View Full Version : Why firelap?

February 16, 2002, 08:47 PM
I read another post that mentioned firelapping. There is also a guy at my gun club that told me he firelapped all of his guns.
Running an abrasive compound down my .223 barrel at 2500 f/s seems like it would accelerate barrel erosion.
Why would you want to do this?

February 16, 2002, 09:20 PM
Here are some barrel thoughts from the late Gale McMillan

My own thoughts are.....if it is a rough barrel AND a lousy shooter, give it a try for you have nothing to lose. If it is a good barrel with a fine finish; why drag rocks through it ?


February 17, 2002, 11:46 AM
I have done it to several of my revolvers and it does make a difference.

The only thing is, you dont push them that fast.

Guns and Ammo did an article on it several years ago.

I did my .44 Colt Anaconda and I only used about 3 grains of unique. You could see the bullets coming out of the barrel.

I took some 245 LSWC's that were unsized and rolled them in lapping compound. I then shot them.

It polishes up the barrel. It did an exellent job and the revolver had much less tendency to leadup when shooting cast bullets. It also makes it sooo much easier to clean.

If you decide to do it, make sure you clean the barrel very well before you shoot regular loads in it. For comparison, shoot some groups on paper before and after you lap. You might be pleasantly surprised.

In case you are wondering...

When any barrel is rifled , the process leaves small burrs in the barrel and imperfections in the barrel. These burrs are eventually worn out and smoothed up by bulletts passing over them. You may have heard that a rifle or pistols shoots "better" after a few hundred rounds. Some people call this shooting a rifle "IN". By firelapping, all you are doing is accelerating the process. You are smoothing the imperfections out by lapping the barrel with unsized bullets. You are essentially using the gun itself to lap the barrel. Its a whole lot easier and takes less time than doing it by hand. Its important to remember that the bullets need to travel as slow as they can and still make it out the barrel. Then the gun needs to be cleaned very well. My .44 barrel looked like it had a mirror finish in it after I did mine. It also makes it more accurate because the burrs arent shaving pieces of lead so much.

Personally, Ive never had anything but good results from doing it.

Remember that it's important not to get carried away with this. You just want to remove the burrs,not shave the edges off of the rifleing. If you do it too much you are removing the service life out of the barrel. If you have a production barrel you may see more results than in a custom barrel which are held to tighter tolerances and better production methods.

February 18, 2002, 04:11 PM
I don't think that will be an issue for me as all of my guns have at least 500 rounds through them. With the exception of mt AR. It has a chromed barrel and I don't think I'll "ruin" that one unless I'm shooting.

Badger Arms
February 18, 2002, 09:11 PM
My feeling is that it will accelerate erosion in the forcing cone area. There is also a danger of the abrasive imbedding in the bore. I don't think it will hurt the gun that much if it's shot out, has a rough bore, or is difficult to clean. When I put together a sporter rifle in .358, I ran a jag with a patch soalked with lapping compound through the bore several times. After Cleaning it and repeating the process a few times, I noticed that it was considerably easier to get the patch through the barrel. Once chambered and cut to length, I treated the bore with Tetra-Oil per their instructions. You'd think the barrel was made of Teflon. Nothing sticks to it. The rifling still looks sharp. The barrel did look like a mirror at first but has dulled a bit. Accuracy is superb.

Three advantages to fire-lapping IMHO:

1- Easier cleaning.
2- More consistant accuracy and velocity.
3- It's easy.

Again, like other's have said, if your gun shoots fine without it and isn't a bear to clean, don't mess with it.