McGowen vs. Others

rootacres

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Dec 2, 2020
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I have heard a mix bag of reviews on the McGowen barrels. I ordered one last year simply because of the lead times on when I needed it. I have been able to work up loads in that 3/4 MOA range without a ton of trouble. My question is, are the Shilen, Benchmark, Brux etc. that much better than the McGowen? Will it be that noticeable of a difference? I don't mind spending the money, I just want a rifle that is as accurate as possible. It seems that some of these barrel companies are head and shoulders above others.

Thanks for the input.
 

Jud96

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Yes, Brux, Bartlein, Krieger, etc are typically better than McGowan. There’s a lot of good info in the thread Barrels 2020 that you may find interesting or helpful.
 

FEENIX

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Great Falls, MT
I have heard a mix bag of reviews on the McGowen barrels. I ordered one last year simply because of the lead times on when I needed it. I have been able to work up loads in that 3/4 MOA range without a ton of trouble. My question is, are the Shilen, Benchmark, Brux etc. that much better than the McGowen? Will it be that noticeable of a difference? I don't mind spending the money, I just want a rifle that is as accurate as possible. It seems that some of these barrel companies are head and shoulders above others.

Thanks for the input.
As with anything else, you will get varying opinions and real-world experiences. @Jud96 started this thread (https://www.longrangehunting.com/threads/barrels-2020.254461/) and there are plenty of pertinent information for you to synthesize.
 

kylebeyea

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Aug 12, 2012
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I have heard a mix bag of reviews on the McGowen barrels. I ordered one last year simply because of the lead times on when I needed it. I have been able to work up loads in that 3/4 MOA range without a ton of trouble. My question is, are the Shilen, Benchmark, Brux etc. that much better than the McGowen? Will it be that noticeable of a difference? I don't mind spending the money, I just want a rifle that is as accurate as possible. It seems that some of these barrel companies are head and shoulders above others.

Thanks for the input.
I have a McGowen barrel in a 22 x47 Lapua that shoots a wide range of bullets very well. Best group has been 5/8" 3 shot group at 750 yards. Just put one on an AR-15 and it shoots a one hole group time after time. Good luck.
 

shortgrass

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I think the "which is best" debate can be centered around the fact that many opinions are reached because that is the only custom barrel that has been tried by the one giving his opinion. Some try one maker, are satisfied, and never look else where,,,, which is fine if they are happy. Others are always looking for their 'pinnacle'. Still others will just follow the herd. There are many excellent custom barrel makers to choose from today. Some have longer lead times than others. It never hurts to look around. Choose the lead time, price that you want, and of course, figure in your accuracy requirements. I will be looking inside of a Douglas soon. It has been a long time since I have had one. My client chose. Good lead time, good price, and it is going on a 9.3 x 62, which isn't exactly a LR chambering. 9.3mm isn't exactly available at every barrel maker, either. Those who do offer it usually only offer one twist rate.
 
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sable tireur

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My question is, are the Shilen, Benchmark, Brux etc. that much better than the McGowen? Will it be that noticeable of a difference? I don't mind spending the money, I just want a rifle that is as accurate as possible. It seems that some of these barrel companies are head and shoulders above others.

Shortgrass makes some good points.

I would also add that it is not just the quality of the barrel which makes a rifle accurate. It is the whole system; barrel, action, stock, bedding, bullet, powder, and cases. Then include the person doing all the work and their attention to every detail in that build. Their skills and attention will be the plus to every rifle.

You, the shooter will be the deciding factor in the end. If you have the skills and ability to shoot consistently then you might achieve small groups. A great barrel just makes it a little easier.;):)
 

can1010

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Feb 27, 2012
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while accuracy is important just as important is how long will the accuracy last. the McGowans that I have had have been good shooters but they didnt last long the accuracy fell off quicker than others and while ok for hunting guns not always the best for shooting guns.
the higher end barrels seem to use a better grade of steel and in the end hold accuracy longer and the average cost per round is almost the same
 
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