Apologies again

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Dzaw, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    Well, I'm aout to do another one of these PITA long winded things I'm known for, so I'll start by apologising. If you folks get sick of seeing it, just tell me to go away, and I'll likey comply.

    That said, back to the torture chamber I go.

    Something struck me square in the forehead tonite. I was doing some pricing, and I discovered that people are willing to pay a great deal of cash for a custom action. Some prices, as they applied to my project:

    Farley: $1100.00
    Stiller: $950.00
    Bat: $1150.00
    Stolle: $950.00
    Borden: $1100.00
    Surgeon: $1380.00
    SGY Panda: $1000.00
    RPA Quadlock: $1398.00
    Nesika: $1225.00

    Alternatively, someone will purchase a donor rifle for somewhere in the $300.00 to $700.00 range and pay at least that much over again to have it "fixed" for use in a proper custom project. Typically additng up to a cost very similar to prices above.

    Then, these same people who plunked down over a grand for the action are only willing to pay a third of that price for a custom barrel. Prices, again, for the same basic rifle build, but not including chambering, threading, or crowning. (Price does include contouring however).

    Krieger: $340
    Hart: $360
    Lilja: $420
    Broughton: $320
    Bartlein: $315
    Pac-Nor: $312
    Border, button: 235 Eu ($310.00 US)
    Border, Cut: 347 EU ($457.00 US)
    Kostyshya: $320
    Lawton: $375
    Shilen: $334
    Spencer: $380
    Rock: $405

    Certainly, the barrel will wear and the action will be good for MUCH longer, however, considering the relative critical neccesity of the barrel in the final rifle, I would imagine prices would be more, or that actions would be a bit less expensive.

    Ah well, the laws of economics are irrefutable. Effective demand vs oversupply has made barrels cheaper than actions.

    But, I must wonder, given the boutique pricing some will pay for carbon wrapping on their barrels, would there be a market for a barrel that would be quantifiably superior to the offerings above?

    Basically, this is an extension of the "musings on barrel life" thread. The conclusions I came to there boiled down to economic unfeasability of a truly ling lasting high accuracy barrel. I am wondering now, is that economic unfeasability an illusion?

    Would people be willing to pay more for a barrel than they do an action if that barrel could shoot as accurately as the best of the above, provide more velocity in an equal length and last at least twice as long?

    As near as I can tell, $1500 - $1800 is the range that the barrel would cost if I were to have it made in the following manner:

    174-SXR with specific integrated heat and cryo treat
    single point cut rifled
    polygonal rifling
    hand lapped
    bore plasma nitrided
    hand lapped again
    turned down and carbon wrapped.

    What the price means, is basically an increase in cost to build any give rifle of $1200.00. The benefits being:

    Slightly, but not insignificantly better velocity
    Significantly lower weight
    Significanlty cooler temperature
    reduced or eliminated barrel break in
    slightly more consistant velocities (lower SD and ES)
    approximately double barrel life.

    So what it boils down to is would people pay $1200 for that list of benefits? More to the point, would ENOUGH people pay $1200 for that list of benefits OFTEN ENOUGH to make it a viable product?
  2. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2005
    dude, you have to much time on you'r hands. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    If the barrel were masterfully marketed to the proper target group it would most probably sell in quantities sufficient to at least get started. Customer group would most probably include upper end folks that like to bring home the trophy (Karl Malone, Rulon Jones etc types, big money types who would pay $15-50K for a trophy elk including wining, dining, lodging and a couple of hundred $ tip for the 'guide'.

    I don't think that the 'general' guy that hangs around here (LRH) would be much of a market. It seems that some like a bunch of high quality rifles, while others like several decent shooting less expensive rifles.

    The first implementer of new ideas (the bleeding edge) is a bit painful, regardless of the area of technology being discussed. Its great to come up with a new good idea more commitment than most have to bring it to reality.

    Just my .02 cents worth after a long hard day learning something new.
  4. 1doug

    1doug Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2005
    I wouldn't.

    Barrels are like tires on truck to me. Good ones are needed but will wear out and need repalcing. If i can buy 4 barrels for the price of one of yours then i would be able to keep my habit going better.

    Also i have no desire for a polygonal barrel, other than on my glock and even it doesnt have one.If polygonal barrels were that much better accuarcy wise you would see them all over the BR circuit. They will last longer but i want the utmost accuracy that i can get. That allows my bad habits to show up less.

    Just my $.02

  5. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    Good points!

    I especially like the comparison between spending the same amount of money on one such barrel vs. four of the more typical offerings... That really puts things in perspective!

    As far as polygons go, I think it's safe to say that properly made they can be every bit as accurate as any other rifling shape. David Tubb shoots exclusively polygon barrels, and he doesn't do half bad with them!

    Sure, they don't appear at BR competition as often or in as great a quantity as other types, but I would contend that that's because of a few factors that have nothing to do with the ultimate accuracy potential of the design.

    Such factors as cost, they tend to be a bit pricier. Availability, only a few barrelmakers will make them. and reputation / hesitation. Hammerforged polygons, as used in some military weapons, and as was used in ages past is terrible for accuracy. Not understanding that those barrels were made with a radically different method, many have just heard that poly barrels can't shoot with regular, and steer clear of them. Further, there is a great hesitation to change what is already winning matches.

    As far as being the blinding edge being painful, I'm afraid I'd have to leave that pain to another. I couldn't even begin to imagine having the capital required to tool up to build such a product!

    No, I really don't have all that much time on my hands. I'm just an obsessive compulsive type who latches on and can't let go. I don't sleep all that much, mostly becasue no matter how tired I am, I can't make the whirlwind inside my head stop turning long enough to actually get to sleep. Even when I'm not online at night, I'll lay in bed for hours, dead exhausted, with my mind racing, exploring, and figuring.

    Once a week or so, I'll be so dead exhausted that my mind will actually cease to function. I get very silly at that point, and my sense of humor takes on overdrive, hand in hand with the silliness. I stumble around like I'm drunk, and my speach is loud and unintelligible.

    That's my wife's cue that I'm ready to sleep myself out. Three drinks and some ny-quil and I can get a good 12 hours of sleep. When I wake up, I'll be groggy and slow, but the whirlwind starts winding back up to hurricane force, and it starts all over again.
  6. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    On the other hand, If I were in a position to market such a barrel, I would probably start with the benchresters. Here's why:

    1: these guys may not be eager to fix ehat works, but they ARE quite eager to jump on a product that proves itself in a public and unarguable way.

    2: at the very top level of competition, there is very little hesitation to spend a small fortune to achieve the very best of the very best.

    3: it would provide exactly the kind of reputation and public "press release" such a rediculous new product would require to make it.

    What I would do is offer three top level shooters a free barrel until I got 3 takers. The agreement goes like this:

    1: You can have this barrel for free if you use it in competition over the next year.

    2: if it doesn't shoot for you, I will pay to have it replaced by the barrelmaker of your choice

    3: if you win a high attendance national match with it, I will replace it for free with another one built to your spec once.

    4: If you set a high profile world record with it, I will provide you with free barrels for that one rifle for life.

    5: the only thing I ask in return is that you allow me to advertise the fact that your match win and / or world record was shot with my barrel.

    6: if you have any complaints or problems with my product, feel free to speak candidly about them with anyone you wish, but please also tell me so I can implement improvements immediatly.

    The other factor in my favor at the top level of BR is load development. These guys are so picky about accuracy that many of them redevelop loads for every new barrel, even if it's materially identical, including cut with the same reamers on the same machine.
  7. CatShooter

    CatShooter Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2001
    You over looked a few things. The cost of production is affected by the volume and the set up time. If you run barrels in the hundreds, and actions in the tens, the actions are more expensive, as there is more set-up time for actions.

    Also, you forgot liability insurance on each action (not required for each barrel), and compliance with BATFE, and the endless paperwork - none of which is required by a barrel maker.

    However, if you keep complaining about how cheap barrels are, I'm sure the barrel industry would be willing to comply with your unhappiness and adjust the price of barrels...

    ... upwards.

    Unfortunately, that would also effect the rest of us, who are very happy with the current prices, and might be even happier if they went...

    ... DOWN!!

    I agree with the other gentlemen, you have WAY too much time on your hands.

  8. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    Volume, set up time, liability, abd regulations are, indeed factors that I overlooked. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. However, it makes very little difference when it boils down to pricing. Basic economic law says that if the customer would not be willing to pay the price for the lower production number, extra set up time, and other increased production costs then either action makers would have to find a way to cut those costs to customer acceptable levels, or go out of buisiness. Make no mistake about it, supply and demand are the price setters here, as in any other marketplace. Value and pricing is my bread and butter, I'm an appraiser by trade. If there were not sufficient customer base with both the desire and means to pay the price being charged, that price would go down. If there were a shortage of match quality barrels, enough of a shortage that there were more shooters who wanted them than barrels available, you'd see te price hike quite rapidly.

    I am not complaining about how cheap barrels are. More to the point, I am trying to figure the purchase motivational factors in play with the typical buyer of custom rifle components.

    There are an awful lot of custom gunsmiths out there nowadays turning out some pretty incredible work. I have priced the components, and I have priced the smithing services required to turn those components into a top quality rifle, and adding a fair profit margin, I still cannot figure the prices some makers charge for a complete rifle. Now before I get flamed for something I'm not saying, I'm not accusing anyone of price gouging. I believe in economic law, and if the market would not bear the pricing in question, that pricing would change in a hurry. The custom maker does indeed deserve to be paid well for the time, effort, expertise, and experience that goes into the craft. Value for value amongst honest buisinesspersons.

    However, that being said, if the market WILL bear the pricing I've seen some charge, that means that there IS an effective demand for very expensive rifles and components. Perhapse not this expensive for a barrel, but an effective demand nonetheless.

    As far as having too much time on my hands...

    I am trying to do nothing more than benefit the shooting community at large, and the long range shooting community in specific by moving the state of the art forward a little bit. Such a forward movement is a long time coming,and is far overdue, as barrelmaking hasn't changed to speak of in over 50 years!

    Am I trying to get rich off of this? Do I want any fame or credit by naming the product after myself? Have I applied for even one patent, copyright, or other exclusive rights? No. I am quite satisfied being a nameless, faceless mover in the background. The idea that may have had a positive impact on an industry as fascinating and large as this one is satisfying enough, and the only other compensation I would like is t see my ideas actually come to fruition. (owning one wouldn't be bad either!)

    Nobody gives Kirby Allen a hard time about pushing the ballistic envelope with incredibly overbore Allen Magnum wildcats. He is hailed and cheered as a hero of the long range shooting world.

    Here I come, and try to make a barrel that will give a good, long barrel life, holding its ultimate accuracy potential long enough to make his very own AM's a viable long term soloution, and everyone tells me I'm wasting my time!

    There's gratitude for ya!
  9. pinshootr

    pinshootr Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    Ambien dude most doc's would prescribe it to you after a 5 min. talk get the new CR version. By the way no on the barrel Can get a nice wather lother hand lapped with action stock and all for $1600 and shoots 1/2 or less MOA . Nice thought though Tod
  10. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2007

    thanks, but i got no health insurance!
  11. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    Dzaw , what is your background in? you seem very keen on this subject.

    I think that if 17-4 was that much better I think that the military would be using it , at least in their sniper rifles or comp guns , especialy seeing that they basicaly have unlimited funds for weapons development.

    You should give Dan Lilja a call and talk to him about your concerns , he offered his thoughts on the BlackStar process some time back and his thoughts were that if its to smooth that the bullet will get to much traction in the barrel and foul badly , at least thats what i think I read , he refered to racing slicks on a dragster , basicaly saying that the smoother the surface was the more surface area their was to work on.
  12. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Jun 12, 2004

    How did I get pulled into this debate?????

    I hardly think I am hailed as anything but someone who builds rifles and has developed some ballistically impressive wildcats. Hardly a hero in anyones book?????

    Honestly I do not care to he held to a higher level then anyone else on this board because I am not!

    As far as people cheering me, you may care to go back and do some reading when I started the Allen Magnum project and see how much fire was thrown my way when I was reporting the ballistic performance of my Allen Magnums and the new Wildcat bullets designed for them. There was some praise and there was alot of hammering going on as well.

    My point, do what you want, get a barrel made the exact way you want it to be made as you discribe, test the theory, get the hard data and offer it to the forum. If your theory holds water you will be praised for advancing our sport.

    Again, no offense taken but please to not use my name and place me on some pedistal. That is not me, everyone on this board knows that is not my personality and I really do not like being referred to in that manor.

    Do your tests, push the envelope and advance our sport and be ready to be hammered along the way because it will happen. Expect it to happen and live with it.

    Again, I took and take my fair share of attacks for what I have reported with my Allen Magnums. There have been people kicked off chat rooms because of their rage at what I was simply reporting ballistic data on.

    Thicken up that skin. IF you want to push the envelope, you will need a bit thicker hide.

    Kirby Allen(50)
  13. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    My background? that's a heck of a mess. My metallurgical knowledge comes originally from my interest in bladesmithing, something I'm getting to be almost passable at. However, I discovered in the process of learning the neccessary skills and information, a whole world of materials science called ferrous metallurgy. Steel is incredibly fascinating to me, and I study it actively.

    The military is actually testing 17-4 on sniper rifle barrels. The complaint that the army had for Mr. DeVanna was that training scout/snipers and giving them range time was too expensive. The training was outlasting the accuracy life of the barrels they were using, and so they went to Crucible for help. Moreover, Crucible is helping the navy produce 40mm barrels out of the same stuff, for the same reasons. Now THERE's overbore!

    Also, I am familiar with Mr. Lilja's comments on barrels being too smooth. I would have to agree that there certainly is such a thing as too smooth. I have nothing but the utmost respect for men like Mr. Lilja, who produce some of the best, most precisely created products in the world. If ever any comment I have made leads anyone else to believe that I am out to badmouth barrelmakers in general, or otherwise case a shadow over an individual or buisiness, please allow me to lay that to rest now, as nothing could be farther from the truth!

    As far as a bore being too smooth, as I said, I agree wholeheartedly! We have available to us fine diamond abrasoives as used for gemstone and glass lapidary down to the submicron level. Such a polish would be quite detrimental for much the reasons Mr. Lilja gives. The analogy is a good one. These abrasives are not a new invention, and it's a simple enough thing to test, I would be quite surprised if people havn't tried it and given it up as a bad idea. I'm not trying to advocate in any way that the finish being polished into any top quality barrel isn't smooth enough!


    I am sorry to drag your name out like that. I was out of line, and it was inexcuseable.

    As I said above, I get excited about steel. If that makes me a geek, oh well, at least I try to do some pretty cool things with all that geekiness! My enthusiasm has caused me to fail to err on the side of caution, and I have the tendancy to admire and respect innovation and quality when I see it. I haven't been around these boards long enough to hear anything but glowing praise for your work.

    Finally, a thought, my comment was intended as a compliment to the reputation you have fought hard to earn. Please do take it as such.

    I will try to take your advice to heart and grow some hide. Stragenly enough, I knew I was going to get shot down when I posted, and it still didn't make it any easier to read. Methinks I perhapse take myself too seriously.
  14. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    [ QUOTE ]

    thanks, but i got no health insurance!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Dzaw, your description is almost exactly what I go through sometimes. I've figured 2 things out.

    1) Try to think about something else. Not just lightly, really concentrate on something else; it quiets the whirlwind down and then I fall asleep.
    2) Red Wine. And its good for your heart. 2 glasses/night ;-)