Overcoming Rifle Heat at Matches

Feb 13, 2017
The other thread inspired this one... What can a guy do to cool a rifle in between stages, especially while running suppressed? I'm always searching for some shade to set my rifle in, and recently purchased a cooling towel to lay over barrel and can; but any new tech solutions? I've seen the little barrel fans but heard they make little to no difference....

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
Arizona, good place for me...
Barrel heat is a fact of shooting life. We look at the issue from the wrong end.

A heated barrel is a working barrel. We get dispersion from a hot barrel mainly because we misunderstand this.

Our loads get developed to work under conditions that spare the barrel from heat. What we should be doing, instead, is developing our loads to work best when the barrel is already hot.

The abnormal condition is the cold barrel.

If the barrel shoots differently cold (many/most do) then we should train to take the cold barrel into consideration and shoot the cold barrel with a different POA (based on experience) until it comes up to temp. This way we use the barrel heating to bring the rifle into it accuracy node.

Jan 15, 2005
The barrel fans actually work quite well from my findings, I’d never run one at a match though because there’s always people walking around the rifles in the staging area and dust is being kicked up which will be picked up by the fan and blown down the bore. I’d rather not put an abrasive substance in my bore intentionally.

You usually have about a half hour down time between stages, that’s ample time for the barrel to cool down as much as it’s going to. I run a titanium can which cools pretty fast so I’ll pull the cover forward a few inches to let it get some air to it at the portion with the most mass and it’s good and cool in 10 minutes or so.

Your barrel is going to be piping hot after cranking 10 rounds out of it in 1.5 mins or less whether it starts at 40 degrees or 100 degrees.


Apr 18, 2001
Barrel heat can shift POI in most barrels. Factory barrels more so than quality aftermarket match barrels. This is mainly due to residual stresses from the barrel making process. The better aftermarket barrel makers perform stress relief at least once and some more than once. While that may not entirely eliminate shifting POI, it will minimize it. Being aware of the shift in POI with barrel heating (if it is consistent) allows one to shift POA to compensate.

The little fan barrel coolers work but as previously stated not a good idea if there is a lot of dust and dirt being kicked up. I have seen a bottle of CO2 with a pressure regulator hooked up to a cleaning guide once or twice but that's a cumbersome sort of an affair for high volume varmint shooters. As far as cooling towels go they work but cool the barrel unevenly, that part they touch cools faster than what is blocked by the stock. Couldn't say what effect that has if there is any.
Feb 7, 2013
The West
People in positional shooting have way more to worry about than barrel heat.

If that’s your focus, you should be wining every match anyway.

If you need a barrel fan you need a better barrel or are a benchrester.

Fundamentals and building positions, trumps gadgets if you’re a field shooter.
Apr 10, 2017
Houston, Texas
I certainly don't disagree with the comments previously made, however, if you are still wanting to cool your bbl, I use an AR15 cooling fan from Caldwell that is placed in the mag well. I mainly use it on my bolt rifles with a plastic tube you can by from any hardware store placed in the hole in the cooling fan and run into your chamber. It works MUCH better than standing up right in the shade with the bolt open. I usually shoot over 4 hours and have never had the rechargeable battery die.


Sergeant of the Hide
Nov 17, 2011
honestly.....this is one of those issues that isnt actually an issue......

your gun gets hot.....so what?

you arent going to shoot better with a cooler gun......you just arent.
Likes: PBWalsh


Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 11, 2017
if the proof research guys could wrap thier barrels in a coil we could
Circulate seasonally apropriat water from an ice chest or heat it.


Swamp Rat
Sep 28, 2012
Central Florida
I shoot. It's hot here in Florida. Even when I do an ocw, I just shoot the strings after warming up the barrel with a few sighters. If the load I choose is affected too much by a hot barrel, then it's going to suck during a match here.


Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 11, 2017
I shoot subs in 22lr and 300blk, the temps mess with both more than any
Super loads in any other caliber I shoot, nature of the beast I suppose.

Subs seem to like hot weather, shoot more consistant than cold for me.

I think it is a powder volume / velocity percentage thing and not caliber specific.

Reached the 110+ mark last week here at my house, December upcoming may be in the teens
On any given day but normaly 30 for a low spot.

Tend to keep ranges close in xtra cold weather hunting to minamise the shift.
Guess if I ran 1 gun or even 1 caliber I could build charts better.
Suppose I could narrow down the inventory to make it simpler but I want to pass
On a good amount to grand kids instead of them fighting over one perfect gun.