If you come up with an actual improvement, and a barrel maker willing to apply it, people will pay for it. Probably not benchrest people though. They are perfectly happy as things are, and they won't likely venture away from the herd.
But there are hunters, snipers, LE, and some who just want 'the best' who won't complain about a barrel that cost as much as their scope.
I think you'll find the following attributes are important to interested people:
#2 Temperature Stability
When I say accuracy, I'm not talking precision shooting(group shooting). I'm talking hitting a mark with a single cold bore shot -reliably. Everytime. This is where stability comes in as well. Life would be important because of the cost. It has to machine well, or gunsmiths will revolt(as with blackstar). It needs to be able to do these things in carry weight. Not BR weight.
It may be impossible to do all this. I'm just throwing out my wishlist for an example. Anyone improvement is apparently beyond current barrel makers other than cost. I know cut rifled barrels have great stability in reasonable weights. I've read where hammerforged have great cold bore accuracy potential in lighter contours. This due to the process causing bore shrinkage with contouring instead of bore growth(as with buttoned barrels).
Button barrels are easily made consistant. But not easily made accurate in light contours, and they aren't stable until warmed up(as in sighters). Good for BR. Bad for anything else.
Thank you, that fills in some holes in the grand picture I have brewing in my head. The cold barrel, first shot stability is a factor I had overlooked.
It's kind of a moot issue anyhow. I was relying on the cooling effects proper carbon wrapping can have on a barrel to synergize with some of the other factors to mitigate erosion. By itself, it won't help barrel life very much, but with some of the other things I had in mind, it makes and important addition to the "team".
Unfortunately, I did some research over the last several hours, and found some very negative information about most carbon wrapped barrels. While I have no doubt about the cooling performance of ABS barrels, they seem to be the only ones capable / willing to produce this product properly, and they're SWAMPED with orders!
That puts a pretty big damper on things. Perhapse in the next few years someone else will catch on and help make that process a bit closer to mainstream. Only having one small shop in the world doing it right is a bit of a handicap to making any headway.
Not that I don't think I'll have them do one. I have just about all the peices in place. Bartlein will for a small custom tooling fee cut the rifling the way I want it. I have to ask if they will use the steel I want, but as flexible and accomidating as they sounded, I have little doubt that it would take anyhting more than a tooling wear upcharge for that.
The nitriding is still a black hole price wise. I need to call Northeast back about that.
And then there's the carbon wrapping. One small custom shop is more than enough to do just my barrel, and so when I'm ready to do this, it'll be included. However, only having one small custom shop available kinda kabosh's the idea of making it into a product offering.
If you can get it off the ground, the small shop will add machines and workers to supply the needs. If you build it there is allways someone to buy it. If i would of said to my customers 10 years ago, you can get a Carbon Wrapped barrel and it will cost you 1000.00 they would all laughed at me, now everyone who contacts me about a custom rifle, the first words outa thier mouth is, "what about a ABS carbon barrel"? nothing about the action or stock its about the barrels. Not everyone can afford a carbon bbl, like what D-A is talking about, you can get several for the one carbon. I don't take a lot of orders as i'm not interested in full time gun work anymore, but most of my customer base is looking for the "Unique" rifle, odd ball wildcats, high dollar barrels and actions. Any new discovery is allways met with skeptisium. I read the artical about the new Boron coating for bullets, by David Tubb. I talked with some the guys about it, i got the same response from all of them, "oh somthing new to spend our money on and it will all be hype" One never knows until you try it. Well i'm going to give it a try, if it works then great! If not ok too.
I think ABS has been testing different bore coatings, nitrides ect, In conjuntion with thier bbls.
Barrels are concidered "consumables" Actions are not, therefore high priced barrels will only cater to the well to do shoppers or a guy who is spending his savings for a one of a kind rifle.
There also seems to be several different crowds in the shooting comunity. The shooter that uses std rounds with normal or factory type loads. Then there are the shooters that press the envelope a bit more by using a more benchrest mentality, slower cals, longer barrel life rounds, they still want the ultimate in accuracy. Then we move into the guys who want to vaporize varmints with the fast small cal guns, (i fit there)P-Dogs with my Swift and 45gr bullets. PooF they be gone! Then we go into the big game hunters that want to have a large case to push a heavy bullet as fast as possible, (the overbore crowd)what ever that is supose to mean? They are all guns arn't they? So what if the barrel on my hot rod 338 only lasts 1500 rounds, it is made for a special purpose, to spit big bullets like they is little ones. To each their own, this is what makes it all interesting...differnt groups of shooters with different opinons.
I have used a couple BlackStar barrels and they are a little harder to work with but once you get it figured out its no big deal. The 17-4 isin't that much harder , its not going to eat up the tools as bad as your thinking as long as they are kept cool and lubed. I persoanly think that M2 tool steel is harder to machine.
On anohter note , before you dump a pile of money into your new project make sure that you speak with Mike at ABS and get his imput on it and what your wanting to do becauseif you get say a #7 barrel cut with the bore you want then have either Mike or anybody else turn it down to the conture it need to be for carbon wrapping then your likly to end up with a turd tomato stake for a barrel because the bore is gonna move when the profile is turned down that far.
It sounds like a hell of a plan , if you get this material to last like you expect and Bartlin will cut the poly bore I would have no problem buying one for $500 , I think that you could push bullets alot faster in a poly barrel than a conventional rifled barrel without them comming appart.
There is no need to apologize, just do not like to held higher then anyone else I suppose, makes me uncomfortable.
There is also no reason to apologize for trying something different even if you get hammered for it. Most new ideas are not accepted right off the bat and sometimes it takes a long time to get the general public to accept something that is a "new idea".
That does not mean that it is not worth your time to persue your ideas and see if your theories prove correct.
Once you get hard data in front of people and they still hammer your idea, then its just a case of them being ignorant and not wanting to advance their own knowledge.
Your idea may work, it may not, don't REALLY know until you try it. I can tell you right now that chambering a hardened barrel will not make most rifle builders very happy as they will more then likely have to order in solid carbide chambering reamers which really up the cost of the tooling and still the chance of tool breakage is very high.
You may be onto something here but before a barrel can have a long life, it has to be chambered. That may be something you want to consider in your idea. Maybe get the barrel hardened after chambering????
Anyway, push ahead and keep us posted, if you believe your idea will work, whats that old saying, "Just do it!!""
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
Actullt, chambering pre hardening isn't going to work very well. Any steel will move when hardening.
However, solid carbide tooling may not be the way to go. Crucible offers some really cool high speed tool steels that should get the job done quite nicely, as they are more than twice as hard as the barrel steel, and are quite a lot tougher than solid carbide, helping to reduce the chance of breakage.
Heck, maybe when I talk to their metallurgist again, I'll ask for a job! I know their product line as well as most of their sales staff!
Not to sound too callous about it, but I'm not entirely sure I care very ,uch if the barrel maker is happy with the idea. So long as I'm willing to compensate him for the costs of extra tooling, as well as pay him for his time and expertise, I would think any reasonable buisinessperson should be satisfied with that.
I won't ever ask an expert craftsman to do anything extra without being appropriately compensated. I have had customers ask for extras on my knives that were quite a PITA to accomplish, and then piss and moan about price increases. I might sometimes give someone a break if they're respectful about it, but I do feel personally insulted if someone doesn't think my expertise is worth paying for.