I have finally got my Sako 85 Finnlight 300 WSM set up with a Nightforce NSX 5 ½ x 22 x 50, NP-R2 reticle. I’ve taken it out 3 times this week for some load development with 180 gr E-Tips and 168 gr TTSX’s. I’ll be posting the final results of that in the next few days.
Due to technical difficulties (low battery in my chrony) I only fired 4 shots on my first outing. On the second outing I got another 6 shots fired before I was chased by some rain and sleet. I shot 18 more rounds the third outing with a little more shooting to do tomorrow. So over the course of 3 outings, I shot 28 rounds, 21 E-Tips and 9 TTSX’s
Anyway, I did a barrel break in routine with the rifle. I cleaned it after each shot with a Dewey rod and Butch’s Bore Shine for the first 14 shots. I was planning on using Montana Extreme but upon closer evaluation of the label I found that it was the Rimfire version. So not knowing what the difference was I grabbed the Butch’s I had on hand went to my shooting spot up the road in the Hyalite foothills.
I soaked patches and ran them through until the heavy powder was gone. Then I did a couple of other miscellaneous time killing chores such as recording data, checking my target ( an old piece of 2’x 3” plywood… I used various knot holes for aiming points), etc., while the bore soaked for a few minutes. Then I soaked a few more patches and stroked them back and forth until all significant blue/green color disappeared. Then I ran a few dry patches through before firing again. The whole cyclical process from one shot to the next took about 10-15 minutes. After the first outing I brought the rifle home and soaked it with Wipeout a couple of times for a couple hours each and removed some significant copper residue and soaked it overnight for the final spotless cleaning.
After the 3rd shot (7th shot total) on the second outing I was noticing significantly less copper residue in my cleaning. Again, that night I soaked a couple of times and overnight with Wipeout and got less but a fair amount of copper residue out of the cold-hammer forged barrel.
After the 3rd shot (13th shot total) on the third outing, copper fouling ceased. Not a hint of it after that with the E-Tips. After the 14th total shot I began cleaning after every second round, corresponding to my incremental powder increases. After the fourth TTSX, I noticed a very little bluish color on the first dry patch, but nothing more after that. That night, I again soaked the bore with Wipeout once in the evening with no copper residue and then again overnight. In the morning when I patched it out, there was only a very slight, almost undetectable violet color in the residue that came from the bore.
This makes me a happy camper. Nothing like a no-copper-fouling barrel
So I think there is something to this barrel break in process. I know I will do it for every new barrel I get.
Looking back, I think I should have soaked the barrel overnight with wipeout before taking it out the first time as the factory test fires their rifles before sending out.
My experience and input on “Barrel Break In”.