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"Seasoning" the barrel

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Old 08-09-2013, 09:24 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
"Seasoning" the barrel

New here and will have some basics questions as my reading progresses.

First one is can someone give me a good explanation of what it means when you season or condition your barrel; or, some twist on that concept.

I have a m1a with a round count of 242 at this point and am curious as to how the concept applies. I have been fastidious in cleaning it out after each shooting.


When we are talking about the difference in FPS and the oft mentioned "well it is only 100 fps less", isn't that also a reference to velocity? As I understand it, the velocity is squared in the relation to physics when it comes to the sudden stop. Weight is the other component but often not as important.

Am I missing something here or is there a glossing over of something should should be glossed over? WIth that said, I remember reading somewhere that a crusty old sgt. giving his opinion between the .308 vs. the 30-06. He said something to the effect that he was damn well happy he had the extra oomph in certain situation.

Thanks in advance

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Old 08-09-2013, 09:29 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: OHIO
Posts: 2,419
Re: "Seasoning" the barrel

Google "rifle barrel break-in" You will find endless pages to read. That would be much easier. And/or go to any good barrel maker's website and see their barrel break-in process if they have one. For example, you'll find one on Krieger's website, however, Hart barrels says to just go shoot it, no break-in (seasoning) necessary.

If I understand you correctly, and you've cleaned after every shooting, you've cleaned 242 times? If so, that is overkill. If you mean you've cleaned it after ever shooting session, that's more like it.
Derek M.
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:35 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,079
Re: "Seasoning" the barrel

There are a myriad of threads on barrel break-in, and several schools of thought on it. Here is a recent one if you are interested: Copper Removal Technique: Break-in vs Complete Removal

As far as velocity, there is another even more critical factor than velocity or mass: accurate delivery of said velocity and mass. Most of the posts I have seen "playing down" velocity usually have some context. For example: I would give up 100fps in exchange for improved accuracy, in exchange for longer barrel life, in exchange for a short-action platform, in exchange for not blowing my face off with "hot" over-book reloads, etc.... In a vacuum, faster is almost always better, in reality it needs to be weighed against other factors.

It is also worth noting that velocity loss of a particular projectile is a key consideration for many of the truly long-range guys that haunt these forums - both for trajectory and energy-delivery reasons.

Hope that is useful in context of your post?
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:55 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Re: "Seasoning" the barrel

Thanks for the replies. They do help. Just gathering the basics within the dusty confines between my ears. Every little bit helps.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:01 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central AZ
Posts: 910
Re: "Seasoning" the barrel

The term "seasoning a barrel" is a throwback to the days of blackpowder and muzzleloading rifles. Blackpowder was notorious for barrel fouling. Many found that you could only shoot and reload two or three times before the bore was so fouled that you could not even push another patched round ball down the barrel.

Shooters used different techniques and products to "season" their barrels. Mountain men swore by rendered bear or beaver fat. With a new barrel, they would shoot, clean, then apply a coating of the grease and shoot again. Over and over until the barrel was seasoned. It is just like a new iron frying pan must be seasoned so that food won't stick to it. A well-seasoned blackpowder barrel can be shot 20-30 times before a good cleaning is required.

Today, we no longer season barrels (unless you are talking about blackpowder), but we do use a barrel break in regimen. Like others have posted, there is no shortage of instructions on this site, or the web.

Regarding fps..... yes, that is how velocity is normally expressed. When shooting a 338 cal, 300 grain bullet at 2,900 fps: then 100 fps more or less velocity has little meaning (3% gain or loss) in terms of ballistics or stopping power. However, 100 fps is a substantial gain when talking about .45 cal pistol ballistics. A 230 grain bullet traveling at 900 fps is a 13% increase in velocity over 800 fps. Everything in ballistics is relative. We often forget this when arguing which caliber is best. Good Luck.

Welcome to LRH.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:57 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,253
Re: "Seasoning" the barrel

The really fun part about all the various barrel break-in regimens you can find is that they're all pretty much 'right'. You generally have to read a bunch then make some determination as to what you want to do. Then if you have success with your way, then you will feel it is best.
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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