While perusing the boards, I have read about a number of aftermarket barrels. I am looking at putting a match barrel on one of my rifles (mostly for hunting purposes), and would like some input on what's out there. Thanks in advance.
I think if you ten people that question, you will get ten different answers. Most match barrels will shoot very well, it's normally a matter of personal preferance. I would suggest you stick with the "higher" brands, such as Lilja, Krieger, Pac Nor, Shilen, Hart, etc. They all turn out very high quality match grade barrels. I have used all of the barrels listed above, except Pac Nor, and had tremendous success. The only main difference with the above companies is the tolerance allowed and method of rifling (i.e. Krieger uses cut rifled/Hart uses button rifling). I have yet to see a difference when shooting. Of course, every barrel maker will say theirs is the best. I don't think this will help you much, but it's my two cents worth anyway.
I'm shooting a 25-06 AI built off a LH Rem 700 action with a Shilen bbl that I built in 1984. I have put in excess of 6,000 rounds through her at this time, and I still get 3/8 moa from her on my good days. On my bad days it's closer to 5/8 moa, but that's me. I have some recorded five shot groups that measure .14 recently with the 117g Sierra Boattail. Remember, this accuracy is achieved without the availability of match grade bullets. My normal hunting bullet is the 115g Nosler Partition, which will still give me .5 MOA from a dual core bullet. Pretty good barrel, I'd say.
One is a 30-06 with a Douglas #7. I am shooting handloads of 60 gr RL-19 under Sierra 190 grain matchking moly coated. I generally shoot 10 shot groups. A typical group will be about 1 inch with 8 or 9 holes in less than 1/2 inch.
The other is a .308 with a Adams and Bennet F54 (Rem. varmint contour)barrel from Midway ($69.00). Surprisingly to me, it shoots almost as well as the Douglas. Shooting the same bullets over 44 grains of RL-15. A typical 10 shot group will be about 1.25 inches with 8 or 9 in less than 3/4 inch.
I have heard that precise installation is more important than the closest manufacturing tolerance. In other words, precision installation will make a mediocre barrel shoot pretty well (hunting accuracy) but an unskilled installation can be a waste of the best of barrels. MM
I also believe that's true. Also, certain bolt actions tend to be more accurate. I am told because of precession lockup and alignment. I do know that when we were building custom rifles, we couldn't expect quite as good accuracy out of, lets say a customized military 98 action, as we could from, say a 700 Rem. action.
In my opinion, it's a good "strong" action. Most seem to be able to achieve fine accuracy. I really don't know if they would build as accurate of a rifle as, say a Remington or Savage action, but they are "strong", with nine locking luggs. Hey weatherby guarantees some exceptional accuracy from their rifles, with the right loads. What can I say?
Seems to me that if you start with a top-end barrel such as any of the ones mentioned, and I would add Mike Rock to that list (no doubt there are a few more) you will have the basics of a good shooter.
Your smith is the key to accuracy today since anyone can purchase a super barrel, Jewel trigger, McMillan stock, Nightforce scope, Badger Ord. mounts and pick up a case of Black Hills Ammo, Winchester Competition Supreme or Federal Gold Match - all of this stuff is readily available and will contribute to sub 1/2 minute accuracy.
The magic is trueing the action, tuning the trigger, installing the barrel with a perfect chamber, throat and crown, then pillar-bedding it with absolute perfection. A fine rifle builder once told me that accuracy is a matter of putting all of the best components and parts together with enough skill to extract their potential.
I am always in awe of the shooter who claims that he can achieve 1/2 minute accuracy from his rifle and ammo despite the fact that he only shoots one or two boxes of ammo a year.