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Barrel break in?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by FA9, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. FA9

    FA9 Hillsburrito, ORgun Well-Known Member

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    Is it necessary? I've done some reading and it seems like there are different ways of doing it. I never did any precision type shooting so I can't tell if my groups get tighter or whatnot because I use iron sights. What does breaking in the barrel do? Can I ruin the barrel if not broken in properly? These questions are for long guns.
  2. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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  3. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    Shoot the heck out of it. Clean only when needed! Break-in is is what happens when you shoot a new barrel the first 50 or so rounds.
  4. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    If it's a custom built match grade long range rifle I'd break it in properly. If it's just a plinker or hunting rifle I would'nt bother. When I bought my Tikka 7mm rem mag I only cleaned it as needed and it shoots 1/2 moa at 100yrds and better further out. You won't ruin the barrel if you don't break it in but if you break it in properly it seasons the barrel similar to a cast iron skillet.
  5. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Couple of YouTube Video show the process pretty well.




    Truth be told, there are 1000's of opinions out there. I read an article in one of the gun rags about it. Their opinion was shoot it and clean it as normal. They called a few barrel manufacturers who had procedures listed on their site and asked them why. The manufacturer said the only reason they had the info listed was people asked for it. In their opinion just shoot and clean as normal.

    Regardless you're never going to see any factual information because there is no way to test this. You can't break in a barrel, see how it shoots and then take it back to new try it without a break in.
  6. FA9

    FA9 Hillsburrito, ORgun Well-Known Member

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  7. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The whole idea of barrel break-in is to get the barrel through the phase where there are still sharp edges and tool marks inside the gun that as they wear out change the POI of the gun. The dominant opinion I've gotten from many long range competitive shooters: don't worry about it, shoot your gun, and clean as you would normally. The only difference between a new gun and a used one is the residual tool marks in the barrel will tend to draw more copper fouling to them, and copper fouling does affect accuracy. The easiest method to combat this is use a copper stripping solvent when cleaning the gun something like Sweets 7.62, Cop-Out, or Birchwood casey has a product IIRC. If you want to know whether a product will remove copper... smell it, if it reeks of ammonia it will strip copper out of the barrel. I use sweets personally, and so do a lot of other people.

    In general, if you are following good gun maintenance procedures regular cleaning, removing copper and powder fouling you don't need to worry about barrel break-in at all. In fact, even if you have an older gun that you normally only clean with powder solvent, put some sweets on a mop and go through the barrel, it will probably restore lost accuracy to that old gun.
    FA9 and (deleted member) like this.
  8. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Until I see some scientific evidence I think it's hogwash. I would follow the instructions for a high dollar barrel like a Krieger since they put the hours into them to make sure things like rifling is how it is supposed to be, but for factory barrels I don't buy it.
    The one difference I did notice is using the Tubbs system on a .308 AR platform. It pretty much halved group sizes at 100yds, but I think you'd get the same results just by shooting it a lot (their abrasive bullets just accelerated it). All you are going to do is smooth out small imperfections in the rifling (which will happen over time just by shooting it), it won't make some magic happen and turn a poor shooting barrel into a good shooting one.
  9. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As was stated previously, barrel break-in procedures are about as numerous as new barrel buyers. The only horror observed in responses here was offered by one who stated ,"shoot the heck out of it".

    This is the same league of gentlemen who trade in their cars every two years or so. It is a fine recipe for their purposes.

    I have my own break-in procedure, but to relate it here is probably not productive, nor would it add anything or detract anything from anyone else's good procedures that have shown good result. I would follow the manufacturer's recommendations, accompanied with and supplemented by my own knowledge of investment.

    ONE THING IS CERTAIN: An "overboard" break-in procedure, where the shooter does EVERYTHING he can to make certain his new bore is cultivated properly toward accuracy and long barrel life can NEVER be a bad idea.

    ANOTHER THING IS CERTAIN: A shooter that "shoots the heck out of it" might by chance find good result with his barrel. BUT MORE CERTAIN: He will never realize the potential that might have been gained by proper grooming of a new barrel.

    This from only 44 years experience, and perhaps 50-75 new barrels. Take it or leave it.
  10. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Experience with what?

    Who knows more? A 25 year old infantry vet who has put 300,000 rounds-down range in the last 7 years, or a 75 year old practical-rifle shooter who's put 25,000 rounds down-range in the last 60 years?

    I have no answer, myself.


    To answer the OP - If you have to ask about it, you most definitely cannot possibly recognize the benefit from the incalculably small difference it will make.
  11. Torqk911

    Torqk911 Yacolt,Wa Member

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    I break in every hand gun and rifle after getting my Mechanical Engineering degree. There are numerous reasons for prolong life and micro destruction you really can't see when your not. Understandable if its a .22 gun is hard to justify putting the time into but I still do. I do an my own method depending on what it is but I try to keep things oiled up and going smooth. I have noticed less malfunctions saw when I get identical guns to my friends in .22s. Its probably just the OCD of keeping my guns incredible shape but I think it helps.
  12. Flopsweat

    Flopsweat Slightly right of center Well-Known Member

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    And therein lies the rub - what might have been. Would it have helped? No one knows. There is no proof that any break-in-in procedure makes a difference. May as well rub the barrel with a lucky rabbit's foot. You never know, and it couldn't hurt.