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Christensen Arms barrels?

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Unread 12-28-2005, 10:23 AM
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Re: Christensen Arms barrels?

Idaho Elk Hunter,

To be honest, for the money, I would recommend a Lilja fluted with Dans heavy, wide 50 BMG style flutes. They may be a bit heavier but not much to be honest. Cost would be significantly less as well. Prices I have heard on the ABS barrels will push $800 where as a Lilja barrel fluted and even up to 30" in barrel length will only run you $435 or so. Maybe "ONLY" is not a good word to use here [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]!!

As far as saying which is better a button rifled or cut rifled barrel, thats a hard one. As long as a botton rifled barrel is properly stress relieved and both have a match quality hand lapped bore finish, I would say it would be very hard to say one is better then the other.

I have built rifles using mainly Lilja barrel but also alot of Krieger barrels as well. Both have produced rifles that will print in the 0.1"s at 100 yards with a properly built rifle. Both brands have also produced 1/2 moa groups at 1000 yards as well. I personally feel the barrel and rifle machining are far more critical then any differences between a Lilja or Krieger barrel. Fit them correctly and the rifle will be a world class shooter no matter what barrel is used.

In a big game rifle design, both will easily break the 1/2 moa group size consistantly.

I use Liljas mainly because they are world class barrels and made in my home state. I also like that I can get a barrel custom built and shipped to me in 8 weeks or less. For a krieger its genreally twice that amount of time.

I would go with a Lilja 1-10 for a 338 RUM.

Kirby Allen(50)
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Unread 12-28-2005, 12:04 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: on the rifle range in Utah
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Re: Christensen Arms barrels?

I have worked with several Christensen rifles for friends of mine as they are pretty common in this neck of the woods and I would agree with the other guys here that you should steer clear of them. Shifty, shady folks down there. Customer service amounts to a bunch of lying and waiting.

In comes ABS. WHile I have yet to work with one, I have been in contact with Mike D over there and he tells me this:

Christensens carbon comes from coal dust and is slightly lighter than ABS carbon. ABS carbon comes from oil drum skins and is heavier but has superior heat reduction properties.

CHristensen wraps the barrel right back over the chamber leaving the shooter exposed to glue and carbon shards flying everywhere if there ever was a chamber/pressure problem with the barrel rupturing. ABS wraps start a few inches ahead of the chamber for better protection.

CHristensen wraps finish with a diameter in the .6-.7" and then a sheath is applied immediately which takes the diameter to .8-.9" and this is what you actually see. The problem with this two piece system is that when carbon gets hot, it shrinks and since they make no effort to make the barrel wrap as straight as possible, it will shrink (bend) to one side or another under sustained firing or direct sunlight. ABS wraps their barrels on a multiple finger spindle machine to the final diameter for a one piece, straight design. Special tools are then used to measure overall runout on the entire lenght of barrel. Mike guaranteed me that my barrel will run under .001" staightness.

Christensen claims to use Shilen select match barrels (which I think are nice barrels and own one myself) but under closer inspection of some, I have found that a take off Remmy barrel was used and passed off as a Shilen. Same type of deal has been known to occur with their triggers. Jewell advertised, Timney installed. SLight diff in quality and price there. Once these "mistakes" were pointed out, slow efforts were made to correct it without so much as an apology.

ABS uses Mike ROck barrels which are made on a modified Pratt Whitney single point cutting machine which also happens to be the same type of machine Krieger uses. Only difference according to Mike Rock is that he makes nearly double the passes on each groove than Krieger and is something like .0001" of material removed per pass.

These are good barrels but so are Krieger, Lilja, Shilen, K&P, and many others. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. The reason ABS uses Rock barrels is because they have tooling to make sure that the barrel remains straight while lapping and wrapping take place and they can turn the barrel down to the right contour for wrapping without warping it in any way.

For the .338, I went with a 10" twist and the final twist ended up being .915" which will stabilize any 300 grain bullet of any shape and maybe at high elevations stabilize a 350. It is also a 5 groove barrel by the way.

NOw, if I could just get the dang thing here! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] It has taken much longer than expected, but maybe all good things take time.

As far as cut and buttoned go, both shoot fine. The key to them both is the lapping, the uniformity of bore diameter, and twist rate.

As for the remarks of doing carbon or just fluting a regular barrel, time will tell. One thing I can tell you right now is that when doing load development on the ultra mags in the middle of summer, a carbon barrel will run cooler and cool off faster than a regular barrel. I am convinced of this now and once was skeptical. One of the hottest barrels I ever felt after only a three shot group was a pencil-barreled 338 ultra mag running 93 grains of RL22. THe same day, I was also testing a carbon 300 ultra mag running 97 grains of RL25 and the carbon took 12 shots to get 80% as hot. The standard barrel cooled off in the shade in 20 minutes, and the carbon was cool in 5! THis was not just touching the outside of the barrel by the way. It was taking the brakes off and actually feeling the inside of the bore with my finger. The difference was clear.

Now, for a pure hunting rifle, a standard barrel chambered for a huge case works just fine as there is tons and tons of evidence sitting in peoples safe's all over the world. A gun that will only be used in cool to cold temperatures in hunting season doesn't care if the barrel is too hot to shoot after the 4th shot because the hunt is USUALLY over by the 1st or 2nd shot. But if you want to practice with your long range hunting rifle throughout the year, a carbon barrel makes sense to me.

GOod shooting. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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Unread 07-12-2011, 01:36 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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Re: Christensen Arms barrels?

I've posted this response on a few other similar threads, bottom line is that "generally" Chrsitensen Arms (CA), group poorly, its the carbon barrel. We have done a number of experiements with them and the bottom line is the barrels have major issues with resonance or whip, its the way the carbon fiber is mated to the barrel liner is one problem. The other is they take a shilen blank and turn it down too far and too fast ruining the barrel tolerances, and they don't use the select match grade of barrel on the custom seires but the cheaper match grade. I've had a number of them, and none have shot consistantly over time and temperature. Some have shot like a 1/3 MOA, but the next time you take them out with the same load and conditions they'll shoot 2 MOA! All of them have had tight necks in the bore, We've tried lapping them, mating them to custom actions, recutting crowns and nothing gets them to shoot well. Another problem is the barrels will move with temperature, 1st group shoots dead on the target area, next group shoots 2 inches to the left etc. This is due to outside of the barrel sleeves not being concentric with the bore. We take them on trade all the time for our custom rifles. Our high velocity custom rifles shoot near one hole groups consistantly over temperature always, the CA's never do. I could write a book on this subject but time limits my response, any other questions you can call our offcies at 801-796-9395 or visit our website at

hope this helps,

Michael Gerulat
President - Utah Rifle LLC
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Unread 07-12-2011, 02:50 PM
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Re: Christensen Arms barrels?

Originally Posted by Idaho_Elk_Huntr View Post
Thanks for the info! I have had 5 replies on a coupe of different forums and basically I have been told the same. Stay clear they are junk. None shooting worth a hot. Also been told that customer service sucks. So that is enough for me to go ahead with my original plans and get the Krieger.
A friend has one and he is always telling me how good it is. But I was with him during load development and he couldnt get better than 1.25 moa.
for a hunting rifle, a Krieger is a waste of money, and even as a long range varmit rifle. If your gunsmith is a good one, and your planning on using it as a varmit rig; I'd look for one of the suppliers of 17ph4 stainless barrels. A lot of gunsmiths shy away from it because they don't know how to machine it, but that barrel will last a lot longer than the typical 416 stainless steel (it's tough). I'd just send the action to Pacnor and have them chamber and head space it (unless it's a Savage) note: Pacnor uses 416SS last I heard.

The bad thing about machining a barrel after it's been rifled is that it will almost always take a warp. You can straiten it, but as it heats and cools it will still move on you. But worse yet is grinding it! That would be an absolute no no!

Last edited by Trickymissfit; 07-12-2011 at 02:57 PM.
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Unread 07-13-2011, 10:26 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 154
Re: Christensen Arms barrels?

I do have ABS barrel on a 243 wssm and I do think it does cool faster and can take more rounds before getting hot, but I have also since built quit a few rifles and dont think the added expense is worth it you can basically buy 2 ss barrels for the same price. I have used hart #4 flutted and brux #4 flutted and both broke in extremly well and shot 3/8'' or better with VLD bullets I just buy which ever one I can get the fastest. AS for CA I would have to agree with what seems to be the consensess they are a piece of dung never seen one shoot much under an inch and those are the good ones, bacically good grouper put it in more technical terms but it is done the same way that they make golf shafts, with a sleeve over the top, and nobody can tell me that if you are buying a shilen and then turning it down that this is not going to affect accuracy. Think about it, if shilen thought that those barrels would shoot with a smaller contour why wouldn't CA just buy them already at the countour that they are turning them down to. I will give them this they can build one light rifle but thats about it.

opnions are like butts everybodys got one

Last edited by 270winshort; 07-14-2011 at 09:33 PM.
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