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How do you know if crown is bad

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Unread 11-04-2012, 08:18 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 95
How do you know if crown is bad

How do you know if the crown is bad? I looked at mine with a light and magnifying glass and couldn't see anything. Any other ways to check?
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Unread 11-04-2012, 09:22 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia Pa.
Posts: 404
Re: How do you know if crown is bad

Try a Q tip see if any thing is left on the crown
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Unread 11-05-2012, 05:54 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 2,065
Re: How do you know if crown is bad


You didn't say if you are working with a rifle that isn't shooting to your standards. Sounds like you are looking at all avenues of improvment. A good crown is important. In my experience a slightly worn crown can cause groups to open up but for some hunting rifles it can be quite acceptable. A fresh crown can often improve groups if the barrel has been used for hundreds of rounds. Just shooting it can cause the edge to become rounded. If the barrel has been cleaned improperly this wear can be accelerated. Pulling a bore brush back into the barrel and across the crown is highly suspect and some guys will not do it. Vigorous movements with the cleaning rod dropping down on exit then pulled back while sitting on the rifling is another.

If the crown is really bad you can see it with good magnification. Before my borescope I used an eyepiece from an old rifle scope, inverted. If the crown is just not crisp but rounded it will be difficult to see without a borescope.

I have had a few hunting rifles that were very consistent shooters shoot larger groups the next time out. One crown was obvious and when recrowned it went back to shooting like before. Another rifle also began to shoot poorly, it still shot groups but not as tight as before. I couldn't see any issue with the crown (pre borescope) so suspected the scope, bedding etc. After a lengthy elimination process I crowned it anyway as part of the control. It solved the issue.

The past few weeks had a rifle, I intended to take hunting this coming Friday, not shoot to my satisfaction. Just yesterday I decided to deal with it. The borescope showed the crown to be ever so slightly worn with the sharp edges of the crown to be somewhat rounded. It is a rifle with 400 rounds through it since it was new. It wasn't anything that was a glaring issue. I crowned it on my lathe and took it out to the range. Every pair of shots were cutting into each other as I sighted it back in. #5 and #6 shots were one ragged hole. The confidence in the rifle is back. I have a coues wt hunt this friday and it will be going as originally planned a year ago!

If this is a new rifle for you, whether new or used, and you are going through it, I'd say crown it too. Then you know it is fresh and there will be no doubt. If the rifle still has issues you can move on to other areas in your attempt to improve its performance.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 08:42 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 6
Re: How do you know if crown is bad

One of the first things I do when I get a "new" used gun is re-cut the crown. I got a hand turned 11* cutting tool from Brownell's for just over $100. When you order it pick the right size bore guide (collet) for your rifle and that's it. Take your time and finish up with some fine grit sand paper. While not as good as a precision lathe its good enough for most applications. Do you reload? If you do you probably already have a good crown touch up tool. You know that Lyman case de-burr tool, the one that cleans up both the inside and outside of the case neck? Welp, that will cut a 45* crown on your barrel for you. Most military rifles and rifles which are routinely cleaned fron the muzzle start life with this 45* crown. Again, while not as good as a lathe and a gunsmith it should help you rule out a worn crown as your accuracy problem. As others said it may not be easy to just look at it to determine fault, but by cutting a new one you can rule it out
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Unread 11-05-2012, 08:59 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Re: How do you know if crown is bad

All posts thus far are good advice.

If you're having a difficult time deciding to recrown simply and very carefully insert the handle end of a medium sized bastard file into the bore. Again do this very carefully.

Then with a plastic mallet give it a small firm tap. You will then have to recrown it. Decision made!

Sorry, I'm kind of on one this evening. Pre-election jitters.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 11-05-2012, 10:36 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: OHIO
Posts: 2,417
Re: How do you know if crown is bad

Roy you are FUNNY.

To the OP, just get an 11 degree crown. Take it to a smith and get it done. You'll be glad. It's cheap to do. I like 11 degree best.
Derek M.
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