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Barrel Life???

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Old 04-04-2009, 11:28 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
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Barrel Life???

There have recently been a few threads discussing the short barrel life of some of the overbore cartridges... especially the Ultras. So I was wondering if we could get a little survey on the subject.

What has been your experience with barrel life? And give some details like how hot your loads were... cleaning regiments... did you notice a change in performance? etc...

I have only ever shot out one barrel and that was a Ruger M77 7mm RM CM factory barrel, after about 1000 rounds. Took it for a bore scope after it started loosing accuracy and the throat was toasted. I shot mostly "warm" handloads from it as well as some factory stuff and cleaned it with Hoppes powder slovent only. Never cleaned it with a copper solvent until I cleaned it with wipeout after it was toasted.

When I decide to go with the 300 RUM, I figured it would last about 1000 rounds or maybe a little longer. I was also considering the 7 RUM which I got the impression from different posts would give a barrel life of about 1000 rounds. So if the 7 could get 1000, I figured a 300 could probably get a little more.

So let's hear your experiences and it doesn't just have to be the overbore cartridges.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:42 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Posts: 3,515
Re: Barrel Life???

2 barrels come to mind for me. 1: My last 308 winnie. 2: As you probably already guessed my 300 RUMs.

I will start with the 308. I put between 3000 and 4000 rounds down the tube. I would say the usefull life of that barrel is over, not from shooting too much rather cleaning too much and using a particular cleaner too much. This was largely a test rifle for research and development of software and plain knowledge. Because I wanted fair, concistent and reliable results, I cleaned her out every 20 rounds with JB bore paste to get it down to the bare metal. Also during a 1500 round development stage it was cleaned anywhere from 6-9 rounds minus foul shots. This was ALOT of cleaning with an abrasive compound. Using this paste was also part of the experiment. I wanted to see if it would affect barrel life as some claimed. At some point in the barrels life it would no longer maintain accuracy with 180's and 190's. To this day it will handle the 155 AMAX with smashing results. But that is the only bullet it will shoot well anymore. The barrel today is still within specification but only by less than .0002" after having it air guaged. Shot out? No. Worn out? Definately.

Now the 300 RUM barrel #1. After putting between 1000 and 1100 rounds down the hole, it still shot some loads at .5 MOA to even sub .5 MOA. Not bad for a known barrel burner. My only gripe was that it was beating up my brass from excess pressure from the burned portions and the added friction that was causing. I am sure I could get a couple hundred more accurate shots.

I am not trying to knock the 300 RUM or any other RUM. I think it is a problem more with myself. I like to shoot too much. Not the ideal personality for a barrel burner.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (where the shot goes, how big the group is, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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