Barrel purchase.

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Yorkplates, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. Yorkplates

    Yorkplates Well-Known Member

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    What is involved when ordering a custom barrel? What does the maker need to know? How about a barrel for a wildcat cartridge or even a custom-type cartridge? A good example would be Mr. Allen's 257 Allen Magnum.
     
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Before you do much else, you have to decide what you want to do with the gun. Benchrest, varmints to 500yd, whitetails in the pine woods, or elk at 1500yds or mean grizz at twenty feet. Once you set that out, then the people who know lots more than me can help you. Try to get a very firm decision in your mind on the end use that is MOST IMPORTANT to you. If you already have an action it is important to specify that too. Once you specify those thnigs I think you will get more good advice than you got when you chose a college. ROLLLLLL TIDE
     

  3. Yorkplates

    Yorkplates Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Once you specify those thnigs I think you will get more good advice than you got when you chose a college. ROLLLLLL TIDE

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Oh no! Ha! I gotta put up with you people here too?!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    Seriously though, I'm not in the market for a certain kind of rifle. I was just curious what all was involved. I had considered replacing the barrel on my Sako .308, but I felt that would have been an easy task since .308 was so common. I just wondered what the SOP of a barrel purchase was considering a wildcat or proprietary cartridge.

    Didn't have much choice on the college pick. You see I look bad in that awful crimson and white. I'm a country boy. I gotta see pastures and smell cow manure or I feel like I'm in the big city. Too much asphalt in T-town! I like playing football there though!!!!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  4. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Auburn Tiger,

    When selecting a custom barrel there are several things you need to think about before ordering. Most custom rifle builders have prefered barrel makers they use simply because they work the best for their needs, I am no different.

    As stated, you need to decide what type of shooting or hunting you will be doing with this new rifle. If your hunting in a ground blind or treestand where things are a bit cramped, a 30" barrel may not be the best option. If you will be shooting long range from a stationary location then a 30" barrel would be a benefit.

    Also, think about the type of shooting or hunting you will be doing. If you will be walking alot, do not get a #8 contour barrel that weights 8 lbs by itself. Again, if you will not be moving much, the heavier the better as long as your receiver will handle the weight.

    Finally and perhaps the most important, consider the round you will be using. If your building a 260 Rem, any barrel will basically offer very long barrel life. Now using my 257 Allen Mag as an example, this round is a bit harder on throats as one might expect from a 130 gr bullet launched at 3650 fps.

    There are ways to increase barrel/throat life. There is a reason I use Lilja 3 groove barrels. That is because they offer true BR accuracy and consistancy with a longer barrel and throat life then any other conventional riflign system I have tested, especially in these hot rounds. I also use only stainless barrels for my Allen Mags. If customers want the barrels dark, we can get them coated but stainless is the only way to go.

    An expample is comparing a standard 6 groove barrel with a 3 groove. You will get roughly 35 to 40% longer barrel life with a 3 groove then a 6 groove with a round like the 257 STW or 257 Allen Mag. The Allen Mag will actually get a longer barrel life if stick powders are used in the STW because the AA8700 powder used in teh 257 Allen Mag is dramatcially cooler burning and much less abrasive then the stick powders.

    So for rounds like this, you can really increase your barrel life by getting the right barrel to start with.

    Trust in your rifle builder, you are paying him to build you a rifle of your dreams, it is our job and plkeasure as custom rifle builders to offer you the best product we possibly can for your needs.

    The rifle builder will generally know what barrel is best for your needs and also they are generally in direct contact with the barrel makers and can use their vast knowledge as well.

    So for your example, this is the barrel I would highly recommend:

    Lilja Stainless Steel
    .257" bore
    1-7" twist for 156 gr ULD
    1-10" twist for anything else
    3 groove rifling


    Barrel length and contour is more a personal preference, for my Allen Mags chambered in my Extreme Sporter rifles, I recommend at least a 28" barrel and prefer a full 30". For contour, I like a #6 contour for plenty of barrel stiffness for great accuracy and consistancy as well as not being overly heavy to carry in the field. For a 28" barrel I would go to a #5 as minimum.

    Again, these contours are what I like for extreme accuracy potential, meaning Sub 1.5" groups at 500 yards. Lighter barrel contours can certainly be used as can heavier ones but sacrifices are made in consistancy and portability on either end.

    Again, your paying your custom riflebuilder alot of hard earned money to build you what you want in a rifle, trust him to get your barrel as well. Generally they can also get the barrels at a slightly lower price then you could also because we buy so many barrels through the year.

    Good Shooting!!

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  5. Yorkplates

    Yorkplates Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I'm asking the question correctly. There is 'no' rifle to be built as far as this question is concerned. I'm not making a decision on what to use the rifle for because there simply isn't one. I just want to know what is involved with ordering a rifle barrel from a custom maker for wildcat cartridges or proprietary cartridges. For example, a .257 Roberts might share the same bore with the .257 Weatherby or 257 Allen Mag, but the casing is NOT the same. I would assume in a popular wildcat like a 30-378 you would let the barrel maker know that you need a .30 cal bore chambered for a 30-378 WBY casing or just that you're needing this certain length, contour, grade, etc. barrel in 30-378. I wanted to know, if it was a unique round, what was involved in getting it chambered properly. Hypothetically, if I created a interesting "BrannonSwift" cartridge at home with a certain basic bullet diameter like a 6mm or 7mm bullet and used a much larger casing necked down or maybe even shortened. where do I go from there? I hear wording like "a certain casing has been 'blown-out'and necked-down to take such and such bullet." Won't the barrel maker need some sort of schematic to make the proper chamber width and length? Some even have a die set for their new rounds. I was just curious what all was involved. There is no rifle purpose choice that I'm dealing with.

    Fifty, I have the rifle I want you to work on and know what I'm going to do. I'm still gathering the funds to have everything done that I want done. I'm just intrigued by the fact that you basically created your own round and just wondered how you can translate a new round into a new barrel for it. Or, heck, even the whole rifle. Didn't you say you provided a die set or could supply a die set for your new round? Did you make them or do you simply submit the numbers to a die maker that are in accordance to your new round. Am I making sense yet?
     
  6. 5Redman8

    5Redman8 Well-Known Member

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    Some barrel makers could do a NEW wildcat from a dummy round using EDM. Some makers need you to send your dummy round to a reamer maker and then the reamer is made from the dummy.

    Kyle
     
  7. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Auburn Tiger,

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. There are a few barel makers out there that will provide prechambered and threaded barrels to customers but I HIGHLY discourage going this way.

    Unless you ship your receiver to them and they fit the barrel you order to your receiver after it has been fully accurized, you will not be satisfied with the results.

    Lets go back to the barrel ordering issue.

    Basically when ordering a barrel from one of the top barrel makers, you simply order a barrel blank which in most cases is a precontoured barrel built to the contour you want.

    Say your building a sporter rifle you would select from any contours from a #1 on teh light end up to a #6 on the top end. You should match barrel contour with the weight of the rifle you want to build as well as the round you are chambering. For example, you could build a very accurate light sporter rifle in 25-06 using a #1 or #2 contoured barrel.

    If you were building a 30-378 Wby designed to shoot the 240 gr Matchkings you would want at least a #6 contour to control barrel torque and whip.

    BAsically you would tell the barrel maker that you want a specific bore diameter, .243", .257", .284", .308", etc...

    Then you would order the rifling twist which would be appropriate for the bullet or bullets you want to shoot. Example, if you want to build a big 30 cal magnum wildcat to shoot conventional bullet weights from 165 to 200 gr, the 1-10" twist would be the correct twist. IF you wanted to shoot the 125 to 150 gr class bullets out of your new wildcat, the 1-12" twist would be perfect.

    IF you wanted to shoot the 240 to 250 gr ULD bullets, the 1-8" twist would be correct.

    Really when ordering a barrel, it does not have anything to do with the chambering you will be using, it is mearly ordering a barrel black of the proper contour, bore diameter and rifle twist for the project you have in mind.

    Then the reamer makers and gunsmiths come into play when designing a specific new wildcat. Say you want to design a ne wsuper magnum around an existing factory case for example lets use the 30-378 again.

    The best thing to do is to contact a quality reamer manufactourer and have them send you a copy of their reamer print for that specific round. Reamer prints can be very intimidating for someone not used to looking at them.

    Here is a reamer print for the 338 Kahn

    [​IMG]

    As you can see there are a few different dimensions. What youwould do it modify the dimensions for your wildcat, say you wanted to reduce the body taper, you would make the change in teh shoulder diameter, say you wanted a tighter neck fit, you would change this dimension.

    Once you get the dimension changes made you would submit the modified print back to the reamer maker and they would run the changes through a computer program which will tell you if the changes will work properly for a cartridge. Say your neck diameter is larger then your head diameter, this would not work, extraction would be a problem!!!

    The computer will find these problems if they occur.

    When the reamer print is OKed to work they will print up a new reamer print for your new wildcat with your name on it and send it back to you for approval and generally for a final signed Ok to start production on the reamer.

    Once the reamer is made, it is now time to have the custom dies made up for your new wildcat. I use Redding simply because I feel they make the best conventionally designed loading dies on the market.

    For my Allen Magnum rounds, I had to send them copied of my reamer prints and they are able to design the tooling needed for your wildcat off your dies. This can be expensive, up to $300 for tooling alone if they do not have tooling on hand to build the dies to your specs. Also, there will be an engineering and set up charge for the initial dies.

    Getting true custom dies built, I mean the one of a kind stuff that has never been done before is expensive for the initial tooling and set up cost. Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $400 for that first set of dies. After that they are just the standard custom die price.

    This is why designing a totally new wildcat can be very expensive, especially if you are building a rifle for your own purposes and not to resale the product.

    So now you have the barrel blank, custom finishing reamer and dies on order. Now it is time to send all your componants to your smith and let him build your dream rifle in your new wildcat super mag round!!!

    Dies can also be built off from sending a die manufacturer three fired cases. This means that you have to fireform three cases in a completed rifle and send them off to the die maker.

    If your wildcat can be formed with other dies for example say you design an improved 30-378 Wby and factory ammo an be fired in the chamber and fireformed that way, this is an easy way to go.

    But if you have to dramatically change the dimensions of the parent case you will be better off having the dies made off the reamer prints. THis is much easier for the die maker anyway.

    The first step really in designing your wildcat is to design teh reamer. This is the starting point, get teh reamer and then the rest of the steps such as rifle building and die making can easily be done.

    Please do not think I am trying to discourage you from designing a wildcat because I am not at all. It is expensive to design a true NEW wildcat but the rewards are well worth it in my opinion, expect gliches there and there because there will be some which is part of the game.

    As far as my Allen Mags are concerned, I had Redding build the full length sizing dies and I will be offering Custom in-line bullet seating dies chambered with the same reamer used in the rifle chamber.

    Good Shooting!!

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  8. Yorkplates

    Yorkplates Well-Known Member

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    How is a cartridge "blown-out?"

    I can't come up with a wildcat cartrige. Feels like re-inventing the wheel. I want a low recoil deer cartridge. I love the quarter bore! Kirby you struck gold with yours! I'd like to do something with a smaller casing. Any ideas? I think the 257 Roberts AI sounds interesting as far as considering someone elses creation or alteration.
     
  9. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Auburn Tiger,

    Blowing a cartridge out is when you chamber a fireforming load, lets use the 257 Roberts for example.

    You load the virgin 257 Roberts round in a chamber cut to the 257 Roberts Improved chamber.

    The original Roberts has a shoulder diameter of .429" compared to the Improved version which has a shoulder diameter of .459" in diameter.

    When the round is fired, the pressure builds in the standard Roberts case and this forces the brass case walls out until they are stopped by the Improved dimensioned chamber. When you extract the brass you have a Roberts improved case with the larger diameter shoulder and less body taper, this is what is ment by blowing out the case.

    Teh Roberts Improved is a very impressive wildcat, in fact it gains the most velocity of any of the Ackley Improved rounds over its parent case.

    Still, it is relatively long and does not work the best in a true short action and is much more comfortable in a standard length action. If you use this receiver length you would be better off with a 25-06 AI as it will offer much more performance with very little increase in recoil. Brass is also easier to find.

    The 25-06 AI comes embarrasingly close to 257 Wby performance in a 24" barrel.

    Good Shooting!!

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Fifty,
    Glad to see you're still alive and kicking! Haven't seen you post recently, but I would guess that you're kept pretty busy with production on you .257AM's! Great job, and good shootin'