Stock vs. Custom

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by jkupper, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. jkupper

    jkupper Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I have seen several people on these forums say things like "Remington barrels should be removed and used as a pry bar", or "Remington barrels should be taken off and used as a stake in the garden". I have 3 stock Remington rifles that all shoot 1/2 MOA groups, so I know that this line of thinking is baloney.

    I'm not trying to create a debate. I just have a question since I have never owned a custom barrel. I know it took a lot of work reloading to make my Remington's shoot. There were a lot of loads that they shot around 3" groups.

    Is the advantage of owning a Custom barrel that it will shoot everything well, or at least better? Do you avoid those 3" groups by getting a custom barrel? Are the worst groups around, say 1 1/2 at 100 yards? Just wondering as a guy who never had a custom barrel, but may be interested in the future. Thanks everyone!!!
     
  2. MMERSS

    MMERSS Well-Known Member

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    A custom barrel should give you a significantly higher degree of probability with producing the precision you are looking for. Some factory barrels will do the same, just not with consistent reliability compared to a custom. You don't hear the complaints "My custom barrel shoots like crap" with near the same frequency as a factory barrel.

    For the most part
    Custom= reliability and consistency
    factory=I hope I get a good one that can shoot with all those tool marks
     

  3. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Custom barrels are USUALLY machined and manufactured to much tighter tolerances than most factory rifle makers.

    Sometimes you can't always find what you need or want in a factory barrel, so that is where being able to custom order things makes it alot easier.

    If I am buying a factory Remington barrel, it is an old Sendero SF barrel or 5R MilSpec barrel, only. Those seem to have been made with a little more care than the standard SPS barrels.
     
  4. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    SPS barrels are actually MADE? I thought they grew from seed or something?:D
     
  5. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    :rolleyes: Come on now! You mean you didn't the new batch of barrel seeds? Damn, I knew I skipped someone when I was shipping them out...

    :D

    Of course, my buddy has an SPS .300 WM and his shoots better than most factory rifles I've ever shot. Load development was pretty easy for his, too.
     
  6. Truc

    Truc Well-Known Member

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    If you take a factory barrel and rechamber it they will shoot, but it will also copper foul terribly. Only factory barrel I ever had that wouldn't shoot was a Winchester 270 WSM. Couldn't even hit the paper at 50 yds. It got a Hart real quick then it shot.
     
  7. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    'Custom' barrels are still a crap shoot..
    For one, the barrels themselves are not really custom, but 'aftermarket'.
    The custom part comes in at finishing. But you're still finishing a barrel that while guaranteed good quality, may or may not offer better potential.
    Why is this?
    Well every barrel is still unique. They are not made to, and released from shop, verified to a blueprint, much less custom blueprint. I'm talking barrels here.
    They're made 'relatively consistently', however they are, with only an air gauge check from end to end to define consistency. Barring any issues, they go out the door to customers, without regard for any future feedback about it.
    To make them to a blueprint, means lapping to specific values for every aspect of the bore end to end. The bore, the grooves, the taper, the centering, straightness, widths, heights, at a set temperature, etc. Like cylinder finish lapping for a formula1 engine block. This takes actual measurement(not relative) along the way, a procedure, and the only barrel maker I'm aware of capable is Loather Walther(in lots of 20 barrels min).
    Last I checked, I could not get two of the same answers from top barrel makers about how they address & manage bore growth from contouring...

    Another thing you might notice; a barrel maker's product is not defined to set it apart from any others. There are none claiming theirs are 'better' than the others because of this or that attribute.
    None of them have defined what made a specific, proven performer, better than thousands of other barrels(including hundreds of their own). And then detailed how they painstakingly duplicate that better barrel before sale.
    They merely brag about how so & so shooter won whatever using one of theirs...
    That's an abstract that means nothing to you, or all the others who who don't/won't win a damn thing with one of their barrels.

    Anyway, if lucky enough to buy a barrel with great potential, your gunsmith could still screw up the finishing of it, or you chambered it with a low potential cartridge, or can't load develop or reload to it's potential. Now which was it? Who's accountable? Was it a great barrel to begin?
    Nobody will ever know.

    Really what you get in the best aftermarket barrels, over factory, is easy cleaning, and potential to do what you will with it's finishing. No accuracy improvement guarantees (apples to apples), no way.
     
  8. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    I have no idea who Mikecr is buying barrels from but that sure is not my experience with 30+ barrels from most mftrs. Many will offer special bores and can easily tell you what yours is. Plus most will stand behind their barrels and replace a bad one and they most certainly care about feedback!

    Bad barrels are pretty easy to distinguish with a bore scope. You will see occlusions (holes/pitting in the metal), shearing of lands etc at at early stage. It is also pretty easy to measure threading and chambers to determine if it was the gunsmith. That is more common than you think also.

    As for the reloading piece, I have seen more than one barrel sold that someone could not get to shoot and the next guy made it shoot like a house afire. Some people are fixated on only certain bullets, powders and primers and not every barrel will like that combination.

    All are subject to the quality of the steel they get in the blanks and good, better and worse shipments all come to them and it tends to happen at the same time to all of them. Most mftrs will tell you they have an exceptional run and guys buy an extra barrel or two to set aside.

    I know for a fact Tim North (Broughton) knows every dimension of his barrels and his finish is second to none. Clay Spencer was building AR10 barrels by the pallet loads for certain SOF units and they shot .5 MOA with ball in their guns. I have used Clays air guage on my barrels and then on one of his and there was a significant difference.

    the real advantage of match grade barrels is the final finish of the bore, which is easier cleaning than factory by far and the expectation that they will shoot much better than 99% of factory barrels and with almost any load.

    As for bore growth, that is normally only an issue if they flute afterward rifling for button rifled barrels, make major changes the contour after and someone tries to hand lap the barrel themselves or a local gunsmith.

    That is also why they cut a groove in the muzzle end of the blank to make sure that is cut off after lapping as the ends tend to be larger due to the hand lapping.
     
  9. jkupper

    jkupper Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. Those were the type of answers that I was looking for. I know that custom barrels are nice too because you can order the twist rate, contour, and finish that you want.

    I have shown my stock barrels a little more love than most too. The first 30 rounds I put down them I clean the bore with JB paste every 3 shots. Then I do it again after the next 10 shots. Then i shoot and clean the gun as i normally will. It seems to help.
     
  10. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Broughton, Border, Krieger, Lija, Schneider, Wilson, Pacnor, Savage, Browning, NEF/whatever.
    The aftermarket among these do offer lists to choose from, and they are pretty much the least expensive part of a build. I have no complaints of their product. But the 'standing behind their barrels part' is way way behind. Behind the gunsmith, and behind your proving of it as defective, in some manner that actually is. Otherwise, it's not a barrel makers fault,, it isn't.
    None have ever asked me how their barrel turned out & performed for me. I know someone cares -when they ask.
    I've only run across 2 'bad' barrels. The NEF factory fouled out within 8 shots, best I could get from it. Schneider sent a barrel that missed every single parameter ordered, and I had to beat junk out of it to get my borescope in. Their second attempt was only 2" short and wrong twist. But Gary did not care to hear it, and declared that he could not afford to be replacing every barrel out of his shop. So I chucked it in the nearest dumpster. I still ended up with a Schneider on a T2K. It shot fine.

    I think I said this, except, expectations aside, when barrel performance is taken to apples/apples(same shooting system), I highly doubt you'll find evidence of their being better 99% of the time(performance-wise) than factory.
    There are plenty of factory barrels shooting good in factory guns, with factory chambers. With many they could be re-chambered & made to shoot better -for the same factory gun.
    Now screw an aftermarket barrel on the same gun with the same weight/contour/chamber, and it could shoot better, or worse, just the same as screwing another factory barrel on there.
    As mentioned, you get easier cleaning most of the time.

    I never mean't to imply that aftermarket barrels are bad, better, or worse than factory.
    I use them and like them a lot.
    It's my contention that performance-wise, and barring a known 'problem', there is no basis to assume that an aftermarket barrel will IMPROVE the same shooting system.
    Until I see actual evidence otherwise, it appears a crapshoot to me.
     
  11. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

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    "***POP***" damn, Mike. There you go bursting another one of my bubbles. and just when I was feeling good about my custom barrels. I am definitely not inviting you over for dinner. What a joykill. :)