Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Jun 26, 2009
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Tennessee, USA
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Wow there sure are a lot of opinions on here on this topic. I wonder if any of this really matters much in the end? Some of my best shooting rifles were not broken in at all for what ever that is worth
 
Oct 9, 2010
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La Plata New Mexico
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Cory Lee</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jeff in TX</div><div class="ubbcode-body">He uses two products from Sentry Solutions. One product is called Smooth Coat, which is an alcohol and moly based product. He applies wet patches of Smooth Coat until the bore is good and saturated and lets it sit until the alcohol evaporates. The barrel now has loose moly in it. Next he uses a second product for Sentry Solutions product called BP-2000, which is a very fine moly powder. Applied to a patch wrapped around a bore brush, he makes a hundred passes through the barrel very rapidly before having to rest. He repeats this process with fresh patches containing the moly powder a few more times. What he is doing is burnishing the barrel surface with moly and filling in any fine micro lines left by the hand lapping. He then uses a couple of clean patches to knock out any remaining moly left in the bore.
</div></div>


Would this work with HBN if I plan on shooting hbn coated bullets?

Suspend hbn in alcohol and us in place of Smooth Kote and dry hbn in place of BP-2000. </div></div>

Late post I know, but yes this will and does work with hBn. They now have a hBn spray that works also.
As far as my opinion on barrel breakin, yes it works. I did the shoot one and clean method for years with good results until I got a Browning A-Bolt 7MM Mag that was a fouler. Shot great for about 20 rounds then accuracy went south with alot of copper fouling. Tried a process that was in American Rifleman that called for using 3M polishing paper and it fixed the fouling problem right then and there. Ended up shooting alomost 1800 rounds through this rifle before the throat was shot out. It now has a RockCreek barrel.
A couple of years ago I tried Final Finish on a couple of new factory barrels and I was sold on this process also. These barrels clean up faster than any factory barrels I have ever had. I have even used FF on custom barrels ( last three grits only ) and I have seen no ill effects.
IMO there is a limit to how smooth you want a bore. If it is too smooth you will get a smearing effect which will create copper fouling. There again this is my opinion.
As far as cleaning, my magnums ( 338LM, 7MMSTW, 7MMREM ) get cleaned every 75-100 rounds and everything else every 100-200 depending on the caliber. I stayed away from .17's for years because everyone said that .17's foul. Total BS, I have one factory and one custom and they foul no more than my .223. And these I broke in the old shoot one and clean method because SSS does not offer 17 caliber FF. No offense meant to anyone specifically here but I think alot of the posts on this sight are just myths repeated from something someone read or heard. Alot of the current gunwriters are guilty of this. I do not validate anyones opinions until I try it myself. That being said one sample does not make it absolute. There needs to be many samples taken to do this.
I'll go away now!!
 
Jul 6, 2011
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Broome County, NY
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

<span style="font-weight: bold">This is simple!</span>

Breaking-in won't ruin your barrel. If you say it would, then regular cleaning would too. So don't ever clean then?
There is no difference here. Breaking in doesn't add anything extra from a run of the mill cleaning.

Since it won't ruin your barrel, just do it!

Not breaking on the other hand if the barrel was poorly made
seems to lead to problems. (Extensive fouling, inaccuracy).
So it is simple. The risk is clearly with not doing it. So there you have it. Simple risk management, very much needed on this forum.

Just do it it won't ruin anything, and it's just like cleaning, which you do anyway!

<span style="font-weight: bold">simple</span>
 
Jun 12, 2012
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Western NC
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

What about using something like David Tubb's FinalFinish + TMS System? I have to be honest I have often thought that cleaning a barrel too often would ruin it.
 

JGB02

Bubble Head
Sep 14, 2011
1,422
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38
Northern VA
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Lofty</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Just to throw this out there,

Took my brand new .308 with a 20 inch Obermyer barrel out today. Decided not to do a break in. Fired 65 rounds through it. Cleaned it when I got home just to check for copper fouling. Obviously first wet patch came out sloppy black. Dry patched it twice and it started coming out clean.

Ran a patch with some copper solvent and let it sit for a few minutes. Dry patched and absolutely no blue on the patch, not the wet one or the dry one.

Barrel cleans easy and quick with no cooper fouling at all.


Break in would have been pointless.</div></div>

Same thing here with my new krieger barrel. Break in is a waste of time.
 
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

ahhhhh, my head is spinning. I have laying on my bench a new SPR 18" barrel I just got from CLE that I am getting ready to put in my MK12 build. I guess what I am getting out of this is break in wont hurt so nothing lose from doing it.
 
Sep 25, 2011
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Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

appreciate the write up..seems in the gun community we do things for years because thats what we were taught or what our fathers did..but every once and awhile somthing like this write up comes along and makes sense, as well as challenging everything we have been taught. Just shows you no matter how long you have been shooting or how much you think you know.. you can always learn somthing new

thanks
 

Skum

Sergeant
Dec 30, 2011
217
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Dunmore, PA
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

this thread is a very interesting read..

i get my new 300 surgeon /w krieger on tuesday and im leaning towards no break in.. factored in with me being extremely lazy this is win for me

great topic and debate the hide is so great for info luv u guys

dont mind the 10+ budweisers talking i do luv u all
 
Jan 2, 2012
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Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jeff in TX</div><div class="ubbcode-body">After many email requests I thought I'd repost the research I did on barrel break-in procedures. In addition I also added a short overview on Internal Ballistics 101 to help tie everything together.

This has been posted on many shooting boards over the years and has been modified as I uncover more information. This is a quick synopsis of my finding which has been generalized. I had lots of test results and data I looked through. It’s also not based on the opinions and hearsay. I set out to take an objective look of barrel break-in procedures. I wanted to find out if there was any hard fact evidence to support barrel break-in procedures or was it a waste of time. In the end all of the data I collected supported the fact that barrel break-in procedures are a waist of time and in some cases damages barrels. To research this project I spoke with a few metallurgists, originally three of our top barrel makers (Shilen, Hart and Rock) and have since talked with a handful of others including Bartlein and Broughton. I also talked with a few internal ballistic engineers and some our nation’s best gunsmiths.

A little back ground on myself. I have degrees in Engineering and Business Adminstration. I’m a data network engineer in real life. I’m an avid long range shooter and due to my knees gave up tactical competitions about 6 years ago. One of my hobbies is external ballistics and I enjoy reverse engineering new ballistic programs to see what ballistic models, mathematical calculations, formulas and algorithms the creator used. I have a pretty good knowledge on ballistics and long range shooting. By no means am I an expert, when I'm in doubt I talk with Bryan Litz. I have spent more time than I care to admit to trying to uncover the science behind the scene. With regards to this write up, I feel I've done a fairly good job with my research and conclusions. Though some may disagree with my finding which is fine.

Before blasting away at what I've written, offer insight supported by facts and test data and not hearsay or opinions. This is what I’ve tried to do. It’s ok to disagree as the more information we can get the better informed we are. Also remember my conclusions were the collective data from some of the best minds and subject matter experts in the business.

Back in the 2001/2 time frame I trashed a brand new Shilen stainless steel match barrel in under 400 rounds shooting moly coated bullets. Yes this was during the moly bullet craze and I jumped on the band wagon. Let’s just say I was not a happy camper. I live local to Shilen so after a few hand lapping jobs on the barrel which failed, Doug Shilen cut the throat section to see what was really wrong. The throat area showed the black moly ring of death which was so hard Doug could barely scrape it with the side of a flat head screwdriver. Let’s just say I’ll never shoot another moly coated bullet....ever!

After my new Shilen barrel was installed I set out to on a mission to understand this barrel break-in process and if I really needed it. After all this research my conclusion supported the fact that barrel break-in is a waist of time and effort.

Let’s talk barrel break-in shall we: I believe Kelly McMillan of McMillan rifles said it best, “This barrel break-in processes keeps us in business”. “This shoot and clean, shoot and clean every round or few rounds break-in process only damages your new match barrel and/or significantly decreases the barrel life”. Though I didn’t speak with Kelly on this subject I’ve read what he’s written and it mirrors my own findings.

Some barrel manufactures have now re-clarified their stance saying that a barrel break-in procedures helps to smooth the transition from the newly cut chamber into the throat area of the bore. Now there is some merit to statement except for the fact a cotton patch with bore solvent or bronze brush isn’t going to do squat to help remove any rough areas. Bullets passing down the barrel will help smooth the chamber/throat area. It may take just a couple of shots or it could take a lot, but it depends on how well the chamber/throat was cut and polished. Last I checked stainless steel and chrome moly steel is much harder than a cotton patch or bronze brush.

Speedy Gonzalez (Hall of fame bench rest shooter and one of the nation’s top gunsmiths) was a wealth of information as were the techs at Hart barrels. As Speedy says, “my $3000.00 video-bore scope doesn’t lie”. I've looked through lots of barrels at Speedy's shop while he was working here in North Texas. Looking through his bore scope I learned a lot and saw a lot of good the bad and the ugly when it comes to barrel and barrel maintenance. Speedy's video bore scope never lied. When looking through his video bore scope at the internal surfaces of trashed barrels, one thing we did see a lot of were cleaning rod marks. The cleaning rod marks showed too much cleaning with poor and improper cleaning techniques and equipment. This was also noted by the techs at Hart Barrels with regards to barrels they replaced.

There are probably less than a dozen individuals in the US that understand internal and external ballistic as well as Stan Rivenbark and Mike Rock. Stan is retired ballistic engineer from Raytheon Corporation and Mike Rock of Rock Creek Barrels. They both understood this whole internal ballistic equation more than all the others I talked with. This is because they worked on internal ballistics in their real lives, used state of the art test equipment to perform actual tests and record the actual data. They are true subject matter experts and both of their views points and explanations were very similar. A slight twist here and there and different approach but there test data and conclusion were the same. A lot of folks claim to understand all or part of the internal ballistic equation, but these people had the hard data to back up there statements and claims. I like solid test data and not opinions on what someone believes.

As I stated Stan and Mike Rock gave me some of the most detailed explanations on barrels and internal ballistics. Both were ballistic engineers and both have degrees in metallurgy (Stan has an masters in metallurgy); Mike was a ballistics engineer for the US Army for many years at the Aberdeen Proving grounds. When Mike worked at Aberdeen, the US Army used high speed bore videos with mirrors, thermal imaging and computers to analyze any and everything that happens when the firing pin strikes the primer and the round goes off. While working as a ballistic engineer for Raytheon Stan used similar equipment and processes to view and record internal ballistics though most of his work was focued around the .50 cal.

Before we begin take a step back and be objective. Ask yourself what you are trying to really accomplish by breaking in your barrel. What issues and/or problems inside the barrel need to be corrected or fixed? Now I do recommend cleaning your rifle after you purchase it to clean out all of the junk, oils and grease from the factory before shooting it, but also realize...

• 99.9% of shooters don’t have access to a quality bore scope to view the interior surface of their barrels.
• Without a bore scope to view the interior surface of your barrel what exactly are you trying to fix by a shoot and clean process?
• If there are burrs or machine marks from the machining process in the chamber, throat or barrel where are they located?
• Do the machine marks run parallel or perpendicular to the barrel finish?
• If there are high points and low points inside the barrel again where are they located?
• Does shooting and cleaning between rounds correct/fix all barrel imperfections if they exist? If yes how?
• Without a bore scope again you have no idea what the actual condition of the interior barrel surface
• So far if you don’t have honest solid answers to these first few questions and you’ve been performing a barrel break-in process you’re working off a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess)

Couple more questions while I still have your attention.

• Pushing a cotton patch with solvent or a bronze brush down the barrel will do what to remove a 416 stainless steel or chromemoly metal burr or machine marks?
• Last time I checked, 416 SS or CM is much harder than a cotton patch or bronze brush and is most likely impenetrable by most bore solvents.
• Yes it will remove copper fouling caught by the metal burr, but how will it remove the metal burr?
• How many shots will it take to remove the burr or imperfection and how will you know when the barrel issues have been corrected? Is it always x-amount of shots?

Let's take a few minutes to gain a basic understanding of internal ballistics and what really happens when you pull the trigger. This will also help you to understand why you don't want to clean after every shot.

High level view of Internal Ballistics 101:

When the firing pin strikes the primer, the propellants in the primer ignites. With this initial ignition there may or may not be enough pressure to dislodge the bullet from the case (this depends on neck tension and seating depth as well as a few other variables), if there is enough pressure to dislodge the bullet, it moves forward into the lands where it stops. As the primer ignites the powder, more pressure builds moving the bullet forward where it can stop again. Once there is enough pressure from the round going off, the bullet is moved down and out the barrel. All of this happens in nanoseconds (billionths of a second). Your bullet starts and stops as many as two times before it leaves the barrel. This is fact. Bet you didn’t know that…….neither did I!

Internal Ballistics on the brass case:

As the primer ignites the powder, pressure begins to fill the brass case. As the pressure builds the case expands to completely fill the chamber sealing off the chamber and preventing any gases from leaking around it. The pressure will also cause the brass case to move rearward pushing it flush against the bolt face. In addition the shoulder and neck area of the case will be force forward into the shoulder and neck area of the chamber. All of this pressure will have elongated and lengthen the total size and diameter of the brass case. As the bullet is moved down and out the barrel, the chamber and barrel pressure drops. The brass begins to cool and contract allowing the brass to be extracted from the chamber.

Internal Ballistics on the bullet:

As the bullet is forced from the case, it can only support a small amount of force. The force on the base of the bullet will cause it to expand. As more force is applied the bullet expansion will increase from the base of the bullet towards the bullet nose. Basically the bullet begins to stretch. In addition the bullet enters the lands and grooves of the barrel. The bullet will engrave itself to the lands and grooves as it proceeds through the barrel. The throat of the barrel takes on the majority of stress from the heat and pressure created from the firing of the round. This is why the throat area of the barrel is always the first point of barrel deterioration. Depending on the round being fired the flash point of the round going off can cause instantaneous burst in temperature upwards to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit and create a pressure spike upwards toward 60,000 PSI’s.

Why thorough cleaning between rounds is not good for a barrel:

Think of a car engine for a moment. Why do we use oil in the engine? To prevent any metal-to-metal contact as well as reduce friction between two metal (bearing) surfaces. Your barrel is no different from the engine. If you clean every round or every few rounds during your barrel break-in process or clean your rifle so well after shooting that you take it down to the bare metal, you’ve created a metal-to-metal contact surface for the next time you shoot the gun. So what’s the problem with this you ask? Just like your car engine, metal-to-metal contact will cause friction which can sheer away layers of metal from each surface. So if your bullet is starting and stopping as many as two times before it leaves the barrel, that’s two places for metal-to-metal contact to happen as well as the rest of your bore. Even though copper is a gilding metal it can still sheer away barrel surface in the bore when traveling at high velocities under extreme heat and pressures.

Remember it is these copper jacketed bullets passing down the barrel at high pressure and velocity that will ultimantly be the source of smoothing out those rough marks left by the chambering tool and machining process. The more bullets passing down the barrel will help smooth the barrel not cleaning it between rounds.

Cleaning between rounds especially thorough cleanings can take you back down to bare metal which can actually harm your barrel. In addition all this cleaning, done improperly with cheap bore guides and cleaning rods can scratch and damage the interior surface of your barrel. This was very prevalent in the barrels we looked at through Speed’s video bore scope. To preserve your barrel you need to avoid cleaning down to bare metal. A light wash of copper fouling in the barrel is not always a bad thing, as the copper fills in a lot of the micro groves left by the machining process. You don’t want layers of copper which effect accuracy, but filling in the micro grooves can be a good thing.

So what do we need to really take care of our new rifle and/or barrel?

According to Mike Rock and the other barrel manufactures agreed, all you need to avoid this metal-to-metal contact is a good burnish in the barrel. Some barrel manufactures will void your barrel warranty if you shoot moly bullets. This is not to say that moly is necessarily bad for a barrel, but it can be when applied to bullets. Never shoot moly coated bullets as they are bad juju for the throat of a rifle.

There are numerous ways to achieve a good burnish in your barrel such as just shooting a long string of rounds without cleaning. I like Mike Rock’s method and have been using it on all my match grade and factory barrels.

When Mike re-barreled my tactical rifle with one of his 5R barrels, I talked with him about my new barrel, any barrel break-in process and how to get the best performance out of my new barrel. This is what he had to say. When he makes a new barrel, he hand laps the barrels with a lead lap. Most if not all custom barrel makers hand lap their barrels. Mike takes his barrels a step further to provide a pre-burnished finish. He uses two products from Sentry Solutions. One product is called Smooth Coat, which is an alcohol and moly based product. He applies wet patches of Smooth Coat until the bore is good and saturated and lets it sit until the alcohol evaporates. The barrel now has loose moly in it. Next he uses a second product for Sentry Solutions product called BP-2000, which is a very fine moly powder. Applied to a patch wrapped around a bore brush, he makes a hundred passes through the barrel very rapidly before having to rest. He repeats this process with fresh patches containing the moly powder a few more times. What he is doing is burnishing the barrel surface with moly and filling in any fine micro lines left by the hand lapping. He then uses a couple of clean patches to knock out any remaining moly left in the bore. He also included a bottle of each product when he shipped my rifle back which is what I’ve been using on all my other rifles.

With the barrel burnished with moly, this will prevent any metal-to-metal contact during the barrel break in process. My instructions for barrel break-in were quite simple. Shoot 20 rounds (non-moly bullets) with no cleaning, as this will further burnish the barrel. Done! Now shoot and clean using your regular regiment of cleaning and if you have to use JB’s or flitz type products, go very easy with them as they can clean the interior barrel surface back down to bare metal removing your burnish. Never clean so well you clean back down to bare metal surface.

He said most of the cleaning products do a great job, don’t be afraid to use a brush and go easy on the ammonia-based products for removing copper fouling. Basically don’t let the ammonia-based products remain in the barrel for long lengths of time.

What’s my cleaning regiment you might ask? I’m not one who puts his firearms up without cleaning them; it’s what I was taught growing up. I'm also not one who wants to spend a lot of time and effort cleaning so my process is pretty simple but highly effective. I use only a Lucas bore guide and Dewey cleaning rods, something I learned from Speedy. Most other bore guides will allow your cleaning rod to flex inside the barrel which can scratch the barrel surface...not a Lucas bore guide.

I clean my rifles using WipeOut Accelerator and WipeOut foam. I use a few patches soaked in WipeOut Accelerator just to push the bulk of the gunk out of the barrel and then give it a shot of Wipeout foam. Let sit for 3-hours or so and patch it out. If I know it will be a few weeks before I get to the range or lease I’ll run a single patch of kroil oil down the barrel followed by a couple of dry patches. The process is quick and simple and works well for me. I have one barrel on my sons Win Featherweight where we need use a nylon brush with a little JB’s to get most of the fouling out as it’s a stubborn factory barrel. I’m considering using Tubbs Final Finish on this barrel.

For badly fouling factory rifles, I know of quite a few folks who have used Tubbs Final Finish with very good to outstanding results. TFF are lapping compound impregnated bullets you shoot down your barrel which can really help smooth out and polish a factory barrel.

I’ve used my buddies bore scope quite a few times to see just how clean my process gets my rifles. My Bartlein and Rock barrels hardly ever foul so I rarely if ever see any copper fouling in those barrels. My DPMS and Tikka both show very light and faint traces of fouling here and there after cleaning. I figure that fouling is just filling in some of those micro grooves as well as I know I have a good burnish in the barrel and I don’t give it a second thought as they all shoot lights out!

I hope that helps folks to understand what I’m trying to say.
</div></div>

Very informative:
Where do you get a degree in ballistics engingeering? I am a registered mechanical enginner and would like to pursue a formal degree in Ballistics Engineering. Please let me know?
Thanks
 
Sep 5, 2004
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McKinney, TX
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

10at6,

First welcome to the hide. Your question about degrees in ballistic engineering gave me pause for thought. I had to actually go back and read what I wrote. When I talked with Stan and Mike we talked about our engineering back grounds and disciplines. The title ballistic engineers was more of their work place title and not they're degree discipline.

Thanks for the question and again welcome to the hide.
 
Mar 2, 2008
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Vermont
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Thank You Jeff for ressearching this, this is something I've been curious about for a while.

I think it would also be interesting to see what new factory barrels actually look like. Possibly does anyone know of a comparison that may have taken place with a borescope and popular factory barrels?
 

nashlaw

Gunny Sergeant
Jul 16, 2006
1,608
1
38
manchester, tn
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

In the past few months, I had a Remington rebarreled with a Douglas XX, airgauged, stainless tube. For the first 200 rounds or so, it fouled a bit- not a great deal, but there was some noticeable fouling. Since the cleaning at round 200, I have put about 400 more .308 bullets down the pipe. Last time at the range I figured I better run some copper cleaner down it. The patches came out spotless. No dirtier than my Krieger which doesn't foul either.

On the other hand, along with five more fingers, a Douglas CM barrel I have in .308 was a bugger to break in.

As a note, but barrels do a half inch or better.
 
Apr 18, 2007
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Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

The bottom line in all of this seems to be "Breaking in" using whatever process will not hurt anything. IF you choose not to it MAY be detrimental so I would submit that you can err on the side of caution and do some form of break in.

After a rifle is broken in I agree with Lowlight and have seen several rifles go long stretches with only being cleaned every couple of hundred rounds and they remain tack drivers for 8-10,000 rounds

For the record I am a "break in" guy
 
May 5, 2008
68
0
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California
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

I have always done a light break-in of several shots followed by a quick cleaning, repeat this a couple more times and then shoot until accuracy is affected. Usually this means about 300 rounds between cleaning.
 
Aug 7, 2012
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Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Every barrel will "break in" differently. Bottom line, the better lapped and better the work done to chamber the rifle the faster it will "break in".
 
Feb 28, 2009
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Utah, SLC
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

I love reading and educating myself, but It drives me insane knowing and hearing all of the different procedures and opinions.

Brass, bronze, plastic, scrub, don't scrub........

An industry standard needs to come out
 

RTK

Full Member
Jun 8, 2012
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KALIFORNIA
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

I would probably follow what our government recommends for their people, God knows they have probably spent millions figuring out the most effective way.
Although I doubt you will hurt anything using any of the methods mentioned, except for the tubbs in a quality barrel
 
Last edited:
Mar 9, 2010
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Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

I used the Tubb Final Finish "loaded ammo" last weekend on a new 700 5R...

10 shots of #1 compound rounds... Clean... 10 shots of #2 compound... Clean... 5 shots of TMS rounds... Clean...

Then enjoy!!!

Took all of maybe 25 minutes

Shot 100 rounds, and when I cleaned the barrel when I got home, it only required 4 patches to clean.
Tubb Final Finish System is GTG in my book!
 
Oct 14, 2012
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Southern Maine
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

What a great read, I'm hoping shoot one and clean break in isn't necessary because I just took my new remington 5r out yesterday and put 20 rounds through it. Either way ill shoot it until its done and re- barrel it.
 
Sep 17, 2012
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Virginia Beach, VA
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Good read man. I'm just about to get my 260 barreled action and have been trying to figure out how to break it in properly. Guess I really don't need to, and I just need to shoot it! Thanks again.
 

rojkoh

Sergeant
Feb 8, 2012
105
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Right Coast
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

For Kreiger Barrels, they have a break in write up on the web site. Fine barrels (I do use them a lot since I did love Obermeyer Barrels)... best to pay attention to their guidelines for those barrels. I have to break in a M82 barrel this winter when it gets here... it needs it. Shot it a couple of months ago and the barrel needs to be broken in.
 

rojkoh

Sergeant
Feb 8, 2012
105
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Right Coast
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Try Humpy's copper fouling cleaning mix, works nicely. I know Humpy and Ed of Ed's Red is also an old friend of mine.
 
Jun 5, 2012
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Southeast Louisiana
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

very good read, valid points from both sides. have a rem 5r coming and im trying to figure out a plan of action. to break in or not to break in, that is the question lol
 
Nov 26, 2011
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Florence, Alabama
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Great read. Thank you for all the info. I think that the break-in method is determined by how accurate the barrel is. If you can group your first shots with minimum cleaning the barrel will need little break-in.

Regardless what you break-in method you use, using a bore guide with a good cleaning rod is essential
 

rojkoh

Sergeant
Feb 8, 2012
105
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Right Coast
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pitfa1490</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Follow the guidelines for the barrel manufacturer. They have them for a reason. </div></div>

Agreed, I use Kreiger's and their break in instructions are on the web site.
 
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

MZ5, I gotta say, what is with your demand for data? I think you are just the pot calling the kettle black. Jeff stated right upfront that he drew his conclusions from data obtained by two very respected engineers. He told us who they were. He also told us that he needed their help in translating the data in layman's terms. Chances are, if he had posted all the raw data, we would have no idea what to do with it either. Maybe you are super smart, but you are just coming over as a real prick. I don't see any real benefit to your rants or demands for the data.
Just my Arrogant Opinion.
 
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Jeff,
Thanks for all the info in your original post. Thanks everyone for weighing in, whether in agreement or not. It helps to hear a lot of points of view. I just got a Rem 700P rebuilt with a Lilja 34" Barrel. We melonited the barrel, action, and bolt. It shot like a champ right away, and I have only cleaned it with a bore snake. I use a little Rem-Oil on the first two inches of the snake, and that is all. I have only sent 20 shots down range, but in sighting in, my last 5 shots are less than 2.5" at 300 yards, and that is while still adjusting the scope. The last two of these are touching in the bulls-eye. That is as far as I plan to go for "break-in."
Cheers
 
Apr 15, 2011
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Kansas
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

This topic always has allot of controversy. I like the shoot and patch until the barrel starts cleaning easier usually between 10 and 20 rounds. Then I only use MPro 7 lpx to push out the carbon fouling and not the copper. works well for Me.
 
Sep 5, 2004
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McKinney, TX
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SniperUncle</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Jeff, What about Bore Snakes? If a Bore Snake is kept away from contaminants, will it harm the barrel? There is no hard rod to scrape on the barrel in any place. </div></div>

They work great for me. I keep one in my kit in case I need it. Not my normal go to for normal cleaning, but they work great when I'm away on a hunt.
 
Feb 19, 2012
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Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Hi there,

Hate to bring up an old topic, but I'm looking for more information on this subject.

I am one of those shooters who were brought up to "break-in" every barrel and I did as much searching as I could before I posted, but I still have some more questions.

First of all, I have come to the conclusion some barrels may need a break-in, however the majority of "Match" grade barrels will not.

All this is in regard to copper fouling inside the barrel that can degrade accuracy?

What about barrel harmonics? We all know a free floating barrel is more accurate.

When does the amount of copper/carbon buildup inside a barrel affect the harmonics and the accuracy?

How do barrels degrade overtime? How do the harmonics change?

How is a gas powered rifle's barrel affected differently than a bolt-action?
 

McCrazy

Your tax $$$ at work.
Jun 4, 2008
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Clarksville, TN
Re: Objective research on Barrel Break-in procedures

Magari- I am no expert but the harmonics of the barrel do not change over time as far as I know unless they are not allowed to free-float.

Carbon builds up fairly quickly and some people clean it out after every range trip. Some don't clean it out for thousands of rounds.

Copper is a serious issue and degrades accuracy once it gets to be too prevalent (critical mass). Most think (to include myself) that copper should be left in until accuracy falls (copper hits critical mass) or until a significant amount of rounds have been fired and preventive maintenance ensues. Once you clean the build-up of copper out, you are just going to shoot to put copper back in which is beneficial for the accuracy and life of the barrel.
 
Nov 20, 2011
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If you are just stating the facts why would you include that snippet about automotive engines?
The oil in an automobile engine does not reduce friction caused by metal to metal contact.It is a barrier that keeps the rods or main bearings from ever touching metal(the crank).If the rod or main bearings touch the crank the engine is or will be broken in a very short period of time.
You also need to ask yourself this about automotive engines.Why do most ordinary people change there oil every 3,000 miles and why do most racers change there oil every race? There might be similarities here that apply to plinkers and to competitive level shooters?


• 99.9% of shooters don’t have access to a quality bore scope to view the interior surface of their barrels.

I think you'll find the shooters who do the most accuracy shooting tend to be the shooters who own borescopes and they also promote frequent cleanings.The 99.9% that don't own borescopes tend to refute what the best shooters tend to promote.

• Without a bore scope to view the interior surface of your barrel what exactly are you trying to fix by a shoot and clean process?

I think this begs the question what are you fixing with a borescope?


• If there are burrs or machine marks from the machining process in the chamber, throat or barrel where are they located?

They would tend to be located anywhere metal to metal contact was made.

• Do the machine marks run parallel or perpendicular to the barrel finish?

Since most barrels are lapped through the bore and most lathes spin the barrel I would think the marks are 90 degrees or perpindicular to the bore.Does this matter in which direction the marks are left and what are you doing to fix the parallel ones?

• If there are high points and low points inside the barrel again where are they located?

If you talked with all the sources you have claimed to talk with you wouldn't need to ask this question.If there are no high and low spots what does lapping a barrel do? Does any barrel maker claim there are no high and low spots in there barrels? If yes please name them?


• Does shooting and cleaning between rounds correct/fix all barrel imperfections if they exist? If yes how?

Again this begs the question what barrel imperfections are fixed by not cleaning? and how? and which imperfections?


• Without a bore scope again you have no idea what the actual condition of the interior barrel surface

Agreed but does that mean one should not clean there barrel if they don't own one?

• So far if you don’t have honest solid answers to these first few questions and you’ve been performing a barrel break-in process you’re working off a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess)

Couple more questions while I still have your attention.

• Pushing a cotton patch with solvent or a bronze brush down the barrel will do what to remove a 416 stainless steel or chromemoly metal burr or machine marks?

I don't think you have a grasp as to what cleaning actually does.If you think a patch with solvent dissolves a burr wouldn't it also dissolve your bore?
The hot propellant gases behind the bullet that erode the throat are what removes tiny burrs.You can't remove those burrs as effectively when they are covered with hard carbon and copper fouling.The cleaning process allows them to be burned off quicker than they would be if they were covered up with fouling.

• Last time I checked, 416 SS or CM is much harder than a cotton patch or bronze brush and is most likely impenetrable by most bore solvents.

Again the purpose of cleaning is not to remove barrel steel.It is to remove barrel fouling.

• Yes it will remove copper fouling caught by the metal burr, but how will it remove the metal burr?

Again the propellant gases that erode the throats of barrels erode the burrs.Cleaning removes the fouling so the burrs are exposed to this process.

• How many shots will it take to remove the burr or imperfection and how will you know when the barrel issues have been corrected? Is it always x-amount of shots?

I'm thinking it would take more shots for more imperfections just like it takes more shots to erode the throat deeper.I ould also think if the barrel doesn't shoot well it is up to the individual shooter to decide when to give up on it.
If burrs and imperfections don't matter why are all the best barrel makers lapping there barrels and charging us for this service?
Wouldn't it be better to just ignore those imperfections as you suggest and hope that they go away on there own?
 
Sep 5, 2004
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McKinney, TX
Lynn Jr,

I’m going to have to agree to disagree with you on your post and your assessments.

Unlike some on this forum who post hearsay, nonsense and sometimes a bunch on crud I named my sources which are extremely credible and industry experts. So I didn’t make them up hoping no one would check my references. Mike Rock of Rock Creek barrel was the one who came up with oil in the engine analogy. If you don’t know Mike he builds some of the best barrels made. He understands barrels and internal ballistics to a degree that would make most folk’s heads spin. Anyone who has ever talked with Mike on the phone about barrels and ballistic will understand. Once you wind him up and get him talking he’s like the Eveready bunny…he keeps going and going, his knowledge is amazing.

My questions were just that, they were question, not answers. They were intended to get people thinking about the bigger picture about their barrel condition and how a cotton patch or brush would fix problems… if they even existed. Most shooters don’t have access to a quality borescope so they really don’t know the condition of the barrel. Your assessment that the propellant gases that erode the throat will be what erodes and smooths out the burrs in the barrel is based on what? I’ll agree it may play a small role in smoothing out the burrs but it will be small. I’ll stand by my findings that it’s bullets passing down the barrel that will do the bulk of smoothing out the burrs, machine marks and polishing the barrels. I say this as I’ve seen many shot out barrels that had absolutely no rifling the last foot or so to the end of the barrel and were polished smooth. My question is what smoothed out and removed the rifling and polished the barrel? If it was the propellant gasses they would have smoothed out and removed the rifling just past the throat area as well as the burrs and machine marks? I’m sticking with the tens of thousands of bullets passing down the barrel that did the work.

Barrel breakin is a hot topic with many ideas and opinions on the subject. As I stated in my write up, I don’t have all the answers, but I uncovered a lot of them. After researching this to the degree I have I shared my results which are very sound and have a solid basis. I also named my sources which are all extremely credible and come from some of the best minds in the business. It’s always ok to agree to disagree. If you disagree, that’s fine, at least offer sound facts and references to back up your statements. It’s what I tried to do.
 
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Nov 20, 2011
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Jeff in Texas
I am familiar with Mike Rock and actually shoot one of his barrels on my 338 Lapua.I have read most of the major players assessment on barrels and see no consensus from them.

Your assessment that the propellant gases that erode the throat will be what erodes and smooths out the burrs in the barrel is based on what?
My observations are based on my use of a borescope and looking down barrels.

I say this as I’ve seen many shot out barrels that had absolutely no rifling the last foot or so to the end of the barrel and were polished smooth. My question is what smoothed out and removed the rifling and polished the barrel?

In my observations when a barrel gets much use on it you will see firecracking and eroding.
Your observation that a barrel with alot of rounds down is smoothed out from the bullet can easily be tested to see if ity works or doesn't and you can post your results if you do the test.

Take an old shot out barrel and hit the outside edge of it several times with a good center punch.This will create several burrs on the outside edge of the barrel that are protruding from the surface.Now while sitting in your recliner watching television take a copper jacketed bullet and run it back and forth over the burrs 5,000 times and post your results.

The hot propellant gases behind the bullet erode the throat and when the bullet leaves the barrel and fresh air is exposed to the bore it erodes away the muzzle.If it was the bullet causing this erosion and not the hot gases the barrel would wear evenly and not as you described with it wearing out both ends.

Most benchrest shooters will run a given amount of rounds down the barrel of a hot cartridge and set the barrel barrel and re-crown it.This gets rid of the erosion and firecrackig.

The last process done to a barrel is lapping.An abrasive grit is run down the bore to remove imperfections left by the tooling.
It then goes to a gunsmith who spins it in a lathe and makes various cuts to its internal surfaces perpendicular to the direction of the lap.
I only know of one gunsmith who runs a lap through a barrel after it has been chambered and crowned so everyone else is left with machine marks and any residual lapping compound that maybe left in the bore.

I don't see how the cleaning process can hurt anything but I do see how not cleaning your new barrel can be harmful.
Let us know if you run the bullet over the barrel what happens.
Lynn
 
Sep 5, 2004
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Jeff in Texas
Take an old shot out barrel and hit the outside edge of it several times with a good center punch.This will create several burrs on the outside edge of the barrel that are protruding from the surface.Now while sitting in your recliner watching television take a copper jacketed bullet and run it back and forth over the burrs 5,000 times and post your results.

I don't see how the cleaning process can hurt anything but I do see how not cleaning your new barrel can be harmful.
Let us know if you run the bullet over the barrel what happens.
Lynn
Lynn,

I hear what you’re saying but your copper bullet analogy is extremely flawed. Doing what you said would do absolutely zero, nothing nadda! However you forgot the main ingredient to your equation, the internal ballistics of the round being fired. As I stated in the internal ballistic section of my original post, when you pull that trigger the round going off produces temperatures upwards to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures ranging upwards to 60,000 PSI. Now we’re not simply rubbing a copper jacket against a barrel. The heat and pressure spike from the round going off is focused right at the throat, hence is why you see fire cracking and degradation in throat area and not so much down the rest of the barrel. As you said rub a bullet 5000 times on the outside of the barrel won’t do anything. Now shoot 5000 or more bullets down the barrel, add pressure, heat and friction to all those bullets traveling down and out the barrel and you’ll get the polishing of the burrs, machine marks and what have you, more so than just gases.

Think of it this way, pouring water over the outside of the old barrel you were talking about will do absolutely nothing! However, add thousands of PSI to that water and you have one of today’s most highly efficient ways of cutting steal…a water pressure cutter. It’s amazing what happens when you add pressure and extreme heat to the equation, though no heat in that analogy.

When I was in high school (1970’s) my physics teacher was an avid shooter and hunter. He asked a group of us that he knew hunted and shot if it was possible to shoot just a cotton ball through a soda can. Our logically thought process said no. After school one day a bunch of us and our teacher went out to a buddy’s ranch loaded an old black powder pistol with just powder and packed cotton. At 2 feet or so the cotton went right through the can. You could see strands of copper caught in both the holes.

As I stated cleaning between rounds was a waste of time and energy in my opinion. Plus cleaning too well (taking away the burnish) or incorrectly can damage a barrel. That’s what I was trying to say. As LowLight and a bunch of have said, take the rifle out and shoot the snot out of it. If you see your accuracy starting to suffer, give it a cleaning.

Hope that makes a bit more sense. Have a great and blessed weekend.


Lynn,
 
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Sep 27, 2012
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South Texas
I just learned more about barrel maintenance then I ever thought possible.

Thank you Jeff and all the other seasoned contributors to your research, and to all the commenters that agreed or disagreed with great insight.

Thanks
 

Aimsmall55

Gunny Sergeant
Oct 23, 2010
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I've always done it like this. Run a patch threw ( sweets) Shoot immediately. clean with a nylon brush until the blue is very minimal to none. Then switch to butchs bore shine. Then let her rip 3 shots. Clean. Repeat but with 5 shot intervals This is the extreme in my process. Once the barrel is cleaning with 3 to 4 patches im done. Some rifles may take 5 shots. Some may take 15. All are different and your bullet/ powder combo plays a big part. It really comes down to knowing when to stop. That's where everyone differs. If I shoot a particular rifle and first 3 shots clean with hardly any fouling I'm done. I guess you could call it a gut feeling of knowing when your gtg
 
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