New Barrel Break-in And Cleaning Methods

StanleyActual8541

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You can't prevent a barrel from breaking in. If you shoot it, it will break in. The sharpness of the throat is important to accuracy. I prefer jb to iosso as its less aggressive, but use it only when you have to. Montana extreme copper killer with a bronze brush should keep you off the jb for many hundreds of rounds. Yes, Iosso in the throat does shorten the accuracy life of a barrel. You do not want to smooth out the rifling. I know this as a fact.

yes. My break in consists of shooting.

My cleaning routine is typically “lightly” clean around 250rds or so. Dependent on when accuracy usually begins to deteriorate.
 

StanleyActual8541

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Interesting post from Gale MCMillan regarding how the “barrel break in” process got started


How to Break-in a Barrel
-- A Dissenting Point of View

Gale McMillan, of McMillan Stocks fame, was one of the finest barrel-makers and benchrest shooters of all time. Here he argues that elaborate barrel break-in procedures do more harm than good.

Comments collected from Gale's Gun Forum postings.

“As a barrel maker I have looked in thousands of new and used barrels with a bore scope and I will tell you that if every one followed the prescribed [one shot, one clean] break-in method, a very large number would do more harm than good. The reason you hear of the gain in accuracy is because if you chamber a barrel with a reamer that has a dull throater instead of cutting clean sharp rifling it smears a burr up on the down wind side of the rifling. It takes from one to two hundred rounds to burn this burr out and the rifle to settle down and shoot its best. Any one who chambers rifle barrels has tolerances on how dull to let the reamer get and factories let them go longer than any competent smith would.

Another tidbit to consider--take a 300 Win Mag that has a life expectancy of 1000 rounds. Use 10% of it up with your break-in procedure. For every 10 barrels the barrel-maker makes he has to make one more just to take care of the break-in. No wonder barrel-makers like to see this. Now when you flame me on this please [explain] what you think is happening to the inside of your barrel during the break in that is helping you.

Consider this: every round shot in breaking-in a barrel is one round off the life of said rifle barrel. No one has ever told me the physical reason of what happens during break-in firing. In other words what, to the number of pounds of powder shot at any given pressure, is the life of the barrel. No one has ever explained what is being accomplished by shooting and cleaning in any prescribed method. Start your barrel off with 5 rounds and clean it thoroughly and do it again. Nev Maden, a friend down under that my brother taught to make barrels was the one who came up with the [one shot one clean] break-in method. He may think he has come upon something, or he has come up with another way to sell barrels. I feel that the first shot out of a barrel is its best and every one after that deteriorates [the bore] until the barrel is gone. If some one can explain what physically takes place during break-in to modify the barrel then I may change my mind. As the physical properties of a barrel don't change because of the break-in procedures it means it's all hog wash. I am open to any suggestions that can be documented otherwise if it is just someone's opinion--forget it.

It all got started when a barrel maker that I know started putting break-in instructions in the box with each barrel he shipped a few years ago. I asked him how he figured it would help and his reply was if they shoot 100 rounds breaking in this barrel that's total life is 3000 rounds and I make 1000 barrels a year just figure how many more barrels I will get to make. He had a point; it definately will shorten the barrel life. I have been a barrel maker a fair amount of time and my barrels have set and reset benchrest world records so many times I quit keeping track (at one time they held 7 at one time) along with High Power, Silhouette, Smallbore national and world records and my instructions were to clean as often as possible preferably every 10 rounds. I inspect every barrel taken off and every new barrel before it is shipped with a bore scope and I will tell you all that I see far more barrels ruined by cleaning rods than I see worn out from normal wear and tear. I am even reading about people recommending breaking-in pistols. As if it will help their shooting ability or the guns.”
 

jdmecomber

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Interesting post from Gale MCMillan regarding how the “barrel break in” process got started


How to Break-in a Barrel
-- A Dissenting Point of View

Gale McMillan, of McMillan Stocks fame, was one of the finest barrel-makers and benchrest shooters of all time. Here he argues that elaborate barrel break-in procedures do more harm than good.

Comments collected from Gale's Gun Forum postings.

“As a barrel maker I have looked in thousands of new and used barrels with a bore scope and I will tell you that if every one followed the prescribed [one shot, one clean] break-in method, a very large number would do more harm than good. The reason you hear of the gain in accuracy is because if you chamber a barrel with a reamer that has a dull throater instead of cutting clean sharp rifling it smears a burr up on the down wind side of the rifling. It takes from one to two hundred rounds to burn this burr out and the rifle to settle down and shoot its best. Any one who chambers rifle barrels has tolerances on how dull to let the reamer get and factories let them go longer than any competent smith would.

Another tidbit to consider--take a 300 Win Mag that has a life expectancy of 1000 rounds. Use 10% of it up with your break-in procedure. For every 10 barrels the barrel-maker makes he has to make one more just to take care of the break-in. No wonder barrel-makers like to see this. Now when you flame me on this please [explain] what you think is happening to the inside of your barrel during the break in that is helping you.

Consider this: every round shot in breaking-in a barrel is one round off the life of said rifle barrel. No one has ever told me the physical reason of what happens during break-in firing. In other words what, to the number of pounds of powder shot at any given pressure, is the life of the barrel. No one has ever explained what is being accomplished by shooting and cleaning in any prescribed method. Start your barrel off with 5 rounds and clean it thoroughly and do it again. Nev Maden, a friend down under that my brother taught to make barrels was the one who came up with the [one shot one clean] break-in method. He may think he has come upon something, or he has come up with another way to sell barrels. I feel that the first shot out of a barrel is its best and every one after that deteriorates [the bore] until the barrel is gone. If some one can explain what physically takes place during break-in to modify the barrel then I may change my mind. As the physical properties of a barrel don't change because of the break-in procedures it means it's all hog wash. I am open to any suggestions that can be documented otherwise if it is just someone's opinion--forget it.

It all got started when a barrel maker that I know started putting break-in instructions in the box with each barrel he shipped a few years ago. I asked him how he figured it would help and his reply was if they shoot 100 rounds breaking in this barrel that's total life is 3000 rounds and I make 1000 barrels a year just figure how many more barrels I will get to make. He had a point; it definately will shorten the barrel life. I have been a barrel maker a fair amount of time and my barrels have set and reset benchrest world records so many times I quit keeping track (at one time they held 7 at one time) along with High Power, Silhouette, Smallbore national and world records and my instructions were to clean as often as possible preferably every 10 rounds. I inspect every barrel taken off and every new barrel before it is shipped with a bore scope and I will tell you all that I see far more barrels ruined by cleaning rods than I see worn out from normal wear and tear. I am even reading about people recommending breaking-in pistols. As if it will help their shooting abilip

I can only speak from experience with the last 10 or so new barrels. With the proper chronograph, they have all sped up in speed by 100-130 fps in the first 100+ rounds. This was tested by a lab radar. I feel if I can settle the speed in 60 or so rounds by breaking in the barrel aren’t you saving rounds.
 

StanleyActual8541

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I can only speak from experience with the last 10 or so new barrels. With the proper chronograph, they have all sped up in speed by 100-130 fps in the first 100+ rounds. This was tested by a lab radar. I feel if I can settle the speed in 60 or so rounds by breaking in the barrel aren’t you saving rounds.

I suppose if you feel that process works for you. Barrel wear is barrel wear. Personally I’d rather break mine in with bullets and not excelerate the process with over cleaning.

Only thing I ever saw an improvement on after a “break in” was it seemed to clean easier / faster. I typically don’t clean until around 250 Rds or so, dependent on when e accuracy starts to deteriorate and then clean before that.

Made zero difference in accuracy. They (Bartlien / Kreigers) hammered from the first round to the last. I haven’t broke a barrel
in with a cleaning rod and patches in 10+ years.
 

ButterBean

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West Terre Haute Indiana
I suppose if you feel that process works for you. Barrel wear is barrel wear. Personally I’d rather break mine in with bullets and not excelerate the process with over cleaning.

Only thing I ever saw an improvement on after a “break in” was it seemed to clean easier / faster. I typically don’t clean until around 250 Rds or so, dependent on when e accuracy starts to deteriorate and then clean before that.

Made zero difference in accuracy. They (Bartlien / Kreigers) hammered from the first round to the last. I haven’t broke a barrel
in with a cleaning rod and patches in 10+ years.
X-2
 

Litehiker

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Sep 15, 2012
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Location
Mojave Desert, Nevada
Great info on cleaning to maintain accuracy.
I've found that cleaning CARBON is the most overlooked aspect by most shooters.Carbon build up at leas as fast as copper and is more detrimental to accuracy.

My 6.5 PRC Browning X-Bolt Pro has a factory lapped barrel that makes break-in unnecessary. And copper build up is negligible compared to some of my other rifles. As far as I know only Browning's Pro models are factory barrel lapped.

Eric B.
 
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