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New rifle break-in

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Unread 09-29-2004, 05:48 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Traverse City, Michigan.
Posts: 39
New rifle break-in

Just baught my new "yote gun". .270 win Savage 11fc. Been 2 days lookin at it, not wanting to scratch it. Honeymoon is over, time to get it dirty. Today I put on a 4-16x50 and shooters ridge bi-pod. Now, how many shots between cleaning? How major of a cleaning each time for break in? Starting with winchester factory ammo 130 gr. just to get something going and to collect brass. Then start to work up a good load. Jeff
If I buy another rifle, Do I still need a Wife????
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Unread 09-29-2004, 09:28 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 453
Re: New rifle break-in

clean between each round for at least the first 20rnds. You SHOULD see fouling getting less and less at this point,..then go to cleaning every 3 rounds for ~20-30rnds. At this point,..you SHOULD be most of the way broken in. Now use a tight patch with some rem bore cleaner or Flitz and give it about 25 strokes in each direction. Completely clean the bore and treat it to some kroil for a few days. Dry patch and go shoot 20rnds,..then see what fouling is in the barrel,..it SHOULD be minimal if even visable.

You will get as many different methods as you get replies,..so take them for what they are worth. The important thing is cleaning very often for the first few boxes to smooth out the tooling marks.
You try to get closer to the target,..and I keep trying to get further away.
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Unread 09-29-2004, 01:27 PM
Posts: n/a
Re: New rifle break-in

Another very important thing to learn at this time, is if the barrel prefers to be clean or fouled for accuracy. Have seen it both ways, but most often, a little fouling tightens up the grouping. This will dictate how often you really need to clean, once you get the bad boy broken in. I've recently found that my new barrel hates to take a bath! I only do a major cleaning; when I don't plan on shooting for a while. Other than that, just a light touch up and patch dry before shooting another long string.
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Unread 10-03-2004, 10:07 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: centre,alabama
Posts: 948
Re: New rifle break-in

Try running some 000 steel wool through your new barrel about 100 strokes on a slotted tip or jag, easier on slot tip. I have found this will make rifle shoot in faster and cleaning quicker.i like Butch's
Bore shine followed by Kroil.
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Unread 10-05-2004, 01:41 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Casselberry, FL
Posts: 192
Re: New rifle break-in

Mr. Musket,

Even with a premium barrel, the lay or direction of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, so fouling is minimal. This is true of any properly finish-lapped barrel regardless of how it is rifled. If it is not finish-lapped, there will be reamer marks left in the bore that are directly across the direction of the bullet travel. This occurs even in a button-rifled barrel as the button cannot completely iron out these reamer marks.

Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file. When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. This copper dust is vaporized in the gas and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore, when it is actually for the most part the new throat. If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it; copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may become difficult to remove. So . . . when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat polished without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reason for the "fire-one-shot-and-clean" procedure.

Each barrel will vary slightly as to how many rounds it will take to break in. This is because of things like machinability of the steel, steel chemistry, or the condition of the chambering reamer. For example a chrome moly barrel may take longer to break in than stainless steel, because it is more abrasion resistant, even though it might be the same hardness. Also, copper will stick to chrome moly better than stainless steel, so it will usually show a little more "color" if you are using a chemical cleaner. Rimfire barrels can take an extremely long time to break in . . . sometimes requiring several hundred rounds or more. But, cleaning intervals can be extended to every 25-50 rounds. The break-in procedure procedures are really the same except for the frequency of the cleanings. Remember the goal is to get or keep the barrel clean while polishing out the throat.

The best way to break-in a new barrel is to observe when the fouling becomes reduced. This is better than believing that there is a set number of "shoot and clean" cycles. Many customers report almost no fouling after the first few shots, and more break-in would be pointless. Conversely, if more "shoot and clean" cycles are required, a set number would not solve that problem either. Besides, this break-in procedure is not a completely harmless operation, so it should be done carefully and no more than necessary.

There is no hard and fast rule about barrel break-in procedure, and this is only meant to be a guide to "break-in" based on our experience. Some barrel conditions (chamber, bullet, primer, powder, pressure, velocity etc.) may require more shoot-and-clean cycles than others. It is a good idea to just observe what the barrel is telling you with its fouling pattern. Once your barrel is broken in, there is no need to continue breaking it in.

You should Initially perform the shoot-one-shot-and-clean cycle five times. If copper fouling isn't reduced, fire one shot (5 more times) and so on until fouling begins to drop off. At that point shoot three shots before cleaning and observe. If fouling is reduced, fire five shots before cleaning.

This is one of the Tech Tips on our website. Take a look for "real" answers to your shooting/reloading questions.

- Innovative
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Unread 10-19-2004, 09:19 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: CenTex
Posts: 22
Re: New rifle break-in

What if you shot 20 rounds before cleaning it? Is there something you can do to ensure barrel robustness? What is the "throat"?
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