Mcgowen vs shilen vs criterion

Ernie

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Jun 18, 2007
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Wyoming
Anyone with experience with these 3 barrels please speak up. I'm buying one for a savage 110. I've used shilen and criterion with great results. But I was kinda wanting to try a mcgowen. Sell me or turn me away.
I have a handful of McGowen barrels, and they shoot great!
Just an example: this is my 20 BR XP-100/McGowen 8T barrel and a 3-shot group at 100 yards.
 

WV338

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Feb 10, 2012
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87
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Central Oregon
A couple of years ago I ordered 4 barrels from McGowen and three of them had finishing problems. One the taper was wrong. One they ran the threads too long and they showed when the nut was tightened. And the third was supposed to be a gloss finish and it came like a 2B stainless steel finish. They offered to correct them which they did but that just caused more waiting time so it was frustrating. I contacted Dan and suggested that they do a better job of quality control and he didn’t respond and removed my email from their system. The good thing is that their barrels shot well. I’ve never bought a barrel from them since. I hope they have improved their QC because they were good barrels.
 

jgs8163

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Take a look at Preferred Barrel Blanks as they’re in the same quality as what you mentioned. I recently picked up a Krieger contoured direct blank un-chambered for $360 which I thought was very fair priced and the quality is top notch. Krieger Direct purchase in stock inventory.
 
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skookum

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Coeur D'Alene
I have had one Shilen on a 300 WSM that shot under 1/4 min with just about anything. I now have 2 McGowen barrels that won't shoot a 1/4 moa with anything and struggle to break the 1 minute barrier, I bought these barrels fairly close together after reading good things since I had 2 rifles I wanted rebarreled. I'll never buy another I can tell you that.
 
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York, PA
I've heard great things about all these, but I'm gonna be that guy who goes off list. I just put an x-caliber on my old 10 fcp smithed by crown ridge. They were amazing to deal with. They keep only a few shapes and twist rates on hand but if those work for you you'll have your barrel within a week. All I've done is pressure test yesterday but I'm pleased already. 10 shot strings covering 4-5 grains were under an inch. I was barely trying, just getting them down the pipe.

^^^
Second on crown ridge and x caliber. I have a Shilen and Criterian that were purchased as savages prefits. Both shot around .5 moa. Criterian chamber was a little sloppy but still shot ok. I also have 2 custom chambered bartleins. I know bartlein is in a different league, and both shoot incredible .25 moa or better if I do my part. But as important as barrel quality is the chamber job. I had the shilen set back and rechambered by the same smith that did the barlein barrels. Shilen improved 1/4 moa. Which takes me back to crown ridge. He did a howa prefit for me in the x caliber and custom throated for the bullets I wanted to shoot. Chambering job was outstanding and rifle will easily shoot .5 moa and has grouped under 1/2" at 200. He was great to work with and turn around was less than 2 weeks from when he received the dummy rounds for throating pricing was better than a Shilen or Criterian prefit. Sorry no experience on McGowen.
 

LongShotScott

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Mar 7, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Billings, MT
I have a SS McGowen 28"with muzzle brake,1:11 twist, matched to a Savage 110 action in a .300WM and it shoots exceptional. Purchased it over 10 years ago. It repeatedly hits pie plates at 1,300yds. Best barrel I've ever had and great people to work with on a build.
 

LongShotScott

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Mar 7, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Billings, MT
I have a McGowen 28" SS barrel with a muzzle brake, 1:11 twist in a .300WM matched to a Savage 110 action. Had it for over 10 years and it still shoots +or- 9fps. I cannot believe the accuracy and being able to hit pie plates at 1,300yds. I would highly recommend dealing with them on a custom setup!
 

Joejack

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Jan 22, 2020
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Se ks
I've heard great things about all these, but I'm gonna be that guy who goes off list. I just put an x-caliber on my old 10 fcp smithed by crown ridge. They were amazing to deal with. They keep only a few shapes and twist rates on hand but if those work for you you'll have your barrel within a week. All I've done is pressure test yesterday but I'm pleased already. 10 shot strings covering 4-5 grains were under an inch. I was barely trying, just getting them down the pipe.

When I was shopping and asking around I heard a lot of great things about your three choices listed. McGowen was my runner up mainly based on the amount of information they have on their site, profile weights and all that. I just like that kind of detail. Plus their profile list is bananas and their chamber list is great.
Anthony at crownridge is great to deal with I have got 5 Xcaliber barrels from him all in 22 creedmoor everyone of them will shoot dime size groups at 200yds or better if I do my part
 

JakeC

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
161
Location
North Utah
I've heard great things about all these, but I'm gonna be that guy who goes off list. I just put an x-caliber on my old 10 fcp smithed by crown ridge. They were amazing to deal with. They keep only a few shapes and twist rates on hand but if those work for you you'll have your barrel within a week. All I've done is pressure test yesterday but I'm pleased already. 10 shot strings covering 4-5 grains were under an inch. I was barely trying, just getting them down the pipe.

^^^
Second on crown ridge and x caliber. I have a Shilen and Criterian that were purchased as savages prefits. Both shot around .5 moa. Criterian chamber was a little sloppy but still shot ok. I also have 2 custom chambered bartleins. I know bartlein is in a different league, and both shoot incredible .25 moa or better if I do my part. But as important as barrel quality is the chamber job. I had the shilen set back and rechambered by the same smith that did the barlein barrels. Shilen improved 1/4 moa. Which takes me back to crown ridge. He did a howa prefit for me in the x caliber and custom throated for the bullets I wanted to shoot. Chambering job was outstanding and rifle will easily shoot .5 moa and has grouped under 1/2" at 200. He was great to work with and turn around was less than 2 weeks from when he received the dummy rounds for throating pricing was better than a Shilen or Criterian prefit. Sorry no experience on McGowen.
I think a Howa is going to be my next project. I forgot that, the price can't be beat.
 

JakeC

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
161
Location
North Utah
Take a look at Preferred Barrel Blanks as they’re in the same quality as what you mentioned. I recently picked up a Krieger contoured direct blank un-chambered for $360 which I thought was very fair priced and the quality is top notch. Krieger Direct purchase in stock inventory.
They don't lap their barrels and some folks got some really really rough pipes from them, despite the fact they insist they're so good they don't need to lap. Other guys got crooked bores even though they really hype their super-perfect air gauging. I also read a bunch of reviews that said their packaging was bad, as in one later of tape on each end and no padding in the cardboard tube. Some guys got empty tubes, their barrels are just rolling around in a post office somewhere because, heyo, the tape wasn't enough. I wanted to support local guys but I have no interest in spending time on returns and replacements.
 

JakeC

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Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
161
Location
North Utah
Anthony at crownridge is great to deal with I have got 5 Xcaliber barrels from him all in 22 creedmoor everyone of them will shoot dime size groups at 200yds or better if I do my part
He really is a stud, no lie. I asked questions about one chamber they didn't list, he answered that day. A month later I'd changed my mind. I ordered the new chamber with the other details. He wrote back within a couple business hours that he didn't stock that twist rate but could get it, but asked why I wanted the slower twist. I said I'd be shooting 7mm ELDMS and they shred in some fast twist guns at higher speeds. Within an hour he wrote back and said his customers weren't getting that issue near the speeds I'd be able to get in the 8 twist SAUM. I said amazing, do the 8. I had a tracking number by the end of the day and the barrel was out of Washington by the following morning when I got up. Just amazing, succinct service.
 

Idaho Lefty

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Jan 29, 2018
Messages
441
Just did, a Criterion, 1-7.5 twist, 24 inch, heavy sporter (.707 muzzle dia. ) RemAge, barrel, in 6XC ( 9.5 pound, Varmint, Rifle ).
Installed it myself with, a CrownRidge Barrel Nut and headspaced it, on a New Piece of Norma Brass and TIGHT on, the "Go" gage.
I "Lapped" it a bit with, JB's slathered on, a Patch over, a Bronze Brush ( 12-15 Strokes + 5 extra at, the Throat area ) then cleaned thoroughly and "carefully" did a 10 shot, "Break in" session then, Cleaned again,..
It shoot's, in the 3's,. with minor, load tuning on 80, 95 and 108 grain Bergers !
Common, Sierra's and V-maxes,.. SUB 1/2 MOA ! YUP,.. And,.. I'd buy, another one !
WHY,.. take a "Chance" ??? Everybody, LOVES,. Criterion Barrels !
 
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