Originally Posted by benchracer
It seems like some barrel manufacturers are somewhat quirky about barrel fluting. Some won't do it at all. Others will only flute certain contours. I have thought about ordering the barrel I want and just having a gunsmith do the fluting work. Here are my questions:
1. Can fluting harm the accuracy potential of a given barrel blank?
2. Does it matter when in the production cycle the fluting is cut?
3. If a barrel is fluted post-production, are there additional operations that are advisable (stress relieving or cryo treatment, for example)?
I am asking this because I recently acquired a sporter weight .300WM with a VERY thin barrel contour. It feels so nice to carry, but the barrel heat walks severely after the second shot (and it is generously free-floated), feels like you could cook an egg on it after the third shot, and the rifle is light enough that it smacks me around pretty good.
I would like to go with a barrel just heavy enough to mitigate recoil a bit and remain stable through a single 3 shot string. I am thinking a fluted #4 profile barrel would do the trick, but such an animal is not offered in the make of barrel that I want. If it is a practical idea to order the barrel and have a gunsmith do the fluting work, I would like to go that route. I just want to be aware of any pitfalls inherent in doing so.
I will try to answer your questions based on my experiences.
#1 = It most definitely can, if not done right or at the right time while in production.
#2 = Fluting definitely should be done during production of the barrel if at all possible
because of the risk of screwing the barrel up. For years, I would not flute any barrel
because of the problems that I had experienced personally. If a barrel maker doesn't flute his
barrels you should not flute it later because his process is not built around fluting and
can/could cause accuracy problems.
#3 = Barrels come ready to shoot and any additional procedures could/may cause problems.
Most barrel makers will void there warranty because they don't have control of the process
and the craftsmanship.
I have first hand experience with fluting after the barrel was shipped and none have been good
so now if I want a fluted barrel ,I have the barrel maker do it as part of his process and guaranty
his work and quality of the barrel.
The reason "All" barrel makers have a minimum contour that they will flute is SAFETY. Barrel wall thickness is very important and If this is not held to a minimum The barrel can fail. (I am sure you have seen pictures of barrels that have split at the muzzle and if you noticed they are all very small contours and split in the rifling. Fluting will produce the same results if not done properly.
When Installing a muzzle brake
the minimum wall thickness of the muzzle after threading is .200
for the same reason "SAFETY".
A good smith will not exceed this thickness minimum to flute your barrel ether so when you are told not to flute by the barrel makers and the smiths, Take there advice.
Light weight barrels are notorious for the problems you are having with heat but most of the time they are intended for carry, and only one or two shots max.
A good way to save weight is to shorten a heaver contour and go to a composite stock. light contours
have no advantage in accuracy just weight.
There is something that can sometimes help a light barrel. thread a weight on the barrel or a muzzle brake. The extra weight will often times help reduce the barrel harmonics and improve accuracy.
Just my opinion.
J E CUSTOM