Breaking in a New Barrel

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by SZairborne, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. SZairborne

    SZairborne Active Member

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    I recently purchased a Remington 700 rifle in 308 caliber. Ive never had a new rifle where breaking in a barrel was a concern. The question i got is, after how many rounds would it take from a new rifle before you can say your zero will not be affected from other than environmental factors?

    Im still new at this, but any help would be great.

    Thanks
    Shayne
     
  2. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009

  3. SZairborne

    SZairborne Active Member

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    Thanks
     
  4. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    That's funny, I just checked that link and there was a guy by the name of Hooter Shooter. That's funny!:D
     
  5. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Hi Shayne,

    Welcome to LRH. Breaking in a barrel is essentially a process of smoothing out the roughness in your bore. It's basically lapping your bore by firing through it. The idea is to eliminate the roughness and irregularities and eliminate copper fouling. To do this correctly you must clean the copper from your bore after each shot until your copper fouling stops or almost stops. You need a good copper remover. I use Bore Tech Eliminator. If you use Bore Tech, you need to use a nickle plated or plastic jag with it because Bore Tech will eat away a brass jag and give a false blue copper reading. I use Bore Tech at the range between shots and I use Wipeout at home when I can soak it.

    Breaking in your barrel may or may not affect your accuracy. It will almost certianly improve your rifle's consistancy and it will make cleaning your rifle a whole lot easier and reduce the frequency of cleanings.

    Hope this helps,

    -MR
     
  6. SZairborne

    SZairborne Active Member

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    Thanks for the great info. Im heading to the range this weekend and will try that out.

    Shayne
     
  7. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    The amount of rounds will vary from rifle to rifle .

    The method I like is to Shoot one round and clean then repeat until the barrel cleans after
    only two or three patches.

    On custom barrels this takes from 6 to 15 rounds, factory barrels will take more. (15 to 25)

    If broken in properly a barrel will not foul as bad and will clean up fast.

    Some people don't believe in break in but I feel it prolongs barrel life.

    Just an opinion
    J E CUSTOM
     
  8. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    Well you asked for it :D so here it is hmmmm :rolleyes:
    For the first ten shots I would recommend using jacketed bullets with a nitro
    powder load (Most Factory Ammo). Clean the oil out of the barrel before
    each shot using a simple window cleaner (like Windex) which will soak the
    oil out of the pores. After firing each cartridge, use a good copper cleaner
    (one with ammonia) to remove the copper fouling from the barrel. I would not
    recommend anything with an abrasive in it since you are trying to seal the
    barrel, not keep it agitated.
    After cleaning with bore cleaner, clean again with window cleaner after each
    shot. Use window cleaner because many bore cleaners use a petroleum base
    which you want to remove before firing the next shot. This will keep the
    carbon from building up in the barrel (oil left in the pores, when burned,
    turns to carbon).
    To keep the temperature cool in the barrel, wait at least 5 minutes between
    break-in shots. The barrel must remain cool during the break-in procedure.
    If the barrel is allowed to heat up during the break-in, it will destroy the
    steel’s ability to develop a home registration point, or memory. It will have a
    tendency to make the barrel “walk” when it heats up in the future. We have
    all seen barrels that, as they heat up, start to shoot high and then “walk” to
    the right. This was caused by improperly breaking in the barrel (generally by
    sitting at a bench rest and shooting 20 rounds in 5 minutes or so). If you take
    a little time in the beginning and do it right, you will be much more pleased
    with the barrel in the future.
    Look into the end of the barrel after firing a shot, and you will see a light
    copper-colored wash in the barrel. Remove this before firing the next shot.
    Somewhere during the procedure, around shot 6 or 7, it will be obvious that
    the copper color is no longer appearing in the barrel. Continue the window
    cleaner and bore cleaner applications through shot 10.
    Following the initial ten shots, you then may shoot 2 rounds, cleaning
    between each pair of shots, for the next 10 shots. This is simply insuring that
    the burnishing process has been completed.
    In theory, you are closing the pores of the barrel metal that have been opened
    and exposed through the cutting and hand lapping procedures.

    I hope you learned well :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  9. SZairborne

    SZairborne Active Member

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    I cant thank everybody enough for all the help and support. Im sure this will not be the last questions i have for this group. I will try it all and see what happens.

    Thanks Again
    Shayne
     
  10. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    Very good instructions on how to breaking a new barrel you might like this better:


    With any premium barrel that has been finish lapped (such as a Krieger Barrel), the lay or direction of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, so fouling is minimal. This is true of any properly finish-lapped barrel regardless of how it is rifled. If it is not finish-lapped, there will be reamer marks left in the bore that are directly across the direction of the bullet travel. This occurs even in a button-rifled barrel as the button cannot completely iron out these reamer marks.

    Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file. When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. This copper dust is vaporized in the gas and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore, when it is actually for the most part the new throat. If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it; copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may become difficult to remove. So . . . when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat polished without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reason for the "fire-one-shot-and-clean" procedure.

    Each barrel will vary slightly as to how many rounds it will take to break in. This is because of things like machinability of the steel, steel chemistry, or the condition of the chambering reamer. For example a chrome moly barrel may take longer to break in than stainless steel, because it is more abrasion resistant, even though it might be the same hardness. Also, copper will stick to chrome moly better than stainless steel, so it will usually show a little more "color" if you are using a chemical cleaner. Rimfire barrels can take an extremely long time to break in . . . sometimes requiring several hundred rounds or more. But, cleaning intervals can be extended to every 25-50 rounds. The break-in procedure procedures are really the same except for the frequency of the cleanings. Remember the goal is to get or keep the barrel clean while polishing out the throat.

    The best way to break-in a new barrel is to observe when the fouling becomes reduced. This is better than believing that there is a set number of "shoot and clean" cycles. Many customers report almost no fouling after the first few shots, and more break-in would be pointless. Conversely, if more "shoot and clean" cycles are required, a set number would not solve that problem either. Besides, this break-in procedure is not a completely harmless operation, so it should be done carefully and no more than necessary.

    There is no hard and fast rule about barrel break-in procedure, and this is only meant to be a guide to "break-in" based on our experience. Some barrel conditions (chamber, bullet, primer, powder, pressure, velocity etc.) may require more shoot-and-clean cycles than others. It is a good idea to just observe what the barrel is telling you with its fouling pattern. Once your barrel is broken in, there is no need to continue breaking it in.

    You should Initially perform the shoot-one-shot-and-clean cycle five times. If copper fouling isn't reduced, fire one shot (5 more times) and so on until fouling begins to drop off. At that point shoot three shots before cleaning and observe. If fouling is reduced, fire five shots before cleaning.

    Stainless Chrome moly Barrels
    - Fire one shot, then clean your barrel. (Repeat this step 5 to 25 times.)
    - Fire three shots, then clean your barrel. (Repeat this step 1 or 2 times.)
    - Fire five shots, then clean your barrel and you're done.


    Stainless Steel Barrels
    - Fire one shot, then clean your barrel. (Repeat this step 5 times.)
    - Fire three shots, then clean your barrel.
    - Fire five shots, then clean your barrel and you're done.


    (This information was provided by Brian Birutas at Krieger Barrels.)
     
  11. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Jinx, You mention some interesting stuff, some of which I have never heard of doing. I've never heard of using window cleaner to clean your bore. Window cleaner is basically soapy water and I dont think I would put water down my bore intentionaly. If anyone else knows different, please correct me. Petrolium residue can attract dirt if left on heavy which in turn can attract moisture. But most folks will apply some sort of bore treatment to their bore after cleaning to protect against moisture and corrosion. With the next couple of rifles I will be breaking in, I will use a product called Gun Juice during the break-in proccess. I will clean the copper form the bore between each shot and then run a couple of Gun Juice soaked patches down the bore and fire until the bore stops fouling and the velocity stop (chrony read out) stops rising. It's supposed to increase velocity and increase barrrel life as well as lay down a very durable protective finish that can not be removed unless you super heat the bore.

    On cooling between shots, that is usually accomplished with cleaning running wet and dry patches through the bore between each shot should very effectively cool the barrel.

    As far as using amonia, I wont use an amonia based bore cleaner in my rifle. You should try some Bore Tech Eliminator. I think you'll find it much more effective than most any amonia cleaner. I haven't used them all, but I have used Butche's Bore Shine and it doesn't come close to Bore Tech. Unless you have a really bad fouling barrel, it only takes about 2 or 3 wet patches, waiting a few minutes between each patch to clean your bore of all copper.

    I also have never been able to tell if a rifle is clean, especially from copper, just by looking down the barrel. You can sometimes tell if it's dirty and maybe even see some copper residue. But the best way to tell that your bore is clean is when you get a white wet and dry patch. You have to becareful when using brass jags with an effective copper remover. They will eat away at the jag and give a false blue indication and you could run wet patches through forever if that's happening. That's why I recommend a a nickel plated jag.

    As has been mentioned before, there is no set amount of times to clean after each shot. The barrel is broke in when it doesn't foul anymore or fouling is greatly reduced. That could take 5 shots or it could take 30 or more, depending on how rough your barrel is.

    Cheers,

    -MR
     
  12. Jinx-)

    Jinx-) Well-Known Member

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    MontanaRifleman,
    Well Windex or any glass cleaners do not contain soap, its ammonia without petrol based residue and if you don’t like it then complain to HOWA or Weatherby, that’s is how they recommend to break in their barrels. There are many products out there many will void warranty if used. :D
    go to Legacy Sports web page Welcome to Legacy Sports International and click on View Catalog http://www.legacysports.com/pdfs/LegacySports2009Catalog.zip , it will be ZIP file which will have PDF format catalog, search it for break-in its on page 34, what you see above is word for word copy paste right from the catalog...
    I hope you learned good as well :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  13. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Jinx,

    I think you'll find that window cleaners contain both ammonia and soap or other cleaning products cut with a high percentage of water.

    You will find dozens of recommended ways to break-in a barrel but when you think about what the process is all about you will realize, that 1) ...to do it correctly you need to clean after each shot. Reason being, after a round is fired through the bore, copper or guilded metal is stripped from the bullet into the machine marks and other irregularities of the bore. This fouling prevents the lapping action of follow on bullets, meaning any other bullets fired through before cleaning are wasted as far as break-in is concerned. 2) ... every bore is different. To say it takes 10 shots to break-in any bore is... well... ridiculous. It tske as many shots as required to lap the roughness out of a particular bore. It may be 5, or it may be 13, or it may be 27.

    Ammonia is a potentially damaging substance to rifle bores. It must be used carefully and fully removed. I just avoid it all together because there are several products that do an excellent job of removing copper that are not damaging to rifles bores.

    So I'm really not very impressed with Howa's recommendations on cleaning or breaking-in barrels. I got instructions from Sako on how to clean a rifle that included using ammonia and a steel brush. That's absolutely crazy. I could not think of a worse way to the job. I wonder if they are encouraging faster barrel wear to sell more rifles?

    Here are a couple of very good articles by Dan Lilja on the subject. He recommends using a bronze brush and Butche's Bore Shine, and in that I disagree with him. Especially about the bronze brush. I have found that with a good solvent, no brushes at all are needed.

    Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels - Centerfire Maintenance

    Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels - Articles: Barrel Fouling


    Good shooting and may your barrels have good, long and prosperous lives,

    -MR
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  14. SZairborne

    SZairborne Active Member

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    Re: Breaking in a New Barrel Update

    Well i went to the range and followed the 1 shot then clean then shoot again routine. My cold bore shot was about 4 inches to the right and about 2 inches high from my point of aim. I then slowly fired and the rounds came to a grouping about 1inch or so. I then adjusted and got my scope zeroed at 100 meters. My final group were all touching I didnt measure it though. Went through about 17 rounds total today. So from what i understand, i should get used to trying to call a cold bore shot. Then for my next question, after your cold bore shot how many rounds would it take for your rounds to hit were your zero is? After the first or does it depend on the barrel?

    Thanks in advance.
    Shayne