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Old July 8, 2007, 01:00 AM   #1
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Does th .264 win mag really burn barrels?

I am considering a Remington Sendero SF in .264 Win mag for long range hunting and shooting, but I keep running accross references as to how quickly this round eats barrels. Does this rounds reputation have a real basis in fact, or is the .264 a good choice?
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Old July 8, 2007, 02:29 AM   #2
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A lot of modern powders have additives that moderate the temperature of the flame front. This helps a lot with throat erosion.


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Old July 8, 2007, 02:31 AM   #3
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The hottest 6.5mm you will commonly find...

And way overbore for all but the slower/slowest rifle powders, there were problems with barrels in early rifles. The .220 Swift has the reputation as a barrel burner also. And in it's day, a deserved one.

Barrels are better than they used to be, and different powders available go a long way to minimizing the problem, and so does the style of usage. Not letting the rifle get hot goes a long way in preserving the barrel throat.

Unless you plan on using it as a match rifle and shoot hundreds of rounds in practice, I don't think your .264 barrel will lose "big game" accuracy for several thousands of rounds. No one can make an accurate prediction, there are too many variables involved.

On the other hand, there is no free lunch. Performance comes at a cost. Parts wear. It is the price of doing business. Even if the your .264 turns out to be a "barrel burner", what other cartridge will give you that same performance without being one?

As to being a barrel burner, even if not hastened by the way you shoot it, how many rounds should it last? More than a few hundred, certainly, but how much more? 3,000? 5,000 rounds before accuracy is shot beyond reasonable standards? More?

Compare the cost of 3,000 rounds of factory ammo against the cost of barrel replacement. Where is the break even point?

There is a real good chance you will spend more in the cost of ammo than the cost of the entire rifle before you come close to wearing it out. The reason so many guns last a lifetime is that so few people actually shoot them enough in their lifetime to wear them out. But you can do it if you try hard enough!
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old July 8, 2007, 09:31 AM   #4
Mike Irwin
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In a word, yes, it can.

But any of the small bore, big cased cartridges can be tough on a barrel if you push them up against the fire wall continually.
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Old July 8, 2007, 11:00 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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For me, "normal hunting use" includes load development and testing. All in all, though, that's not a whole heckuva lot of rounds per year. Two or three boxes?

I had a post-64 Model 70 in .264. 26" barrel. Tack driver, with handloads. From talking about the .264 with other folks, and yak-yak on the Internet, I'd expect one to get more than 1,200 rounds of barrel life, but not a lot beyond 2,000. "Minute of Bambi", probably 2,000 or maybe more, as a guess.

I've sorta come around to the idea that knowing the trajectory "way out there" beyond 300 or 400 yards, plus some way of knowing the range, is what's important. A cartridge with a super-flat trajectory isn't necessarily the best, even way out there. They're all gonna drop, so knowing range and trajectory is always important.

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Old July 8, 2007, 07:15 PM   #6
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You've received a lot of sound advice from other posters about the .264.

I know what you mean about the bad rep the .264 has. You can't read a reloading manual which doesn't mention the fact that the .264 is hard on barrels. 'Course, this is the same story that's been recycled for every printing of these reloading manuals for 50 years!

Even in it's day, the .264 was hardly the worst offender out there, take the .257 Weatherby, for example. Nowadays, the .264 is practically hohum. There are quite an assortment of cartridges now, which are equally overbore, and in some cases much more overbore, than the .264. And these are often factory rounds. The 7mmSTW, for instance, is equal to the .264, in case capacity versus the area of the bore. The 7mmRUM, on the other hand, has quite a bit more case capacity to area of the bore, than the .264.

Bottom line is, few hunters ever burn out a barrel on anything. Prairie dog shooters do. And possibly the fact that WW used to market a 100gr. load for the .264 may have helped glean it's rep. With modern powders, and never letting your barrel get hot, and a proper cleaning regime, a normal hunter won't probably burn a barrel in a lifetime. Unless you plan on a serious round count through your rifle, you shouldn't have a problem.

My Sendero SF II .264 just came off layaway last week! Don't know when I'll get around to shooting it tho. I'm still shooting my 700 Classic .264 made in 1986, which is a real tackdriver, possibly the most accurate hunting rifle I've ever owned. I've now got a 700 CDL SF .264 on layaway as well, so you can see I've no qualms about the .264! Good luck with yours!
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Old July 8, 2007, 10:24 PM   #7
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Yeah, it's hard on barrels with factory ammo and at max speeds. But you don't have to load to max. I have one with a stainless bull barrel and I don't push it to max loads. Mine doesn't shoot its best at max anyway. If you like the cartridge, get one and remember that you don't have to load to max to get it work for you. FWIW, if you like the .264 caliber, take a look at the 6.5x 06. With the lighter bullets it will stay with a 264 mag all day and not have issues with short barrel life. It make one heck of a varmint rifle.
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Old July 8, 2007, 10:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advise everyone
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