breaking a barrel

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by fishermuskie, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. fishermuskie

    fishermuskie Member

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    What is the process for breaking in a new barrel?
    Thank you Dave
     
  2. su35

    su35 Member

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    Just shoot it and clean it when accurcy falls off.
     

  3. sniperVLS

    sniperVLS Well-Known Member

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    you'll get 50 different responses to this, everyone does it differently.

    With my VLS I cleaned every 3 rounds for the first 18 shots, then cleaned every 5 rounds until I got to 38, then every 10 rounds till I got to 58, then I shoot until accuracy drops off or theres down time to fill /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    in those 58 shots thats 12 cleanings. Ill be honest though, my dad and uncle have given me rifles to take to the range just to see how they shoot. No such cleanings took place and years later they shoot just as good.

    I might do the cleaning process again with the Sendero when it arrives, but that might be for peace of mind more or less.

    just dont overdo it. its an easy trap to fall into and its no needed in my opinion. I know some guys who clean(no offense people) religiously, several times a day, all the time. They clean more than they shoot, and I dont know about you, but I bought my rifles to shoot /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  4. 400Bullelk

    400Bullelk Active Member

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    I just watched an episode of Guntech TV, and I believe it was the Springfield Armory talked about breaking in a barrel. He said to clean after every shot the first 5 shots, then after you shoot 5 shoots then clean, until you get to 30 total shots, and then your barrel is broke in. But you should clean your barrel all the time. That fowling attracts moisture, and that copper in your barrel produces electrolosis and both of these will pit a barrel.
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    You need to clean down to bare metal after every shot until cleaning time drops to almost nothing. Will happen suddenly. You will shoot 3 to 20 shots (depending on roughness of barrel)and clean alot of copper out after every shot. Than in 1 or 2 shots the copper fouling will go to almost nothing. Than shoot a few 3 or 5 shot groups, cleaning after each group. Shoot the longest bearing surface bullets you can find for breakin. They will do more smoothing than short ones.

    "Ill be honest though, my dad and uncle have given me rifles to take to the range just to see how they shoot. No such cleanings took place and years later they shoot just as good."

    After years of shooting and cleaning after 30-50 shots you have done the same thing just took a long time. Its the first shot down a clean barrel that does the smoothing. If you shoot 500 rounds, cleaning after every 50 you have 10 clean barrel shots. Those are the ones that did the breakin.
     
  6. Meister

    Meister Well-Known Member

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    This is the second most contended subject on the board, 308 v 30-06 being first. It's personal preference, I develop loads for custom rifles that are smith fresh to my door. I break in per the barrel manufacturers specs on those, but on my personal custom rigs I prefer the following method. Clean barrel spotless after each round up to 50. No brushes Period. This makes cleaning in the field quick as 3 patches. Some people consider this meticulous and anal, but it has made some seriously accurate rifles. They get gobbled up when I sell them.

    On my factory rigs I do the multiples break-in, clean after 1,2,4,8,16,32,64 DONE. Different types of cutters and equip. are used to make different barrels, so the manufacturer has the best idea of how to treat their barrels properly.

    *Trick* Clean the barrel completely to the best of your ability- Now run a patch with breakfree down it... I thought you cleaned that thing! It's always black when I do it too!

    1. No brushes!
    2. Breech to muzzle
    3. Plastic coated rods only(a throat is a terrible thing to waste)
    4. Use a rod guide
    5. Never store the barrel naked

    Do as you please, this is just a recommendation.
     
  7. HooterShooter

    HooterShooter Well-Known Member

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    Shoot 3 shots and clean and don't worry about sighting in.
    Don't even worry about a scope. Just blast off 3 shots.

    Go sight in at 100 yards. This will be a rough sight in because the barrel in not broken in yet and moa accuracy will suck. Shoot about 15 rounds or so at this session including the sight in shots then clean the gun. Dont worry about groups. The barrel should be broken in enough to shoot pretty good at your next session especially if its a match barrel like a Lilja.

    Next session go and shoot a few groups I usually shoot 4 or 5 groups of 3 letting the barrel cool between each group. These groups should be decent and should get better and better with each session.

    You will KNOW when its broken in. It will shoot great and clean easy.

    I know a lot of guys like the 1 shot clean method, but I think its a waste of time. I'm not knocking them as I have many shooting or reloading practices that are a waste of time, but I do it anyway.

    Good Luck
     
  8. ELZWizz68

    ELZWizz68 Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I just watched an episode of Guntech TV, and I believe it was the Springfield Armory talked about breaking in a barrel. He said to clean after every shot the first 5 shots, then after you shoot 5 shoots then clean, until you get to 30 total shots, and then your barrel is broke in. But you should clean your barrel all the time. That fowling attracts moisture, and that copper in your barrel produces electrolosis and both of these will pit a barrel.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    FYI - This episode was with Ed Shilen - Shilen barrels, benchrest competitor, etc. I saw the same episode. I have thought about the electrolsis comment privately before Mr. Shilen commented on it - I work for a mechanical contractor and we use pipe unions specifically to avoid steel against copper for the same reason. Interesting conversation. I would guess that most of the BR guys would say the same thing or close to it. On the other hand (and specifically with factory sticks) i have had outfitters tell me that they don't clean their guns barrel - only if it gets wet (which they are especially carefull to avoid). I would take the advice about overdoing it - a lot of my BR buddies tell me that a barrel gets ruined quicker by improper cleaning than shooting to fast or too much between cleanings. I personally have not noticed a big difference between cleaning methods with my factory guns, I am hoping to find out with my first custom barrel in July.

    EZ
     
  9. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    I think it is important to know why we break in barrels. This is my understanding of it so if someone has other info please post it. I am always willing to learn something new.

    Breaking in a barrel is a method of removing the edges in a barrel that will shave off and hold copper jacket material. If the jacket material is allowed to embed it's self in these pores it will in essence allow a copper lining to coat the rifling. Since similar metals (brass on brass or steel on steel and others) will adhere and gall (smear) the bullets passing through a copper laden barrel will wear unevenly and grab at random points causing a whole myriad of consistency issues that can cause velocity spreads and inconsistent flight characteristics. Also the copper that is stuck in these relatively large pores will only get harder to clean.

    An example of this is the last two barrels I cleaned for my brother and my friend. The friends gun that has had at least 40 rounds since its last mediocre cleaning took 28 patches with Copper Melt to clean and it shot about a 10" 3 shot group at 300 yards with factory loads. My brothers gun that was not broken in either but it has been cleaned after a number of quick range sessions and a 5 shot hunting season, right down to the bare metal, cleaned in 5 patches after a 19 round ladder test. As many know the ladder test is one shot of many powder weights as opposed to factory loads being somewhat the same. This 19 shot group was about a 6" group at 300 yards. I'll take a 5 patch cleaning over a 28 patch cleaning any time. And the potential for a fantastic group seems to be soundly in place.

    I don't have a set number of rounds that I shoot for each step of the break in. I let the barrel talk to me. I shoot 1 and clean until the cleaning process drops from about 5 or 6 patches down to 3. This happens in dramatic fashion. Then I go to 5 rounds and clean until it happens again and then I call it good. I use a bore guide and a plastic brush with a patch and 6 to 8 drops of Copper Melt as per the Copper Melt instructions. Cool thing about Copper Melt (other than the fact that it works very well) is that it is a colorless liquid so the patches go from black on the first one to blue while removing copper to white when you are done. No brown patches to guess about. If it ain't white then it ain't clean.

    BTW Meister, I have not once seen the .308 vs. 30-06 arguement come up on this forum. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  10. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    Meister, some bore cleaners will turn black upon contact with steel. Iosso bore paste will turn black when rubbed on the outside of a SS barrel.
     
  11. HooterShooter

    HooterShooter Well-Known Member

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    The troubling comment about the Shilen comment is that he says "now your barrel is broken in".

    It's not an instant process. Some barrels may take 40 shots, some 60, some 20. Each barrel is different.

    Lets say a particluar barrel is 100% broken in after 37 rounds. Its isnt a situation where there barrel is not borken in at 36 rounds and then suddenly broken in at 37 rounds. It gets better and better until it can get no better.

    Lets say that you took a brand new Lilja barrel and shot 20 rounds then cleaned. Then repeated this 3 more times. Lets say that the first 3 cleanings were mediocre and finally after 80 rounds the rifle was thoroughly cleaned, however long it took and whatever strong solvents were used. Now have a perfectly clean barrel with 80 rounds through it.

    Why will this barrel be different that if the 1-shot-clean method was used? I don't think it will be.
     
  12. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Harv,

    You hit the nail on the head. In other words, you are exactly correct in every sentence!

    The whole point about breaking in a barrel is to get it absolutely clean in between shots so that the next bullet is riding down bare metal instead of just layering up another layer of copper. Shooting three shots or five right off the get go means you are only being 33% or 20% effective! Shoot one shot and clean and you are 100% effective.

    Good post. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  13. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    4kie,

    You too are also correct. Shoot one and clean one until the BARREL tells you she's done. Play it by ear and then you don't have to remember any complicated number sequences or time schedules.

    Oh, 10-4 loud and clear on that Coppermelt stuff! I can't imagine going back to barrel break in the old fashioned way ever again. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    For those of you not familiar with the Coppermelt procedure, 4kie states that one gun took 28 patches to clean. That is one ROUGH barrel for sure. Normally, a custom barrel broke in properly will take 1-3 patches to come clean, and a factory barrel properly broke in will take 3-7. A factory barrel broke in with Tubb's Final Finish will take 1-3 patches. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif Damn it's good stuff because you have a universal "gauge" of how bad a bore is by how many patches of Coppermelt you use. Just wish it could be more readily available. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  14. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    We don't know that the 28 patch gun had ever been really cleaned. It was clean when I got done with it. My .243 however had over 50 rounds down it durring hunting season and the praqctice leading up to the season and it cleaned in 4-5 patches. Gotta love that.