Fancy Barrels - what's your experience ?

frankinaustin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2013
Messages
244
Question to those of you who have custom guns with high end barrels - Lilja, Hart, Brux, Shilen - any of them: are any better than another? Why get a fancy barrel? Is it more about getting the specific length, weight, etc? Let me know your wisdom, please.
 

jfseaman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2012
Messages
4,171
Location
California Central Coast
I'm going to restate "fancy barrels", do you mean high end custom vs. factory?

If so...

The reason to choose a particular manufacturer is the same as choosing one automobile maker over another. Then you have to choose a model. Then you have to choose the features and options.

With a barrel it is because

Brand: want, desire, believe in the manufacturer
Profile (model): suites the intended use
Options: want, desire believe in
Flutes
Steel
other
 

ShtrRdy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
3,472
Location
High Plains
If you're asking about an after market barrel versus I volume manufactured one, The main difference would be consistency in the bore and barrel. This consistency then leads to improved accuracy and, in particular, first round repeatability.

If you're asking about fluting, hexagonal, or other shape, those are mostly cosmetic with possibly some weight reduction.
 

MudRunner2005

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
14,708
Location
Alabama
Aftermarket barrels tend to be made with more care and precision. They are generally hand-lapped after the rifling process. Which also seperates factory barrels from aftermarket... Most aftermarket barrels are cut-rifled, but some are button-rifled, and a few are hammer-forged. Aftermarket match-grade barrels are also air-gauged to super-tight tolerances for consistancy. Also, their quality control standards are generally MUCH tighter than with mass manufactured factory barrels. Most factory barrels are hammer-forged, which is inexpensive, but when done right, can also be a precision barrel that will last a long time. Which is why you can generally make a factory barrel shoot pretty good with some hand or fire lapping, load development, and handloading for it. Granted, that won't work all the time (there will always be lemons out there), but more often than not, an experienced handloader can figure out if it's a shooter in about 50 rounds of load development, after break-in.

I have lots of semi-custom rifles that have worked-over factory barrels, that have been bore-scoped, re-chambered, hand-lapped, and then custom crowned. The cost is minimal since my smith is a friend of mine, and he knows how to make factory Remington barrels flat-out shoot... But, when those barrels get shot-out, I will be going with aftermarket barrels. Most likely Bartlein, since they offer the twists and contours that I prefer for my rifles, and they are cut-rifled 5R barrels. I have become quite the fan of 5R rifling since my first Remington 5R Milspec in 2009/2010.

So, also to re-state what the others before me have stated, aftermarket barrels give you alot more options for twist rates and contours, and rifling styles and patterns, than what you get with factory barrels. With factory barrels, you pretty much get what you get. With aftermarket, you not only have the benefits I stated above, but you also get a whole new world of choices to make your rifle better suit your needs for it.
 

MTBULLET

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2007
Messages
1,083
I've used bbls from Lilja/bartlein/pac-nor/bergara/montana x-treme/shilen/douglas , and I've found that if i do my part installing them, they all shot very well.
 

FEENIX

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2008
Messages
16,422
Location
Great Falls, MT
Here's video example of just one of the advantages of a custom barrel ...

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Garycrow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
503
Today I ran about 100 rounds through two of my long range rifles, one a 6BR savage with a criterion barrel shooting 105 gr. Amaxs and the other a 6.5x47 Lapua built on a M700 remington shooting 142 gr. sierra matchkings. Most of the shooting was at a 1000 yd steel 8x10" target and I hit it more often than not. I've never seen a rifle with a factory barrel that could do that with any degree of regularity. I'm sure there are some specialty factory rifles that could do it but they're few and far between. The barrel is the heart of the rifle, it's responsible for 90% of the accuracy of a rifle. In my experience a barrel by a top maker installed by a good gunsmith is worlds above anything the major manufacturers put out.
 

J E Custom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,723
Location
Texas
Quality and precision is the reason that a high end custom barrel is used on precision rifles.

You get what you pay for and barrels that are mas produced (Even the after market ones are not as good in my opinion and not that much cheaper that a top quality barrel.

J E CUSTOM
 

RevJim

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
669
Location
Sandy, UT
I've used Lilja, Douglas, Shilen, PacNor, Kreiger, $90 Adams & Bennet and $50 Remington take off barrels. I've had great experiences with all of them, but I had to fire-lap the A&B and some of the Remington factory barrels to get what the others had starting out. I tend to just use Shilens and Remingtons lately.
 

Bbear

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2007
Messages
318
One thing the others have left out is that going with an after-market barrel you can also get a rifle in a caliber not available with the main-stream manufacturers. 6.5 Creedmore was made 'legitimate' due to the number of shooters having barrels made in that caliber. You can also find some of the more obsolete or older cartridges by getting an after-market barrel. Not many makers are bringing out the newest 30/40 Krag models.
Then there is the combining of options to get a rifle just like you want it, like the 358 winchester I have that is built on a Long action. Something that even when it was a 'common' caliber nobody made.
Add to that, as was stated earlier, that you can get all sorts of barrel lengths, twist rates, contours etc with the after-market that just aren't available from the factories.
Shoot a so-called 'barrel-burner' like a 264 Win Mag or a 7mm Rem Mag and you'll find after-market barrels will bring an old favorite back to life.
 

Clark

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
755
I have barrels that are factory stress relieved and honed: Pac Nor, Shilen, Hart, Lothar Walther, Krieger, Lilja, and Parker Hale.

Those are the A's. They look great and are always good.

The B's are Shilen SS match, Criterion, Green Mountain, Douglas, Bergara, etc.
They don't look so good, but often shoot better than i can.
 

roninflag

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
3,276
Location
az
the difference in a 2500$ engine and a 25000$ engine. a factory barrel 45$ installed and a custom barrel 450$ installed. the difference is one decimal place; and performance.
 

Primary

LRH Assistant
Here are some related products that LRH members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to LRH’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to LRH discussions about these products.

 
 
Top