View Full Version : Barrel break in.

January 23, 2010, 01:42 AM
Iv seen a few different methods on properly breaking in a barrel and was wondering what are some of your techniques.

Im currently on day 7 of the 10 day waiting period to getting my SPS tac. .308.

The method Iv been told was:

1.Clean Barrel
2.Take 1 shot, clean barrel, allow barrel to cool
(Repeat step two 5 times)
3.Take 5 shot group. Re clean barrel, allow barrel to cool
(Repeat for 50 rnds.)

January 23, 2010, 02:02 AM
IMO its not that important

use the search tool, or on google type in mcmillan and barrel break in. he posted a long while ago. you might be able to find it.

LSS he was calling it out. saying just clean your gun regulary, and that it is a way for you to have to buy another barrel sooner

January 23, 2010, 03:22 AM
shoot it till you're tired of shooting it, then clean it, and put it away.

Thats how you break in a rifle.

January 23, 2010, 05:53 AM
I clean a new gun

Go to range and sight in.

Go to range and practice.

Clean as needed.

After 30-50 rounds most barrels are broken in and will usually shoot a little better.

Jack Hester
January 23, 2010, 06:46 AM




I found too many to list, so the above are just some samples. I subscribe to the practice that you should shoot your rifle as if no break-in is necessary, with the exception of having the cleaning kit on hand to perform the carbon/copper cleaning (as outlined above). That being said, I don't advocate burning rounds just for the sake of shooting. My normal shooting is what some might consider the same as a 'break-in', anyway. It's the same as when I rebuild/restore an antique engine (my other passion). I am very easy on anything old or new, regardless whether it's fresh off the bench or high mileage. I'm punching paper and enjoying the ride. I let my barrel air-cool for a bit, between shots.


Bud Helms
January 23, 2010, 06:58 AM
From September 2002: "Breaking-in a Rifle" (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=129865).

See the links in post #2.

R.I.P. McMillan-san

Barrel beak ins (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12582)

January 23, 2010, 07:41 AM
I do not have a regimented barrel break in procedure. I have fun and try not to let the barrel get too hot. I take it home and clean it and I am ready to go for the next time. If I shoot 10 rounds or 150. . .same deal. Take it home and clean it and you are ready to go.

January 23, 2010, 08:06 AM
I go with Mr. McMillan on this one.

January 23, 2010, 08:18 AM
I think there's a difference between barrel break-in and barrel prep. I did this polish procedure to a new Remington .22LR last summer and it's a tack driver at 50 yards. I just did it to my new T/C muzzleloader but haven't shot it yet.

This article just makes so much sense . . .


January 23, 2010, 08:35 AM
I took the advice of Derrick Martin - a high master Service Rifle shooter (and owner of Accuracy Speaks): "just go shoot". Clean the gun when you are done.

January 23, 2010, 11:22 AM
Ok thanks yea i was told and saw a few instructional videos including the Midway USA's video about the processes and figured Midway knew a thing or two... But i cant go against one of the greats Mr. McMillan.

So to make sure i got it all in right just take it out and shoot it and clean it like normal. And be done with it.

January 23, 2010, 11:26 AM

Lots of opposing viewpoints. The search function will show them to you.

I personally hold to the "clean when done shooting" school of thought.

January 23, 2010, 11:32 AM

I thought this was good advice. Notably the part about cleaning from the breech. My grandaddy taught me to clean from the other end so I have always done it that way. I just got into paper punching as opposed to hunting and, DOH, it makes a lot of sense for target rifles and $300 barrels.

January 23, 2010, 12:09 PM

Derrick Martin did the rebarrel on my Remington 700bdl 22-250 as well as the trigger job on my 700P .308.

He told me the same thing he told you.

He should know. For those of you who live in the valley, Accuracy Speaks does good work at a reasonable cost.:D

Art Eatman
January 23, 2010, 12:19 PM
One reason I go along with Gale McMillan's story about how "shoot one shot and clean" came about is a family-history thing.

My uncle began gunsmithing as an armorer for the National Guard, back around 1925. He gave me my first in-the-cosmoline Enfield 1917 in 1950. New. Star-gauge barrel. He never mentioned "break-in".

I never heard anybody ever talk about it in my hanging out in quite a few gunshops. The first I ever ran across anything about all this break-in stuff was here at TFL in 1999.

I know from metallurgy that all bullets burnish all barrels, whether or not there is any cleaning at all. I know from my own experience that it takes a long time for there to be enough copper buildup to degrade group size. (Well, in .243 and '06, anyway.)

But I figure that folks oughta do whatever makes 'em happy...

January 23, 2010, 12:23 PM
Should we sticky a thread on barrel break in? :)

January 23, 2010, 01:35 PM
Bud thank you for posting that, it was the one I was talking about. I tried to search it but the words I was using didn't pan out.

A Sticky is a great idea

January 23, 2010, 02:32 PM
I just saw several barrel break in videos and so called techniques around the net and never really saw one specific way of doing it. Including a video from some knowledgeable people who have been around guns a while that I know. It was kinda a shock to hear it from so many people its just a myth in a way. :(
Even Midway USA has one on your tube in fact. And iv always thought they were very knowledgeable and reliable people to get some information from.

Jack Hester
January 23, 2010, 07:47 PM
As I'm fortunate to have a reputable gunsmithing shop close by, I probably wouldn't buy a ready-to-use barrel. So, any work that I would have done would require some burnishing in the throat area, as the barrel(s) would be custom reamed. And, the tool marks would be the issue, if any. I would still shoot and clean, but do so as if I'm working with an already 'broken-in' barrel. I'm fire-forming my brass using the following technique (Cream of Wheat, Crisco, Unique Powder):


Saves me having to send my bullets down the barrel, just to form the case.


James R. Burke
January 23, 2010, 09:54 PM
A new rifle I clean it. Go to the range start shooting and sighting in. After about twenty shots back home, and clean it out good. Back to the range, and same process till I am good, and sighted in. Then I try to get out with it and practice. I reload so I will be working on that also. When done for awhile clean the bore, and everything real good, oil the bore real good, and make sure it is wiped down of any finger prints etc. Before going hunting with it most the time I go out before season shoot about twenty or more thru it checking out the sight in, and just getting used to it. Then its back home and clean and oil the bore real good, and eveything else. I go back one more time, and shoot five to fifthteen thur it, and then just leave it alone till after season. Just wiping the outside off. Then after season clean the bore and everything real good, and oil the bore also before storage. If I handle any of them I always wipe them down with oil. Finger prints are very bad for blueing. Just myself, and I am sure there are better ways, but I do think practice does make you confident on what your shooting, and no doubt make you a better shot.

January 23, 2010, 10:33 PM
Clean out factory preserves. Mount scope and boresight. Take to range with 25 rounds of two different loads. Shoot and chrony a 10 shot string of each, allowing a minute or so between shots. Shoot a couple more groups. Take home and clean with Butch's. Repeat cleaning after each range session.

January 24, 2010, 01:33 AM
Ok well i have another barrel question for you guys.

When storing a rifle whats a good oil do you put down the barrel
and why does it need the oil. What happens if you don't put oil on in the barrel. And what other parts should I oil/lube up when putting it away for a few months.

(Again I have a rem 700 SPS Tac.)

Bud Helms
January 24, 2010, 02:08 AM
Any quality gun oil if it's only for a few months.

Or a light weight motor oil (transmission oil) if it's longer than that.

Or a gun grease if it's even longer. I have a tube of Hoppe's Gun Grease (http://www.hoppes.com/products/gun_grease.html) I use when I put one up. It doesn't take much to apply or remove. Just don't get carried away with it. A light coat is all that's required.

The motor oil can stain a stock if it's not sealed.

January 24, 2010, 08:36 AM
The reason you hear of the help in accuracy is because if you
chamber barrel with a reamer that has a dull throater instead of cutting
clean sharp rifling it smears a burr up on the down wind side of the
rifling. It takes from 1 to 2 hundred rounds to burn this bur out and
the rifle to settle down and shoot its best.

McMillan posted that also. I find it curious that everybody quotes what he said about hand lapped custom barrels, and everybody talks about what the benchrest shooters do with their hand lapped custom barrels when that is such a small percentage of what is out there.

If you mess with rifles for a while you get a feel for how much copper should be picked up. Some are awful. You can do a break in procedure and get rid of a lot of it. I know because I have done it. I assume that if the amount of copper is reduced you have changed something. May have nothing to do with accuracy, but it sure makes it easier to clean down the road.

I have a close friend who shot a 7 Rem mag for years and it would shoot close to 1 MOA even after 1000 rounds. He never cleaned the barrel the entire time he hunted with it.

January 24, 2010, 12:45 PM
In my experience the best barrels don't need a break-in and the worst won't benefit from it anyway. Excessive or improper cleaning can increase wear so I clean my rifles carefully after shooting with one exception. I have one rifle that refuses to shoot acceptably until I fire 10-15 rounds through it. I almost didn't figure it out because I tried one of the break-in procedures we've all heard about. My options with that rifle are trade, rebarrel or leave it fouled. I like the action, I've invested in a Timney trigger, it shoulders well and I want a reliable stainless rifle for bad weather/backup hunting situations. She's no target rifle, but she gets the job done! I named her after an ex-girlfriend because she prefers to be cold and dirty.;)
Many PPC shooters rarely clean their revolver barrels but that's a whole 'nuther subject.

James R. Burke
January 24, 2010, 01:19 PM
I also use Butche's so far found it to be the best one for me. No more hoppes.

January 24, 2010, 07:30 PM
Whatever and how you decide to break in your barrel is up to you. In the end don't let it take over the amount of time you spend at your local range. I used to clean my barrel every 10 rounds (ritually) but now I may shoot 40 rnds. Shoot as much as you want and worry about cleaning after you get plenty of trigger time. Accuracy wasn't any different after 10 rnds or 40. I just got to shoot more. Just don't let your barrel get too hot.

Happy shooting!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 24, 2010, 10:56 PM
this is another great link regarding barel brakein. http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1562996#Post1562996