View Full Version : Steyr .308 barrel pitting

September 14, 2007, 03:50 AM
I just picked up a Steyr Tactical Elite in .308 from a friend who, as far as I know, bought the rifle new. I shot the rifle about 18 months ago and achieved a three shot group as big as my thumbnail. Hence my reason for buying the rifle off him. After getting it home today I did what anyone might do and gave it a good clean.

After swabbing and patching the bore I noticed about four black spots in a little cluster around an inch into the barrel. I gave it a good scrub with a wire brush (bronze) and a bunch of patches but the spots remained. The remainder of the bore is perfect.

Once I had the bore nice and shiny I could see that they were indeed pitting :( . I have paid less than half the price of a new rifle and outwardly the gun is spotless and almost new looking.

It will be a month or so until I have a scope for it and can try it out. Should I worry about the pitting or just "see how it shoots" before taking any action, like sending it off to a gunsmith or kindly asking my friend for my money back?

September 14, 2007, 08:08 AM
Why money back? Did not you inspect it before buying? If not, bad luck.
Give it some shooting and see what it does on the target. Not satisfied? Take it to a gunsmith.

Oh, and do not blame your friend, he might not have known and he's under no obligation to tell you what you did not ask.

Jim Watson
September 14, 2007, 09:44 AM
If it shoots well, it shoots.

I don't see you have much right to demand your money back for a used rifle.

"Sending it off to a gunsmith" will wipe out the good deal. I have READ that Steyrs are a bear to rebarrel.

T. O'Heir
September 14, 2007, 12:29 PM
"...about four black spots..." How big? Small pits won't matter.

September 14, 2007, 09:07 PM
I would put the biggest pit at about one millimeter across, the rest are smaller. I don't think I'd have any problems returning the rifle but as most have said, I bought it without looking at the bore, which in hindsight was pretty dopey :rolleyes: The main reason I didn't go over the rifle with a fine tooth comb is because it has had, to my certain knowledge, no more than a few hundred rounds put through it. The seller is also a bit of a perfectionist so I just assumed (THAT word) that the firearm would be in peak condition. Anyway, after due consideration I'll get a scope for it and try it out. It's a superb firearm and if I sense that the pitting is causing accuracy problems I'll get it re-barreled . I know this will pretty well kill the deal as far as the cost saving goes but with a Kreiger or Lija barrel it would be even better for F class. It's what I bought it for anyway.

Harry Bonar
September 16, 2007, 07:41 PM
I know what a pit does to us mentally, but your rifle will shoot as well as without the pit, probably! I'd shoot it, check for any bullet jacket sticking and forget it as hard as that is.
Remington 788 bbls. had that same problen - only much worse, I saw many of them!
Especially, if the pitted area is midway up the bbl, and jacket material didn't stick I'd totally forget it - the muzzle area is the critical area.
Harry B.

September 16, 2007, 10:33 PM
Thanks Harry.

I have got over the initial disappointment and I will proceed with getting a suitable scope. The pitting is about 1/3 of the way up the bore. The chamber area is perfect.

It's going to get a Nightforce NXS scope that'll cost more than the gun but if, as I suspect, the pitting was there when I shot it over a year ago I don't think there will be a big problem. Obviously I'm never going to *like* having them in there but if the gun shoots as well as I know it has done, I'll be happy. Maybe as my long-range shooting skillz progress I'll think about re-barrelling it but that's a long way off.

Harry Bonar
September 17, 2007, 07:05 PM
If you ever need to re-bbl. it I'd say call Douglas bbls. at Charleston Wva. In my opinion they're the best.
Talk to Fred Depoy - Harry B.

September 18, 2007, 05:25 PM
Thanks Harry, I'll keep them in mind:)

Wolf Lies Down
October 4, 2007, 11:09 PM
-First, before anything else.......Does the rifle still deliver "thumbnail"-size groups? If so, ignore the pitting, call it good and move on.

If, after your thorough scrubbing, the gun displays poor accuracy, there are a few things I recommend you experiment with:

--get a .22 caliber bronze brush and wrap a couple patches around it. Secure the patches with sewing thread and soak in motor oil. Dip the oily brush/patch contraption in BonAmi cleanser and gently run it back and forth a half dozen times in the bore in four or five inch segments. Don't let the brush exit the bore until you are done. You might do this two or three times, replacing the patches on the brush with each major pass. If you feel the need for more oil or BonAmi, go ahead. You can accomplish the same end with JB bore scrub from Brownells. Don't use regular household cleanser; use BonAmi.

--you could fire lap the barrel with special bullets or loaded ammo available through Brownell's, Midway, Cabella's and others. Follow the directions.

--you could fire a box of inexpensive FMJ ammo through the weapon and do a regular, normal cleaning without a lot of brushing or scrubbing. Often the copper jacket material will fill in shallow pits and bring back accuracy. I know this sounds contrary, but if all else fails short of an expensive fix.........

None of the above three recommendations, to my knowledge, will damage your barrel. If anyone else here believes otherwise, please sound off.

Wolf Lies Down

October 5, 2007, 08:10 AM
JB Bore Paste as sold by Brownell's is just the right thing to remove the small pits and polish the bore. I use it all the time for such problems. Wrap a tight fitting patch loaded up with the JB Bore Paste and scrub the bore about 100 strokes. Your barrel will be just like new again.