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View Full Version : Break in from SEAL pal


JIMBOINVA
October 13, 2012, 08:20 AM
A good pal is now a retired SEAL. He was a career long distance guy. Went to work for a long arm manufacturer and is now teaching again. He - and so many other SEAL NCOs and Warrants - helped me over the years while I was an intel geek for the SEALS. Thought I'd share his input.

I recently asked him about a break in for my new MR556. Here is what he advises:

Biggest thing on the chamber types mostly applies to guns with .223 barrels as they need to be careful not to shoot 5.56 mm. The 5.56 mm ammo your gun will shoot is 5.56x45. Your gun will shoot either .223 or 5.56.

The biggest concerns would be price, level of accuracy desired, or effect desired (i.e. hunting or home defense or limited penetration). Black Hills or Hornady in a 75-80 grain BTHP would be my choice, at least to start, for an accuracy and defense round.

When I say starting, I mean buy it, shoot and zero with it and see if it meets your accuracy needs at the distance you want.

After that for just target shooting I would use either a .223 or 5.56 in 62-64 grain medium quality like American Eagle made by Federal or other similar type depending on cost.

I would not buy cheap steel jacket rounds if there are any in those calibers or steel projectile ammo, stick to brass cartridges and copper jacketed rounds. I would also not buy someone else's reloads under any circumstances.

I would break in the barrel following the steps below. Some folks say it is a superstition but if it is, it won't hurt to do it!

Clean bore, shoot 1 round, clean bore, repeat process through first 10 rounds.

Then repeat shooting 2 rounds fast, clean, 3 rounds fast, clean, 5 rounds fast, clean.

Cleaning should be done with a good copper cutting solvent like Shooter's Choice. Keep muzzle end lower than chamber end to prevent excess fluid from entering trigger/lower receiver area as it is corrosive.

Use a bore guide made for AR-15. Always patch after using this fluid till barrel is dry and when finished for the day run a final patch through with Breakfree to apply a light coat to the inside of barrel for storage.

kraigwy
October 13, 2012, 08:36 AM
I'm no SEAL but I've been shooting the AR/M16 since early '67 when I was given a bit of training with the M16 in the 82nd prior to being set to Vietnam.

First they (the M16/ARs) don't care if you feed them 5.56 or 223s. Shoot what is most accurate in you're gun.

Preferably reload to tailor ammo for you're gun. I agree about not using steel case/bullet ammo. Not just for the AR but for any of my guns.

I break my gun in a bit different then the ideal presented in the original post.

I but the gun, clean out the oil out of the barrel that came with the gun, then sight it in. The barrel is now "broke in".

Worked great for my White Oak Service Rifle upper I use in HP Competition to 1000 yards.

That's the way I break in all my guns/barrels.

buckhorn_cortez
October 13, 2012, 10:43 AM
There's always the dissenting point of view on breaking in a barrel. Gale McMillan was a target shooter, stock maker, and one of the greatest barrel makers of all time. Here's a link (http://www.6mmbr.com/gailmcmbreakin.html) to the compiled writings of Gale on elaborate barrel break-in procedures.

He basically thought it was a waste of time and never proven to make a barrel shoot better, and may contribute to a shorter barrel life.

In 40 years of shooting, I've never subscribed to the shoot, clean, shoot, clean, etc. method of barrel break-in. I just go shoot the gun keeping the shooting session to 10 shot round counts to not overheat the barrel. I clean the barrel when it looks dirty after shooting as needed.

The AR that I have came with instructions from the manufacturer that no barrel break-in was needed as the barrel had been lapped at the factory.

MikeGunz
October 13, 2012, 05:28 PM
Ive never heard of breaking in a barrel, very interesting.

Dfariswheel
October 13, 2012, 05:55 PM
Barrel break in is a hotly debated subject.

Some manufactures say to do it and list how they think it should be done, some don't mention it at all, and a few say not to.
Barrels that are hard chrome lined can't be broken in.

Best advice is to ask the maker of your barrel or rifle what they recommend and follow it.

Venom1956
October 25, 2012, 01:02 AM
Wow a 300 win mag barrel only gets you 1000 rounds?! :( I wonder how much life is left in the barrels of some of my guns.

Art Eatman
October 25, 2012, 08:13 AM
I started reloading for my '06 in 1950, following the family '06 tradition. None of us had ever heard of "break-in". Phil Sharpe, in his "Complete Guide To Handloading", commented about the burnishing effect of shooting lead bullets, but copper-clad bullets burnish as you keep using any rifle.

I first learned of breaking in of barrels when it was mentioned here at TFL. 1999? Disremember. About all I can say is that I shot a helluva lot of sub-MOA groups from many different rifles without ever doing the procedures so many have lauded.

Bottom line is that I go along with Gale McMillan--or he came along with me. I'm unsure as to which of us started first. :D

10-96
October 25, 2012, 08:39 AM
I think I tried to follow a barrel break in procedure once- maybe twice. I enjoy and appreciate firearms which are capable of fine accuracy as much as the next guy- but I just don't see the benefit of a break in.

I, for one, appreciate everyone who imparts their SEAL friends wisdom here even though I wonder why so few actual SEALS come here to deliver such knowledge themselves. One thing that I would indeed find very interesting would be a sensible discussion on various shooting topics between all these SEAL experts and all the various Marksmanship Unit folks from all the various services. Now that would be a thread of threads!

kraigwy
October 25, 2012, 09:31 AM
One thing that I would indeed find very interesting would be a sensible discussion on various shooting topics between all these SEAL experts and all the various Marksmanship Unit folks from all the various services.

Funny you should mention that. There have been a lot of books about and from SEALS lately. Quite a bit about SEAL Sniping.

What I find funny is Brian Webb's "The Red Circle". Webb was a SEAL Sniper Instructor, and was Chris Kyle's (American Sniper) instructor.

Webb was the only SEAL I read about who admitted that in SEAL training the SEALs used the Army Marksmanship Unit as their primary marksmanship instructors.

The AMU is and has always been (Since Pres Ike started the AMU Program in 1956) the leading edge in marksmanship and sniping.

So my thinking, instead of going to SEALs for advice, why not go to who the SEALs go to.

That being the Army Marksmanship Unit. The AMU partnered up with the Civiliam Marksmanship Program (CMP) to provide all US citizens with programs on marksmanship and fundamentals of marksmanship.

BLUETIP
October 25, 2012, 09:34 AM
I've even heard of guys putting jewlers rouge on the projectile to smooth the bore.hows that for barrel break in.:D

Sturmgewehre
October 25, 2012, 09:54 AM
Barrel break in is voodoo. No one has ever proved it does anything other than waste time and money. The whole notion is relatively new. Match shooters from previous decades never heard of such a thing and shoot dinky groups.

I've never broken in a barrel and never will, unless you consider shooting it like normal breaking it in.

Steel cased ammo has been around forever and even the US military used it at one time (45 ACP).

Heck, Hornady is even making steel cased match ammo now.

Here a good article: http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/?p=18747

I've been running steel cased ammo for about 20 years now through everything from machine guns to ACRs and never seen any signs of damage or premature wear on any parts.

RT
October 25, 2012, 12:16 PM
http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/Barrel_BreakIn.asp

http://www.6mmbr.com/gailmcmbreakin.html

iraiam
October 25, 2012, 06:11 PM
I consider myself to have fallen for "barrel break in" ONCE. During the "break in" process, which felt more like a ritual than anything else, I got the distinct feeling that I had been hoodwinked. I sighted the rifle in and considered it finished.

I've been running steel cased ammo for about 20 years now through everything from machine guns to ACRs and never seen any signs of damage or premature wear on any parts.

That's because the steel used for the cartridge cases is considerably softer that the steel used in any part of any firearm.

Palmetto-Pride
October 25, 2012, 06:51 PM
I have always heard it like this "How is a few dozen rounds going to influence a barrel made for thousands to be shot thru it?":eek: Now that makes sense to me I have never done it and never will most of my rifles will shoot sub MOA and a few will shoot 1/2 MOA if I do my part.

Jimro
October 25, 2012, 06:55 PM
"Barrel break in" is a subject that will never die.

A good barrel doesn't need broken in. A poor barrel may benefit from it.

Don't bother trying to break in a chromed or nitrided barrel.

Jimro

Eghad
October 25, 2012, 08:32 PM
Now if only some in the Army would listen to the AMU. Those guys are top notch instructors.

Barrel Break In? Buy it clean all the storage lube off it lube it good then shoot it till I get tired. If my guns will digest steel cased stuff for plinking then I use it sometimes.

Art Eatman
October 26, 2012, 06:12 PM
No disrespect toward SEALs, but I really doubt that their program coveys ultimate expertise in gunsmithing or metallurgy--which are quite different from using, maintaining, cleaning and field-repairing.

Quentin2
October 27, 2012, 08:21 PM
... clean out the oil ... then sight it in. The (new) barrel is now "broke in".

I agree with Kraig, this is the way I "break in" a new gun. Just check the barrel for obstructions, run a dry patch through and shoot.

I do use steel case, it won't hurt your barrel.

johnwilliamson062
October 27, 2012, 11:12 PM
I knew guy who worked for GM in the 90s. He said everyone who worked there would drive a new car directly to an oil change place(or change when they got home). The reason being any sloppy tooling would wear in during the first few miles and resulting shavings needed to be removed ASAP.

True? IDK. I sure hope/think that they are doing a better job now.

This may correlate to barrel break-in.

No disrespect toward SEALs, but I really doubt that their program coveys ultimate expertise in gunsmithing or metallurgy--which are quite different from using, maintaining, cleaning and field-repairing.
Agreed. The 223 556 bit seems off the mark by all my experience and all knowledgeable sources I have ever had access to. I have an acquaintance who is a SEAL. He is not a "Gun Guy," or a "knife guy," or a "radio guy" or all that interested in any of the equipment he must rely on. I am sure he knows the specific equipment he is issued inside and out and how to do field repairs on it and probably the same for most of the equipment he expects to come across in the field, but no more. Of course, it could just be he doesn't think it is worth his time to talk to me about it. I would find that odd as I have spoken to him about motorcycles and that is a subject I am woefully ignorant of. Literally all I know is I went 150mph on a BMW and it was smoother and quieter than my Dad's Lexus at 30mph AND a BMW 1200 would be my first bike if I didn't know I would lay it down before I got it off the lot.

Bart B.
October 28, 2012, 07:05 AM
Here's one of the first things I observed and learned decades ago when I started competitive rifle shooting. The folks who shot the highest scores, won the matches and set the records never broke in a barrel any way whatsoever. People shooting lower scores often used many different barrel break in procedures. Go figure.

JimPage
October 28, 2012, 08:00 AM
Bluetip: I have firelapped a couple of barrels. (jeweler's rouge on bullets to smooth out the rough spots in the bore.) I didn't notice a change in accuracy, but it sure did make cleaning the bore simple. It's so smooth that usually just one patch with solvent and one to dry will clean the barrel after a few hundred rounds.

On the other hand I have a friend who is a fanatic about the process and about cleaning who can shoot a group of .223 at 100 yrds that has all the bullet holes touching. More than 6 shots just leaves one hole.

Art Eatman
October 28, 2012, 08:37 AM
I've yet to read of anybody's complaining that an elaborate break-in process hurt anything. :) I figure that folks oughta do what they think is right.

Metal god
October 28, 2012, 01:10 PM
It's my understanding barrel break-in is to do just that . We all break in are guns just by shooting and cleaning like normal . It's my understanding . you break-in a barrel to get it shooting it's best with as few rounds through it as posible . The theory is your smoothing and clearing out any imperfections in the barrel . We all do this with the normal use of the gun ( 500 rounds down range in that time been cleaned 10 or so times = barrel broke in ) Now if you have one of those calibers that is hard on barrels ie 243 , 300 win mag . Do you want to put 500 or 50 rounds through it to have it shooting it's best .There is something that makes me think that barrel break-in is legit . Is it not exactly what your doing when you lead lap a barrel . If one thinks barrel break-in is unnecessary that same person most think lead lapping is a waste of time as well . I also would think if a barrel is lead lapped there would be no nned to break it in .

Skadoosh
October 28, 2012, 01:36 PM
As much as some senior members poo-poo barrel break in, I believe properly breaking in a new barrel is a valid and necessary procedure to prevent shortening a barrel's life and ensuring it's maximum potential accuracy.

Armalite agrees (http://www.armalite.com/images/Tech%20Notes%5CTech%20Note%2028,%20Breaking%20in%20Match%20Barrels,%20030205.pdf)

p loader
October 28, 2012, 04:22 PM
Skadoosh, your post made me wonder what the military says about the topic. I'm no match shooter but do know how to google "Army Sniper Manual" and was surprised to find the following listed in FM 23-10 (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/23-10/index.html).

Barrel Break-in Procedure.
To increase barrel life, accuracy, and reduce cleaning requirement the following barrel break-in procedure must be used. This procedure is best accomplished when the SWS is new or newly rebarreled. The break-in period is accomplished by polishing the barrel surface under heat and pressure. This procedure should only be done by qualified personnel. The barrel must be cleaned of all fouling, both powder and copper. The barrel is dried, and one round is fired. The barrel is then cleaned again using carbon cleaner and then copper cleaner. The barrel must be cleaned again, and another round is fired. The procedure must be repeated for a total of 10 rounds. After the 10th round the SWS is then tested for groups by firing three-round shot groups, with a complete barrel cleaning between shot groups for a total of five shot groups (15 rounds total).

The barrel is now broken in, and will provide superior accuracy and a
longer usable barrel life. Additionally, the barrel will be easier to clean
because the surface is smoother. Again the barrel should be cleaned at
least every 50 rounds to increase the barrel life.

I guess like others have said to each his own. I've never broken in a barrel and I've never cared to shoot sub MOA groups. All up to personal preference and what we like to do with our guns. :D

10mmAuto
October 28, 2012, 05:14 PM
I'd just like to point out also that being a high speed, low drag end user of firearms does not necessarily a firearm expert make. One of my best friends when I was a cadet was a guy who had just gotten out of 7th SFG, SOTC graduate and two way range sniper - pretty impressive end user resume, but that he fully admitted he didn't know a ton about firearms and nothing about that resume would inform him on the complex metallurgical subject matter you'd need to render an authoritative recommendation on barrel break in.

Jimmie Johnson is a pretty expert driver, but that doesn't mean he's an expert mechanic. 2c.

Quentin2
October 28, 2012, 05:36 PM
As far as ArmaLite (not the original ArmaLite BTW) and the Army manual go, well there's a lot of copy&paste going on out there! :D No need to go to all that time and trouble.

RT
October 28, 2012, 07:09 PM
I would listen to kraigwy before the Army manual. He probably wrote it anyway.

Bart B.
October 28, 2012, 07:22 PM
Art Eatman says: I've yet to read of anybody's complaining that an elaborate break-in process hurt anything.

Art, please read the following and the link included at its end.

http://www.6mmbr.com/gailmcmbreakin.html

After reading them, then you'll have read about someone complaining that an elaborate break-in process hurt something.

Bart B.
October 28, 2012, 07:33 PM
Ah yes, the infamous FM 23-10 sniper manual. Whomever came up the the clock diagram in figure 3-19, the Clock System, either flunked trigonometry or can't tell time. It's got huge errors in it. Tried to explain the errors in it to some US Army Rifle Team Members years ago; they couldn't understand that the difference between a 9-'oclock and an 8-'oclock wind is about 13%, not 50% as shown.

Metal god
October 28, 2012, 09:07 PM
I am not a total believer of barrel break-in but I don't think it should be dismissed completely either .

I do not shoot competitively nor do I own a gun with a match barrel . I thought all match barrels are lead lapped is this true ?

As far as you all know were all the barrels that hold these records lead lapped .

Is lead lapping basically breaking in the barrel before any shot is fired

If you had a match barrel that was not lead lapped wouldn't you want to break it in .

When I see articles from barrel makers that make custom or high end match barrels say there barrels don't need barrel break-in I believe them . My guess is my Ruger American Rifles barrel was not made with the same care and attention to detail as those match barrels . Therefore it may need some break-in before it shoots it's best .

Double Naught Spy
October 28, 2012, 11:22 PM
To paraphrase Jon Weiler, another military sniper that used to be a rep and instruct for Barrett, now runs his own program, and is frequently on TV as an expert on sniping (sense appeals to authority seem to be in vogue in this thread), "Your barrel continues to break-in with every shot you make."

That seems to be my experience as well.

Jimro
October 28, 2012, 11:28 PM
Bart B.

Most Snipers worth their salt use a wind rosette that was NOT from the old FM 23-10. But heck, I was in a class where they taught the correction factor was 10 instead of 15 for SDMs just so they "wouldn't struggle with the math, 10 will get 'em close enough!"

Jimro

DPris
October 29, 2012, 01:27 AM
The only time I ever worried about a barrel break-in was with an ArmaLite .30-caliber AR platform.
I dutifully followed their instructions, and by the time I was an hour into just the barrel break-in it developed the feeding problem they'd occasionally produce & my time was totally wasted in cancelling the shoot. :)
Denis

koolminx
October 29, 2012, 01:30 AM
I really don't get it at all.

If the maker sells you a gun, and you sight it in with 10 rounds, and find that it shoots great. If you did NOT break in the piece, will it FAIL on you when you need it most? Will it only shoot 500 rounds then magically just stop shooting?

It's just foolish to think that you need to do anything other than clean and squeeze the trigger.

I am a mechanic and fools talk about breaking in an engine far more often than this subject is broached here or on any other forum and it's JUST as silly.

The Iron Camshaft that run's non roller lifters is ALL that needs burnished/broke in, in an engine. Nothing else, the heavy load up hill down hill crap is simply that, just like breaking in your barrel..... If you doubt my thoughts on this simply look at out roads with the millions of un-broken in engines on them....

Shooting once then cleaning does NOTHING to the metal, shooting twice then cleaning does nothing else to the barrel, just as any other combination of shooting, and that includes overheating the barrel in my opinion.

I shoot a 1927 US Springfield -06 and when I'm shooting with my pardners, I shoot 60 or so rounds, I shoot it so much it get's hotter than hell and I set it aside until it's comfortable to shoot again. The ONLY thing that happens is I start shooting left because my friggin barrel isn't free floating (I'm lazy and compensate with my aim), and once it's cooled down again she shoots just as straight and far and fast as before.

So I can't swallow this break in baloney. Just my two cents....

Bart B.
October 29, 2012, 05:42 AM
"Your barrel continues to break-in with every shot you make."Does this mean that a barrel never wears out?

thought all match barrels are lead lapped is this true ?No. Some makers use a lead or brass lap to even up the bore and groove diameters and get their dimensional tolerances down to under .0001" or more. These are what's considered "match" barrels. Others stick the word "match" on them as their intended use, but they may well be no better than other makers standard barrels. Some of the most accurate 30 caliber M1 and M14 service rifle barrels were made at Springfield Armory in MA and rifled with a broach that, when worn down somewhat, had very tight groove diameters and shot as accurate as the very best Hart or Obermeyer hand-lapped match barrels. They won a lot of big matches at the Nationals and set records, too. And lots of Douglas barrels were profiled by Barnett for military rifle teams used in M14's; they were air gauged to verify dimensional specs, but were never lapped. They also won their share of matches setting records along the way.

As far as you all know were all the barrels that hold these records lead lapped .No. See the above paragraph.

Is lead lapping basically breaking in the barrel before any shot is firedNo. It just smooths the bore and gets its diameters uniform. But if the rifling twist ain't constant (exact same angle to the bullet for its length), lapping's a waste of time. It won't shoot very accurate even with zero tolerances. Note that "lapping" anything is a process used to remove material. It'll tend to take off the high spots more than the low ones on an uneven surface so the overall dimension is more uniform. It also smooths the finish by making smaller microscopic grooves in it

If you had a match barrel that was not lead lapped wouldn't you want to break it in .No. If it didn't shoot accurate from the get-go, lapping it won't make it shoot any better, but it may reduce copper fouling as less jacket material will get rubbed off bullets. Good example was when Winchester hammer-forged .308 Win. match barrels were profiled for M1 and M14 rifles to be used in competition. Those barrels shot Lake City Arsenal M118 Match ammo very well. They were never lapped by Winchester.

David Tubb (multiple Nat'l rifle champ) sells bullets coated with lapping compound on them to shoot in barrels to "condition" them. While they will smooth up a rough barrel and it may shoot more accurate afterwords, folks need to remember that really good barrels don't need such attention. They'll shoot just fine without any additional smoothing of the bore. Such barrels were been doing that long before those abrasive-coated bullets were even thought of; and still do.

When I see articles from barrel makers that make custom or high end match barrels say there barrels don't need barrel break-in I believe them . My guess is my Ruger American Rifles barrel was not made with the same care and attention to detail as those match barrels . Therefore it may need some break-in before it shoots it's best .I've always questioned Ruger's expertise on rifle barrels. Especially when, in 1991, they built 20 "match" rifles on modified Model 77 actions for the US Palma Team and used barrels from Green Mountain, a Vermont company catering to the black powder folks. Nobody at Ruger knew enough about what's needed to make a barrel shoot the best and that was verifeed in 1992 when the US Palma Team tested them for accuracy. Some members called them "bushel basket" rifles 'cause that's the size of the groups they shot at 600 yards. Members own rifles shot about baseball size groups at that range. The quality of the triggers and stocks on those rifles were two more sad stories.

HiBC
October 29, 2012, 06:42 AM
Seems like I got this idea from Kreiger,as I recall.I have a lot of experience cutting steel that agrees with what I am going to suggest.

If we are talking about a quality,lapped barrel,the barrelmaker made the bore just fine.I agree with what has been said about "just shooting it"

Except for one thing.The barrel was chambered.That means the chamber reamer has had an effect on the fine bore the barrelmaker made.

The reamer starts off with the quality it is made with,may get touched up with a stone,but it will leave some degree of tool finish,and some degree of burr at the leade,where the reamer crosses the lands with an interrupted cut.

If you put a piece of steel in a vise and run a brand new end mill across it woth a finish cut,you will get a burr on the trailing edge.It will even happen on a surface grinder.Scrape the trailing edge of the cut on the workpiece over your fingernail and it will shave off some nail.Very small burrs,but there is no burr free machining with a cutter.

Look real close with magnification on the nicest of chamber reamer cuts and you will see some tool finish.That exists in the throat and leade.

As the bullet passes though those cutter lines and drags over the burrs on the rifling,some copper dust gets filed off.Some of the particles stay in the bore.

The "break in" is about wiping these copper particles out of the bore,or running over them with the next bullet.True,the copper is softer than the steel,but it is not compressable,and it can be impressed into the bore,displacing steel.

I know if a plastic injection mold base made of 4140 steel is allowed to clamp up on plastic particles,the faces of the mold look like they have been beat with a ball peen hammer.The plastic dents the steel.

So.IMO,the idea of break in has nothing to do with the bore surface as provided by the barrelmaker.Its about wearing the burrs off the leade and the high spots off the chamber reamer tool finish.And,its about removing the copper those imperfections cut off and leave in the barrel.

I do not present this as arguement,just something to think about.

Skadoosh
October 29, 2012, 08:33 AM
I read that at Kreiger's site as well. And if he believes that barrel break in is needed, I believe him.

Bart B.
October 29, 2012, 08:42 AM
HiBC's good comment:So.IMO,the idea of break in has nothing to do with the bore surface as provided by the barrelmaker.Its about wearing the burrs off the leade and the high spots off the chamber reamer tool finish.And,its about removing the copper those imperfections cut off and leave in the barrel.I agree. If the burrs were made by a reamer with cutting edges not ground fine enough to minimize their size. But removing the copper still leaves the burrs. They'll soon be masked by erosion from high pressure gases anyway. And that erosion is the biggest cause of accuracy loss.

Top quality reamers leave the finish from their leade cutting flutes fine enough that good barrels don't need it smoothed up. Especially if the reamer's got a floating pilot no more than .0001" smaller than bore diameter. Compare the finish on the leade flats to the bore land's flats using a bore scope in a new, top quality barrel properly chambered with a Henricksen or Red Elliott reamer.

koolminx
October 29, 2012, 10:21 AM
OK boy's, I agree with this,

The "break in" is about wiping these copper particles out of the bore,or running over them with the next bullet.True,the copper is softer than the steel,but it is not compressable,and it can be impressed into the bore,displacing steel.

BUT...
What is a guy to do? Break in barrel and sight it in at the same time? Or sight in the gun with the first 10 rounds and clean it and put it away until hunting or competition season?

Is the piece going to shoot worse and worse as time drags on? Will we have to send it back to the factory for repair or barrel replacement if we don't break it in?

Are flaws more apparent after broken in as compared to not broken in?

Think the Warranty is still good on my 27 Springfield armory '06? Cause last week it took to shooting left after only 10 shots in a row when it usually takes 15 or more.

Lastly: Does this copper that displaces the barrel steel as you described, does it void any warranty? Does it make the round any less accurate for being there? How can one see these anomalies in his barrel, or will he even notice a change?

HiBC
October 29, 2012, 11:02 AM
I fail to understand the need for sarcastic comments.

The forum is for asking questions and sharing knowledge and experience.It is a controversial subject.

It can be discussed without turning it into an emotional whizzing contest.

Here is an excerpt from the Kreiger website:

Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, by necessity there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file. When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is removed from the jacket material and released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. The copper dust is vaporized in this plasma and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore when it is actually for the most part the new throat. If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it, copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may be difficult to remove later. So when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat “polished” without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reasoning for the "fire-one-shot-and-clean" procedure

---------------------------------------------------------------------

No need to agree,do what makes you happy.

I'm quite sure if I was shooting a 1927 Springfield barrel break in would not be a concern.

Had I just bought and installed a Kreiger barrel,I would probably follow my barrel maker's recomendation.

zukiphile
October 29, 2012, 11:25 AM
Here is an excerpt from the Kreiger website:

Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, by necessity there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file. When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is removed from the jacket material and released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. The copper dust is vaporized in this plasma and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore when it is actually for the most part the new throat. If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it, copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may be difficult to remove later. So when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat “polished” without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reasoning for the "fire-one-shot-and-clean" procedure

Emphasis added.

I don't know a lot about this topic, and this explanation sounds plausible, but it does leave me with a question:

Can't a high end barrel maker polish out these reamer marks before selling the barrel? (Or is that a stupid question?)

kraigwy
October 29, 2012, 11:27 AM
I've chambered a lot of barrels, a heck of a lot of target barrels.

After you chamber a barrel, you clean the crap out of it. I mean scrub it to get all the chips, cutting oil, burrs, or what ever.

Now if you want to call that "barrel break in" then I guess I do.

After I clean up the barreled action I run it through Hot Tank Bluing.

If you've done any bluing you know it totally dissolves any non ferrous metals.

Scrubbing with a wire bore and chamber brush takes care of the burs that may be left in the chambering process.

To me that's a lot different then the shoot-Clean-shoot-clean process.

After I get the gun out of the bluing tanks, get it put back together, I test it first and examine the brass for pressure signs, if all is well, I sight it in and its broke in as far as I'm concerned.

I've found, especially with target barrels it takes a few rounds to foul the bore, then it shoots. I zero a fouled barrel, I'm not of the clean cold bore zero crowd. I believe in fouling shots.

When you first blue a gun, the bluing fills in a lot of the pores in the barrel metal. After a few rounds the bluing is gone, and I believe, the fouling takes the place of the bluing, making a smooth bore.

I may be wrong, but I've made some dern accurate shooters this way.

koolminx
October 29, 2012, 01:19 PM
I wasn't trying to be snarky, I was simply pointing out that with the exception of a very very very few super duper duper elite marks-persons, breaking in a barrel is kind of useless after your first 5 or 10 shots.

If the barrel is going to be crappy, it will show up when you are sighting it in. And not down the road after a couple hundred rounds over a year or three period. Especially if cleaned and inspected after each shooting which I fully expect all of us here on the forum to do after each shooting.

btmj
October 29, 2012, 03:48 PM
I followed Kraig's advice on my new rifles. My Howa-action 243 grouped badly for the first 5 rounds, then it improved dramatically. By round number 20, the rifle was sighted in. After cleaning the barrel, I did not notice any change or improvement over the next 40 rounds.

Same with my AR, except that it seemed accurate on the first round. I simply sighted it in with the iron sights, and shot 100 rounds that day. I cleaned it, and now with more than 1000 rounds, I never noticed any improvement or degradation.

TheBear
October 29, 2012, 03:53 PM
barrel break in is a useless waste of time. why dont you just get that??

Double Naught Spy
October 29, 2012, 05:34 PM
Does this mean that a barrel never wears out?

LOL, you #1 funny man. That would depend on what you mean by "wears out." What is means is that the barrel will continue to change with every single shot made. That a barrel is being "broken in" would be to suggest that there is a specific time which it can be determined, apparently by shooting, that the maximum accuracy has been attained and that you then stop the procedure, if you go by the purported breaking-in instructions prescribed by various peoples, none of which are the same. Everyone seems to have their magic combination of shots, cleaning, cleaning procedures, and chemicals to be used for a proper "break-in."

However, the barrel will continue to change with ever shot fired. You can say that the barrel continues to break-in with every shot or you can say that it continues to "wear-out" with every shot. The point is, there isn't a magical number of shots and cleanings that make some miracle happen inside of a barrel. The notion that a fixed number is what is required without actually going in and assessing the actualy condition of the barrel, chamber, etc. is preposterous.

I have talked to a lot of people over the years including 2 barrel makers, military and police snipers, competition shooters, weekend shooters, etc., and not a single one of them can shoot a gun and tell you if a barrel break-in procedure has been performed on a gun, performed "correctly," etc. When was the last time somebody let you fire a rifle and you had to return it to them because it had not had the prescribed break-in performed on it?

I mean absolutely nothing snarky by the queries. I have done my inquiries and not found anyone who can tell a difference. I have never been able to locate any studies that showed the value of barrel break-in procedures and which procedures, if there is any meaningful difference, work the best. If this is indeed so critical, so important that it must be done as some people will claim, then why isn't there any empirical information to back up the claims? I have noticed that thusfar in this thread, like all the rest, no such information has been shown to exist.

Bart B.
October 29, 2012, 06:03 PM
In response to the sniper's comment "Your barrel continues to break-in with every shot you make." I asked if that means that a barrel never wears out. To some, it may well mean that. Afterall, if its owner is the guy who put that claim in print, if he shoots it 54,321 times and likes the way it performs, it must be still being broken in by that standard.

Most folks consider a barrel worn out when it's accuracy no longer is acceptable by its owner. That varies quite a bit across all the shooting disciplines. For example, a 5.56mm NATO barrel in a US Army Marksmanship Unit match grade service rifle may be considered inaccurate when it's 600 yard test groups open up from 1/2 MOA to 3/4 MOA. Yet the same cartridge in M16 service rifles used in combat has a specified 15,000 round typical service life altho at a much lesser degree of accuracy that's about 2 to 3 MOA at that range. On the other hand. folks shooting the 6.5x284 in benchrest and high power competition get between 500 and 800 rounds of accurate barrel life, but a hunter may claim several thousand. Lots of folks think a .22 rimfire barrel will never wear out, but Olympic team members start looking for a new barrel at about 30,000 rounds.

Metal god
October 29, 2012, 06:19 PM
Agreed to the last , and thank you for answering each of my questions .:) Where can one get one of these old burned out barrels that only has 500 rounds through it .:cool:I'm sure you don't just melt them down for scrap :eek:. With my shooting skills . Im sure I could get another 1000+ rounds out of them and be very happy . :D

Jimro
October 29, 2012, 06:42 PM
Metal God,

Ask around your local benchrest crowd. Of course the twist rates may not be to your liking. Not a lot of hunters use a 30 caliber barrel with a 1:16 twist.

Jimro

Skadoosh
October 31, 2012, 07:41 AM
When was the last time somebody let you fire a rifle and you had to return it to them because it had not had the prescribed break-in performed on it?

I think many are missing the point of why many barrel makers recommend barrel break-in.

The way I see it, barrel break-in doesn't IMPROVE a articular barrel's accuracy (..., although I personally believe that it might actually very slightly improve a barrel's initial accuracy for a short period of time). In my opinion, proper barrel break-in merely ensures that the barrel's accuracy, as well as barrel life, is preserved for as long as possible.

kraigwy
October 31, 2012, 08:26 AM
Middleton Tompkins states in Nancy Tompkins' book, "Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting" that:

"The actual life of a barrel is approximately 3 seconds. This is the total amount of time that a bullet is in your barrel before it wears or starts to wear out."

Now I'm sure they are talking about the target quality of a barrel, but still, the amount of time (shooting) a bullet spends in a barrel does wear the barrel.

I just fail to see how shooting a barrel to break it in increases barrel life.

Barnett was mentioned a time or two in this discussion. Gene Barnett makes the Barnett barrels most commonly used in Match M1As, M14s, and M1s.

I met Gene Barnett when we were both in the NG. I was OIC/Coach of the Alaska Rifle Team, Gene worked full time for the NG MTU, his main position was armor for the Small Bore Team (International). During the Wilson Matches he worked as an armor for the Pistol Matches.

He is the one who converted my M1A into a super match. While working for the guard he had his business of making Match Barrels he sold to the Army, National Guard, and civilians (Brownell was one of his best customers).

We got to be pretty good friends and spent a great deal of time discussing barrels. In all the years I've known him I've never once heard him mention "breaking in his M1A/M14 barrels" but I'd venture to say his M1A/M14 barrels won more matches then all the other barrels combined (when M1A/M14s were used in Service Rifle Matches).

Actually, it wasn't until the Internet came about that I started hearing about barrel break In's.

But we all have our opinions, some seem odd to other shooters, I know I certainly have my ways of doing things that raise the eyebrows of others so it boils down to. WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT.

Double Naught Spy
October 31, 2012, 08:48 AM
I think many are missing the point of why many barrel makers recommend barrel break-in.

No, I didn't miss anything including the fact that not all manufacturers stipulate break-in. Maybe you missed my point that nobody seems to be able to tell the difference in barrels purportedly broken in or not and nobody has any data to show breaking in a barrel by whatever voodoo-like special combo formula actually does make any significant change in accuracy or life.

The way I see it, barrel break-in doesn't IMPROVE a articular barrel's accuracy (..., although I personally believe that it might actually very slightly improve a barrel's initial accuracy for a short period of time). In my opinion, proper barrel break-in merely ensures that the barrel's accuracy, as well as barrel life, is preserved for as long as possible.

LOL, barrel break-in is so critical that people aren't even sure what it does one way or the other. Some thing it makes it more accurate. Some think it makes it last longer. The insight is by OPINION and not by any sort of real data. That right there says a lot about the general population's understanding of barrel break-in.

Heck, even your opinion has seemed to change over the course of the thread...
As much as some senior members poo-poo barrel break in, I believe properly breaking in a new barrel is a valid and necessary procedure to prevent shortening a barrel's life and ensuring it's maximum potential accuracy.

Voodoo cause and effect.

Skadoosh
November 2, 2012, 06:43 AM
And since no one, you included, can offer proof to either argument, the mystery remains. This does not mean the process is without valid benefit.

...isnt the internet an amazing thing?

Bartholomew Roberts
November 2, 2012, 10:47 AM
Can't a high end barrel maker polish out these reamer marks before selling the barrel? (Or is that a stupid question?)

My Lilja match barrel had a bore like a mirror when I got it, so it definitely can be done. On the other hand, for what I paid for the barrel, you could buy an entire M&P Sport, so it may not be cost competitive to do it.

And FWIW, I don't shoot near well enough to appreciate the difference between this and a much cheaper match barrel, though it is nice to be 100% sure that the rifle is not the problem.

Double Naught Spy
November 2, 2012, 03:02 PM
And since no one, you included, can offer proof to either argument, the mystery remains. This does not mean the process is without valid benefit.

...isnt the internet an amazing thing?

And that is what makes it voo-doo when people start claiming how important the process is and what it does when they don't even know what, if anything it does or if it has any affect. That people would claim that changes need to be made to a barrel, to break it in via the use of a magical number of prescribed steps, cleaners, solvents, and/or lubes, without ever first determining what changes need to be made to the barrel, if any, puts the whole process into the realm of being a faith-based belief system like voodoo.

Metal god
November 2, 2012, 04:15 PM
What about chrome lined barrels . I here they settle in after a couple hundred rounds or so and shoot better . Would this be the break in period for these barrels or is this BS as well .

Jimro
November 2, 2012, 06:01 PM
Who ever told you chrome lined barrels settle in?

Accuracy may change over the life of the barrel, but when a barrel is designed to last 15,000 to 20,000 rounds how much real difference does the "first couple hundred" really make?

Jimro

johnbt
November 2, 2012, 06:53 PM
"I've always questioned Ruger's expertise on rifle barrels. Especially when, in 1991,... "

It was about then that Ruger got tired of buying barrels and invested heavily in hammer forge machines from Europe. The last time I looked it up it only took 6 employees to make their barrels. Let me check that.

Okay, here, all the way at the bottom, in 2010 it was 8 employees.

http://firearmshistory.blogspot.com/2010/05/rifling-manufacturing-hammer-forged.html

Metal god
November 2, 2012, 07:20 PM
I don't have an exact person or time . I seem to remember reading it some where and talking about it at the range as well as posting a thread about it on TFL . Like all the other opinions out there I have know scientific data . just wanted to here other opinions on the chrome lined barrels .

It's my understanding when they apply the chrome to the bore it"s very hard to get a even coat through out the barrel . This is why they are a little less accurate then none chromed lined barrels .

I was just wondering if putting a few hundred rounds through it would ( lack of a better term ) smooth it out ever so slightly ?

Just a thought not a fact .

Bart B.
November 3, 2012, 07:21 AM
From the link johnbt posted that talks about hammer forged barrels:Prior to 1990, this method was not used by US manufacturers.
Winchester 70's had hammer forged barrels starting with their push feed actions in 1964. I don't know where they were made.

Art Eatman
November 3, 2012, 09:28 AM
Hokay, enough for this, the umpteenth iteration of breaking in of barrels.

Rest assured, Dearly Beloved, that it will come up again. :D

johnwilliamson062
November 3, 2012, 11:11 PM
So for a really cheap barrel it may have a minimal positive effect. If you are worried about that minimum effect you shouldn't be buying a cheap barrel. Can we leave it at that?

Metal god
November 3, 2012, 11:30 PM
So for a really cheap barrel it may have a minimal positive effect. If you are worried about that minimum effect you shouldn't be buying a cheap barrel. Can we leave it at that?

That cracked me up :D Things that are true can be so funny . :)