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To flute or not to flute

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Unread 09-21-2011, 10:24 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 103
To flute or not to flute

G'day iv got a 22-250 ruger and Im getting a new barrel possabley heavy duty and I was thinking should I or shouldn't I get the barrel fluted, iv heard a non fluted barrel is more accurate but then I hear a fluted barrel is, iv found this web site the go to place for info so please help

I can't see the point on getting something just coz it looks bad ass.
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Unread 09-22-2011, 04:23 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 1,324
Re: To flute or not to flute

Fluting will reduce weight of your rifle, may help cooling, and will cost about $200 US more, but will not necessarily improve the accuracy. It should be done when the barrel is produced, not later. Otherwise, you risk inducing additional stress, which is not good. I no longer buy fluted barrels, as I see no advantage, except they look good.
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Unread 09-22-2011, 08:42 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Allen, TX
Posts: 2,608
Re: To flute or not to flute

Stated another way...

If you have 2 barrels of equal contour, the fluted barrel will weigh slightly less. It may cool a wee bit faster. Done right, the fluting should neither increase nor decrease accuracy.

Done wrong, fluting will induce stress and decrease accuracy. I looked at a factory 700 at Cabela's recently and could see the flute on top of the barrel had about a 5 degree dog leg. How something like that can pass QA is beyond me?

As to pre/post production, I just sent one back to Bartlein for fluting after chambering and firing it. They absolutely assured me they would do it right and it would not affect accuracy. I figured they made the barrel to begin with and did the fluting. So, I'll be sending it back if there's anything suspect.

If you take a nice custom barrel to a 3rd party for fluting, you're just begging for finger pointing.

I personally feel that you run less risk with light fluting on a heavy barrel/small caliber than you would with heavy fluting on a sporter barrel for a large caliber as the material removed is a much greater percentage in the latter case.

More often than not, it's all for show and you'll see all kinds of crazy patterns. IMO - the ones that criss-cross are the worst of all worlds since they interrupt the structural rigidity of the larger OD. For this reason, Bartlein stated that they only do 6 straight flutes. Other barrel makers may have similar policies.

-- richard
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Unread 09-22-2011, 08:55 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Riggins Idaho
Posts: 1,195
Re: To flute or not to flute

Depends on your wallet. They look cool, they help drop some weight, cool faster. That's really about it. I've had lots of fluted barrels and they all seem to shoot pretty good to amazing. Just my expierence
I dont know who ever came up with the imaganary word of "Over Gunned"
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Unread 09-22-2011, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,229
Re: To flute or not to flute

A fluted barrel is no more or less accurate ! "BUT" the risk of losing accuracy is greater for
the simple reason of the more components you add to a rifle the more chances of having
a problem.

Having it done at and by the barrel manufacture is the best way to minimize the risk.

Weight reduction is minimum and cooling on the barrel is enhanced but only slightly.

So, Is it worth it? In my opinion, not from a practical standpoint but if you like the looks,
Absolutely !

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Unread 09-22-2011, 11:03 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NC, oceanfront
Posts: 4,222
Re: To flute or not to flute

If you want a stiffer barrel but weight is a concern(which always should be), you go larger diameter -fluted.
I would not flute a barrel without also going larger in diameter, as that would reduce stiffness.

I don't know that bores react to added fluting, like they might with added contouring.
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Unread 09-22-2011, 01:15 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5
Re: To flute or not to flute

A lot of people might not agree with this but when it comes to questions about barrels it's usually best to ask the people that make them. Here's a quote from the Shilen barrel website.

Welcome to Shilen Rifles, Inc.

What about "fluting" a barrel?
Fluting is a service we neither offer nor recommend. If you have a Shilen barrel fluted, the warranty is void. Fluting a barrel can induce unrecoverable stresses that will encourage warping when heated and can also swell the bore dimensions, causing loose spots in the bore. A solid (un-fluted) barrel is more rigid than a fluted barrel of equal diameter. A fluted barrel is more rigid than a solid barrel of equal weight. All rifle barrels flex when fired. Accuracy requires that they simply flex the same and return the same each time they are fired, hence the requirement for a pillar bedded action and free floating barrel. The unrecoverable stresses that fluting can induce will cause the barrel to flex differently or not return from the flexing without cooling down a major amount. This is usually longer than a shooter has to wait for the next shot. The claim of the flutes helping to wick heat away faster is true, but the benefit of the flutes is not recognizable in this regard until the barrel is already too hot.
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