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Old June 10, 2013, 07:34 PM   #1
rebs
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barrel break in ?

I have a brand new Colt AR 15 match target competition with a 20" 1in9 twist barrel, what is the right procedure to break in the barrel ?
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:38 PM   #2
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If you use the search function, you will find plenty from the pro and anti barrel break in folks, as well as different techniques the pro-break in folks use.
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Old June 10, 2013, 08:13 PM   #3
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The whole barrel break-in process is just about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life, and I really mean that I am not being facetious. Read up on it if you want and you can be the judge.
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Old June 10, 2013, 08:44 PM   #4
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the right procedure...
1. shoot the gun
2. take it home
3. take back out some other time
4. shoot it some more.
5. repeat with cleanings every once in a while.

barrel break in is a myth, there are threads of guys taking brand new ruger plastic wonder rifles out and out of the box shooting sub MOA with factory ammo and then the next trip with handloads hitting 1040 yard steel gongs without any kindof break in procedure.
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Old June 10, 2013, 08:57 PM   #5
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Insert magazine, load round, pull trigger. You've broken in your rifle.

There's no magic to it.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:02 PM   #6
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If barrel break-in is such a myth why do some barrels get lapped ? I would think lapping a barrel is a type of break-in . And for the same reason you lap a barrel I would think cleaning after each of the first few rounds would do something similar . Smooth out any ruff areas and clear out any crap left behind so it does not get trapped between the bore and the bullet on the next shot and scatch the bore .

I will add I just bought a $1k Savage and did NO break-in and shoot sub 1/2 moa no problem

Last edited by Metal god; June 10, 2013 at 10:09 PM.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:18 PM   #7
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Break-in is not a myth. It's not going to 'ruin' a gun if you don't do it and it's not going to do anything like make a 3MOA gun shoot sub MOA.

Shooting and cleaning properly will gradually polish the bore, removing imperfections. I've seen it myself with my own rifle and the bore now looks like a mirror after a few boxes. A good 'broken in' bore should maintain accuracy for more shots, because fouling will not accumulate as quickly, and cleanings should also be slightly easier.

It's up to the owner whether to do it or not. It's not really going to make or break a rifle, unless you damage the bore while cleaning. I just use a bore snake and hoppe's #9, and run the snake a few times and it takes care of everything.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:52 PM   #8
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I tend to think that the whole "shoot a round, clean the bore, shoot another round, clean the bore, etc." barrel break-in is mostly a myth. However, it sure doesn't hurt anything.

So here's the way I look at it: If it's a complete and total BS myth, then it doesn't hurt anything to do it and you only lost a little bit of time and effort. But if it's not a myth and actually helps, then you just increased the potential accuracy of your barrel by breaking it in.
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Old June 11, 2013, 04:31 AM   #9
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To the OP, you can see this is a contentious issue. If you conduct a search on the forum, you will find thoughts on the topic by Gale McMillan, of McMillan Barrels fame.
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Old June 11, 2013, 05:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
If barrel break-in is such a myth why do some barrels get lapped ?
You are asking the wrong question. What is at question is the need for a particular ritual break-in procedure. The pro-break-in people will all most always state an exact round-count procedure (for instance, shoot once-clean, shoot two-clean, shoot three-clean, etc.),which begs the question: What scientific test has been performed on multiple barrels to base their exact procedure? And the answer to that is, none...it is expected to be taken on faith (or Gospel).
Note to those about to break-in a barrel: If you do not clean your barrel after the very first shot, it is ruined and will never shoot good groups.
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Old June 11, 2013, 06:01 AM   #11
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Barrels shoot better after they have had a few rounds down range. I guess you could say that is a barrel break in.

But the silly routine of shoot 1 round, clean. Shoot 3 rounds clean, shoot 5 rounds, clean, etc. is not necessary.

Clean your rilfle, take it out to the range, shoot and enjoy, don't worry about stopping to clean it every few rounds. When you get home clean it. Repeat. Chances are it will shoot better after a 100-200 rounds than when new, but you have more important things to do than stop and clean your rifle. In fact more barrels are ruined by over or improper cleanng than by just shooting.

After you get the barrel fouled you will likely find it shoots much more accurately than when clean. I clean the crud from the action and wipe down my guns exterior after every firing. But the barrels only get a thorough cleaning 2-3 times a year. After cleaning them it takes 10-15 rounds through them for them to get back to optimum accuracy.
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Old June 11, 2013, 06:06 AM   #12
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Lots of procedures and techniques never existed before the internet. Most, still don't exist past the internet.
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Old June 11, 2013, 06:33 AM   #13
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Shoot it like you stole it.
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Old June 11, 2013, 07:30 AM   #14
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I never bothered breaking in my ARs. To be honest, I don't even know how. I'm too busy making them go bang a lot. Seems to work out OK.
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Old June 11, 2013, 07:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
the right procedure...
1. shoot the gun
2. take it home
3. take back out some other time
4. shoot it some more.
5. repeat with cleanings every once in a while.

barrel break in is a myth, there are threads of guys taking brand new ruger plastic wonder rifles out and out of the box shooting sub MOA with factory ammo and then the next trip with handloads hitting 1040 yard steel gongs without any kindof break in procedure.
This is absolutely correct for an AR.


Even many BR shooters are more likely to break in by shooting 50 practice/ammo development groups at a 5 n clean pace than any regimented break in method. Breaking methods are usually 100 - 200 rounds long which is like wasting 10% of a new match barrels life.
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Old June 11, 2013, 08:54 AM   #16
George Hill
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The Late and Great Gale McMillan had something to say about Break Ins...
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...light=break+in
I remember talking to Gale about this at SHOT SHOW one year... that man forgot more about The Art of the Rifle than I'll ever know. He was a fountain of knowledge. And listening to him was always the wise course of action.
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:53 AM   #17
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I never heard of "barrel break-in" until coming to TFL. I'd been shooting sub-MOA groups for almost fifty years by then, but what could I know?

So, I was on Gale's side in the "argument".
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:11 AM   #18
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Mine took about 60-70 rounds and a good cleaning for it to stop jamming on the extraction. Now hundreds and hundreds later, it hasnt jammed once.

Other than instances like mine, I've never heard of "breaking a rifle" in. (I'm sure my issue also came from being a first time builder too)
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Old June 11, 2013, 03:30 PM   #19
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Someone please tell me what can 100rds do for a barrel thats made to last thousands of rounds.......

Don't bother I cannot be convinced, but if it help you sleep at night knock yourself out.
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Old June 11, 2013, 03:32 PM   #20
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barrel break in ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragline45 View Post
The whole barrel break-in process is just about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life, and I really mean that I am not being facetious. Read up on it if you want and you can be the judge.
+1... i 2nd that. I've never broke in my craftsman deep well sockets either
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Old June 11, 2013, 06:01 PM   #21
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I was a military armorer for 3 years. We never broke in a barrel and had a bunch of M24s that our scouts used; many of which we got new. In the right hands they all shot MOA. I'm not sure any 'break in' would have helped that.
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Old June 11, 2013, 09:25 PM   #22
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In the right hands they all shot MOA. I'm not sure any 'break in' would have helped that.
I've never heard anyone claim that 'break in' will improve accuracy. If you read my post, I touch on it a bit. Accuracy wont be improved but it's possible that accuracy can be maintained for more shots (between cleanings), because fouling doesn't accumulate as quickly on a 'perfect' bore.
Also I believe it is different for different bores. For example, a chrome lined bore probably wont benefit from a 'break in' because, part of the reason for chrome lining, is its wear resistance and the fact that a chrome lined bore is supposed to be very smooth, to reduce fouling. (Again, to maintain accuracy for more shots, on the battlefield, where you may not be able to clean the bore) There are also some barrel/rifle manufactures that lap their bores from the factory and get their bores super smooth, which wont benefit from a 'break in' as they are already "broken in."
For the barrels that do benefit from 'break in,' the effect is small. It WILL NOT make or break a rifle, unless you end up damaging the rifle in the cleaning process. There IS risk that you can do more harm than good if you don't clean properly and damage the bore and/or crown.

It's up to the shooter to make the choice. Assuming you can clean properly, all you've got to lose is some time and maybe $5 worth of cleaning products. Ammo and "barrel life" isn't being wasted if you're shooting anyway. It's just taking the time to clean it.

I clean every shot, while sighting my new rifle. Once it's zero'd I'll shoot a few 3-5 shot groups, to test accuracy and clean in between groups. 'Break in' is pretty much that easy.
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Old June 12, 2013, 09:09 AM   #23
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^^^^Good explanation. This is most common with the bench rest folks where a good gun needs to be able to shoot "0s" or under 1/10 MOA to win. The break in or conditioning can be about a 10 round process. It will not fix a bad barrel and with most regular barrels you probably could not tell a difference one way or the other. However, to clean it properly after each shot for the first ten shots while you are at the range anyway would not hurt anything.

Last edited by saleen322; June 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM.
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Old June 12, 2013, 10:00 AM   #24
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Just the shooting will burnish the barrel. The bullet will do a tiny bit of polishing with every shot.

Longevity of tight-group accuracy depends on how much burning of the leade occurs in how long a time or however many shots.
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Old June 12, 2013, 10:50 AM   #25
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The idea behind break-in is to keep bullet jacket in contact with steel on every shot until the barrel is smoothed. A bullet sheds copper and a new barrel picks up copper quickly. The break in procedure requires skill in the cleaning process and removes the copper from the barrel and allows the next bullet to go across steel and do the work of smoothing it. Lapping can work but it can also ruin. The line between good and bad barrels in bench rest is way to thin to use quick methods of smoothing out barrels. The idea is to eventually have a barrel that you can fire 5 rounds with almost zero copper retained.
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