precision rifle break-in How?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by donovan, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. donovan

    Eugene, OR

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    Recently I put together a rife as my "precision tactical" rifle. it is a remington 700 police tactical, hogue pillar bedded stock, harris bi pod, leupold base, rings and a VX3 6.5-20x50mm mil dot scope with the tall turrets for easy adjustments. anyway I have yet to fire it due to the fact that I want everything with the break in to be done correctly. I have heard many different ways to do a barrel break in. should I hand lap the barrel? should I clean the bore between every shot? every fifth shot? how many shots does it take to have your barrel broke in?
  2. torpedoman

    land of corrupt politicians
    Active Member

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    clean the barrel good and shoot it break in is mostly B.S.
  3. MountainBear

    Sweet Home, OR
    Well-Known Member

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    Try this. I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I always break in my precision rifle barrels similar to what Pac-Nor has posted. It may help and it may not, but I don't think it hurts, so I do it...

    Brownsville, OR
    Well-Known Member

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    If you want...give me a call at the OFA Office and I'll walk you through the process.
  5. madcratebuilder

    Ardenwald, OR
    Well-Known Member

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    Clean it, shoot it. Repeat as required.
  6. The B

    The B
    NW Oregon
    Well-Known Member

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    i hate when somebody i respect give "instructions" like this... there is absolutely no difference between a "dry" bore and a "wet" bore, as soon as you pull the trigger. the gasses that bleed around the projectile as it screams down the bore are very similar to a plasma torch- what they don't instantly vaporize, they blow out ahead of the projectile. so not only is every round after the first fired through a dry bore, but even the first is fired through a dry bore.

    as others have said, "break in" is pretty much a total load of crap. if you don't believe me, test the weapons accuracy before and after break-in.
  7. old_heli_logger

    Ophir, Oregon

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    Be sure and use a quality bore guide...the ones the Mike Lucas make are hard to beat.

    Good luck!
  8. wichaka

    Wa State
    Well-Known Member

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    From Schuemann barrels. They make 1911 barrels, but are very much up on metallurgy, and most of the info. here pertains to rifle barrels as well;

    Precision Shooting Magazine, December,'93,"Rifle Barrel Cleaning Materials and Barrel Corrosion", by Jim Borden, presented information about the etching of 416 barrel surfaces by various chemicals.

    "... doing inspections of a number of rifle barrels with a very high quality bore scope over the past two years has shown that a number of shooters are doing significant damage to their very expensive Stainless Steel barrels..." "illustrate the impact that improper use of some cleaning
    materials and methods can have on barrel steel. The barrel in the picture had somewhere between 150 and 350 rounds through it when it was retired - it quit shooting well and was very difficult to pass a patch through.
    Note the gross pitting and cracking evident on the surface of the barrel..."
    " provide some basic information on stainless steel and some of the materials and conditions that adversely affect the corrosion rate of 416SS..."

    Most of the chemicals Jim Borden listed, many of which are used in commercial barrel cleaning compounds, etched the surface away at rates between 0.020 and 0.050 inches per year. We at Schuemann Barrels regard a barrel to have been substantially worn out when the bore radius is
    enlarged by 0.0005 inches (a bore diameter increase of 0.001 inch).

    Therefore, exposure to some of these bore cleaner chemicals for about 4 days would eat away the bore as much as would have resulted from wearing out the bore by firing tens of thousands of rounds through the barrel.
    "... if the mixtures result in a more agressive corrosion condition - two particular areas to be pursued are the mixing of Sweet's and Shooter's Choice MC#7, and the mixing of some of the chlorinated aerosols (used to dry out chambers by some shooters) with moisture and some of the
    cleaning compounds."
    Here Jim is specifically worried about using any of the TriChloro
    solvents, such as gun cleaner or carburetor cleaner, in combination with humidity, and/or barrel cleaning compounds.

    Precision Shooting Magazine, May,'94,"A Closer Look at Bore Corrosion", by Mark D Stouse, presented a detailed look at 416 stainless surfaces and their corrosion susceptibility. He showed high magnification photos of 416 surfaces and discussed how the inherent roughness of the barrel surface and the presence of lead or copper and powder residues helps degrade the meager ability of the 416 stainless surface to resist corrosion.

    Precision Shooting Magazine, Editorial, December,'97, referencing an article in American Single Shot Rifle Association News by Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe. "... There is a warning on the label of Shooter's Choice MC#7 bore cleaner that it should not be mixed with other bore cleaners...
    Mixing solvents that contain 111 Tricloroethane with Shooter's Choice is also bad news!...

    Most American barrel makers hesitate to recommend Sweets as a regular bore cleaner because experience seems to show that barrels last longer with other petro-chemical based bore cleaners like Hoppes No. 9 or Shooter's Choice. Ammonia is present in bore cleaners like Hoppes No. 9
    in the form of ammonia oleate..."

    Precision Shooting Magazine, January,'98, letters to the editor, the first from Michael Anzalone pertaining to cleaning barrels used with moly coated bullets. "... We're talking about 4- 5 inch vertical spread here (at 100 yards). Anyway, after cleaning with Shooter's Choice, the same thing happened again. So, a light went on in my head, and I realized I was removing all or
    most of the moly with Shooter's Choice. A call to Berger Bullets provided the following information: Clean only with Kroil and a small amount of JB bore compound. Anything else removes the moly..."

    January,'98, a second letter to the editor, this one from Walt Berger (the individual referenced above - Wil) pertaining to the lifetime of a bench rest barrel which had only moly coated bullets shot through it. "... I now have better than 4,000 rounds through my moly-bullet-only barrel, and
    I won ... at the NBRSA Nationals ... and it still looks good through the bore scope." (this is somewhat greater than the normal lifetime for such a barrel - Wil)

    Precision Shooting Magazine February,'98, letters to the editor, the first from Glen Fryxell, PhD, who is a chemist. He starts out quoting from an earlier article, and then offers comments of his own, ""... mixing (ammonia) with solvents that contain 1,1,1-trichlorethane... is also bad news!"
    This is excellent advise and should be bold-faced, underlined, and extended to include any chlorinated solvent (TCE, carbon tetrachloride, etc.). Ammonia reacts with chlorinated solvents to form ammonium chloride salts. Ammonium salts are hygroscopic (absorb water from humid atmosphere), and the chloride ion is one of the most corrosive species around as far as
    steel is concerned. This combination will corrode any steel surface, stainless or otherwise. The take home lesson here is, "Don't mix cleaning solvents." (Personally, I won't allow anything than has chlorine in it anywhere near my barrels for this reason)."

    February,'98, a second letter to the editor, this one from Greg Bowman, pertaining to corrosion and solvents. "... In the absence of detailed information on the makeup of the various bore cleaners, good advice may be: 1) Do not mix (or use in tandem) bore cleaners of different
  9. wichaka

    Wa State
    Well-Known Member

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    Certainly DO NOT ever use a stainless steel brush to clean out a barrel. The stainless bristles are much harder than the steel bore and the result will be to create deep scratches in the bore surface.
    When we use our IPSC pistols like sub-guns, as we often do, we apparently can raise the bore surface temperature up to the annealing range, based on the color I have seen on some barrel bore surfaces. Therefore, the bore surface of our barrels likely has been preferentially annealed, and could be quite a bit softer than the barrel outer surface would test.
    Even the brass/bronze brushes, which have bristles which are as hard as mild steel, or the lead removers, which use a hard brass mesh to scape the lead from the bore, may well be able to scratch the bore surface of a stainless steel barrel. Any scratching of the bore surface will naturally lead to increased bore surface wear, leading, and coppering. My recommendation would be to never use any kind of a bore brush to clean a 416 stainless steel pistol barrel, especially if it has been exposed to strings of rapid fire.

    I've been watching the knowledge about 416 stainless barrel cleaning grow over the last few years. Unfortunately, I am not aware of the new information spreading outside of the bench rest rifle world. Hopefully, these short segments of some of the published information will help.

    One possibility is that the contribution of the millions of microscopic deep grooves in the barrel bore, created by the possible melting away of the sulphur compounds, which were originally a part of the 416 steel barrel, in enhancing corrosion of the bore may be considerable. On the other
    hand, studies of surface wear often show that the sulphur in steel migrates to the surface where it reduces wear and friction. My "feeling" is that the grooves are likely capable of holding liquid cleaning chemicals, or their residual component chemicals, for long periods of time, and no
    amount of wiping or rinsing is going to get all the chemicals out of the grooves. The chemical's persistence would be enhanced if the microgrooves are also packed full of propellant and bullet residues, thereby sealing the chemicals into the grooves. These residual chemicals could be
    slowly eating away the walls of the grooves, especially at the higher temperatures generated when we are shooting. The consequences of such corrosion would not be apparent until the grooves reached some critical size, and then the rate of gas erosion of the bore would increase markedly, shortening the life of the barrel.
    Some references I have read in the past, that I did not save, indicated significant bore damage apparently had been caused by using one bore cleaner one year and switching to a different cleaner the following year. If the bore's microscopic grooves are capable of holding cleaning solvent residues for long periods of time such damage might well be plausible.
    I'd initially been excited about the molydenum disulphide powder coating technology which has been introduced into the shooting sports. Initially it seems to be reducing bore wear, reducing bullet friction, reducing barrel heating, and reducing peak pressures, were all pluses. Seldom does a new idea produce only pluses. Possible liabilities are documented elsewhere in the web site. My thought is that,in this case. The millions of microscopic grooves in 416 stainless barrels are likely a plus where moly disulphide is concerned.

    The moly disulphide will likely be packed into the grooves which might both anchor the moly disulphide, and also thereby reduce the erosion of the bore by preventing the propellant gas from eating away at the otherwise exposed edges and surfaces of the grooves. The bench rest shooters, to whom clean bores historically have been accorded the status of a religion, are gradually
    ceasing to clean the bores of their barrels which are used exclusively with moly coated bullets.
    This both proves the effectiveness of the moly coating and should allow everyone to stop cleaning the bores of their barrels. But, the precision rifle shooters seldom shoot more than a few thousand rounds through their guns before their barrel loses accuracy. We shoot many tens of times more rounds through our guns and that may be important. In precision rifle shooting the
    mild polishing action of the moly disulphide, which is beneficial to precision rifles, will wear out our barrels prematurely.

    My Personal Practice has become to never clean the bore of my barrels. I do use a brass rod to scrape the deposits out of the chamber. But, I've learned to leave the bore alone and it very slowly becomes shinier and cleaner all by itself. Years ago I occasionally scrubbed the bore with a brass bore brush. But, doing so always seemed to cause the bore to revert to a dirtier look with more shooting, so I eventually stopped ever putting anything down the bore except bullets...
  10. wichaka

    Wa State
    Well-Known Member

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    I have yet to run a brush down my rifle barrels, I use a bore snake with oil, and leave it at that.
  11. M.Link

    M.Link Guest

    Dosnt a bore snake have a brush built into it?
  12. terrylf72

    Portland, Oregon, United States

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    yep it does...
  13. James1300

    S.E. WA.

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    Thats how I 'broke mine in'.
  14. wichaka

    Wa State
    Well-Known Member

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    Let me restate that. In talking with the owner of Schuemann barrels...He advocates not cleaning the barrel on a regular basis. What he sees are folks 'over' cleaning their barrels. Meaning after a few rounds or so, they will throw a brush and solvent down the tube. After that much abrasive going down the barrel, something will eventually wear out.

    What he does personally, is run a patch only thru the bore with oil on it. After a few thousand rounds, depending on how much filth is in the barrel...he will then think about running a brush down the bore, using a bore snake. But he said that generally an oil patch is all that's needed.

    Bottom line, with some barrels not having the proper HRC may be damaging the barrel with solvents and brushes.
  15. BillCh

    Active Member

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    I've only purchased 3 rifles brand new. Two of which I didn't really consider any barrel break in procedure.

    The third, my .308 I wanted to do right. It's the only one with potential.
    I hand loaded some 155 gr. moly bullets for the first shots only. I fired five.
    Then I cleaned the bore.
    The following 10 shots were regular 155 gr. bullets. Cleaned again.

    This seemed to work pretty well.

    I have yet to use a bronze bristle brush. I only use nylon brushes and cotton patches.

    I hoped the barrel makers knew what they doing. Apparently they did.

    Here is a pic of a target my 15 yr. old shot last weekend. His first time out with this rifle.

    My suggestion is to not over do the barrel break in thing and clean it gently.

  16. Jamie6.5

    Western OR
    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Lots of good advice here about "breaking-in" precision rifle barrels.
    Not all barrels are created equal however.

    For instance, most factory barrels are hammer forged and not lapped. A lapped, air gauged button rifled barrel is considerably smoother than a hammer forged barrel. Same with a lapped, cut rifled barrel.

    When breaking in a hammer forged barrel, Tubbs makes a fine grit break-in kit that helps smooth out the bore by providing a lapping action.
    For anyone that has had a problem with copper fouling they can improve groups and minimize your cleaning regimen.
  17. Grizzly_A

    Portland Metro Area

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    Isn't moly hydroscopic as well? I thought you weren't supposed to leave moly in your barrel for long because it attracted moisture as well.

    I'm curious what the others are like? Did you do a thorough cleaning out of the box before you shot on all three?
  18. afp

    New Member

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    I have had lots of new and used rifles, both with factory barrels and custom barrels. For a while I broke everything in but it didn't seem to make any difference. Nowadays I simply clean a new barrel a little more frequently--say every 10-20 rounds--until it smooths up at around 200 rounds. Then I clean every 25-50 rounds, depending on what the rifle tells me. (No, I don't use moly) While I have seen no advantage--and some disadvantage--to following the one-shot and clean then 5-shot and clean break in, I have noticed that every barrel--custom and factory--get's significantly easier to clean around 150-200 rounds.

    I like to start all my barrels cleaned to bare metal the first time, then after that just mostly clean. You can't get a barrel to bare metal with a Bore Snake, but then again you don't need to clean it to bare metal that often. I think a Bore Snake would be fine for most cleanings. I clean with Rem Bore Cleaner or JB Bore Paste, alternating with Bore Tech Copper eliminator, until the Bore Tech shows only very light blue. Bore Tech Eliminator is the strongest copper cutter I have ever seen and it contains no ammonia--it is water based. I read an article in a Precision Shooting a few years back where a guy tested many of the available copper cutters--cleaning the borescoping, and he found Bore Tech to be the strongest copper cutter. He also found Slip 2000 carbon Cutter to be the best carbon cutter.

    Anymore I think that a barrel only needs to have 70-80% of the copper removed, and that isn't so hard to do when you start with bare metal so you know where you are and then get a couple hundred rounds on the barrel, cleaning as required.

    I also like to push oil through the bore after it's clean, then I push through a dry patch. This does seem to reduce fouling a bit.

    Here is my best group and my second best agg, shot from a barrel that wasn't broken in:



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