Barrel break-in for lapped barrels

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Litehiker, Sep 14, 2019.


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  1. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday I went to my range to sight in my new 6.5 PRC X-Bolt. Managed a 3/4" final group at 200 yards off a bench rest - cement bench, cast iron rest.

    I shot 18 rounds with no cleaning between rounds. Today I'm soaking the barrel bore in Slip 2000 Copper Cutter solution for 20 minutes then cleaning it with a plastic brush and patches.

    Since the barrel was already factory lapped I saw no reason to clean between each round. The lapping IS the break-in when compared to un-lapped barrels. (IMHO, that is)

    The next tim I shoot will be for a Magnetospeed V3 velocity check on my ammo. Ten rounds for a decent average velocity and then I'll clean it with Hoppe's #9. That should give me enough copper residue remaining for good accuracy.

    1. Anyone see any problems with this "method"?
    2. Would cleaning every 40 to 50 rounds be enough? (With copper cleaning every 200 rounds?)

    Eric B.
     
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  2. villagelightsmith

    villagelightsmith Active Member

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    "Eye of newt and toe of frog, toad that under cold stone days and nights was thirty-one. Boil, bubble, moil and trouble ... " ... or something to that effect! It's one more OCD part of shooting that we all enjoy. Everybody has his rituals. I stood aghast as one custom barrelsmith wrapped a bit of steel wool around a worn-out brush and took a few swipes through my newly cut-rifled barrel before chambering it! And yes, though I still shake my head in unbelief, that rifle shoots!
     
  3. okie man

    okie man Well-Known Member

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    I cringed every time I push a cleaning rod down a rifle barrel. I do what ever I can to keep the number of passes with a cleaning rod down. Including using a small piece of steel wool on a badly fouled bore
     
  4. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    Gents,
    !. no steel wool cleaning - ever
    2. no cleaning with a rod, just a breech to muzzle coated cable pull-through for brushes, patches and swabs. Only plastic brushes.

    But yes, "lightsmith", barrel break-in is an arcane topic that means I may try "eye of newt" next - if I get enough recommendation here. Amazon will have for sure.

    Eric B.
    BTW, thanks for the responses. Is kinda relieves me to know I'm not totally off the reservation for my method.
     
  5. jimreed1948

    jimreed1948 Member

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    I have several cleaning rods but they never get used. Some years ago, I saw a 22 benchrest shooter pull something through his barrel and found it to be weed eater line. He told me he never used a cleaning rod and also cut his own patches for the right fit.

    So now in my range box is a roll of weed eater line. Tie a knot in one end and cut the opposite end on a slight angle to make the patch go on easier the pull it through. I've used Wipe Out and Butch's Bore shine and both work very well.
     
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  6. Barrelnut

    Barrelnut Well-Known Member

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    I believe that the barrel is lapped by the manufacturer before it is shipped to the smith to be chambered. So, for a lapped, barrel the break-in is actually meant to smooth out any minute burs left over from cutting the chamber. I guess... unless you keep an Eye of newt and toe of frog in your pocket.
     
  7. Deputy819

    Deputy819 Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Method sounds pretty reasonable. 50 “ish” rounds is where my hand-lapped Criterion barrel (.280AI) seems to start complaining from carbon fouling. At that point I pretty much hose it out with Butch’s Bore Shine until I can push a dry patch through and and it comes out clean. Maybe eye of newt would be quicker?
    Usually takes @ 10 shots after that to truly stabilize for consistent Magnetospeed readings. According to my notes, during break-in I cleaned at shot #25 and there was no copper fouling on the patches at all and I haven’t seen any since. 123 rounds fired to date.
    How many rounds on your new X-Bolt?
     
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I don't see any problem, I just believe that unless you shoot and clean you don't really brake the barrel in because the copper fouling prevents the bullet from breaking it in as fast, and the brake in can be uneven and prevent the barrel from reaching it's potential.

    I have taken barrels with hundreds of rounds through them and when you cleaned them, they fouled all over again for the same reason. then when I decided to do a normal break in, they stopped fouling as quick and shot better groups.

    I have also started out using a chronograph and saw very little improvements in velocity if I didn't clean every round in the beginning and load development did not go well and took many load to find the "one".

    Not to long ago I decided to chronograph a brand new premium hand lapped barrel
    from the first shot fired in it until I saw a change in it using the shoot and clean procedure for break in. I was surprised with what I saw in the test.

    Here are the results =https://www.longrangehunting.com/threads/new-barrel-break-in-and-cleaning-methods.160450/page-2 Post # 20

    I had known for many years that a good break in was important and had many benefits but the test proved it at least to me. judge it for your selves and decide if it makes a deference.

    J E CUSTOM
     
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  9. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I don't see any problem, I just believe that unless you shoot and clean you don't really brake the barrel in because the copper fouling prevents the bullet from breaking it in as fast, and the brake in can be uneven and prevent the barrel from reaching it's potential.

    I have taken barrels with hundreds of rounds through them and when you cleaned them, they fouled all over again for the same reason. then when I decided to do a normal break in, they stopped fouling as quick and shot better groups.

    I have also started out using a chronograph and saw very little improvements in velocity if I didn't clean every round in the beginning and load development did not go well and took many load to find the "one".

    Not to long ago I decided to chronograph a brand new premium hand lapped barrel
    from the first shot fired in it until I saw a change in it using the shoot and clean procedure for break in. I was surprised with what I saw in the test.

    Here are the results =https://www.longrangehunting.com/threads/new-barrel-break-in-and-cleaning-methods.160450/page-2 Post # 20

    I had known for many years that a good break in was important and had many benefits but the test proved it at least to me. judge it for your selves and decide if it makes a deference.

    J E CUSTOM
     
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  10. villagelightsmith

    villagelightsmith Active Member

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    The barrel maker was, I believe, using a few passes of steel wool to relieve sharp cutting edges and micro-burrs left over from the rifling-cutting process. It was not a cleaning process, and I would never use it as such, except perhaps in an ill-used, badly stored blackpowder barrel or something equivalent. When your borescope reveals a rough and rocky, washboarded road, it might be time to return to a stroke or two with the stuff.
    I have never used it myself, except on just that kind of blackpowder barrel or one in which corrosive priming was used and the bore never cleaned.
    We do use (horrors!) abrasives from time to time to lap a barrel. But think about what the barrel maker has run through that bore ... cutting tools!
    I am curious, however, about the use and effect of bronze wool in such a barrel. I am told it will cut rust (oxides) but not steel.
    If anybody has used the stuff, please educate us here!
     
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  11. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    First, I'd get a rod, dragging a cable through a dirty bore then dragging that over the last thing the bullet sees is just no good.
    Second throw the plastic brushes in the garbage can and get some quality bronze brushes so you can actually clean, they don't do anything but make you feel good, they certainly don't clean!!
     
  12. Kimber7man

    Kimber7man Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    I’m a believer in Bartlein barrels.

    Here’s my new rifle with the first 6 shots. First 3 shot group is on the right. I adjusted the scope a little and the next 3 shot group is on the left. Rifle is now broken in as far as I’m concerned.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. PredatorSlayer

    PredatorSlayer Well-Known Member

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    Barrel break in is an Archaic practice that doesn’t do anything...a few swipes of a nylon brush and some solvent for the first 30 rounds is going to make a barrel shoot better? No way...I just don’t buy it. I got caught up in that snake oil several years ago, stopped and haven’t noticed a difference. The gun will either shoot or it won’t. Seriously, think about it? What’s so special about those first 20 or 30 rounds? When they test fire rifles in the factory for an accuracy guarantee are the breaking them in with 30 rounds and running a brush through it every few rounds before they shoot your groups. No.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
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  14. Wolf76

    Wolf76 Well-Known Member

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    One big consideration here is the difference between factory and aftermarket barrels.
    Factory stuff in large part needs 100-150 shots through it before it starts to shoot. Have seen it repeatedly with 700s, howas, weatherby, and even sako.
    Removing tooling marks/ polishing is why velocity starts to improve as well.
    Even on aftermarket barrels, velocity picks up to some extent.
    I'll clean more in the beginning until velocity stabilizes. Then only every 150-200 shots or when putting them away for awhile.
    This subject reminds me of golf, everybody has their own swing.