Difference Between Button/Cut Rifling?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by ovastafford, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. ovastafford

    ovastafford Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    938
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    What is the difference between cut rifling and button rifling? Pros and Cons of each if any and is there any other types that I haven't listed?
    Thanks
     
  2. BryanLitz

    BryanLitz <b>Official LRH Sponsor</b>

    Messages:
    633
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    There are lots of 'generalities' to make about the two types of rifling methods, but few hard facts. Here are some generalizations.

    In general:
    1) You're more likely to get an accurate twist rate with cut riflings than button riflings.
    2) Button riflings are easier on bullet jackets (less likely to produce bullet failure) than cut riflings. This may be changing with the advent of contoured (5R) cut riflings.
    3) I think cut riflings are less likely to induce stress into the barrel steel.

    I'm not an expert on this so please correct me if any of my generalizations are inaccurate.

    -Bryan
     

  3. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,262
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Cut rifling produces less stress and leaves the barrel that way. Less stress means more temp stable, and less bore distortion with contouring/finishing.
    So if your putting together a HUNTING rifle with balance and reasonable weight, maybe a muzzle brake, and count on the first shot, this is the way to go. It is also accurate w/regard to spec (you get it with correct twist as ordered, etc).

    There are perspectives that button barrels are more difficult to screw up. That it's easy to make them very good.. They will hot group as good as any cut barrel, but I know of no advantage to button over cut.
    There is reality that waiting lines exist for good barrels of any make, and way more button barrels are made & available than cut. This might tip your scales towards them.

    Do you group shoot or hunt?
    If you group shoot, grab any of many good button barrels(why wait, appease your gun builder).
    If you hunt, get in line for a cut barrel (and order extras).
     
  4. ovastafford

    ovastafford Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    938
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Thanks but what usually come on factory rifles?
     
  5. geargrinder

    geargrinder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,972
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Hammer forged or button rifled.
     
  6. ovastafford

    ovastafford Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    938
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Cool well thanks for the information. Is there a price difference between the cut rifling and button rifling barrels?
     
  7. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

    Messages:
    4,800
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Not normally, most will run very similar pricing to each other.

    BH
     
  8. spiaailtli

    spiaailtli Active Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    They are both "cut" the button just does them all at the same time. The blade cut does them one at a time and is more likely to cause issues. When the button process hit they were the best barrels on the market. I think small shops that can't aford the equipment are marketing blade cut as a better choice. Cutting a single channel is more likely to warp a barrel. You cut one side and the barrel is going to warp the other dirrection if the metal isn't perfect.
     
  9. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,829
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Not true. When grooves are cut they are just that. Cut. Material is actually cut away. With a button, there is no metal removal. The button displaces the metal not removes it.

    On a side note, some cut rifle barrel manufacturers use equipment that wont give you the exact twist you want. For instance, if you want a 10 twist you may get a 10.2 twist or a 9.8 twist and or some variance up and down the bore. Other manufacturers use equipment that can get the twist to a few thousandths of an inch accurate. It will depend on the equipment used and the nut behind it. So long as a good uniform piece of steel is used, a button will create a very accurate and uniform twist.

    When it comes to stress, all of the good button barrel makers have procedures either before or after the bore is made to prevent or eliminate stress. They are also very tight lipped about it.

    A button rifled barrel typically has a much smoother finish when made than a cut rifled barrel. HOWEVER, with modern lapping techniques, the finished product is very good for both.

    Something not mentioned previously is that button barrels seem to hold up to the heat and flame of the hotter barrel burners. Dont ask me why. I dont know why. I have heard this several times and have owned one button 300 RUM barrel and one cut 300 RUM barrel. The cut barrel didnt hold a candle to the button barrel in regards to throat and bore life which is consistent with the statements I have heard.

    As far as accuracy is concerned I have seen phenominal accuracy out of all of my cut and buttoned barrels. They have all cleaned up super easy as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  10. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,262
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Tight lipped? Or Clueless?
    I queried many top button barrelmakers in the past about this, and none, not one, accounted for stress/bore changes as part of their process. They also did not actually measure their finished bores(other than a relative swipe with an air gauge). Do they contour before lapping, or after? Well to many it made no difference.
    And then there was the standard "and my barrels are winning" diversion..
    The only exception is LW. They have the capability to do anything done with barrels, with the best steels.
    But what do we want?

    The flaw to mob rules is that it truly accomplishes nothing. Top barrelmakers spit out straight(bull) blanks, and point blank BR shooters finish them as short, straight, and stiff. But this is not what the rest of the world uses. We use longer barrels for larger capacity cartridges. We contour for a stock fit & weight that is carried in the field.
    And we're doing this with button barrels made as though used for PB BR group shooting.
    They were not made to produce ACCURACY at all(much less cold bore accuracy).
    Cut barrels on the other hand, atleast minimize bore changes due to stress in rifling and contouring. Will this make a difference? NOT FOR GROUP SHOOTING.. But who cares about group shooting?

    Anyway, there is not a barrel maker who actually knows what will produce accuracy, and none could predict a screamer from fence post beyond flagging an obvious flaw..
    The mob hasn't chanted for change. So we end up with 50 barrel makers merely sharing the take.
    If any stand out in your mind as better than another, you should prove it,, as nobody ever has.
     
  11. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,829
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    All of this coming from one who believes that factory barrels are every bit as accurate and as good as 'custom' barrels!

    :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  12. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,307
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    I hate to wade of into this because it is just a matter of personal preference. But maybe I can
    shed a little more light on this subject with out offending anyone.

    The evolution of rifling starts with Hammer forged smooth bores.

    Then next came hammer forged rifling. Some were hexagonal some were octagonal and some
    even had some form of rifling. Hammer forging was a process that used a mandrel with the shape
    and twist desired that was placed in a tube that had been heated to forging temperatures and
    hammered down until it fit the mandrel as it was pulled through the barrel.

    This was not very precision and the barrel then had to be hand lapped to true it up. Also after
    lapping bullets molds had to be sized for that particular bore diameter for any kind of accuracy.
    (It was normal to get a bullet mold with the rifle that was hand fitted by the rifle maker.

    Next came the cut rifling . In the beginning it was cut 1 grove at a time with multiple passes
    for each groove. there were 2,3 and 4 grove in the beginning because of the time and number
    of passes needed to cut multiple groves 2 or 3 were normal and the depth of the groves was
    deeper because of the use of lead cast bullets.
    The process has not changed much except the use of multiple cutters and shallow groves
    due to the use of jacketed bullets.

    The really fine cut rifling years ago was done by hand and very expensive because of the time
    it took to produce one of these barrels by hand. These were the barrels that the bench rest shooters had to have in order to be competitive and were the best at the time.

    Next came the buttoned rifling and at first they were plagued with problems. And became very
    secretive about there fix to the problems and still are.(who can blame them if they spent the
    time and money to make good barrels and don't want to help there competitors).

    All of the different rifling methods started with problems and these problems forced them to
    improve the process or get out of the business.

    I have used barrels rifled with all three types of rifling and if they are done right they will perform
    well and each have there place. I have also looked at the different types of rifling with a
    magnified bore scope and was shocked by the finish of some that were premium barrels.

    With this said I have settled on custom barrels based on many things,trueness between
    centers(Constance straightness of finished barrels), and trueness of outside diameter to bore,
    Trueness of bore diameter from end to end, internal finish of bore and the lack of fouling
    that a barrel does barrel to barrel.

    Every Now and then you will find a barrel that just exceeds all of your expectations and it may
    be a brand of barrel that others have had problems with or be one of many of the same brand.
    But it does happen and even the barrel makers can't explain it (If they could they would make
    them all that way and corner the market).

    A good example of this was when Hart finally figured out how to produce the best buttoned
    barrels out there made out of stainless. Almost everyone that was a serious shooter shot
    Hart SS barrels .Even the factories that needed quality barrels in stainless for there new
    magnums used Hart barrels.

    There was a question about the life of a buttoned barrel compared to a cut barrel and there
    is an advantage in the wear abilities of a buttoned barrel because it produces a forged effect
    on the inside of the bore and this makes the bore more resistant to wear.

    So based on "MY" experience and the barrel to barrel consistency I have found that Lilja
    barrels meet my requirements better than any other barrels and the other brands are my
    second choice no matter how the rifling is done.

    Over the years I have changed barrel makers several times for one reason or the other
    (Cost , quality , accuracy and customer service) and until I find something better Lilja
    will be my barrel of choice.

    I have not found a single Lilja barrel that would not shoot under 1/2 MOA and most have shot
    under 3/10 ths of a MOA.

    Just my opinion for what its worth (And no I don't have any lilja stock)

    J E CUSTOM
     
  13. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

    Messages:
    4,800
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007

    Come on Mike, did you get hit on the head and are just suffering delusions or what. You know better than what you just posted.

    Damn do not know where to even begin. Sure maligned a bunch of barrel makers here and got to wave the BS flag on that load of hookey. There is more utter false crap in that post than anything close to reality.

    I know of not one big name button rifling barrel maker who contours after rifling. All the mftrs I know will tell you contouring a button barrel afterwards WILL change the bore dimensions.

    Yes, you can contour a cut rifled after too.

    And everyone I talked with (which is most of them) can tell you exactly what their bore dimensions are and most have numerous sized buttons if you want a specific size.

    There are some that cryo before and will after if you want to help control stress. I know some that heat treat all for stress and some double heat treat.

    As for that WILD A-- Statement,
    BS BS BS. Any village idiot can go to any of their websites and see every imaginable coutour plus you can get any special you want from any of them. you know just will bet any amount of money, that you will find the same basic countours on the cut rifled and button rifled sites. Will bet again they actually post that they make them over 21" also (ie the SR BR length discussed).

    Same goes for only cut rifled barrels are used in accurate LR guns. Guess Shawn would do a lot better with his guns and first round LR by not using Hart barrels.

    I know of one button rifled maker who Uncle Sams boys paid him $250,000 to expand his operation to give them several pallets of his barrels a year to go on sniper rifles and SR 25s. They tested every barrel known to include LW and a little button barrel won big time. I have watched those barrels being measured and air guaged and no one makes a more uniform barrel than those. Pretty damn sure they were carrying them and were worried about first round cold bore shots too so that kills that hog wash that only cut LW barrels are capable of doing that.

    As for the almighty LW barrel. They do not have anymore capability than most other makers and really funny, that they are used on so few really accurate SR or LR guns if they are that hot (NOT). Most LW barrels I have seen look like they took a mortar attack on the lands with all the marks left. But that is why there are about 50 barrel makers and most have all the business that they can handle.

    I like cut rifled barrels but I will say that some of my most accurate guns are buttoned also. Some barrels dimensionally do not like certain bullets and just will not shoot them, while shooting something else like a house a fire. It is just easier to get a certain twist and dimension for sure with a cut rifled barrel.

    BH
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  14. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,307
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    BH You are a silver tongued devil

    I tried the subtle approach but you cut to the chase.

    Well said !!!!!

    J E CUSTOM