Does fluting affect barrel accuracy?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by cowboy717, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. cowboy717

    cowboy717 Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Im talking to a smith to build a rifle. Im wanting a fluted barrel but hes trying to talk me out if it saying they are less accurate? Is there any truth to this? Ive seen many fluted barrels on this site that shoot amazing. And i have a vtr in 308 that shoots very well too.
  2. c_bass16

    c_bass16 Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2009
    According to Shilen...yes.
    They won't do it from the shop and it will void the warranty if you have your smith do it. I'm not an expert and have no equipment/funds to verify anything like this...but I'll take their word for it.
    In fact, I am having my .243WSSM AR rebarreled with a Shilen Select Match, AND I bought 2 more for bolt guns...that I planned to flute, and have since decided not to.

    I'm young and tough and could care less about weight, I was doing it more for the look, and I don't care enough about the look to risk messing with the accuracy.

  3. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

    Apr 29, 2012
    Copied from FAQ on Lilja's web site

  4. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2011
    Guys on here have guns that shoot half MOA past 1k and their barrels are fluted. I don't think it's an issue.
  5. Hunter2678

    Hunter2678 Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2012
    Phewww I was worried there for a second...
  6. Aldon

    Aldon Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2009
    It is like the lottery.

    It can and does occasionally effect accuracy.

    Two major barrel makers have statements to that affect. One is more specific that the actual fluting does not cause it but the relieving of stresses can eventually result in warping etc...

    So it really comes down to whether you are a risk taker or risk averse.

    Make an informed decision and be willing to accept what you get.

    As noted, there are many who have accurate fluted barrels.

    I have a rifle that is indicative of the Lilja explanation.

    I really like the look of fluting more than I care about the minimal weight reduction. i am particularly fond of the interupted fluting. I may even choose to go this way in the future.

    However if I do, there is a real risk, albeit perhaps not a significant one, that I will end up with another dog. In the end, I am out the cost of the barrel and the smith work along with the time without the rifle. As such, that is the information I have to weigh should I want to go the route of interupted fluting in the future.

    In short, the mere fact that there are those that have accurate fluted barrels does not wholly negate the information from Shilen and Lilja.
  7. Outlaw6.0

    Outlaw6.0 Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    This is an interesting topic. One which much folklore & hypermythology has been created (I just made that word up:D).

    The major differences you will see in whether or not fluting will effect a barrel is (in my sheltered world) a direct reflection of what type of rifling the barrel wears.

    I have several Shilen barrels & they shoot awesome. Shilen (among others) are button rifled barrel. The material is displaced by the button, not removed like a cut rifled barrel. So imagine a few spiral pressure ridges (for lack of a better term) running down your barrel. Now, start to remove material from the other side of the barrel... See how that COULD create a problem? Think about the barrel density as the flutes (straight) pass over the area where the button has displaced the material during the creation of the rifling. Inconsistencies abound! At least from a plausability stand point.... Now there is going to be the gent that says "Hey! My Savage barrel is button rifled & fluted too! So phuey on you!"... take a a long hard look at your fluted Savage barrel (I have 2 & both shoot well). the barrel diameter is larger than a sporter & the flutes are FAR shallower than an aftermarket fluted bbl. I would imagine (I do that often lol) there is a very good reason for that procedure.

    A cut rifled barrel having the material removed rather than displaced should not incur these issues as there is very little material "compaction" from the rifling process.

    Clear as mud?

    Fluting a barrel seems to be the modern version of Truth or Dare....:rolleyes:

    Button Rifled Barrels:
    Can you? Of course
    Will is hurt it? Plausable.

    Cut Rifled Barrels:
    Can you? Of Course
    Will it hurt? Probably not.

    PS- This is solely my opinion & a good bit of experience with Gunsmiths & use of both barrel types. This is not an end all for the discussion, merely my .002 - Enjoy
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  8. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    I don't know about all the mumbo jumbo theory.

    But, you're pretty much ok if you find a maker that'll flute their own barrel and honor the warranty.

    Occasionally, all makers turn out a lemon whether it's fluted or not.

    -- richard
  9. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2005
    No --- if fluting is done correctly it will not have a negative effect on the tube. Many world records have been set with fluted tubes in the BR game. Almost all of my rifles have fluted barrels and that includes the competition ones as well. If anyone tells you that the act of fluting itself will decrease the accuracy potential of a barrel by the act itself you need to find a good Smith that knows what he or she is doing. Mine does so I do not have to worry.
  10. 7stw

    7stw Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2010
    To my best understanding of the reason for for fluting, other than the aesthetics, is, that it is two fold. It stiffens the barrel, which in turn, should enhance accuracy, and secondly, it adds surface area, which aids in cooling, both of which to me, seem to have an affect on accuracy. From a pure mechanical standpoint, I would say yes, it does add to the accuracy . It seems to me, that the fluted barrels that I have shot, seem to be easier to " get to shoot" versus non fluted. ( ALL else being equal).
  11. RTK

    RTK Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2012
    Actually, if two identical sized/shaped/weight barrels where one was fluted vs the other that has not been fluted, the non fluted barrel will be stiffer than the fluted one, but the fluted one will be lighter.
    The increased cooling d/t increased surface area is negligible as I have been told
  12. shortpants

    shortpants Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    Commen sense tells you that if it cools faster it also heats up faster. The stiffness argument was answered above. Word games. 2 barrels of the same weight one fluted one not, the fluted will be stiffer. It will also have to be a heavier contour to end up at the same weight.
  13. calling4life

    calling4life Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2012
    For me
    Button rifled= don't flute, and actually for me right now it = don't buy. For reasons previously stated.

    Cut rifled= go ahead, my rock is fluted, I wanted the bit of weight savings.

    With the quality cut rifled barrels, I just don't have a reason to go button rifled, especially if I'm trying to justify it because I may save $50...

    As with anything, if the person doing the fluting tries to stretch the limits, or makes an error etc... then you may get adverse affects. But this is the same with chambering and cleaning and bedding bla bla bla

    I'll personally get fluted from the manufacturer as well, this mitigates risk.
  14. jehu

    jehu Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    My Sako 85 Finnlite 22-250 with pencil fluted barrel heats up very quickly and starts walking groups to the right as it gets hotter.