View Full Version : Seasoning of stainless barrels??

January 13, 2009, 03:06 PM
There are many debates on the topic of "seasoning" your revolver or rifle barrels will do any good or can even be accomplished. But I think there is something to be said for all the ancedotal evidence that velocities increased and cleaning was easier with years and firings under the gun's belt. The small (microscopic) pitting that is natural or occurs as a result of black powder would allow lubes and greases to soak in and build up and act like ball bearings to the bullets. This should increase velocities with time and firings. We know that rifles will get the "black bore" after a good many seasons and years. But old guns were made of old steel.

Can such a process occur with modern stainless steel, or modern blued steel for that matter? I don't know if anyone has had their stainless inlines or revolvers long enough to really have built up such a bore in their guns. I have put almost 500 balls through my 1858 Remington (blued) at about 20 rounds a session, and have never used soap on it and only used nylon brushes. I believe that it is getting faster as my slugs are hitting harder and penetrating further into my sand berm and stumps, etc. Without a chrony it is hard to say for certain. The sand and stump could be feeling the effects of time and lots of lead.

The inside of my barrel looks shiny yet. Not dull and "black bore"ish like my dad's old hawken. Do I have the start of a seasoned barrel, is my gun just speeding up, or is my stump and sand whispering sweet nothings to my ears?

Let me hear your thoughts.

January 13, 2009, 03:25 PM
my dad has an old knight wolverine in ss that has thousands of shots thru it, he just brushes/swabs it, he is a big "believer" in seasoning.
his barrel looks just like my newer blued wolverine with only a few hundred shots thru it, and many a trip thru the bath tub.

January 13, 2009, 03:56 PM
Personally I believe there are many benefits to seasoning barrels whether they be S.S. or blued. Learned this from an old Blacksmith years ago. I will have to admit that I have had varying success with the process but most of of my barrels are smooth, shiny and easy to load and clean. I believe both can be seasoned but S.S. seems to take longer. Currently working on a S.S. rifle barrel on a side-cocker and need more range time as soon as this darn weather lets me.

Be Safe !!!

January 14, 2009, 11:33 AM
I believe that it is getting faster as my slugs are hitting harder and penetrating further into my sand berm and stumps, etc.

I think it's all in your head. Any increase in velocity would only be apparent through a chronograph. You're simply not going to be able to tell if you've gained another 50fps without one.

January 14, 2009, 03:00 PM
You season a castiron fry pan not a barrel.. Whats happening to your barrel is that you are shooting it in, and the bore surface is becomming smoother after every shot. Just like lapping but takes longer and more fun.

January 14, 2009, 04:16 PM
You season a castiron fry pan not a barrel..

If you want to stop, with cast-iron frying pans, that's your call and not mine. I have good success with both. It's not the same as lapping as seasoning removes no metal. It just fills the pores and/or tooling marks. Take a second look at your frying pan and see how much metal you have lost. When improperly done, you can really foul up a bore just like a crust on that pan. Yes, it smooths the bore and helps to preserve the metal surface. Even a little helps. Ever use moly or gun-slick on metal surfaces? Somewhat same same !! :cool:
I once worked in a Moly mill and you had to watch where and how you walked cause you would wind up on your rear. As far as shooting faster and hitting harder, I don't really know as you would have to chrono, as CraigC said, to confirm.

Be Safe !!!

January 14, 2009, 05:42 PM
What happens when you clean the bore? Where does the seasoning go?

Hoss Fly
January 14, 2009, 06:37 PM
"Seasoning" is a myth :confused:
You shoot, you clean, seasons change :rolleyes:

January 14, 2009, 07:06 PM
Guess there`s big difference`s in oppinions here. All metals have pores. Why do we polish/wax stainless,chrome or for that matter a car. Your filling in the pores,makes it smoother. IMO, just makes since to season(fill in the pores) of a B/P barrel with bore butter rather than something like B/P residue thats going to corrode those pores and turn pores into pits. To each his own.

Hoss Fly
January 14, 2009, 08:05 PM
Shortwave- Thats exactly wat you do when you shoot---
Anybody that cares to call it "Seasoning" is fine by me ;)

January 14, 2009, 08:17 PM
I'll go with Hoss Fly said.:)

January 14, 2009, 09:01 PM
"Seasoning" is a myth

Well, it's not and for a moment, let's go back to that cast-iron frying pan cause obviously that might be easier for you to understand. Wait, perhaps you can't relate to that as well. For those who can, you can still wash that frying pan and not loose the season. At times my wife even lightly swipes the surface with a brillo pad and again, not lose the seasoning.

What happens when you clean the bore? Where does the seasoning go?

Same as the pan, it stays. However if it isn't well seasoned or if you brush too hard, you wash it off. Now, run out to the kitchen or your neighbor's kitchen and take a second look. Y'all have a great day !!! :rolleyes:

I'll go with Hoss Fly said.
Please do !!!

Be Safe !!!!

Hoss Fly
January 14, 2009, 09:21 PM
Pahoo - its kinda like Santa- If ya belive in it i aint gonna be the one to bust ya bubble :D
Do 'n belive in wat works for you :cool:

January 14, 2009, 09:30 PM
Hoss Fly, can you explain further your comment of "thats exactly what you do when you shoot"? Always willing to learn;).

Hoss Fly
January 14, 2009, 09:51 PM
Shortwave- Just mean every time you shoot, then clean with borebutter or watever you're doin wat everybody says to do in "seasoning" a barrell :confused:
Ask "how to season a barrell"
Ask "how to care for or clean a barrell"
You shud get the same answer :rolleyes:

January 14, 2009, 10:08 PM
Hoss Fly, I`m :confused:. What is your interpretation of what is meant by "seasoning" a barrel? Also when you said 'thats what your doing when your shooting" where you referring to my statement of filling steel pores in?

Hoss Fly
January 14, 2009, 10:47 PM
My interpentation of "seasoning" a barrell is-- No such animal-
By shootin you are "filling in the pours" by natural means -- in other words one in the other are the same :confused:
You shoot, you clean, you "break in" you "season" the barrel - all are the same:confused: Just words used that mean the same thing- Just the term "seasoning" is a loose term that really has no meaning per say :confused:

January 14, 2009, 11:53 PM
Hoss Fly, when shooting a new rifle and filling in pores by " natural means", your talking about filling pores in with spent powder residue(highly corrosive - causing pores overtime to become pits), lead,copper and plastic fouling. Wouldn`t you rather fill those pores in with something when the rifle is new that won`t corrode your barrel such as borebutter? Thats what Pahoo was telling Williamfeldman. Lapping(removing steel) has nothing to do with "seasoning". Seasoning fills and somewhat seals the pores with something thats non-corrosive same as waxing a car fills the pores in the paint. Also helps in the cleaning process.

January 14, 2009, 11:53 PM
+1 with Hoss

Not sure the "frying pan" analogy works here. Frying pans are cast iron and porous. Those pores are where the oil (seasoning) collects and acts as a lubricant unless it is removed. Our barrels are not so porous, so I don't think they retain lube in the metal - hence they don't "season".

But by keeping the barrel clean and (non-petroleum) lubed, we'll get consistent shots, no rust and the barrel will clean out more easily. Those are pretty much the benefits that T/C was touting as "seasoning" some years back when they introduced T/C 1000 non-petroleum lube.

January 15, 2009, 12:06 AM
What happens to those small pores in that steel on a 95 deg. day when you go zeroing that new rifle in,they expand. Collecting corrosives. Been working with metals for forty years. All steels have pores. Some bigger,some smaller but they all expand and contract. I`ll keep "seasoning" mine.

January 15, 2009, 05:45 AM
One of you don't see it but you are both sayin' basically the same thing. If you use bacon grease or borebutter, Tallow or Crisco to shoot with, the patched lube or lubed minnie balls will season the gun as you shoot it.
Ifin you wanna use plastic in your barrels, which I could never understand the want of to do that...burnin' plastic in my barrel would seemingly remove all seasoning.
Anyway that's my 2 cents.


January 15, 2009, 09:38 AM
I think Smoking Gun is right, everyone is saying the same thing in a different way.

I know that my modern steel is way less porous than my skillet in the kitchen, and as such, I am not going to get that bacon grease to soak through my gun barrel (nor would I want that, my border shift might get interesting).

I guess I am asking if my barrel will absorb any of the lubes and greases even a little bit, or am I just wiping it out everytime I clean. I know the pores in the metal expand and contract, which is why I bake my gun after a dissasembled cleaning and wipe it down with grease while it is hot and after a hot water cleaning.

At least on the plus side, I know I am on the right track with my cleaning and care as I am emulating you experts.

P.S. Smoking gun what would bacon grease and blackpowder smell like together. It could be real good or real bad.

January 15, 2009, 12:09 PM
Pahoo - its kinda like Santa- If ya belive in it i aint gonna be the one to bust ya bubble

Thanks Hoss Fly, You had me worried there for awhille ... ;)

Be Safe !!!

January 15, 2009, 01:23 PM
One thing for sure , my pistols and rifles shoot better after 100 rounds ...and clean easyer too ....call it what ya like ...but I don`t use soap to clean a well seasoned frying pan ....and I don`t need soap to clean my black powder gun bores ....after my ( break in or seasoning period )......ain`t worth an arguement ...but it works .........tomato ..tomoto

January 15, 2009, 05:29 PM
williamfeldmann, Glad to hear you`ve heated barrel and swabbed b/butter while it was hot. Keep up the good work and thirty years from now your barrel will look as it does today. Smokin_Gun, don`t tell anybody but that was the reason for post#16:p:D. With Hoss Fly`s response(seasoning is a myth) to Pahoo`s post, didn`t know if we were all on the same sheet of music when it came to "seasoning". I think we`re close:).

Smokey 92
January 15, 2009, 07:55 PM
I'm with Pahoo. My skillet is seasoned, my rifle is also, as are the cylinders in my motorcycle. Guess I believe in Santa too.:)

Dang right I do, he brought me a new muzzleloader this past Dec25th.:D

January 17, 2009, 01:47 PM
What happens when you clean the bore? Where does the seasoning go?
Same as the pan, it stays. However if it isn't well seasoned or if you brush too hard, you wash it off. Now, run out to the kitchen or your neighbor's kitchen and take a second look. Y'all have a great day !!!

pahoo, are you saying that a 'seasoned' barrel has a coating of material on the surface of the lands and grooves?
A 'seasoned' frying pan has a layer of burned on animal fats adhering to the surface of the cast iron that is easily removed by vigorous cleaning.
I prefer to keep my barrels well cleaned and protected with a thin layer of mineral oil(Ballistol). All that 'seasoning' in my barrel after a days shooting gets scrubbed out.
Obviously a new barrel well 'shoot in' as any microscopic burrs or high spots wear in. It well 'season' in respect to going through numerous heating and cooling cycles. But I'm having a hard time with the burned on coating of oil/animal fats.

January 17, 2009, 07:36 PM
What I am saying, is what I said in reply #6. I also stated that if not done properly, you can have a real fouling mess or what you call a layer of animal fat. There are two ways that a barrel can get seasoned; I use an initial seasoning process and the second is during your normal shooting periods. Your normal cleaning after shooting, will not totally remove a good seasoning but should remove the fouling you are alluding to. You mention a vigorous cleaning and not sure what that means to you. However, as stated, a normal day's cleaning will not remove a good seasoning. I too use Ballistol and other product to clean and protect my barrel but that addresses other concerns. Currently I season with Bore Butter but use to use bacon grease. I maintain the seasoning in my frying pans with beef and pig tallow or when I frye bacon or hamburgers. ;) My wife washes this pan afterwards "vigorously" and it still keeps it's seasoning.

Be Safe !!!!

January 17, 2009, 07:58 PM
Why in the name of all that is sacred and good and fine under the canopy of heaven, would anybody even have a stainless barrel on a muzzleloading weapon. :p