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Barrel Hardness

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Unread 11-09-2006, 10:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 179
Barrel Hardness

Will a few points of Rockwell hardness make much of a differance in barrel life? If so why wouldnt everyones use a harder barrel? I was reading about douglas compared to Pac nor and how the douglas is harder and will last longer and possibly errode less(but is not hand lapped). In the past I always heard that Lothar Walther barrels were harder than snot(I could not find their hardness listed). Im just thinking that for large magnum cartridges given that the barrels are well lapped and machined the same that one would last longer than another. Of course next would be if their barrels are actually as hard as they state, I have heard of batches of softer barrels and what not.

Krieger 28-32RC
Pac Nor 26-28RC
Douglas 28-30RC
Lilja ?
LW ?
Shilen ?
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Unread 11-09-2006, 11:02 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 558
Re: Barrel Hardness

you make a good point,if you could make a barrel out of harder steel it would last much longer. most barrel manufacturers use 416 stainless (or some blend that is very close) or 4140 chrome-moly. the reason is machine-ability. if you tried to make a barrel out of 440c it would last much longer but you cant cut the grooves or machine the chamber to the same tolerance.
if you want a barrel that last's try an AR-15 or sks with a chrome lined barrel (very hard) they might be scatter guns but the barrel's last forever.
I think the barrel makers know what they are doing using 416 IMO
It takes 43 muscle's to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger pull.
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Unread 11-10-2006, 05:28 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,855
Re: Barrel Hardness

I have cut most of these barels and you can tell which are the hardest and of the ones you mention the Lothar Walther was the most singnifiant one of the bunch , they use a differant Steel alloy than any of the others.
I cut a couple Black Star barrels and they were very hard I was told buy the sales rep that they weren't like cutting regular 416SS , the SS that they use is 17-4. I luckly had some of this to practice on ,
I've cut a couple Pac-Nor's barrels and had no problems but some guys swear that they are supper soft and cut like lead.But from the accual barrel life testing I've seen the Shilen barrels wear out the fastest , I'm guessing that its because of the 8 land and groove desgine.
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Unread 11-10-2006, 06:33 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,047
Re: Barrel Hardness

I, like JD, have cut a lot of different barrels. I can't say if any of the above mentioned SS barrels are any harder or softer than others. Blackstar barrels were a bitch to cut unless you used carbide reamers at high speeds. I have put on many Shilen barrels and have never seen anything to convince me that they have shorter lifespans than any others. Not all Shilen barrels are 8 groove. Their fine 6mm ratchet rifled barrels are available in any groove you want, as long as it's 4.
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Unread 11-10-2006, 07:54 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 628
Re: Barrel Hardness

Pac Nor 26-28RC

[/ QUOTE ]

I've cut a couple Pac-Nor's barrels and had no problems but some guys swear that they are supper soft and cut like lead.

[/ QUOTE ]

I have a pac nor siting her that tested 23 on a calibrated RC scale. It cuts like cast iron, i've never cut lead.

It was the first and last pac nor that i will own. They told me the first time that it should have been 28 rc before it left them. then Casey called back and told me it was 28+/- 5 points which puts 23 rc as a good barrel. Either way i learned a my lesson. I have a soft barrel in 257 STW that is showing throat erosion with 98 actual rounds. PURE JUNK

Thats ok though, i have a 338 barrel ready to go on it now.

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