New Barrel Break-in And Cleaning Methods

phorwath

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Apr 4, 2005
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6,485
Location
Alaska
i broke in a couple rifles this year and have done like this post but i have switched to the gretan rifles method. i am amazed at the difference and i have done somethat were still giving me copper issues after 40 rounds and its just amazing at how fast they change using the graphite. well worth 12 dollars.
No fair. Now you need to provide the link to the Gretan rifles method!
 

jdmecomber

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Jan 23, 2016
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I am a big believer in barrel break in for many reasons as discussed in the past.

The benefits in reduced fouling along with longer barrel life and faster load work up make it worth while in my opinion.

But today, I wanted to see if there were any more benefits to barrel brake in so I performed a test that I had not seen anything about it and this is the results.

I built myself a 260 AI using a 788 rem action and a 3 groove Lilja varmint contour barrel.

The loads were fire form loads in the middle of the 260 loading using a 123 Hornady match bullet.

The test was to chronograph the fire form loads as I did a breakin of the barrel to see if there were any changes in velocity during this process.

Here are the velocity readings.
Clean barrel
1st shot = 2790 ft/sec
clean barrel
2nd shot = 2808 ft/sec
clean barrel
3rd shot = 2831 ft/sec
clean barrel
4th shot = 2854 ft/sec
clean barrel
5th shot = 2868 ft/sec
clean barrel
6th shot = 2878 ft/sec
clean barrel
7th shot = 2890 ft/sec
clean barrel
8th shot = 2894 ft/sec
At this point the barrel appeared to be broke in because it cleaned up well and velocity seemed to remain close to 2890 ft/sec with SDs below 8.

There was no point to figuring SDs during break in because the velocity kept climbing but once it settled down SDs were good (Especially for fire forming loads)

Velocities during break in had a 104 ft/sec total spread but once break in was finished, the average velocity improvement over the first round was averaging 80 to 85 ft/sec faster than the first shot in the new barrel.

This was just one test and i am sure some barrels will exceed this improvement if break in is done correct and some will not, but it does show me that there is another advantage to doing a breakin beside less fouling.

I don't know what a barrel would do if it was not broken in, or when or how many shots it would take before it would reach its average max velocity from the first shot.

NOTE: All loads were as exactly the same as I could load them, so I feel the test was valid and at least I learned something from it.

J E CUSTOM
At the end of this test, how many shots did it take to settle the barrel?
 

J E Custom

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Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,319
Location
Texas
At the end of this test, how many shots did it take to settle the barrel?
It started to be consistent after 8 to 10 rounds and remained within 15 ft/sec from then on using the same load. Then I started trying to improve the load velocity and SD's and it changed based on the powder type and charge, but when changing back to the original brake in load. velocities returned to within 10 to 15 ft/sec of the original velocity after break in. I had loaded 20 rounds for brake in and used the remaining rounds to check Barrel progress. I did not have very many of the brake in loads so i fired only one occasionally between load test after it was cleaned and dry patched. each time, they fell within 12 ft/sec of the original load. so the barrel had settled down to a consistent velocity only effected by the load development loads.

The final accuracy load produced velocities of just under 3000 ft/sec
with a SD of 6. to date I have not bested this load, and the last of the
brake in loads are gone. but I can duplicate these loads if need be. The next step is to find out where accuracy falls off by copper fouling the barrel (How many rounds can be fired of the best load Starting with a clean barrel). To do this I clean the bore really good and fire until I see an accuracy or velocity change.

J E CUSTOM
 
Last edited:

twister

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Jan 18, 2018
Messages
177
It started to be consistent after 8 to 10 rounds and remained within 15 ft/sec from then on using the same load. Then I started trying to improve the load velocity and SD's and it changed based on the powder type and charge, but when changing back to the original brake in load. velocities returned to within 10 to 15 ft/sec of the original velocity after break in. I had loaded 20 rounds for brake in and used the remaining rounds to check Barrel progress. I did not have very many of the brake in loads so i fired only one occasionally between load test after it was cleaned and dry patched. each time, they fell within 12 ft/sec of the original load. so the barrel had settled down to a consistent velocity only effected by the load development loads.

The final accuracy load produced velocities of just under 3000 ft/sec
with a SD of 6. to date I have not bested this load, and the last of the
brake in loads are gone. but I can duplicate these loads if need be. The next step is to find out where accuracy falls off by copper fouling the barrel (How many rounds can be fired of the best load Starting with a clean barrel). To do this I clean the bore really good and fire until I see an accuracy or velocity change.

J E CUSTOM
whats your thinking is a barrel copper fouls really quickly? throat isn't shot out but it has some bad spots in the bore. all confirmed with a hawkeye. Its a hunting gun with a bad barrel that is "fine" since it shoots a great first 10 then opens up.
 

jdmecomber

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Jan 23, 2016
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whats your thinking is a barrel copper fouls really quickly? throat isn't shot out but it has some bad spots in the bore. all confirmed with a hawkeye. Its a hunting gun with a bad barrel that is "fine" since it shoots a great first 10 then opens up.
The research I have found is copper always fills the rifling and the excess gets shot out the barrel. So if you clean the copper, then it has to fill back in anyways.

We just did a benchmark barrel and never cleaned it one time. Just a couple pulls of a snake through it. It didn't settle for over 100 shots.

We have a factory Ruger Precision with a factory barrel we are working on soon. 6.5 Creedmoor. We will try this breakin method of cleaning after every shot and see if we can get it to settle.

I will try 40 rounds and if it doesn't settle we will move on to doing some ladder and ocw testing.
 

jdmecomber

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Jan 23, 2016
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Load development for a Ruger Precision 6.5 Creedmoor. We would shoot one round, and then clean the barrel. We did this for 25 consecutive shots. We were hoping that this would speed the barrel up more quickly. We are at 45 rounds now and might have settled the barrel. We started at a low of 2676 and hit a high around 2750. We averaged every 5 rounds. The last 20 rounds, we didn't clean the barrel at all. The average increase in velocity was a total of 44 fps. I have the old timers running the cleaning assembly line #rugerprecisionrifle #ruger #bergerbullets #lapua #federal #shooting #rifle #longrangeshooting #vortexoptics
 

jdmecomber

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Jan 23, 2016
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563
It seems we settled the barrel early as hoped.

Speed h4350 42.4 grains
Round count

85 2771 cb
86 2744
87 2743
88 2744

111 2767 Cb
112 2744
113 2739

Other than the (CB) cold bore shots it seems to have settled around 50 rounds.
 
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Litehiker

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Sep 15, 2012
Messages
2,371
Location
Mojave Desert, Nevada
-> A lapped barrel is very smooth inside due to the mild abrasive in the lapping process.
-> properly lapped barrels, being smoother, collect less copper and clean easier
-> some copper fouling enhances accuracy - too much hurts it.
-> After break-in I clean only with Hoppes #9 four times in a row (i.e. after shooting 20 to 50 rounds before each cleaning).
-> the 5th time I clean with Hoppes then a good copper solvent

You can "fire lap" an un-lapped factory bore using Tubbs or NECO fire lapping kits or Tubbs pre-loaded cartridges. Follow directions EXACTLY. I used NECO on my .300 Win mag Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker and it helped with less copper buildup.
Fire lap before any break-in regimen.

Eric B.
 

jdmecomber

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Joined
Jan 23, 2016
Messages
563
-> A lapped barrel is very smooth inside due to the mild abrasive in the lapping process.
-> properly lapped barrels, being smoother, collect less copper and clean easier
-> some copper fouling enhances accuracy - too much hurts it.
-> After break-in I clean only with Hoppes #9 four times in a row (i.e. after shooting 20 to 50 rounds before each cleaning).
-> the 5th time I clean with Hoppes then a good copper solvent

You can "fire lap" an un-lapped factory bore using Tubbs or NECO fire lapping kits or Tubbs pre-loaded cartridges. Follow directions EXACTLY. I used NECO on my .300 Win mag Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker and it helped with less copper buildup.
Fire lap before any break-in regimen.

Eric B.
Thanks Eric. I thought about and read about tubbs breakin but have never spoke to anyone that has used it.

We will try that on our next factory barrel
 

DanRPhD

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Feb 15, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Columbia, SC
How do you factor in the number of rounds fired through a barrel by the manufacturer before you get it? I have a Remington 700 Long Range in .30-06. It came with the 20-20 digital scope and the claim that it would hit out to 500 yards right out of the box. It did but then Remington stop producing the ammo so I have swapped out the scope. No information was provided as to how many rounds went down the barrel before it was shipped. I have put about 50 rounds down range with it and am getting sub MOA groups. What ideas do you have for people like me?
 

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