Rifling method and accuracy/longevity

Brian564

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Dec 8, 2014
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Talking to a few people who shoot (or used to) competitively, I get a sense that they prefer cut-rifled barrels an consider them the most accurate and thermally stable. My question is, would cut rifled barrels have similar service life as identical barrels that are hammer forged under the same use conditions?

Cold forging a barrel compresses metal molecules into a more dense structure, and theoretically the rifling should be more resistant to wear that made by cutting into a blank. But theory could be different than reality, therefore I'd like to hear from your actual experience about actual life of cold forged vs cut rifled barrels.

Thanks.
 

J E Custom

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Jul 29, 2004
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10,520
Location
Texas
Talking to a few people who shoot (or used to) competitively, I get a sense that they prefer cut-rifled barrels an consider them the most accurate and thermally stable. My question is, would cut rifled barrels have similar service life as identical barrels that are hammer forged under the same use conditions?

Cold forging a barrel compresses metal molecules into a more dense structure, and theoretically the rifling should be more resistant to wear that made by cutting into a blank. But theory could be different than reality, therefore I'd like to hear from your actual experience about actual life of cold forged vs cut rifled barrels.

Thanks.

Like everything else in this sport each person has there favorite rifling method.

I like the buttoned rifling (as long as It comes from a premium barrel maker) because, I have had both and found no advantage in accuracy, and in fact have seen botched cut rifle barrels that rifling was not uniform in width because the operator missed a step or did not start the cutter in the right position. Don't get me wrong any barrel can be screwed up if the operator is not paying attention.

The point about forged rifling is a valid point, the button used, has to displace the material in a reamed hole to make the groves and lands and this material is forged making it more durable
and improving barrel life.

There is also a better chance that the single pass that the button makes down the barrel is more uniform/consistent.

The other benefit is that due to the forging, the barrel has to be stress relieved twice giving it a better chance to be stable.

All of my hunting rifles (4) that will shoot below 1/10 tenth of an inch are buttoned barrels.

I still have several cut rifle barrels that shoot very well, so this is just "MY" experience with barrels.
Being an Old Timer, I remember when cut rifle barrels were the only way to go because the button process had not been perfected well enough to compete with the cut rifling.

Now the button process has been perfected and with the advantage of the wear characteristic and the double stress reliving of the button barrels I prefer them over the cut rifling.

Of course, this is just my opinion and the barrel maker has the last word on barrel quality. A poorly made barrel, cut rifling or buttoned rifling is still a poor barrel no matter how or who made it.

J E CUSTOM
 

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