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flutes or no flutes

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Unread 01-10-2012, 10:54 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,189
Re: flutes or no flutes

The first two fluted barrels I had were a disaster and would not shoot better than 1 MOA with
any load.

I worried about it and decided to do some quality control and much to my suprise there was
not one dimension that was the same from flute to flute.

I could not believe that anyone could screw up something as simple as fluting but they did.

For many years I would not touch a fluted barrel much less use one. One day while talking to
Dan Lilja about a barrel, he ask if I wanted it fluted. Aparently I said not on your life and
that puzzled him enough to ask why.

After I told him of my bad luck he said there was no reason that a proper fluting job would/should
hurt accuracy, He went on to tell me if he did the fluting it would be right.

So against my better judgment I ordered one for one of my personal builds (I did not want to
gamble with a friends rifle.

After recieving the barrel I checked it out and it was perfict. and the rifle shoots 1/10 MOA.

So In my opinion if the barrel maker does the fluting and gauranties the barrel then you should
be good to go.

I talked to Shillen and they dont flute so they void the gauranty if anyone else flutes thier barrel
because they dont know who will flute it.

Fluting is more for looks than any other reason. the only thing that is questionable about it is
that you dont see bench rest shooters fluting there barrels.

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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:13 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 107
Re: flutes or no flutes

I personally have 4 shilen barrels on rifle that were fluted after the fact by Karl kampfeld every one shoots very well under a half inch 2 are select stainless 2 are chromoly I send all my fluting to Karl for mine and customer rifles I have the ability to flute and choose to let him do it. If properly fluted you shouldnt have a problem!
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:22 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ny State
Posts: 418
Re: flutes or no flutes

My most accurate rifles all have fluted barrels with the exception of one.

First one is a Hart barreled 7mm. Hart did the action and barrel work including flutes (6) and bead blasting to reduce glare. This rifle will has shot several groups that were <1/4 MOA at distances over 500 yards. I'm sure if I ever learn how to shoot, this rifle will do better.

Second notable is a factory .223 Remington 700. I mention this because of this guns history. The thing shot Ok groups when it was new; about a MOA or so but never better. After a couple hundred rounds, I was about to send it out to be re-barrelled when someone suggested to firelap it just to see what the process would do. That made all the difference in the world. I have over 4000 rounds through it since lapping and it will still shoot groups like the one in the signature pic and better. I have yet to have a coyote or woodchuck complain it won't shoot!

The un-fluted rifle is a Kimber 82 govt 22LR a single shot target 22 that always shot great. This gun has never had any work done to it. It was kimber of Oregon's premium offering when it was new.

My point hear is what is of the ultimate importance to the quality of the barrel is what has been done inside the bore; the quality of the bore, rifling, ect. But as has been mentioned already, whoever builds the barrel should be the one to flute it. I don't believe the stiffness of the barrel changes when one is fluted but rather it is a question of harmonics.

Another point to look at. Look at all the pics of great shooting rifles that are posted in this forum. Many if not most of them have fluted barrels.

just my .02
How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individualů as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of. ~ Suzanna Gratia Hupp ~ Texas State Representative (R), survivor of 'Luby's Massacre' where both her parents were among 23 people fatally shot and 50 others wounded
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:24 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: OHIO
Posts: 2,417
Re: flutes or no flutes

Originally Posted by stevescg80 View Post
I personally have 4 shilen barrels on rifle that were fluted after the fact by Karl kampfeld every one shoots very well under a half inch 2 are select stainless 2 are chromoly I send all my fluting to Karl for mine and customer rifles I have the ability to flute and choose to let him do it. If properly fluted you shouldnt have a problem!
I saved his website a long long time ago when he posted that he wasn't taking ANY new work so he could stay caught up with existing builds. I would LOVE to have a rifle that looks JUST LIKE THIS:

257 Weatherby Widow Maker

Originally Posted by ROYINIDAHO

I agree that fluting should be done by the barrel maker. I'm not familiar with which step fluting takes place but I seem to understand that fluting happens early on in the barrel making process.

I've been warned by several to not have a finished and installed barrel fluted. Thus I have no experience.

It may be a bit of luck that no change in performance was experienced in either of those two barrels.
Roy, I seem to recall one bbl maker saying that fluting was their LAST process and another told me that they flute PRIOR to final lapping. Regardless, as far as I'm concerned the bbl maker is the first choice to flute. That said, if someone like Kampfeld can do it to a known shooter and it doesn't change, then great.

I never liked the looks of bbl fluting and had mixed emotions about doing it to my 30.06 but I did it and did the bolt body so I'm very pleased with it and would have a fluted bbl again.
Derek M.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:26 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Posts: 3,830
Re: flutes or no flutes

Fact: Standard fluting practices do not induce 'stress' onto or into a barrel. Cutting metal away does not induce stress.

Fact: Of the 2 barrels of equal length and of equal contour, the un-fluted barrel will be more rigid.

Fact: A fluted barrel will dissipate heat more so than an un-fluted barrel but NOT at a substantial rate.

If done in a concentric and consistent manner, accuracy potential should be the same as an un-fluted barrel.

Shilens are button barrels. Buttons displace metal while forming grooves. Metal is NOT removed or cut in any way. It is simply displaced. If the barrel is not stress relieved, then any modifications to the outside of the barrel can cause changes inside the barrel (IE turning the barrel can cause the inside diameter to grow, fluting can allter the dimensions of the bore etc...). Maybe they dont stress relieve their barrels who knows.

Any cut rifled barrel should be able to be fluted at any time during its life without problems or stress. A button pulled/pushed barrel should be able to be done after stress relief without any trouble. I could be wrong on that. According to Mike Degerness, the inventor of ABS barrels stated to me that once a button barrel has been stress relieved, turning and fluting are no longer an issue.

I like fluted barrels for hunting rifles simply to save some weight. I like certain contours and at this point need certain contours to fit my stocks and fluting affords some weight savings while mantaining those contours.

The downside I have found to flutes is they collect water and snow, which when fired, gets launched onto your scope's objective lense when fired.

As far as accuracy, I have yet to be able to see any difference one way or the other. I have had 1/4MOA guns without flutes and 1/4MOA guns with flutes. Done properly, are not an issue.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 02:00 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,871
Re: flutes or no flutes


Thanks for putting me straight.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 01-11-2012, 02:48 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 4
Re: flutes or no flutes

I think Michaels write up was dead on perfect, read it and then read it again.

To me fluting is a personal preference issue and is used for cosmetic reasons not functionality reasons. JMO, I think it's a sales gimmick used by manufacturers to sell guns. The heat disippation issue is so minute as to be irrelevant. I personally don't like fluted barrels but some folks do, it's all personal preference.
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