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Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

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Unread 01-12-2005, 12:08 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Conway, AR
Posts: 22
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

Thanks for your advice. I bought a Rem. 700 BDL from the same smith about 6 years ago. He bedded the action, did a trigger job, and hand lapped the barrel. That 300 win-mag shot into just over an inch at 200 yards out of a sporter barrel. He is really good at what he does and has my full trust. I understand what you are saying and if I did not know the gunsmith personally, I would not allow him to touch the barrel at all.

Thanks again,
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Unread 01-12-2005, 01:58 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Central PA
Posts: 1,307
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

SS et al.

The MAIN purpose for barrel break in is to smooth out the transverse "grooves" left in the leade when the barrel is chambered.

the chamber reamer, no matter how sharp, lets grooves perpendicular to the bullets travel at the beginning of the lands, and needs smoothed off a bit.

Dave tubb uses, i believe his finest grit, FF bullets to expedite the process even on custom barrels.

Most coppering during break in comes from the rough new cut lands causing vaporized copper to get deposited in the bore.

Check it Out!!--> Shoot the Smack The Smiley Match...and help AmericanSnipers.org
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Unread 01-12-2005, 04:13 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,777
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

NO way would I lap a factory barrel or let anyone tell me he can do it without damaging the muzzle end of the barrel.

Dan Lilja makes a cut across the blank about 3/4" down from the muzzle ends of the blanks he sends out. Lapping will wear out the ends of the barrel blank and enlarge the bores. On one end you chamber it and on the other you cut off 3/4-1".

Now if Dan Lilja and every other barrel mftr cannot hand lap without enlarging the bore end with the number they lap daily, do you really think a local gunsmith who laps a barrel once a month can do it without damaging the muzzle end????

Fire lapping if carefully done will help but got to watch throat erosion.

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Unread 01-12-2005, 07:24 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: utah
Posts: 302
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

I would suggest you listen to yourself and your intuition.

Barrel break in is full of urban legend that getting a clear answer is a big waste of time.

Mechanically, all that is being done is to remove any rough spots. Whether it is with a bullet or lapping compound really doesn't matter.

The most recent rifle I have is a Savage 110 in 270. Rds 4,5, and 6 went into 1/4". All I did before firing was to clean out the oil in the bore. I would suggest barrel is broken in.

Personally, I don't bother with barrel break in. I just shoot and see what happens. If accuracy degrades quickly, then I hand polish with some JB bore polish and non embedding compound. This just takes the 'edge' off the lands. About as gritty as toothpaste so removing metal would take a lifetime.

A bit more shooting and a barrel will settle down, IF it is ever going to. A mis manufactured barrel is never going to improve. A well made barrel will shoot from the get go.

I really don't see the point of breaking in a match barrel. If this is a quality lapped barrel, any thing I do is only going to degrade the finish and cause wear. I would just shoot it as is. If a match barrel looses accuracy quickly due to fouling, I got a lemon and its back to the shop.

My 2 cents..


[/ QUOTE ]
This is the biggest crock I have ever read on this forum ,I tried not to respond but I can not let this pass.
If you have ever really done a barrel break-in correctly then this quote is absurd.
Every barrel manufacturer on the planet suggests a barrel break -in, it is more than just smoothing out the rough edges it is just like seasoning a new dutch-oven, dont do it and things dont turn out quite as well.
Doing a barrel brake-in makes your barrel copper foul less and clean up easier for the life of the barrel with better accuracy.
I have tested guns over the years on doing break-in or not ,I will never NOT break-in again factory or custom.
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Unread 01-12-2005, 09:13 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NY
Posts: 394
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

Here is an interesting post I had saved re: the break in of a barrel. From Gale McMillan. I guess this debate will never end.

Frank D

From: Gale McMillan <" gale"@mcmfamily.com>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Barrel break-in necessary?
Date: 7 Jan 1997 20:40:25 -0500

Mike Sumner wrote:
> ...

As a barrel maker I have looked in thousands of new and used barrels
with a bore scope and I will tell you that if every one followed the
prescribed break in method A very large number would do more harm than
help. The reason you hear of the help in accuracy is because if you
chamber barrel with a reamer that has a dull throater instead of cutting
clean sharp rifling it smears a burr up on the down wind side of the
rifling. It takes from 1 to 2 hundred rounds to burn this bur out and
the rifle to settle down and shoot its best. Any one who chambers rifle
barrels has tolerances on how dull to let the reamer get and factories
let them go longer than any competent smithe would. Another tidbit to
consider, Take a 300Win Mag. that has a life expectancy of 1000 rounds.
Use 10% of it up with your break in procedure for ever 10 barrels the
barrel maker makes he has to make one more just to take care of the
break in. no wonder barrel makers like to see this. Now when you flame
me on this please include what you think is happening to the inside of
your barrel during the break in that is helping you.

Gale McMillan
NBSRA IBS,FCSA and NRA Life Member

Search for Google's copy of this article

From: Gale McMillan <mcmillan@getnet.com>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Good barrels for Rem 700 in .308?
Date: 10 Feb 1996 12:50:53 -0500

Consider this, every round shot in breaking in a barrel is one round off
the life of said rifle barrel. No one has ever told me the physical
reason of what happens during break in firing. In other words to the
number of pounds of powder shot at any given pressure, is the life of the
barrel. No one has ever explained what is being accomplished by
shooting and cleaning in any prescribed method. Start your barrel off
with 5 rounds and clean it thoroughly and do it again. Nev Maden a
friend down under that my brother taught to make barrels was the one who
come up with the break in method. He may think he has come upon
something, or he has come up with another way to sell barrels. I feel
that the first shot out of a barrel is its best and every one after that
deteriorates until the barrel is gone. If some one can explain what
physically takes place during break in to modify the barrel then I may
change my mind. As the physical properties of a barrel doesn't change
because of the break in procedures it means it's all hog wash. I am open
to any suggestions that can be documented otherwise if it is just
someone's opinion forget it.

Gale McMillan

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From: Gale McMillan <" gale"@mcmfamily.com>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Remington 700 break in
Date: 8 Aug 1997 00:01:07 -0400

Arthur Sprague wrote:

# On 29 Jul 1997 22:50:26 -0400, whit@cs.utexas.edu (John W. Engel)
# wrote:
# #This is how (some) benchrester break in barrels, and it does work.
# #The mechanism is that the bore has pores in it (microns in size).
# #If you simply shoot a box or two through it without cleaning, the
# #pores fill up with gilding metal, and stay that way. If you
# #follow the above procedure (and they mean *clean* between shots!),
# #the pores are "smoothed over" with each successive shot. A barrel
# #correctly broken in is MUCH easier to clean than one that is
# #not. If it is a good quality tube, it will also be more accurate.
# #Regards,
# #whit
# Well, the range hours here are quite limited. On my first trip I
# managed to fire a whole fourteen rounds, with a thorough cleaning
# after each round. It couldn't hurt! Fun gun! Difficult to think of
# .223 as a battle round after experience with .30-06 and .45ACP, but it
# surely going to be a pleasure to shoot.
# Thanks to all for their advice.

This is total hogwash! It all got started when a barrel maker that I
know started putting break in instructions in the box with each barrel
he shipped a few years ago. I asked him how he figured it would help
and his reply was If they shoot 100 rounds breaking in this barrel
that's total life is 3000 rounds and I make 1000 barrels a year just
figure how many more barrels I will get to make. He had a point it
defiantly will shorten the barrel life. I have been a barrel maker a
fair amount of time and my barrels have set and reset bench rest world
records so many times I quit keeping track (at one time they held 7 at
one time) along with HighPower,Silloett,smallbore national and world
records and my instructions were to clean as often as posable preferably
every 10 rounds. I inspect every barrel taken off and every new barrel
before it is shipped with a bore scope and I will tell you all that I
see far more barrels ruined by cleaning rods than I see worn out from
normal wear and tear.I am even reading about people recommending
breaking in pistols. As if it will help their shooting ability or the
Gale Mc.
"A tie is as good as a loss, and no one remembers second place."
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Unread 01-12-2005, 11:15 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: on the rifle range in Utah
Posts: 2,704
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

If all of what you just said is true, than how do you explain it when on the ??teenth shot the cleaning time gets cut in half and the patch feels like it is going in and out easier?
Find it
Range it
Click it
Pull it
Dump it

If it's not far, it's boring.
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Unread 01-13-2005, 04:28 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NY
Posts: 394
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

All I did by posting was share something I had saved, that was of interest to me. Gale McMillian was one of the most respected names in the firearms industry, and those were his thoughts. This is not science it is opinion, my intention was to share info, and see how others feel about it.

Good question: [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
Frank D
"A tie is as good as a loss, and no one remembers second place."
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