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Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

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Old 01-13-2005, 06:11 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 787
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

When I got my first 40x years ago the test target had two 5 shot groups in the .2's and I'm sure Rem didn't clean after every shot. I've done it both ways and do agree that you can wear a barrel out cleaning. Jerry Teo is right on the custom barrels you can go over to benchrest.com and you will find some that don't do a barrel break in and they seem to win. I don't spend the time on barrel break in as I use to with my custom barrels. Good hand lapped barrel just don't need alot. I believe if more would just take the brush off after it pass the bore instead of bringing it back would cut the break in wouldn't be dragging all that dirty stuff back. On a factory barrel I'll do the one shot for five then see how it does just no hard and fast rule may go to a two shot clean then move up to 3 shot. Well good luck. I use a mix of GM top engine cleaner with about 1/4 of Kroil then use Sweet's. Been using the GM for over 20yrs now. Well food luck.
Semper Fi
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:23 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: The Grassy Knoll
Posts: 229
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

Guys I wasn't trolling when I started this thread, was just trying to come to some conclusions.

Brian, I'm no BR shooter or super shooter but when I have 2 rifles that were never broken-in and they shoot under 1/2 moa I tend to agree with Jerry's thinking. But then if I had broken them in, maybe the groups would have been cut down further. My 22-250 shoots the same groups up to about 60 or 70 rounds before accuracy falls off. The 308 hasn't been shot more than 40 rounds or so at a time with no loss of accuracy.
Am only trying the break-in this time as a test. Due to the previous rifles and the new one being factory I may not get any real conclusion. It'd take more than three barrels for that anyways. With a 308, I'm sure that I won't use up much of its barrel lfe. Sure am anxious to get the gun and start shooting. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

BTW, Chevy's RULE! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
Member: The Red Mist Culture
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:38 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

My First custom barrel was a krieger. I called krieger and asked about the proper method for breaking it in. They told me that the one-shot-clean, then five-shot-clean methods and those similar were a bunch of bull. He said the barrel will get broken in after however many rounds it takes regardless, but cleaning after every shot then five shots and methods like that do not aid in the process. If a barrel settles down after 30 rounds then 30 rounds it is. He told me to shoot 10-20 rounds then clean just like I would normally and the barrel will be broken in when its broken in. I took his advise and he was right.

My gunsmith told me the same thing.

Does anyone here have info as to what would occur differently by cleaning after every shot vs. every ten?
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:21 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 307
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

I'm buying a used Tikka Varmint in .308 and I'm planning to use Dave Tubb's Final Finsh system on it even though it has 75 rounds through it already. According to Dave Tubbs as well as Chuck Hawk's websites I should get better accuracy, lower barrel pressures (due to lower friction) and longer barrel life (all things being equal) if I do. Anyone have any reason to believe otherwise?

Matt Roth (New to LR hunting)
Matt Roth
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:35 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: The Grassy Knoll
Posts: 229
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

Hi Matt, welcome to Long Range Hunting and thanks for joining in. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
Why do you feel the need to run abrasives through the barrel after 75 rounds? Are there some issues with the rifle?
The lower barrel pressures seems to indicate that the bore diameter will be increased because of it and that bothers me a bit. I have a TC 14" 223 with a bit over-sized bore from the factory. It only shoots flat-based bullets well. It was purchased new. If you haven't shot it yet, take it the range a few times before doing anything that is irreversible.

Not knowing Dave Tubb personally, I'd have to wonder if he actually does that to every one of his rifles.
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Old 01-14-2005, 08:15 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Wis.
Posts: 150
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

Skinny Shooter,

I can certainly understand how a copper jacket bullet smoothing out the (steel) throat area of a chamber does not make sense. I am not a metallurgist, but do have enough of a science education to understand what they were telling me might be happening on a molecular level. The following is the opinion of several experts in the field of metallurgy and mechanical engineering. (And if I am preaching to the choir, please forgive my blunder)

It has been well established the chambering of a barrel leaves marks or ridges if you will, that are transverse to the passage of the bullet. These ridges, especially early in the barrels life will scrape a small amount of copper from the bullet as it passes over them. Just after the bullet passes over these grooves, if we were able to take a high speed picture of them, we would see copper in the valleys of these grooves, much like what would happen if you scraped a bullet over a file. But the copper does not stay there long. As the temperature and pressure rise in the throat area (from the burning powder) the copper vaporizes and is carried down the barrel and deposited.

The very tips of the ridges are now subjected to heat that raises the temperature to the point the metal becomes relatively soft. As the burning powder scrapes across these superheated ridges it removes the very top of them. With the next round there is slightly less of a ridge present and hence less copper and steel is removed. Sharp pointed ridges with narrow bases, from a sharp reamer tend to be worn down quickly. Rounded, broad based ridges from a dull reamer wear more slowly and produce more copper fouling.

You can demonstrate this quite well with an old file. Take a torch and play it across the teeth. You can very quickly get the teeth to the melting point while the backbone remains relatively cool.

At least in my mind this explains why custom chambers made with sharp reamers take few rounds to “break in” and deposit little copper in the process. Also that (some) factory barrels may require many more rounds to “break in”.


John M.,

Krieger is again recommending the 1 shot, clean. 1 shot, clean..... 5 shots, clean......etc. I guess its not “bull” anymore. LOL

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Old 01-14-2005, 09:31 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: Is barrel break-in really needed for factory guns?

They had that break-in method on their website when I spoke to them. The told me over the phone.

Call Jim or Frank at Krieger and see what they say now.
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