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Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Brian564, May 9, 2015.
How do barrels by these two makers compare in terms of accuracy and longevity?
I can't answer your question but make sure your Gunsmith will use a Walther barrel before you buy one.
I remember some remarks that the Walther barrels were different.
Anyone know the details?
IMHO, Lothar Walther barrels are some of the best money can buy. Longevity and accuracy are just about top! Several (world-) championships have been won, and LW barrels are very much appreciated in Europe and overseas for their magnificent characteristics. The difference to many other producers is that LW uses especially hardened steel of highest quality, which makes the process of machining sometimes a problem for gunsmiths. That's why their are not as popular with some people ... Unfortunately, I don't remember the precise name/designation of the steel type.
Here is the actual site of LW in English: Lothar Walther
Made from LW19 steel, whatever that grade compares to. It's a secret, I guess. Harder to machine, use higher RPM and a bit lower feed with muzzle flush coolant system. Good luck, if time is a constraint, if you chamber the "old fashioned" way (peck, withdraw reamer, brush away chips, re-oil, peck again). No offense intended toward the European board members, but European manufactures seem to be the most difficult to deal with, here in the USA. They're not forth coming with information and it can be nearly impossible to obtain repair parts (most anything imported by Beretta USA). US barrel makers freely state what steel is used, and regardless of how we feel sometimes, firearms manufactures make their repair parts available to the market. I go with a Krieger barrel over a Walther twice a day, every day of the week. The Krieger is cut rifled and the Lothar Walther is button rifled, not that I have any bias against button rifled barrels. If I have any doubts about longevity, I have the finished barrel Melonite/Black Nitrided. If I'm expected to machine it, tell me what grade of material it is (in terms that are familar, not some 'secret' code).
I read somewhere on the internet, that LW uses 34CrNiMo6 for their barrels.
Here is another good thread concerning LW - barrels. Worth reading!
Look at any major benchrest discipline and a Krieger barrel will show up at least 10x more often then a Walther barrel. That should give you your answer. Walther barrels are harder so they might last longer but I'd place my bet on Krieger for accuracy. I've chambered a LW in .221FB and it wasn't the funnest thing but it wasn't impossible. I don't think I'd enjoy a more overbore caliber nearly as much unless I pre-bored 90+% of the chamber. My LW barrel is fairly accurate but I have many other Bartlein or Krieger barrels that would make it look bad by comparison.
That's the one. I've been interested in this subject as well because of non-lead mono metal bullets including air rifle.
As I Understand It (AIUI)
LW19 (17-4PH?) vs 416 Stainless, specifications say it's much harder and takes heat treatment
LW50 (4150?) vs 4140 Moly, again harder than 4140.
The prices are right. The machining would be a PIA for someone used to 416 or 4140. I'm not used to anything but if I ever go that route and do the work myself I would definitely get some practice material beforehand and work out speeds, feeds and flood cooling/lubrication.
But now to the real question:
Lothar Walther vs Krieger barrels.
Accuracy and quality of both is well enough spoken for so the questions I have are:
durability of barrels with non-lead mono metal projectiles
erosion resistance for "overbore" chamberings
erosion resistance for rapid fire strings as in: less than 2 minutes between shots for more than 3 shots
wear resistance for non-lead air rifle projectiles
Would the harder steel of the Lother Walther make it "worth it" for the extra machining time/cost.
Looks like the topic is becoming a thing of national sentiments for some, time to leave!
@IdahoCTD, just to mention it, in Europe competition shooters, hunters and many rifle-producers often (mainly) use LW - barrels, and I have never heard that they were doing worse than their American counterparts ... Your rifle - competitions aren't automatically relevant for the rest of the world, even if they are called for world championships.
I don't think it's "national sentiments" so much as familiarity. People like what they know and fear what they don't know.
Many high end air rifles are LW barreled. US made or not.
If the smith has to work harder to fit and chamber the barrel for the same accuracy, the smith might complain. If the owner gets a larger bill, the owner might complain. Both of those are not based on accuracy or durability.
LW and non-LW barrels should last a hunter a lifetime. It's the rifle used extensively for other than hunting that would benefit from the harder LW steels.
So, would a well fitted and chambered LW barrel last longer for say a 7RUM or 26-Nosler used for more than hunting or for a competition rifle shooting 3000 rounds per year or more. Would you be able to get 2 seasons out of it?
One of best Norwegian shooters due to long range, known and recognized internationally, uses a 338LM with 32' barrel made by LW. He changed it after 4950 down the tube!! He uses constantly LW - barrels, because of his outstanding good experiences with them. So do others.
Having lived in Europe (England), I am aware more if the "sensible" frugality practiced there. If a barrel costs the same, fitment is a little more but lasts 2x longer it is cheaper per round. Justifying the difficulties of working the harder steel.
I got the information I needed. LW will be on the list to try.