Personally, I think barrel makers will tell ya anything. What do they know about barrel life? Or extending barrel life? I think -nothing. Same with accuracy.
If any of them actually knew, we would have barrels from these makers lasting longer than others, or more accurate. Neither is the case. They are just dividing the market, doin the same as any other..
I've read where barrel makers claim their barrels need no breakin. Pure BS. After your barrel is CHAMBERED, it will need breakin. The best way I've seen is with 10shots of Tubbs FinalFinish. Done deal.
Follow up with a few every few hundred and I believe you'll gain significant barrel life.
Soon, someone will hit on a coating/process that helps us all. But it won't be a barrel maker who does this for us.
Eventually, someone will capture, measure, & identify the attributes of a truly accurate barrel. It will be different than the typical barrel produced by our best today. And so it will be difficult to get made in the US.. Maybe a foreign maker like LW might be willing to go out of their way for payin customers.
However, I think you will find that the majority of the best barrel makers out there were shooters FIRST and entrepeneurs after. These guys aren't exactly getting rich on these things. Look at the time, machining, and care that goes into these things, and compare it to the prices they can afford to charge. Good barrels are made by many comppanies, and competition is fierce.
I have a strong, but non traditional background in metallurgy, and understand the modes of barrel failure quite well. There are six major contributing factors to barrel wear, all of which can be mitigated to some degree or another by nothing more than better control of manufacturing (read much more expensive) and improved mettalurgy (also read much more expensive). Preliminary reports on coatings sound very promising that all six can also be addressed in this manner, however, the coating would have to be continuously renewed at some regular interval as an added portion of maintenance.
What I must caution you against, however, is wishing for the ultimate barrel maker. Let's assume, for a moment, that my research into mettalurgical and coating technologies pans out, and best case scenario is realized. Under this assumtion, my new "super tube" would have 10 times current accuracy life of my nearest competiton. In order to make such a "super tube" viable as a product, I would have to charge nearly 20 times the price my nearest competition does. Would you be willing to shell out upwards of $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 US for a barrel? Even if you would, you would be in the vast minority of shooters with the resources, let alone the inclination to do so. Such "super tubes" would price themselves into extinction very quickly. If I had previously hit the powerball, and could afford to take the thousands of dollars of loss on each unit, I might be willing to make a few for friends, but that's about as far as that goes!
Why am I bothering with looking into it at all then? Quite frankly, I have no intention of going into buisiness making barrels. Already too much competition with way more experience at the machining than I've got. However, if I can push the current state of the art forward by even 500 rounds on average, I will have accomplished a great feat indeed!
Interesting post. But I couldn't disagree more. Here's why:
Barrel mfgrs sometimes know what they're doing and sometimes not. Some say breakin, and some say no break-in. Some say phosphor/bronze brush, some say not. Some say moly is good, others say not. Some say ammonia bad, some say it is ok. Some say canted riflings, some say straight. Some say cut rifled, some say buttoned.
Bottom line is experiment on your own and draw your own conclusions.
After doing many, many, many, barrel break-ins, I can say without hesitation that it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Why? Mikecr has already hit upon part of it. After chambering, there are burrs running perpindicularly to the bore. Also, since no-one can perfectly lap a barrel (or produce one for that matter), there will be burrs and imperfections in the bore. These will eventually get worked out after many firings if no break in is done, but by doing break-in, you get them out one shot at a time because you are running metal to metal contact to burnish them out. Anyone who has properly performed a break-in will actually see this in the process-and this is the fact that the anti breakin crowd cannot explain and will not answer: After "x" amount of shots, the cleaning time was reduced to half or sometimes 1/4.
For instance, I just broke in a custom Kreiger 4 groove 8" twist barrel last week. It coppered the living tar out of the barrel at the muzzle. The copper was was not in steaks like it came from the riflings but was in a wash or patch like look. There was more copper in the wash than what could possibly been "stripped" from the bullet along the lands grooves. It was stuck across the grooves and the lands like it had been vaporized there like Krieger's explanation outlined. So why did it stick there? I don't know, but it remained there for quite some time until I got to the 11th shot cleaning after every shot. Suddenly, the patch of copper no longer formed there. The gun went from cleaning in 6 patches to being spotless in 2. Then I shot 50 shots and cleaned again and when inspecting the muzzle, I could see the copper was laid up upon the lands in a streak manner and none in the grooves. The patch of copper that formed in that one spot the first 11 shots was completely gone. Then I cleaned the gun after those fifty shots and guess what, still only 2 patches to come completely clean. If I had fired those fifty shots without breakin, I would still be out there cleaning that gun!
Of all the things I do to guns, break-in is the most absolutely proof positive thing I can think of. It happens to all barrels custom or factory and it absolutely boggles my mind that there are engineers out there who are supposedly running tests on this and can't admit or figure out why their cleaning time suddenly gets cut in half. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
As for moly, my own testing on a barrel that had almost 1300 rounds through it before it sprayed projectiles into a shotgun pattern instead of a group, I can say it didn't show much improvement in barrel life. I suspected 1000 to 1200 rounds out of that particular barrel/chambering and only managed to get just a few more than that with moly. And for the little improved barrel life, I got to clean that nasty crap out of my barrel, got to spend extra time or extra money coating my bullets, got to fire an extra 10 to 15 bullets through after cleaning to "season the moly" back in, and got to worry about humidity and moisture getting under the moly and rusting my barrel. Worth it? HELL NO! That is why there has been a HUGE decline in moly users over the last 5 years. It was all the rage and now it is tossed aside like every other fad that has come along.
By the way, there are some solvents that will clean out moly. Bore Tech eliminator gets it out like a garden hose washing out disk brake dust.
As for some of the other points I brought up, here's my thoughts:
Buttoned vs. rifled Either. Just so long as they are done right.
phosphor/bronze brush: Won't hurt a thing if it's clean (no dust or dirt particles in it) and is not short stroked inside the bore. All the way through and all the way back.
Ammonia: Don't leave it in the barrel too long but most manufacturers already tell you that.
Canted rifling: Work good. So does straight. So can polygonal. Suit your fancy but don't get caught up in gimmicks. Peek at BR equipment listings and learn what works and what works better.
3 groove barrels: Don't improve throat life, barrel life, or resist firecracking or pitting. They do however rape bullets very bad (especially thin jacketed vld's), and they seem harder to tune but that could be a result of them raping each bullet's jacket from it.
Now what else......