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I just watched an episode of Guntech TV, and I believe it was the Springfield Armory talked about breaking in a barrel. He said to clean after every shot the first 5 shots, then after you shoot 5 shoots then clean, until you get to 30 total shots, and then your barrel is broke in. But you should clean your barrel all the time. That fowling attracts moisture, and that copper in your barrel produces electrolosis and both of these will pit a barrel.
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FYI - This episode was with Ed Shilen - Shilen barrels, benchrest competitor, etc. I saw the same episode. I have thought about the electrolsis comment privately before Mr. Shilen commented on it - I work for a mechanical contractor and we use pipe unions specifically to avoid steel against copper for the same reason. Interesting conversation. I would guess that most of the BR guys would say the same thing or close to it. On the other hand (and specifically with factory sticks) i have had outfitters tell me that they don't clean their guns barrel - only if it gets wet (which they are especially carefull to avoid). I would take the advice about overdoing it - a lot of my BR buddies tell me that a barrel gets ruined quicker by improper cleaning than shooting to fast or too much between cleanings. I personally have not noticed a big difference between cleaning methods with my factory guns, I am hoping to find out with my first custom barrel in July.
I think it is important to know why we break in barrels. This is my understanding of it so if someone has other info please post it. I am always willing to learn something new.
Breaking in a barrel is a method of removing the edges in a barrel that will shave off and hold copper jacket material. If the jacket material is allowed to embed it's self in these pores it will in essence allow a copper lining to coat the rifling. Since similar metals (brass on brass or steel on steel and others) will adhere and gall (smear) the bullets passing through a copper laden barrel will wear unevenly and grab at random points causing a whole myriad of consistency issues that can cause velocity spreads and inconsistent flight characteristics. Also the copper that is stuck in these relatively large pores will only get harder to clean.
An example of this is the last two barrels I cleaned for my brother and my friend. The friends gun that has had at least 40 rounds since its last mediocre cleaning took 28 patches with Copper Melt to clean and it shot about a 10" 3 shot group at 300 yards with factory loads. My brothers gun that was not broken in either but it has been cleaned after a number of quick range sessions and a 5 shot hunting season, right down to the bare metal, cleaned in 5 patches after a 19 round ladder test. As many know the ladder test is one shot of many powder weights as opposed to factory loads being somewhat the same. This 19 shot group was about a 6" group at 300 yards. I'll take a 5 patch cleaning over a 28 patch cleaning any time. And the potential for a fantastic group seems to be soundly in place.
I don't have a set number of rounds that I shoot for each step of the break in. I let the barrel talk to me. I shoot 1 and clean until the cleaning process drops from about 5 or 6 patches down to 3. This happens in dramatic fashion. Then I go to 5 rounds and clean until it happens again and then I call it good. I use a bore guide and a plastic brush with a patch and 6 to 8 drops of Copper Melt as per the Copper Melt instructions. Cool thing about Copper Melt (other than the fact that it works very well) is that it is a colorless liquid so the patches go from black on the first one to blue while removing copper to white when you are done. No brown patches to guess about. If it ain't white then it ain't clean.
BTW Meister, I have not once seen the .308 vs. 30-06 arguement come up on this forum. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
GRAVITY. It's not just a good idea. It's the LAW!
The troubling comment about the Shilen comment is that he says "now your barrel is broken in".
It's not an instant process. Some barrels may take 40 shots, some 60, some 20. Each barrel is different.
Lets say a particluar barrel is 100% broken in after 37 rounds. Its isnt a situation where there barrel is not borken in at 36 rounds and then suddenly broken in at 37 rounds. It gets better and better until it can get no better.
Lets say that you took a brand new Lilja barrel and shot 20 rounds then cleaned. Then repeated this 3 more times. Lets say that the first 3 cleanings were mediocre and finally after 80 rounds the rifle was thoroughly cleaned, however long it took and whatever strong solvents were used. Now have a perfectly clean barrel with 80 rounds through it.
Why will this barrel be different that if the 1-shot-clean method was used? I don't think it will be.
You hit the nail on the head. In other words, you are exactly correct in every sentence!
The whole point about breaking in a barrel is to get it absolutely clean in between shots so that the next bullet is riding down bare metal instead of just layering up another layer of copper. Shooting three shots or five right off the get go means you are only being 33% or 20% effective! Shoot one shot and clean and you are 100% effective.
Good post. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
You too are also correct. Shoot one and clean one until the BARREL tells you she's done. Play it by ear and then you don't have to remember any complicated number sequences or time schedules.
Oh, 10-4 loud and clear on that Coppermelt stuff! I can't imagine going back to barrel break in the old fashioned way ever again. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
For those of you not familiar with the Coppermelt procedure, 4kie states that one gun took 28 patches to clean. That is one ROUGH barrel for sure. Normally, a custom barrel broke in properly will take 1-3 patches to come clean, and a factory barrel properly broke in will take 3-7. A factory barrel broke in with Tubb's Final Finish will take 1-3 patches. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Damn it's good stuff because you have a universal "gauge" of how bad a bore is by how many patches of Coppermelt you use. Just wish it could be more readily available. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
We don't know that the 28 patch gun had ever been really cleaned. It was clean when I got done with it. My .243 however had over 50 rounds down it durring hunting season and the praqctice leading up to the season and it cleaned in 4-5 patches. Gotta love that.
GRAVITY. It's not just a good idea. It's the LAW!