View Full Version : Rebarrel questions?

May 14, 2011, 12:20 PM
What is your choice in a custom barrel? And why would you recommend you choice? What gun smith did you use for the work?

I have had limited experience with Douglas, Lija, and Shilen replacement barrels.

I have heard good things about Krieger and Hart but haven't tried either one.

I am curious to what everyone else has used and what your experience was like with your decisions.

So basically I am looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly with your experience of replacement barrels.

May 14, 2011, 04:42 PM
I build rifles for a living (such as it is). I prefer a McGowen barrel. Excellent results, short lead time, outstanding quality.

May 14, 2011, 06:30 PM
Most of my conversions sport lilja barrels.

May 17, 2011, 12:44 AM
So what about the 5R and 5C groove barrels? Any have any experience with them? Does a 5R groove barrel really any advantage over a standard 4 or 6 groove barrel or is it just more of a fad?

What about Krieger and Bartlein? Has anyone had any experience with either one?

May 17, 2011, 11:05 AM
I have used Krieger barrels in the past, in fact I am currently doing a build for a customer in 6.5-284 with a Krieger barrel. Krieger barrels are superb, but they are also expensive (approximately 2X the cost of a good Shilen/Douglas/NorPac/etc) and take several months to get, and for the average match shooter it will not make enough of a difference to justify the added cost. Lilja barrels are also great, as are Bartlein, Hart, Jarvis, Benchmark, Lawton, and many other custom barrels. They have the same issue, most people will not be able to demonstrate the increased cost translating to increased performance or accuracy.

FWIW, cut rifling barrels are a different animal than button rifled barrels. They wear differently, they have sharper rifling, they shoot differently, they may prefer different types of projectiles. Although many people think they are the same as a button rifled barrel, they are different in many small ways. I have no experience with 5C or 5R barrels, so I can't say much about them other than they do seem to have acquired a great reputation.

May 17, 2011, 01:40 PM
Since the day after some guy came up with a rifled barrel some other guy came along with a different style of rifling. And the race hasn't stopped.
Your question is unanswerable. You will find advocates for the best who say 2 groove is best, or 3, or 4 or ten. I had a CW experimental contract musket with 12 grooves.
I would go with the advice that says you won't be able to detect the slight difference, if any, between a popular priced barrel and a bank buster one.

May 18, 2011, 05:30 PM
I am not a bench rest competition shooter. Nor am I looking for the same accuracy a bench rest shooter is desiring.

I came across a Winchester model 70 220 Swift which I purchased at a yard sale for 100 bucks. The gal selling it couldn't wait to get rid of "the piece of junk" as she put it. Tracking the serial number 471XX indicates the rifle was manufactured in 1940.

It was not in the best of condition. The wood had a bunch of dings and nicks but no cracks. And the metal has minor surface rust and the bluing is gone in places on the barrel and action. I used Corrosion X and Kroil to get rid almost all of the rust. I cleaned the bore with Outers Foul Out 3 Bore Cleaning System before I fired it. Then I cleaned the bore with Sweet's just to make certain the bore was not fouled in any way.

The rifle didn't group well. The action is tight and smooth. So now I am considering having it rebarreled and the action trued.

Too bad it wasn't in better shape as I have seen them go in this vintage for $1500 to $2000. And I know putting a custom barrel on it would drop the resale value on a mint condition rifle. But I am not interested in selling it anyways just using it for a predator rifle.

Plus I have all the reloading equipment and a bunch of brass for the.220 as I also have a Ruger #1 V .220 Swift.

For whatever it is worth I went through a similar scenario about five years ago with a Sako Forester L57 .243 which I had a gunsmith put a Lija 26" barrel with 1:12 twist on it.

Well enough of my rambling. Many thanks for the helpful advice guys!

May 18, 2011, 06:07 PM
Consider researching "e.r. Shaw" barrels. I have heard some good things about these barrels & the $$$$$$ is not out the wazoo !!!! After reading your initial thread, it sounds to me like you are attempting to rebarrel a sporting rifle & not trying to make it into a comp bench gun.


May 26, 2011, 01:01 AM
The absolute worst bull barrel will shoot tiny groups until it Copper fouls or gets hot. That may take less than 10 shots and take an hour to clean.

There are lots of expensive custom barrels that shoot better than me and stay clean a long time.

I have most premium barrels, and right now I can purchase Shilen stainless steel select match barrels for cheaper than the other premiums.

May 26, 2011, 09:52 AM

The rebarrel shouldn't appreciably affect the value of the gun in the condition you describe, and you can certainly save the barrel to put back on the gun if you think otherwise. If you don't, and are willing to experiment, see if you can get the use of a borescope to check out the throat. If it's not destroyed, I would consider recrowning before I'd give up on it. If it is destroyed, you don't care if you make things worse, so trying a little light firelapping with 400 grit abrasive to clean the throat up and see if that smooths out. David Tubb claims he can double throat life that way with his kits, but you can roll your own.

I've twice had commercial production barrels, one from Remington in .222 and one from Savage in .308, that would consistently shoot under 3/8 moa (with tuned loads) as they came from the factory. So I'm not convinced you always get what you pay for in high end barrels. If you are competing in benchrest, and need to get your groups tighter than that, then more expensive barrels may have some appeal. Even those can be screwed up by poor chambering, though, so be sure you have a smith who cares about that part of the job and gets you a truly bore-axis concentric chamber and throat.

John Krieger has a note on his web site saying that, even though he is making 5R barrels in limited calibers, he can't detect any advantage. He's just responding to demand. I think that when 5R was selected for the M24 sniper system, that gave it a huge publicity advantage. (Maybe Boots Obermeyer (another barrel maker name for you) was consulted on that project; I don't know?)

I have to say that some of the barrel life reports on the M24 have been almost impossible to believe. Fellows getting 15,000 or even 20,000 rounds and still grouping 1/2 moa. Normal service rifle match life for a .308 barrel is about 3,000 rounds for chrome-moly steel, and 3500 for stainless. That includes almost 40%-50% of the rounds being shot rapid fire, which heats things up a lot more than sniper slow fire. Still, getting over 5,000 rounds is exceptional even without rapid fire.

I have no idea what the 5R aspect has to do with that long barrel life, if anything, since I don't know what steel they are using or how it's treated. I do know from the one Gunsite class I took under sniper instructors, that standard sniper training includes cleaning every 10 rounds, which may affect life by removing carbon before it hardens (see post 25, here (http://www.shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=56421&page=2)). Lots of folks comment that many barrels are ruined by over-cleaning, and I've seen more than a few of those looking through racks of well-used service rifles, but I think that's mainly due to bad cleaning technique and equipment.

May 27, 2011, 01:00 AM

I looked at the E.R. Shaw barrels a couple of times. The prices aren't too bad. One advantage of using them is they do gun smithing as well as barrel making. I just don't know much about them.

At one time I was considering buying one of their rifles. And the idea is still in the back of my mind.

Thanks for the tip.

May 27, 2011, 01:47 AM

I have experienced what you mentioned with a couple different rifles. The lastest Remington 700 VLS .22-.250 I purchased had a lot of problems with copper fouling for about the first 200 rounds. After that it started shooting pretty good.

My buddy had a .243 wssm that would carbon foul after around 20 shots. Once it fouled it had a mind of its own.

A local gunsmith put a Shilen select barrel on a 1978 Remington BDL .22-.250 in 1992. The original barrel had between 4,000 and 5,000 rounds through it before getting sloppy. I suspect the original barrel would have lasted even longer if I would have used a bore guide when I cleaned it. The things you learm in time, at least I known better now. The gunsmith that put the barrel on for me retired about 3 years ago and passed away soon after.

Thanks for the help!

May 27, 2011, 05:03 AM

I have a borescope and I can see signs of throat erosion. But I have no idea at what point too much throat erosion degrades accuracy. Nor do I have a reliable means of measuring the amount of throat erosion.

I hadn't considered fire lapping the barrel which gives me another option before replacing the barrel.

I have considered recrowning and cutting back the breach of the barrel. At this time I would rather leave the barrel in original condition even if it doesn't group well. If it comes to performing a bunch of gunsmithing on the rifle, I feel I would be best off to put the money toward a rebarrel.

It is an informative read by Humpy. I have read his post three times and I still don't really understand all what he is saying. There is a fair amount of information to digest in his post. I am going to go back and reread it when I am not so tired.

The M24 barrel: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M24_Sniper_Weapon_System)
Barrel: Made of 416R Stainless Steel. The bore twist is 1-turn-in-11.25 inches [1:285.75 mm] and the rifling is 5 radial lands and grooves (5-R) with a right-hand (RH) twist. Because of the odd number of lands, none of the lands are 180° apart, i.e. in direct opposition. This results in less bullet deformation, which (at least in theory) produces more consistent point of impact. In 5-R rifling, the "side" of the land is cut at a 65° angle, rather than 90° in conventional rifling. This results in less barrel fouling, and more consistent point of impact, compared to conventional rifling when relatively high numbers of rounds are fired between cleaning, as might be expected in military applications
The performance claims are interesting for the M24 with the 5R barrel design.

I am wondering if the 5R barrels would require a different rate of twist compared to a standard 6 groove barrel to obtain the same result of bullet stabilization?

Here (http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f19/3-groove-barrels-32906/index2.html) are some more thoughts on various barrels with differing groove configurations if you are interested. Much of what they are saying makes sense concerning barrel life being more of a function of surface area as opposed to spacial geometry.

And for whatever it is worth the T/C Venture rifles are now using 5R barrels on their production models.

If I am not mistaken Jack Krieger and Mike Rock both learned under Boot Obermeyer who developed the 5R rifling from a Russian variant.

My sentiments are similar to yours concerning production barrels and accuracy. The most accurate production grade rifle I owned was a JC Higgins model 52 with the Sako L46 action, Hi-Standard barrel which produced 3/8 MOA. Both Remington 700 .22-.250 also shot 1/2 MOA out of the box. Several other production rifles I have owned took a considerable amount of work to obtain any consistency.

Many thanks! The information you have provided has been extremely helpful.

PS "Bottom line guys, clean your barrels often, clean your brass every time, clean your primer pockets making sure no carbon goes though flash hole as CARBON IS THE ENEMY right behind anti gun politicians" Attributed to Humpy