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Old September 24, 1999, 11:38 PM   #1
bullseye
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I've seen messages posted on this board refering to breaking in of new barrels. What is this procedure? Is it different for chrome lined vs. regular barrels?
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Old September 25, 1999, 09:10 AM   #2
Gale McMillan
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The break in fad was started by a fellow I helped get started in the barrel business . He started putting a set of break in instructions in ever barrel he shipped. One came into the shop to be installed and I read it and the next time I saw him I asked him What was with this break in crap?. His answer was Mac, My share of the market is about 700 barrels a year. I cater to the target crowd and they shoot a barrel about 3000 rounds before they change it. If each one uses up 100 rounds of each barrel breaking it in you can figure out how many more barrels I will get to make each year. If you will stop and think that the barrel doesn't know whether you are cleaning it every shot or every 5 shots and if you are removing all foreign material that has been deposited in it since the last time you cleaned it what more can you do? When I ship a barrel I send a recommendation with it that you clean it ever chance you get with a brass brush pushed through it at least 12 times with a good solvent and followed by two and only 2 soft patches. This means if you are a bench rest shooter you clean ever 7 or 8 rounds . If you are a high power shooter you clean it when you come off the line after 20 rounds. If you follow the fad of cleaning every shot for X amount and every 2 shots for X amount and so on the only thing you are accomplishing is shortening the life of the barrel by the amount of rounds you shot during this process. I always say Monkey see Monkey do, now I will wait on the flames but before you write them, Please include what you think is happening inside your barrel during break in that is worth the expense and time you are spending during break in
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Old September 25, 1999, 03:00 PM   #3
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Mac. SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED!
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Old September 25, 1999, 05:53 PM   #4
Al Thompson
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No flame here Mr. Mac. When my personal history is comparable to yours, I may throw rocks - not until then though.

I have done this on factory barrels and had good results. I usually use JB compound for the first few shots and through cleaning after range sessions. The aggressive use of JB seems to smooth things up pretty quickly. (duh) I do not have a custom barrel on any of my rifles. (yet)

Would you still hold that the procedure is unneeded on factory barrels?

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Old September 25, 1999, 06:52 PM   #5
Gale McMillan
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I answered this and lost it on transfer so will shorten this one and try to get my point across in fewer words. When some one uses JB on one of my rifles I void the warrantee! For two reasons. ! it dimensionally alters the barrel dimensions and not evenly and the second reason is the barrel maker laps the barrel with a grit of lapping compound that is most effective in preventing metal fouling. Then a customer polishes that finish away with JB.
I wouldn't be as apposed to it if it were applied on a lead lap and very sparingly. It is very obvious when you look at a barrel with a bore scopes all the sharp edges are worn off the rifling. if it has JB used on it on a regular basis. As you know ,it is an abrasive of about 1000 grit. As for using it on factory barrels I will say that while it is difficult to hurt a production barrel but the thing that hurts a match barrel will do the same to a factory barrel
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Old September 26, 1999, 03:07 PM   #6
Paul B.
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I understand what you are saying about JB compound, but, for example, I have a rifle in .375x338 Mag that copper fouls so badly that even JB bore paste doesn't do it. Even the stronger solvents don't seem to phase the stuff.
I have several other rifles that are just as bad.
What would you suggest I do? Please don't say buy another rifle. If I do, my wife will kill me.
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Old September 26, 1999, 04:49 PM   #7
Gale McMillan
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Pual I would rather see you use Otters Foul out as it is easy onthe barrel. I have only used it on my 50 but it worked well on it.
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Old September 26, 1999, 06:12 PM   #8
Andygold
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Gale,
Please excuse my poor memory 8^)
If I remember correctly, at AR15.com or maybe at Bushmaster's site I read something about having to fire 100 - 150 rounds with no cleaning or perhaps minimal cleaning. The article said something about leaving some residue in the barrel to help polish/smooth the barrel's internal finish. To clean the barrel before completing this break in procedure would put you back at square one. This pertained to an AR15 with a chrome lined barrel.
From what you are saying... I take it the break-in will only be a waste of ammo. Am I understanding you correctly?
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Old September 26, 1999, 06:35 PM   #9
Gale McMillan
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Thats right. it is a waste of barrel and time. I don't know much about lined barrels but it may be that the barrel is rough due to the plating process. With high volume fire as in full auto it helps to protect against erosion and no one is concerned with accuracy as it is spray and pray.
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Old September 27, 1999, 03:24 PM   #10
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bullseye: My credentials aren't as impressive as Mr. McMillan's, but I do have some experience with new factory barrels and used ones that have been neglected or abused by previous owners. Factory barrels aren't lapped or polished as a rule; the first couple of hundred shots through therefore, apparently serve to 'season' the bore, wearing away microscopic imperfections. Especially during this time, firing too many rounds too fast is not a good practice. I try to keep the barrel cool, especially until a few hundred shots have gone down the bore. That means that at least at first, I shoot only a few shots per session, and of course cleaning after each session. It's not so much the cleaning that helps is the gradual wearing in. I have used JB Paste for years on neglected barrels, to scour out years of fouling there was nothing better until the electric de-re-unplaters came along. Maybe JB isn't good for fine lapped bores. All I know is that it is a rejuvenator and accuracy restorer on neglected barrels of the ordinary kind. As for chrome plated bores I have little experience with them, and can make no recommendation. slabsides

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Old September 27, 1999, 05:16 PM   #11
Gale McMillan
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Barrel makers luv ya! If you have a bad barrel there isn't much that can hurt it or help it for that matter.
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Old September 27, 1999, 05:55 PM   #12
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Gale, may I pick your brain on a question I have been wondering about? It has nothing to do with bbl break in, but this is as good a place as any to ask it.

You mentioned above that JB, and I'm sure other compounds or cleaning methods (I think the 'tornado' brushes are a plot by the factory bbl manufacturers), will wear down the sharp edges of the rifling. My question is how important is the sharpness of the rifling to accuracy. Have you done any experiments with sharp vs. dull rifling, all other aspects of the bbl being equal? Maybe this type of examination would be a better test of when a bbl has bit the dust instead of throat wear, for instance.
TIA
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Old September 27, 1999, 08:48 PM   #13
Gale McMillan
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Look at it this way, A barrel starts out with nice sharp areas of the corners of the rifling . Along the way you build a big fire in it a few thousand times and it burns the corners off. Now take a barrel that to break in you put an abrasive on a patch and run it in and out. The result is that you take the corners off the rifling so that all that fire which would have started with sharp rifling is now starting with rifling that is thousands of rounds old. Which means that a lot of the life is gone. A lap always cuts more on each end where the compound reverses direction as it starts back through the barrel which means that it is enlarging the bore at each ends of the barrel. And last picture a patch riding along the barrel with abrasive on it. It is removing material at a given rate. It comes to a place where there is copper fouling and it rides over it cutting the same amount that it was cutting before it came to the copper. You continue until all the fouling is gone and what have you done? You have put the came contour in the barrel steel that was in it when it was metal fouled. It would not be as bad if it were used on a lead lap but I ask why would you want to abuse the barrel when you can accomplish the same thing without the bad side effects. There is Sweats, Otters foul out or just a good daily cleaning with a good bore cleaner till the fouling is gone. To top this off I will relate a true happening. I built a bench rest rifle for a customer and as usual I fired 5 groups of 5 shots and calculated the aggregate. It was good enough to see that the rifle was capable of winning the Nationals so I shipped it. I got a call from the new owner saying how happy he was with it the way it shot. About 4 weeks later the rifle showed up with a note saying it wouldn't shoot. Sure enough when I tested it it was shooting groups three times the size if the ones I had shot before I shipped it. When I bore scoped it the barrel looked like a mirror and the rifling wasn't square it was half round. From that time on I put a flyer in each gun saying if any abrasive was use in it voided the Warrantee.
Now I am not trying to stop you from doing what you want but just inform you what is happening when you use JB. Brass brushes are softer than barrel steel and does no harm. S/S brushes are harder than barrel steel is definetly a no no. Nylon may surprise you to know is very abrasive If you doubt this look at the carbide eye on yout fishing rod where nylon line has worn groves into it.
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Old September 27, 1999, 09:15 PM   #14
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If the previous post was for me, I believe you misunderstood my question. I absolutely believe you are correct about not using abrasives. My question was on the effects of rounded rifling on accuracy. Since the rifling is there to impart an angular velocity to a bullet, I was wondering if you had done any experiments with sharp vs. rounded rifling to see how much it affected the accuracy and any theories on why it affected it. My comment on the tornado (SS) brushes shows that we are of a like mind on this. My theory is that, as you hinted at, the use of abrasives near the muzzle create imperfections in the roundness of the bore and greatly affect the bullet as it leaves the muzzle. Since it is almost impossible for a human to impart the same cleaning action on the entire inside diameter of the muzzle evenly, they can ruin the muzzle very quickly. Any imperfections in this area, no matter how minute, can affect accuracy. Using any harsh cleaning methods can cause these imperfections.
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Old September 27, 1999, 09:41 PM   #15
Al Thompson
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This is very interesting to me. I have used JB and other compounds and I am rethinking that use. Outers cleaning kits are fairly inexpensive..............

John Feamster once wrote that his break in procedure for a target rifle was to clean every 60 rounds or so..

The Barnes folks tell you to clean when your barrel stops shooting well..

Things to think about. I still like an aggressive cleaning on factory barrels for the first few rounds. Might have to get the Foul-Out and see how it works. Time for a new gun !!!!

Giz

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Old September 30, 1999, 07:24 AM   #16
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As far as the stuff about AR15 barrels on the Bushmaster website goes, that is for chrome lined barrels only, and it says so in the text. I know because I'm the guy that wrote it. In our experience at the factory, barrels would get less fouling if they were fired 200 or so rounds before the first cleaning, then cleaned whenever the accuracy started to suffer. We recommended this on our lined barrels only, as the DCM rifles with unlined barrels we tried this on in testing didn't respond well to it. A "Foul Out" unit is probably the best bet for those, or any unlined barrel, and is handy for getting out fouling on lined barrels as well.

Everyone should be aware that this is one area that is being driven by popular demmand right now, with little or no real research being done by anyone in the industry. Barrel break-in is rapidly becoming a popular myth, where some people will tell you straight out that no rifle will shoot if it's not "broken in" right. Well, that's just crap. Any barrel made well will shoot well unless it's neglected or abused, and that's just a simple fact. Any effect breaking in a barrel may have would probably have to be measured with a micrometer at the target, as the difference would be almost neglegible.

I used to put it this way. Unless you are firing from a solid benchrest, with front and rear rests, handloaded match ammo made specifically for the barrel you are shooting, and firing single shots allowing the barrel to cool between each round, you won't be able to tell the difference anyway, so for crying out loud, go shoot your rifle! More time using it and less time playing with it, and you'll be a lot happier. Works on a lot of levels, if you get my meaning.

That's my $.02, if it's of any use to anyone. Don't go nuts with breaking in rifle barrels, it's not worth the trouble. As always, IMHO, YMMV, etc...

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Old September 30, 1999, 08:29 AM   #17
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With regard to break-in of factory barrels, I can offer this observation: In three brand-new rifles that I broke in over the last 3 years, (700, M-77 Mk II, M-70) I ran dry patches through each and found... shavings! No kidding! I was esp. shocked to find fresh stainless steel shavings down the bore of the Sendero! You can do what you want afterwards, but ALWAYS clean the bore thoroughly before that first shot out of a production rifle. You might also want to strip the action and carfully wipe the lugs, too. I just can't believe that steel shavings grinding down your bore with the force of your first group can be very good for your future accuracy!



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Old September 30, 1999, 09:20 AM   #18
Gale McMillan
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The metal shavings would have had to get in the barrel after it was test fired. The barrel was a hammer forged or buttoned barrel which is not machined and is very smooth finished. No one ever said not to clean a new rifle only that it is not necessary to break it in.
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Old April 10, 2001, 07:56 AM   #19
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This is a very good read..... I thought I'd bring it back from the closet.
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Old April 10, 2001, 10:26 AM   #20
Dave R
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Yup. Worth reviewing. At first I thought McMillan had found a way to get Internet access from that great range in the sky.

FYI, Remington officially recommends the "clean, shoot 1, repeat 10x" break-in procedure. Here's the link.

http://remington.custhelp.com/cgi-bi...aGI8odmXJ&25=6

Seems like that would not cause much excessive wear. Seems like the JB route WOULD cause a lot of excessive wear.
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Old April 10, 2001, 10:50 AM   #21
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Thanks, FireForged.

I'd never heard of barrel break-in before I came on TFL. I got my first '06 in 1950.

I have two rifles that are around 30 years old, now. About 4,000 rounds through the Weatherby '06; maybe 1,000 through the Sako .243. Both still shoot in the 1/2"-3/4" area if I do my part.

All I've ever done is spray a bit of WD 40 on a patch and run it through the bore, generally. Occasionally a copper brush and then a wet patch, a dry patch and then a damp patch. After about 25 years the groups were degrading a bit. I used the copper-remover stuff four years ago and groups returned to their original tightness.

Damfino.

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Old September 9, 2001, 08:43 PM   #22
blackamos
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Gale
Just got a new rifle and was going to go to the range in the morning to "Break it in". Now I think I will just site it in and enjoy it and the money saved on ammo.
Thanks Brent
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Old September 9, 2001, 09:55 PM   #23
craigz
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blackamos,
Gale McMillan died last year, but wherever he is, I'm sure he's glad you're taking his advice. You might want to check out this thread for his collected wisdom. He was a great man, and I think it's terrific that this site lets him keep on helping people.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...=gale+mcmillan
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Old September 10, 2001, 09:10 PM   #24
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Sorry to hear that. Just got back from reading all his posts. I never met him but feal like I lost a freind, his word and wisdom will stay with us all.
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Old September 12, 2001, 10:47 AM   #25
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Gale McMillian

I'm confused, are you saying that Gales post are re-runs from previous posts when he was living?
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