at around 850 rounds with the Lilja, around 925 rounds with the ABS so yes, the ABS offers longer accuracy life but this is I am sure simply due to the different hardness of steel used in the cut rifled barrel compared to the much softer steel used in the button pulled Lilja.

Still, 75 more rounds for over twice the cost of the barrel was not worth it in my opinion.

I believe the ABS barrels are the very best barrels out there for a carbon wrapped barrel. They do shoot very well, in some applications they do offer significant rifle weight reduction but if used in the wrong application, they really do not offer much over an all steel barrel.

Just my findings.
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

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Unread 06-13-2012, 11:50 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA
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Re: Carbon wrapped barrel ?

I work in carbon fiber as a product designer and have to agree with most of what fiftydriver has said.
The only thing I usually see as a misconception is regarding the type of fibers that are used. There are two diferent kinds of fibers used - Pitch and Pan. Abs barrels use pitch fibers which are much more thermally conductive and cool down much faster than steel. Other manufacturs such as Magnum Research use pan fibers which have a much higher stiffness to weight ratio. In the testing I have done with pan fibers a solid 1/2" rod of pan fibers (standard modulas) is still stiffer than a 1/2" steel rod. However if you do that same test with pitch fibers (what abs uses) you will get the results that Kirby discribed. However pan fibers are an insulator so you do not get the cooling properties you do with pitch. But due to the stiffness you also do not get a point of impact change due to the increased stiffness.
Pitch fibers expand and contract with timp changes and pan fibers are basically innert and do not change with different temps.
Also with abs barrels the fibers are wrapped around the barrel. With MAgnum Research barrels the fibers run the length of the barrel which adds to stiffnes considerablly.

Bacicaly what I'm saying is that all carbon fiber barrels are not the same in regards to stiffness and heat disapation.

So for me in a long range hunting rifle I have chosen to use Magnum Research barrels on a few rifles as barrel life is not my big concern. I know many people that use ABS barrels and are very happy with them but from a design side for my hunting application I prefer magnums barrels.
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