Do I care how a barrel is made? or do I

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Gunnersaw1, May 22, 2009.

  1. Gunnersaw1

    Gunnersaw1 Active Member

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    single point cut rifling or button rifling. When I want a custom barrel for a project, I want the barrel to shoot more acurately than the one that is on there. I can also get different twist rates than factory barrels to shoot the large bullets for caliber. I can also get a barrel as long or short as I want.

    I have sold about half of my firearms in the last six months to fund the projects. I have decided to build up 3 or 4 custom or semi- custom rifles instead of having a bunch of factory rifles. I am stepping up to Nightforce scopes for the optics. Remington 700 for the actions.

    In my search for the ultimate barrel for these projects is one kind of barrel more desirable than the other? cut rifle or button rifle
     
  2. Gunnersaw1

    Gunnersaw1 Active Member

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    I forgot to add that button rifling has to be stress relieved does that cause any issues?
    I read the thread that Cabelas 90 did a few weeks back and used the search function.
    I understand how they are made but am curious if the barrels shoot differently.
     

  3. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    Do they shoot differently? Not really. As long as you are using a barrel from a quality maker, either are excellent. When I was playing around with the 300 RUM, I had a button rifled barrel and a cut rifle barrel. They both had identical accuracy. I dont know if the cut vs buttin made any difference here or if other factors were at play, but the button barrel held up better and lasted much longer under the heat and flame of the 300 RUM case.

    A couple of things about cut rifle barrels:

    1: You can typically order any odd ball twist you want such as 9.355 or 11.76

    2: Cut rifle barrels can be turned down to a different contour AFTER they are rifled and lapped without any bore dimension changes.

    3: Cut rifle barrels require many passes down the barrel which isnt ussually a problem but could be more prone to un-uniformity.

    A couple of things about button rifle barrels:

    1: You are limited in twist selection. If you desire a 11.25 you will have to use 11.0.

    2: Once the barrel is lapped and finished, you CANNOT turn the barrel to a different contour later without affecting the inside diameter of the bore.

    3: Button barrels require one pass to shape the bore. When a good button is made, the tolerences are near perfect more times than not.

    The bottom line is that any quality barrel maker should examine ANY barrel before they leave the shop and discard any that dont measure up. Any quality maker will only ship you the best.

    Lately, I have chosen quality barrel makers that can deliver quickly instead of 4-6 months.

    Let us know what you decide.
     
  4. JEREMY logan

    JEREMY logan Guest

    I have only used two different kinds of match barrels one was a shilen and the other a (broughton) :) i like the broughton. Like michael said the button rifle does handle the heat better .i have shot 2 sighters then pumped 5 rounds into one big hole @ 100 yrds as fast as i could possibly get my gun set back into the bags and on target .. One more plus about the button barrel is it cleans up very easily . Give tim north a call he's very good at answering any questions you might have..
     
  5. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    Over the past 20 years, of registered BR shooting, I have used barrels by Hart, Schneider, Shilen, HS Prec., Spencer, Krieger, Kostyshyn, Broughton, Rockcreek, Bartlein and Lilja. Cut vs buttoned never seemed to matter, as far as accuracy was concerned. One HS Precision 10X cut barrel in 6mm was the most accurate barrel that I ever had, until I put the 308, 17 twist, 3 groove Lilja, that I am shooting now.
     
  6. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Somethings implied so far here, I think you should consider.
    It's generally implied that a 'custom' barrel is more accurate. This is not true at all.
    Actually, it's a roll of the dice.
    For one, 'custom' barrels rarely are. They are 'aftermarket' barrels offered in enough variety to give you some options. Assigning actual improvement over factory, would likely result in one overwelming attribute: LESS FOULING.

    If they were custom, you could cut a $5,000 check for a guaranteed hummer -with umptysquat cartridge. But that isn't the case really. There aren't any guarantees that their barrel is any better than someone else's, or that it will even produce at some level, much less options for hummers at an appropriate cost.
    This is because barrel makers have no idea how any one of their barrels will perform. And of course, they can't control your gun builders finishing of it.
    That's not a suggestion that their barrels aren't good. But it's not a suggestion that any particular aftermarket barrel will perform well either -without alot of work..
    Your new barrel, from any maker, will not be measured to a specification. It will be lapped as an art to best finish, and possibly Air-Guaged for comparison with others. Not measured.
    There is no indexing for bores, which are rarely drilled perfectly straight.
    There is no verification of any specific taper to the finished bore.
    Some button rifle barrel makers don't even account for contouring in their process. That is, they might do it last(to meet orders).
    Some top BR barrel makers have no idea how to make an accurate factory contour barrel. It's not what they do. They churn out short, fat, 6PPC barrels..
    This I believe, has led to an overwelming notion amoung shooters that an accurate barrel must have a very heavy contour,, And factories respond to this market,, And before you know it, we're accepting 12 to 20lb 'hunting' guns..

    But when you consider the differences between 'accuracy' and 'grouping', there is no reason a factory contour couldn't be accurate, except nobody actually knows how to make it so. It just happens now & then...Unless Savage knows!
    I've spent a bunch on various barrels, buttoned, cut, and so have my friends. Yet we've concluded that none are really better than another, and none could be predicted to shoot better than another(including discarded factory).
    I've tossed barrels that turned out better than I'm lucky enough to replace. And I've seen huge gains with barrel swaps. So now I buy barrels in pairs assuming one will be better than another.

    Why such an abstract? Because we accept it. We wish there were more of em.
    And it's the cheapest part of a gun(yet most important).
    If they cost $2k each, we'd expect something. We'd expect a custom that absolutely will perform better than the last barrel.
    Unless, it was a Savage...

    I have never seen an aftermarket barrel I couldn't reach 1/2moa with.
    But I have never matched a factory Browning Boss barrel I had, which happened to shoot under 1/8moa to 300yds. 3 barrels later on this gun, and no where near it.. Just a bit under 1/2moa.
    That's about what you might expect.
     
  7. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    After reading the above post I'll add that in the past 20 years, using the barrels that I listed in my post, I've had 1 barrel that I had to send back due to not shooting well. The maker sent me a new barrel and all was well. I don't agree with buying an aftermarket barrel being a "crap shoot". I believe that we have the finest barrels, being made from the finest materials, by the finest barrel makers, that we have ever had. There is a reason that all of these barrel makers are in business, and thriving. They make a vastly superior product.
     
  8. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Interesting stuff here. I expected to read the same information I've seen posted in the past on this topic, but was pleasantly surprised by the comments/input being posted here from some members that obviously have a fair bit of first hand experience. Thanks to all for posting.

    One thing that surprised me was to read that button-rifled barrels may take the heat of fire better than cut-rifled. I'd tend to believe it is most directly related to the specific grade of barrel steel rather than the method of rifling. I've read in the past that cut rifled barrels may last longer prior to burning out the throat area because rifling can be cut into steel that is more heat resistanct than the button rifling method can handle. Is there any accepted train of thought on this issue? I mean, can cut-rifled barrel manufacturers use a tougher, more heat resistant grade of steel than button-rifled barrel manufacturers, such that one could reliably expect a longer throat life from a cut-rifled barrel?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2009
  9. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    The opinions and theories, that have been posted on this and other forums, about which method of rifling handles heat better are just that, theory and opinion. The same is true concerning which type of rifling process produces the most accurate barrels. Shooters are notoriously accustomed to following the leader. If someone wins a big match with a cut rifled, gain twist barrel, within the next few weeks many shooters will switch to cut rifled, gain twist barrels. As to material used for barrels, most stainless steel barrels being made today are made from 416 alloy steel. Some are not. This alloy lends itself to machining easily and holds up to wear and tear as well as any alloy out there. If it didn't, the barrel makers would not use it. There have been many experiments on stress relieving and heat treating 416 steel. I have yet to have any one barrel maker tell me, his process for stress relieving barrels. I have also never had any of them tell me what lube they use on a button. Everyone has their method and some, if not all have their own secret procedures. I respect that.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  10. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Would you suggest that all of the thriving gas stations are in business because they offer a superior product?
    Superior to what?

    Barrels made twenty years ago?
    I don't know about this. Most barrel makers are using pretty old machining technology, and I bet they knew what they were doing back in the day.. Of all the components that have changed in my life, I think of barrels least.
    Perhaps superior accuracy to factory?
    Well, beyond cleaning, and your reamer, this might be pretty hard to prove. You just have to step away from turn-key point blank BR(6ppc, 30br) to see it.

    If you aftermarket rebarrel a hunting gun, in 22-250 for comparison against a Savage. Set em up, work the ammo up & down. You might not see your aftermarket outperform this factory..
    Now I'm not talking about which can hold the longest string of shots into a hole at 100yds either. These are hunting guns. Stretch em out a bit, and measure to center of mark. Afterall, it takes only one shot to define accuracy.
    If you wanna see consistancy, let em cool and do it again..

    Now, there are factory guns that perform very well, as well as customs that can whip all before them. But most of both don't. It is an abstract. A crap-shoot.
    You imply 20yrs of BR shooting Eddie, maybe in competition. Well, I have never..
    But I'll submit that true competitors don't believe things are as good as it gets.
    They just don't.
     
  11. Gunnersaw1

    Gunnersaw1 Active Member

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    wow This is the type of discusion that I was hoping for. THANKS
     
  12. TOM H

    TOM H Well-Known Member

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    Barrel is only as good as the gunsmith. I've got cut,button,5c,5r,rachet rifling on some of my rifles and some make different grades of barrels.

    I see got a Broughton,Hart,Shilen,Chanlynn,Lawton,Kreiger,Bartlein,still have some K&P barrels,
    Kostyshyn,Lilja,Obermeyer,Pac-Nor,Douglas getting ready to order a Rockcreek. I just pick a barrel not that ones better than the other plus I like to try different ones.

    I agree there are some good shooting factory rifles but I disagree buy a Kreiger,Bartlein etc is a crap shoot. it's a crap shoot if you cann't shoot the rifle bad gunsmith etc and that easy to find out just send the rifle back to the barrel manufactor. You pull up their site and they tell you about the warranty.

    My self I've always own the factory caliber before I rebarrel a deer/elk rifle.
     
  13. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    Mike, I guess that's why the old saying, "that's why they don't only make vanilla", applies. I once had a shooter tell me there is no such thing as a "hummer barrel". My responce was that he obviously had never owned one and that that was a pity. Once you have owned a true "hummer" your life will never be the same. Accuracy requirements differ from sport to sport and from shooter to shooter. I build quite a few Highpower longrange rifles and the accuracy requirements for these shooters is everybit as important as to us short range BR shooters. Think about this, do you know anyone who would go to Camp Perry with a factory rifle and expect to be competitive? If your present set-up is acceptable to you, for your shooting needs, good for you. I just don't agree with your theory about custom made match grade barrels. If that theory were true, those Savages, which use buttoned rifled barrels, would be winning major matches all over the country. I have had my say and respectfully withdraw from the subject.
     
  14. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    I can see both sides to this argument.

    The most accurate barrel I have ever used was a factory barrel. I was very sad when it was used up and no longer servicable. I have had some factory barrels shoot well and some that have shot like poop. On the flip side, I have had some "custom" barrels that shot very very good and some that shot like poop. The difference here is when a custom barrel shoots like poop, they will replace it. Most factory rifle manufacturers dont care if it shoots like poop. I have also looked at both factory barrels and custom barrels through a bore scope and was very suprised at what I saw. Most factory barrels look pretty horrible that it is suprising that they shoot as good as they do. however, after making these side by side comparisons, I will most likely never use a factory barrel again. My opinion is that yes you have a chance of getting a custom barrel that is a turd, but less of a chance than with a factory barrel. The point is that factory barrels can in quite a few cases be real gems. They may clean up harder but they sure can shoot. Custom barrels typically have more consistent results and clean up much easier. The problem with quality custom bores is they are as smooth as they are ever going to be and can only degrade by use of harsh chemicals or abrasives. It really doesnt take much to pit a very smooth barrel with hard chemicals such as amonia.

    The biggest reasons I think aftermarket barrels are better is because the tolerences are tighter, you can get the twist you want instead of what the factory offers, you can get a contour you like, flutes, in some cases you have options for land and groove numbers and demensions, and the finish lends itself to easier clean up AND if it is a turd, they will replace it. If that isnt "better" I dont know what is. It isnt that factory barrels are worthless, I just think you can get more predictable results with a custom and in a package that is pleasing to [you].