Firelapping?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by crittrgittr, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. crittrgittr

    crittrgittr Well-Known Member

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    I would like to get your opinions on firelapping a barrel.. Just read about it and would like to get more info about it.
     
  2. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    It works but it will certainly shorten barrel life and can be easily overdone.

    I would consider it a last resort way to try smoothing out a really terrible barrel.

    I wouldn't do it at all on a custom or semi custom rig with a quality barrel.

    Much better to use the manufacturer's break in process and follow it to the letter.
     
  3. Bob J

    Bob J Well-Known Member

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    Good advice here..... I have firelapped a couple of my guns but in each case it was a stock barrel with slight noticeable constrictions when I slugged it.... In each case I saw a significant improvement in group size but I would never consider firelapping anything with a custom barrel.....
     
  4. TikkaShooters

    TikkaShooters Official LRH Sponsor

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    I recently fire lapped two barrels. Cold bore performance evened out, they are easier to clean, and I noticed a slight increase in velocity.

    Unfortunately, the distance to the lands in my 270wsm was increased almost a tenth of an inch! My 223 increased 32 thousandths.

    All in all I am happy with the performance but dissapointed the lands were effected so drastically.
     
  5. crittrgittr

    crittrgittr Well-Known Member

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    I guess my next question is then how do I know if my factory barrel needs it?
     
  6. TikkaShooters

    TikkaShooters Official LRH Sponsor

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    Virtually all stock barrels would benefit from lapping of some sort.

    If the difference in accuracy between cold bore and fouled shots bothers you, then you should look at lapping as a potential cure. I've noticed I can shoot longer before my accuracy declines as well. Cleaning is a breeze now with little copper build up.

    If any of those things sound good to you then I'd say your barrel is a good candidate.
     
  7. crittrgittr

    crittrgittr Well-Known Member

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    any suggestions on brands or methods? I read that sometimes you only need to fire about half of what some of the manufactures say.
     
  8. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    IF you have already gone through the manufacturers recommended break in process and are still seeing a lot of copper fouling relative to the amount of rounds you've put down the tube lapping may well help you.

    One problem with fire lapping is that it isn't even. Most of the abraision is within the first third of the barrel and little to none in the last third.

    If it needs lapping I'd suggest hand lapping instead. All you need is a tight fitting arbor, a good one piece brass or fiber cleaning rod, some patches and some patience.

    I keep some Brownell's 800gr silicon carbide lapping compound around and it would be a good one to use.

    Just put some on a patch and from the breech end work the full length of the barrel about ten rounds (back and forth=1 round). Then blow it out with some carburetor cleaner, and run a couple of dry patches through.

    Do this after a good cleaning, and then go shoot a few rounds, clean and check your copper fouling.

    Repeat up to four times and it should give you great results.

    Not as easy as fire lapping, but it should be both more controlled and more effective and certainly a heck of a lot cheaper.

    Make sure you are cleaning with a good copper and carbon remover like Gunslick's foaming bore cleaner or Wipe Out.

    Whether you do it by hand or by fire lapping you definitely want to be careful not to over do it. Remember by it's very nature lapping is removing steel from your barrel, thus shortening barrel life.
     
  9. Catfish

    Catfish Well-Known Member

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    As said before, only fire lap as a last resort. The only barrel I seen increased accuracy in was one that was fouled with Molly. If your barrel is copper fouling try some JB bore past. It`s about as abrasive as tooth past so it does take some scrubing, but it won`t take out your throught like fire lapping. Unless your losing accuracy within 10 shots I would just keep shooting it and use JB`s each time you clean it. It will get better, and you won`t shorten barrel life.
     
  10. crittrgittr

    crittrgittr Well-Known Member

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    thanx for all the helpful info. I'm glad I posted this before going out and doing it. It sounds like there is alot of better ways to lap. I was lead to believe that lapping drastically improves accurracy, sounds like that may not be the case.
     
  11. TikkaShooters

    TikkaShooters Official LRH Sponsor

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    IMO lapping improves consistency. By improving the repeatability of shots, accuracy will follow.
     
  12. crittrgittr

    crittrgittr Well-Known Member

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    From what I can tell wildrose has a good idea on how to lap a barrrel. Does anyone else have suggestions on how to do this? I'm sure everyone does it a little differant. I have nver done this before so however I do it, it will be a first try.
     
  13. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    It certainly CAN improve accuracy but only if it is necessary.

    If it is not necessary (as indicated by lots of copper fouling) it's not likely to do any good and will only cause excessive and unnecessary barrel wear which will then shorten the life of the barrel.
     
  14. Bob J

    Bob J Well-Known Member

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    I used the beartooth bullets technical guide process..... The guide can be obtained here and IMHO is $15 very well spent:

    Beartooth Bullets Secure Online Shopping

    The process basically involves using dead soft bullets which have been impregnated with a specific clover lapping compound and shot with just enough of a load for them to clear the barrel... After each shot the barrel is patched clean before the next shot.... After a number of lapping shot (5 IIRC) you shoot a group.... You then shoot your next number of lapping shots followed by another group... You continue this process until the groups stop shrinking.....

    After a thorough cleaning you then break in the barrel as if it were new.....