Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Gunsmithing


Just finished a Lothar Walther barrel

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 07-18-2008, 12:42 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 753
Still say no.

Superior steel or not the proof is in the holes made on the paper and Walther just plain sucks. Can't state it much more black and white than that.

This isn't an opinion formed after chambering one or two barrels. It's after chambering an average of 10-15 of the dern things every day of every work week for the better part of three years.

Nesika merged with Dakota Arms in the summer of 2003. I ran the barreling dept for the entire plant, handling both Dakota and Nesika products. I worked there from 2003-2006.

If it truly does take 5-6 hours to chamber a Walther (which it doesn't) then again, why use one when there are plenty of US made premium barrels that go on in less than an hour? That's just foolish behavior on multiple levels. Gunsmiths and Gunmakers would be charging $500 bucks for a thread/chamber and they'd be out of business because no one would pay it.

I can take this a step further. After three years of building international smallbore rifles for Olympic athletes at the OTC in CO Springs I can tell you the first thing we did to get a Walther small bore gun to shoot was ditch the factory tube and install a Hart or Lilja. Again, proof is in the holes down range with scoring plugs shoved in them.

Steel quality is great and all but I have to ask how good does it need to be? I don't hear of premium US made barrels just suddenly blowing up or shooting the throat out in a hundred rounds. Hot rod cartridges eat barrels, plain and simple. We all know this. Chamber a 6-284 in any barrel you wish, it's only going to last about 1000 rounds before its cooked the throat out of the gun.

3 years at Nesika designing and implementing a CNC barreling procedure that yielded a measurable/repeatable TIR chamber runout of .000175" is tough to argue with. That's on Walther or the others. The problem was (and still is I'm sure) that Walther barrels take longer, don't offer the same surface finish right off the tool, and then require the added nausea of having to break the thing in all day because the bore finish still has tooling marks from the reamer used to bring the hole to size prior to the button being drawn through it.

Now, as far as credentials and climbing to the top of the soap box to beat my chest:

I built the following guns for these people, so I must be doing something right.

Silver medal in the 2002 Junior Olympic Tryouts (Sheri Gallagher) (Lilja barrel)

Olympic gold medal in 2004 (Matt Emmons), (Lilja Barrel)

A pair of world championships in 2005 in silhouette (Cathy Winstead) (Hart and Anschutz barrels)

A 1000 yard world championship in 2007 (Kyle Leibertrau) (Mark Chanlynn Barrel)

2552 yard measured, recorded, and published (Small Caliber News) kill in 2005 on a prairie dog with a 300RUM. (Dan Kinneman) (don't recall what barrel that was, but I know it wasn't a walther)

Bear in mind I haven't touched a competitive gun since June of 06 when I left Nesika to come to Iraq. These rifles are still winning. Bear in mind this is also a condensed list. There's many more.

I don't spit out random opinion, nor do I hold any personal grudges against anyone or any manufacturer. My thoughts on these forums based on personal experience and observation from the last 8 years of doing this stuff full time. It's how I pay my bills and eat.

I debated on posting this after reading it several times. I feel I may have offended some people. I guess I am a little offended too when statements are made defending a product that rarely (if ever) shows up in a winners circle anywhere. I think it discredits the manufacturers who do invest the time and energy to bring products to market that do perform.
Reply With Quote

Unread 07-18-2008, 07:40 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,871
Pretty decent soap box, I'd say

Your point is well made. Though I don't have a dog in this tussle.

Good luck over there.
Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2008, 08:22 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,855
Their is no doubt that the steel is superior with LW vs the 416ss thats generaly used here in the US , its significantly harder and much stronger which making this for machining a bit harder , I have only ever delt with one LW barrel that diden't have the Blackstarr electropolishing process done to it and it was a prethreaded Savage baller , this gun shoots well consistantly in the 1/2" range with factory ammo (match 308) and will shoot into the .3's with good hand loads and the right driver , it doesen't foul any worse than any other prethreaded barrel I've seen from either Dougles , Shilen or Pac-Nor , I haven't bore scoped it either so I can't say that the tooling marks are bad.
I can speek for the Blackstar barrels Ive used (made by LW) , they all shot as good as anyother barrel I've used and upon looking at them through a bore scope they are noticably more smooth on the inside , but their are several oppinions on barrel interior finish , Dan Lilja think they can be too smooth and others think the more smooth the better. The couple barels I've had from them diden't foul hardly at all and cleaned very easy , anybetter than a Lilja or Hart? I can't make an honest claim to that as the calibers were differant.

I firmly believe that more goes into making a gun shoot relay well than just the barrel , I've seen guns barreled with a Kreiger by some clown in his garage that would not ever shoot into an inch at 100yds , ever, and I have seenguns barrled by a good smith with a Adam & Bennit barrel (in 338 win mag) would consistantly shoot close to the 1/2" range with several differant loads , not bad for a $75 barrel. Granted the later gun fouled more than the Kreiger but shot well none the less.

The LW barrels have the potential to shoot as good and in most cases better than the person shooting them if they are installed properly. I will agree that they are a pain in the butt to cut if your not used to them but once you get the hang of how the material cuts its not that bad , yes it does take longer to fit one up , not 6hrs but maybe twice as long as a 416 , aside from all the indicating in. I'm sure that a good through the bore fluid flush would help alot over dabbing the oil on the reamer by hand.

Are their better barrel choices out their? probably , could a LW set a world record? Probably. Look at the equiptment list from differant shooting comps , 200yd BR guys have a certain barrel maker that has a great following , same for 600ydBR , 1000yd BR , Palma , F-class and on and on , the tactical crowd will pick a Rock Creek or Obermeyer barrel over a Lilja or Hart everytime are they barrel shooting out of an A5 stock than a McMillan Edge BR?? nope just what those guys like.

To each his own , what would I rather use? No doubt I prefer one of the better cut rifled barrel form here in the US ,Kreiger , Bartlein , Rockcreek and on and on , but the mose accurate gun I've owned was barreled with a fluted Lilja.

Barrels are dissposable ,they are going to wear out , will a LW last longer due to its material make up? probably a little bit longer is it worth ******* off your smith to get one if you expect him to do more work for you , cause if hes not framiliar with them hes gonna ruin some tools and maybe your barrel.

I personaly would like to have a barrel made from 718 Inconel , cut rifled with 5R rifleing to the specs of Kreiger or Lilja. Thats ain't gonna happen as it would cost several thousand dollars but that would be the best metal out their aside from things like carbide and tungston.
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2008, 08:32 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,193

Don't get upset and don't stop posting!!!!!!

I for one like to hear other opinions and experiences even if I dont

In this case I don,t need to find out the hard way that a problem
may exist.

One bad experience does not make a case but as many as you have
worked on and with the equipment you have used is all I needed to
make up my mind.

I am a small time smith and don't want any problems if I can avoid
them (One of the main reasons I am on this site is to learn and hear
other opinions) And I don't get mad if someone doesent agree with

So keep'em comming and good luck in the big sandbox.

Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2008, 08:59 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: OHIO
Posts: 2,417
Originally Posted by NesikaChad View Post
I debated on posting this after reading it several times. I feel I may have offended some people. I guess I am a little offended too when statements are made defending a product that rarely (if ever) shows up in a winners circle anywhere. I think it discredits the manufacturers who do invest the time and energy to bring products to market that do perform.
I'm certainly not offended. It is perfectly appropriate to disagree based on your experience and credentials. I regret that you were offended by my post b/c it was certainly not meant to be offensive. The topic of bbls is simply fertile grounds for discussion. But I still respectfully disagree that LW "just plain sucks" b/c you personally have not had stellar results. It may be factual for your accounts but it isn't for everyone.

Moreover, a reason that the LW may not be in the winners circle is b/c they are more difficult to obtain. Like you said, why bother when there are great bbls to be had right here.

Regarding your argument for not using them due to the premium supply of US bbls is cogent and I agree. I love my US made bbls on my rifles. In fact, I agree with your whole argument except that the LW sucks.

Personally, I do not care what is winning at the benchrest competitions b/c those barrels are a different contour. I only care about what barrels do well with hunting contours. And, as mentioned previously, I'm also not one to attempt to piss of my smith by requesting a bbl other than what he prefers b/c of his experience. When they recommend LW, they have their reasons. If they want to take the time to work with tougher steel, that is up to them.

I'll post pics of my targets when I get them.
Derek M.

Last edited by Derek M.; 07-18-2008 at 10:10 AM.
Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2008, 01:23 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,075
NesikaChad, James, Derek, JE Custom; When I started this thread, it was to report on an interesting experiment that got off to a rough start, but came out pretty well. I didn't know if it would help anybody, but thought it might. All the input from everybody is still educating anyone who reads it. Over 700 hits tells me that more people than I thought are interested, and I'll bet they haven't been disappointed! I sure haven't. There is a short list of people that I always check their posts, and you guys are on it. I know a little bit about metallurgy, and that is what initially interested me about this barrel. I wouldn't use it on a customer's gun because I didn't know what performance to expect. On my .30 x .378 it'll get a good test, and if it is accurate enough, I'll leave it on. If not, I'll go back with the Hart that I had on it.

I told James once that I always listened to anyone that routinely worked in .0001"-.00001" tolerances. That obviously includes NesikaChad.

Bottom line for me is; I cut chambers by dabbing and stabbing and it is very slow no matter whose barrel I'm cutting on. Chad, unfortunately 4 hours is common, 5-6 sometimes, (big, long chambers). If this LW barrel is accurate though, it will be worth the extra time it took because the .30 x .378 is very hard on barrels and the throat in the 17-4 material should last longer. Would I recommend one on a customer's rifle? Not yet. It's too easy to vouch for a Shilen, or Lilja, or Hart, or????.

And if anyone was offended, your credentials would be enough to correct that. Like JE said, keep it coming. Oh yeah, and keep your head down!

James, glad to see you weighing in. What happened to your shoulder?

Thanks to all, Tom
Texas State Rifle Association Life Member
NRA Endowment Life Member

A big fast bullet will beat a little fast bullet every time
Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2008, 02:06 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: OHIO
Posts: 2,417

Well, I appreciate your post, and I would like everyone to know that I have not and never will intend to come across as offensive or argumentative, especially in an aggressive manner. I don't think being pro or con any one product (barrel or action or stock) should be interpreted that way. Or, just because someone is in favor of any one product does not mean that they are necessarily defending the company that produces it.

I could bash Ford trucks for 2 hours straight as I've owned enough of them and driven enough miles on them to be in a position where I feel qualified to state that they suck, emphatically, as they've been at the dealer for repair for an unreasonable amount of time. I can also state that I had one that was a real gem. I'm confident that there are those who would strongly disagree with me, both respectively and disrespectively. I would stand by my words just like NesikaChad, and rightfully so. I understand that. I appreciate that. I don't take offense to those who would disagree with me, but I'm an easy going person too.

It's hard to argue with years of experience. I wouldn't try to change anyone's mind either. But in all fairness, I think that if it is appropriate to allow all of the readers to know that if someone has bad experiences with a product and states it, then it is also equally appropriate to report positive reviews from those who have had positive experiences. I am so impressed with the LW steel, I have 2 more bbls on order.
Derek M.

Last edited by Derek M.; 07-18-2008 at 02:12 PM.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads for: Just finished a Lothar Walther barrel
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
FS: Lothar Walther 22-250 barrel pikeon Gun Parts - Stocks, Barrels, Actions, etc. 4 07-23-2010 07:54 AM
Lothar Walther Barrel Blanks for Rem 700 many cal trader388 Gun Parts - Stocks, Barrels, Actions, etc. 4 10-09-2009 03:08 AM
FS: Lothar Walther 300 WM barrel pikeon Gun Parts - Stocks, Barrels, Actions, etc. 2 07-21-2009 08:32 AM
F/S Lothar Walther barrel Yotecallr Gun Parts - Stocks, Barrels, Actions, etc. 0 10-08-2008 06:03 AM
30 Cal Walther/Lothar barrel BountyHunter Guns For Sale 2 10-21-2005 10:23 AM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:39 PM.

All content ©2010-2015 Long Range Hunting, LLC