flutes or no flutes

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by bigry26, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. bigry26

    bigry26 Well-Known Member

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    I am trying to decide if I want to have my new barrel fluted. I read on shilens page that they dont recommend fluting. This is what they say I need some advise on this. The barrel will be a 308 in a light palma or varmint contour and 24" long

    Fluting is a service we neither offer nor recommend. If you have a Shilen barrel fluted, the warranty is void. Fluting a barrel can induce unrecoverable stresses that will encourage warping when heated and can also swell the bore dimensions, causing loose spots in the bore. A solid (un-fluted) barrel is more rigid than a fluted barrel of equal diameter. A fluted barrel is more rigid than a solid barrel of equal weight. All rifle barrels flex when fired. Accuracy requires that they simply flex the same and return the same each time they are fired, hence the requirement for a pillar bedded action and free floating barrel. The unrecoverable stresses that fluting can induce will cause the barrel to flex differently or not return from the flexing without cooling down a major amount. This is usually longer than a shooter has to wait for the next shot. The claim of the flutes helping to wick heat away faster is true, but the benefit of the flutes is not recognizable in this regard until the barrel is already too hot.
     
  2. No Fear in Accuracy

    No Fear in Accuracy Well-Known Member

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    If it is a straight thick barrel, the the flutes will save some grams.

    Do you actually need the flutes? Make the barrel a bit lighter and cooler? It is your choice.
     

  3. load

    load Well-Known Member

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    bead blasting works as well for cooling as fluting without the uneven swelling of a fluted barrel. the notion that fluting makes a barrel stiffer is falsegun)
     
  4. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    You'd think Weatherby, Remington, and custom barrel manufacturer's would have stopped fluting ages ago if it couldn't be accomplished without degrading rifle and barrel accuracy. No? After all, who wants to manufacture and sell custom fluted barrels that shoot poorly. Wouldn't that be a self-defeating business model? Since the primary point of purchasing a custom aftermarket barrel is to help improve and ensure rifle accuracy?


    I think the answer on fluting is not as simple as Shilen's web site. They prefer not to offer fluting. That doesn't equate to "Therefore fluting destroys accuracy." Or that other manufacturers can't flute their barrel's without harming the accuracy of their aftermarket barrels and factory or custom rifles.
     
  5. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Re: Perhaps Shilen needs to begin Fluting?

    Based on some rather negative user feedback in this Thread, perhaps Shilen ought to consider fluting some of their barrels. The impression I came away with is that a fair percentage of their barrels - minus flutes - haven't performed up to par with respect to accuracy.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f19/what-barrel-83879/index3.html
     
  6. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

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    When I spoke with someone at Krieger just a couple of weeks ago, they said they will NOT flute a barrel once it is off the lathe. I asked if I could send my .277 bbl back to them for fluting.

    I have 2 fluted bbls. One is a PacNor and the way the fluting came about was the builder, John Noveske, had already built my 30.06. He later got his fluting machine and said that he would do mine for free if I wanted so he could use the new machine, and that if accuracy changed at all, he'd replace the barrel.

    I noticed no change whatsoever in accuracy with already proven loads.

    The other is a Lilja barrel fluted by him and sold to Kirby for my 270 AM.

    So, if you choose to get a fluted barrel, it is my opinion that the barrel maker should do the fluting because if the finished rifle won't shoot, it's on them. They cannot come back at you later and say that they are not going to help you out with a replacement because someone else fluted the barrel and they have no control over someone else's technique or skill.
     
  7. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Derek,

    I agree that fluting should be done by the barrel maker. I'm not familiar with which step fluting takes place but I seem to understand that fluting happens early on in the barrel making process.

    I've been warned by several to not have a finished and installed barrel fluted. Thus I have no experience.

    It may be a bit of luck that no change in performance was experienced in either of those two barrels.
     
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    The first two fluted barrels I had were a disaster and would not shoot better than 1 MOA with
    any load.

    I worried about it and decided to do some quality control and much to my suprise there was
    not one dimension that was the same from flute to flute.

    I could not believe that anyone could screw up something as simple as fluting but they did.

    For many years I would not touch a fluted barrel much less use one. One day while talking to
    Dan Lilja about a barrel, he ask if I wanted it fluted. Aparently I said not on your life and
    that puzzled him enough to ask why.

    After I told him of my bad luck he said there was no reason that a proper fluting job would/should
    hurt accuracy, He went on to tell me if he did the fluting it would be right.

    So against my better judgment I ordered one for one of my personal builds (I did not want to
    gamble with a friends rifle.

    After recieving the barrel I checked it out and it was perfict. and the rifle shoots 1/10 MOA.

    So In my opinion if the barrel maker does the fluting and gauranties the barrel then you should
    be good to go.

    I talked to Shillen and they dont flute so they void the gauranty if anyone else flutes thier barrel
    because they dont know who will flute it.

    Fluting is more for looks than any other reason. the only thing that is questionable about it is
    that you dont see bench rest shooters fluting there barrels.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. stevescg80

    stevescg80 Well-Known Member

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    I personally have 4 shilen barrels on rifle that were fluted after the fact by Karl kampfeld every one shoots very well under a half inch 2 are select stainless 2 are chromoly I send all my fluting to Karl for mine and customer rifles I have the ability to flute and choose to let him do it. If properly fluted you shouldnt have a problem!
     
  10. Wile E Coyote

    Wile E Coyote Well-Known Member

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    My most accurate rifles all have fluted barrels with the exception of one.

    First one is a Hart barreled 7mm. Hart did the action and barrel work including flutes (6) and bead blasting to reduce glare. This rifle will has shot several groups that were <1/4 MOA at distances over 500 yards. I'm sure if I ever learn how to shoot, this rifle will do better.

    Second notable is a factory .223 Remington 700. I mention this because of this guns history. The thing shot Ok groups when it was new; about a MOA or so but never better. After a couple hundred rounds, I was about to send it out to be re-barrelled when someone suggested to firelap it just to see what the process would do. That made all the difference in the world. I have over 4000 rounds through it since lapping and it will still shoot groups like the one in the signature pic and better. I have yet to have a coyote or woodchuck complain it won't shoot!

    The un-fluted rifle is a Kimber 82 govt 22LR a single shot target 22 that always shot great. This gun has never had any work done to it. It was kimber of Oregon's premium offering when it was new.

    My point hear is what is of the ultimate importance to the quality of the barrel is what has been done inside the bore; the quality of the bore, rifling, ect. But as has been mentioned already, whoever builds the barrel should be the one to flute it. I don't believe the stiffness of the barrel changes when one is fluted but rather it is a question of harmonics.

    Another point to look at. Look at all the pics of great shooting rifles that are posted in this forum. Many if not most of them have fluted barrels.

    just my .02
     
  11. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

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    I saved his website a long long time ago when he posted that he wasn't taking ANY new work so he could stay caught up with existing builds. I would LOVE to have a rifle that looks JUST LIKE THIS:

    257 Weatherby Widow Maker

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Roy, I seem to recall one bbl maker saying that fluting was their LAST process and another told me that they flute PRIOR to final lapping. Regardless, as far as I'm concerned the bbl maker is the first choice to flute. That said, if someone like Kampfeld can do it to a known shooter and it doesn't change, then great.

    I never liked the looks of bbl fluting and had mixed emotions about doing it to my 30.06 but I did it and did the bolt body so I'm very pleased with it and would have a fluted bbl again.
     
  12. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    Fact: Standard fluting practices do not induce 'stress' onto or into a barrel. Cutting metal away does not induce stress.

    Fact: Of the 2 barrels of equal length and of equal contour, the un-fluted barrel will be more rigid.

    Fact: A fluted barrel will dissipate heat more so than an un-fluted barrel but NOT at a substantial rate.

    If done in a concentric and consistent manner, accuracy potential should be the same as an un-fluted barrel.

    Shilens are button barrels. Buttons displace metal while forming grooves. Metal is NOT removed or cut in any way. It is simply displaced. If the barrel is not stress relieved, then any modifications to the outside of the barrel can cause changes inside the barrel (IE turning the barrel can cause the inside diameter to grow, fluting can allter the dimensions of the bore etc...). Maybe they dont stress relieve their barrels who knows.

    Any cut rifled barrel should be able to be fluted at any time during its life without problems or stress. A button pulled/pushed barrel should be able to be done after stress relief without any trouble. I could be wrong on that. According to Mike Degerness, the inventor of ABS barrels stated to me that once a button barrel has been stress relieved, turning and fluting are no longer an issue.

    I like fluted barrels for hunting rifles simply to save some weight. I like certain contours and at this point need certain contours to fit my stocks and fluting affords some weight savings while mantaining those contours.

    The downside I have found to flutes is they collect water and snow, which when fired, gets launched onto your scope's objective lense when fired.

    As far as accuracy, I have yet to be able to see any difference one way or the other. I have had 1/4MOA guns without flutes and 1/4MOA guns with flutes. Done properly, are not an issue.
     
  13. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Michael,

    Thanks for putting me straight.
     
  14. wolf6151

    wolf6151 New Member

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    I think Michaels write up was dead on perfect, read it and then read it again.

    To me fluting is a personal preference issue and is used for cosmetic reasons not functionality reasons. JMO, I think it's a sales gimmick used by manufacturers to sell guns. The heat disippation issue is so minute as to be irrelevant. I personally don't like fluted barrels but some folks do, it's all personal preference.