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Barrel Life

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Unread 10-12-2004, 08:35 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 41
Re: Barrel Life

There are a lot of factors in barrel life. Probably the first thing to do is establish expectations. What is adequate accuracy and why? If you're in competition your needs are different than if you're getting a beater .30-30 to shoot a deer a year with.

For hunting accuracy, I'd expect a "barrel burner" like an ultramag, STW, etc to exceed 2000 rounds useful life, '06 to be up around 4000, .223 in that ballpark, .30-30 ... if you wear out a .30-30 from hunting, you're doing a lot of "extracurricular" hunting! IMHO most "wear" in hunting rifles is from improper maintenance, not shooting.

Quality, hardness, durability of the barrel steel. Of course, the better the steel is for longevity, the harder it's going to be to machine precisely, so good barrels are expensive.

How are you treating your barrel? Don't let it get too hot to comfortably put you hand on and keep it there. Hot steel erodes faster than cold steel. Use a bore guide and one piece cleaning rod to minimize throat wear from cleaning. Use a solvent that is appropriate for the kind of steel you've got. Don't let the barrel get overly fouled between cleanings or you have to do harsh things to get it clean which shorten barrel life. Avoid harsh solvents .. better to use a mild solvent and let it soak longer.

I've used moly in a couple rifles. Even with rough factory barrels where it doesn't help fouling all that much, it does protect the throat from flame cutting and extend barrel life that way. On the other hand, it's a little bit of a pain 'cause you have to clean differently, the crap rubs off in your pocket, etc. It may or may not be worthwhile, that's a personal choice.

For competition, I've seen people change barrels on .243 class rifles at 1500 rounds or less because that quarter MOA their groups opened up are enough to make the difference between 1st and 5th place. Milder cartridges like the PPCs can go 3000-5000 rounds. When moly first hit public awareness one BR shooter I conversed with put over 10,000 rounds though his 6ppc competition rifle and couldn't measure any change in accuracy.

I shot moly in a .220 Swift. Sold it with 2000+ rounds though it. The new owner called to see why I sold it 'cause, via borescope, he figured it'd only had less than 200 shots through it looking at throat wear.

For the most part, for a game hunting gun, you don't need to worry about barrel life. With proper care it'll be measured in generations. If you use it for other things like a lot of offseason practice or varminting then it can become an issue.
Flex is for people who don't have lockers.
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Unread 10-12-2004, 02:57 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Joseph Oregon
Posts: 115
Re: Barrel Life

Thank you for the information
Now a couple of quick newbie questions, Imho and moly. What do these phrases/acronyms mean? Also what do you mean by throat wear? Then what solvents do you recommend; my dad when I was young bought a Hopes cleaning kit for my rifles is that good enough or do I need to be looking for something better. I have been using the Hopes cleaning solution is that what I need? Or like with oil are there specific weights for specific rounds or grades of barrels?
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Unread 10-12-2004, 06:45 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Arizona Mountains
Posts: 50
Re: Barrel Life


As far as I know IMHO is computer lingo for In My Humble Opinion, JMHO is Just My Humble Opinion. Can also substitute Honest for Humble. Unless the acronym was used in some other way that's what I take it to mean.

Moly is Molybdenum Disulfide which is a very fine grained dry lubricant (looks like powdered graphite). It has been around for years. The most recent rage is to coat jacketed bullets with it. Supposed benefits are less bore wear and less time between cleaning. Claims have also been made for higher velocities and greater accuracy. All of these claims are still open to discussion. The shiney black bullets you see are usually coated with moly or some form of it.

Throat wear is when the throat of a rifle (the beginning of the rifleing) wears from erosion caused by the hot gasses of shooting (and some times by use of ill-fitting cleaning rods). Hotter loads cause greater throat wear. To compensate, handlaoders seat bullets farther and farther out of the case to "chase the lands".

There are many cleaning solvents on the market. Some, like Hoppes #9 or Shooters Choice, are made to clean powder fouling, others, like Butch's or Montana Extreme are made to disolve copper fouling. For a seldom fired hunting rifle, Hoppes is fine. Plus most shooters like the smell. I believe Hoppes also makes a copper remover in addition to the old No. 9. It's usually best not to mix solvents. IMHO


[ 10-12-2004: Message edited by: Cheechako ]

[ 10-12-2004: Message edited by: Cheechako ]
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Unread 10-12-2004, 06:47 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Randolph
Posts: 57
Re: Barrel Life

IMHO = In My Honest Opinion

I don't think Moly is an acronym but not sure.

As for Hoppes, I used to use, but could never get all the copper (blue) out of my bore. I've switched to Butch's Bore Shine (can buy in Cabelas), and am thinking of getting some of that new 50BMG bore cleaner. Butch's works pretty well though.

The throat is the erea the bullet enters when chambering a round, right before the rifling starts.

Hope that helps a little, I'm sure someone else can give some better insight.
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