Deep cut Fluting on Barrels


Well-Known Member
Dec 16, 2004
Hello All,

I am interested in purchasing a barrel for a .270Wby.
I would like this barrel to be a large diameter, 26" long but ofcourse very light in weight (for hunting).
Does anybody know of an outfit that cuts deep wide flutes in barrels that would preserve it's stiffness but hog out enough material to make it significantly lighter than the shallow fluting that I see on most comercial barrels which seem to be more for looks than anything else.

Would something like this be a custom job that the barrel manufacturer would design and do or would a smith perform this kind of work.

The reason I ask, is that I was in a gun store several years back and I noticed a .338 sniper rifle that looked like it had a nice thick bull barrel but when I picked it up, it was so light that I had to ask if it was made of some light weight allow. I was told that there was nothing special about it except for the deep cut flutes in the barrel which reduced its weight significantly.

Does anybody know who might do such work or where such barrels might be found.

You can order a barrel from Dan Lilja and he will cut the flutes into the barrel for you for around an extra $120 bucks. Several gunsmiths do this too. I know John Noveske does:, Grants Pass, Oregon. In fact I think several barrel makers will flute the barrel before they send it out.
I have the capability to cut such flutes- but would suggest the barrel be rifled but not lapped and then sent back to the barrel maker for final lappping and stressed relieving.
Give Tim North a call at Broughton barrels and he can explain why a bit better than I can.....
For the right amount of money you can have your barrel fluted how ever you want. I have been on the phone with several barrel makes ver the past few weeks asking questions about their fluting process. I'll pass along a little of what I have been told.

1) Krieger barrels : their barrels are cut rifles so their is no stress induced into their barrels so when the flute that is the last process. Now their standard flutes are a number of 10-12 their 3/16 wide and generaly only cut to a depth of .040"-.060" deep. the flute for heat instead of weight loss. The will flute your barrel how ever you want but they will not cut the flutes any closer to the bore than .196" price is $95

2)Pac-Nor : they will flute your barrel with up to 6 flutes in a varity of widths from 1/8" to 3/8" and will only cut them to within .150" of the bore. Their barrels are Buttoned rifled so their is alot of stress induced in to their barrels that has to be relieved and fluting will relieve that stress so their barrels have to be fluted before they are finish lapped. Price is $125

3) Broughton barrels : their button rifled like Pac-Nor they will flute your barrel to basicaly what ever you want , but they don't do the fluting it si sent out to sombody else fluted then sent back for the finishing stress relief and lapping , I coulden't be told how deep they would cut them because the guy that does the fluting has a formula ,I'm guessing that he woulden't run the flutes any deeper than to within .150" of the bore either. their price is $160

) Rock Creek : Mike will flute you barrel basicaly as deep and wide as you want , from what he told me the flutes his barrels even before they are cut rifled. He has two styles of fluting , one is the conventional round bottom and the other is a strait walled flat bottomed V taper , from what he says this style is the best because it allows for a thicker "beam" at the bottom. Price is $100

Like Chris said I would definatly have the barrel maker do the fluting so if it does som way affect the accuracy you or the smith can deal with the barrel maker to get things right I don't think that any brand you get is going to make the barrel where it will be unsafe or un accurate.

Here are some calculations to see how deep you flutes will be the barrel is a M24 conture with the muzzel diameter of .900" and bore diameter of .270 and say you barrel maker will flute to within .150" of the bore.
subtract you bore size from the OD of the muzzel
.900-.270 = .630 devide this by 2 =.315 this is your wall thickness. Now subract the minimun wall allowance that the barrel can be cut to from your wall thickness
.315-.150 = .165 that is the maximum depth that your barrel can be fluted to. Those are some pretty deep flutes !!!

Personaly I have decided that I'm not gonna have my flutes to much wider than the "land" between tham will be for example On a M24 conture I'll have 6 - .250" wide flutes , that will give me a land width of .221" I feel that this will allow for a great deel of stiffness yet still allowing for a good weight loss and good surface area for cooling.

Sorry for the long post and any mispelling or hell if this doesen't make any since at all !! I've been coaxing a bottle of Crown Royal this evening
There is a lot of talk out there about not fluting after the barrel has been lapped and all. On several of my own rifles, I barreled them without flutes, did the break in and load developement and shot groups for accuracy. Then fluted the barrel and saw no adverse effects on accuracy, velocity or any other. Are there any Smiths out there that have actually seen FIRST HAND an adverse reaction to fluting??? I have yet to meet one.
Me either but I do know that if somebdy gets a little crazy with the feed rate on their mill theoey could do some serious damage so I guess that any decient smith woulden't see any adverse effects , BUT , 99% of the barrel makers out their will void any sort of accuracy guarnty if their don't do the fluting for the reason of somebody getting the cutter to hot or trying to make to deep of cuts and stressing the barrel. If your gonna be dropping $300 on a tube , you may as well have the maker do the cutting.
While I am a proponent of fluting heavy target barrels (I have a Krieger and Obermeyer, both of which are fluted), I would not recommend having it done on anything other than a cut rifled barrel due to the stress induced to button rifled and hammer forged barrels. Just MHO.

Thanks Guys,

You know, if congress would be able to get along as well as the members on this board, then this country really would be The Shining City on the Hill.

JDJones, thanks for going into the details. That's the kind of information I was looking for. And may I say that the Crown Royal did not affect your reasoning or math skills at all. Everything adds up! As a matter of fact, you have just proven that crown royal only slightly effects the portion of the brain that controls spelling.:D

Thanks again guys, I really appreciate all your responses.

Vic , the guy that i talked to at GA presision said that they would flute a barrel as deep as .220" not to sure if they have a minimun barrel wall thickness that they will flute to but you may want to give them a call.

Chris at Pac-Nor said that if you want the maximum weight reduction they will do the calculation and flute it which ever way adds up to the most weight loss.

I think that a 5/16 wide flute would make for a good size , on a muzzle diameter of .900 , six flutes 5/16 wide would give you lands that would be .158 wide , you would still probably have a great deal of stiffness in that barrel if you were to run the flutes to say .100-.125 deep.
If the gun isin't gonna be used for shoot more than 5 shots or so I don't think it would heat up enough to worry about
As we speak, George at GA Percision is rebuilding my tactical rifle (almost 17.5 pounds with scope) into his new TIS (Tactical Intervention Specialty) series rifle. Total weight of this rifle with scope will be 10.5 pounds. He also using a new McMillan A5 Edge tactical stock as well as new Badger Ordnance alluminum trigger guard/floor plate, mounts and rings.

George is using deep and I mean deep flutes on the barrel to help reduce weight. When I was in his shop a few weeks back I saw one of his barrels with the deep flutes. I have never seen anything like it before, but it sure helps to reduce weight. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif I've seen flutes on barrels before, but nothing this deep.

Give George a call and chat with him about what you're looking to do.

Hope it helps!
Will chime in here, since I still work at GA- these guys are right we are doing them to 220 thou deep on #7 (M24) contour barrels- the button barrels get sent back for lapping and stress relieving and the cut rifle are not- but they are done on a horizontal mill dedicated to fluting and George and I spent a week at Mike Rock's shop - I think I fluted over 100 some barrels while I was there under Mike's watch.......
you may want to try border barrels. they are well switched on and cut rifled tubes suit fluting better than button rifled tubes. the last one they did for me was the business!
Chris , does fluting a barrel that deep have any adverse effect. I did the math and flutes cut .220 deep on a 30 cal M24 barrel would leave you less than .080 wall thickness.

How wide are the flutes you guys are doing and how many are their? What does a barrel fluted realy deep like this weigh say a M24 conture 24" long in 30 cal?

Second question , if you are building the gun would you be able to cut the flutes on the Horizontal mill or does the boss frown on that?

For maximum weight loss what size flutes would "you" cut? I see now that Badger is making Alloy parts , would one be better off just trimming weight someplace else thater than fluting the barrel
After reading all these posts I realize there are a lot of smart people that believe in fluting a barrel is still a better way to save weight than the debacle of a carbon-fiber wrapped straw with fiflings.
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