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What is the expected life of a rifle barrel

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by M67, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. M67

    M67 NW Oregon Active Member

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    My dad and i were talking about rifle barrel life expectancy and i did not have an answer to give him, as i have never shot one out yet.

    For a 308 with a stainless steel barrel, and a .270 winchester, 30.06, and russian sks rifles with carbon steel barrels.

    I am talking hunting rifles, not competition shooting. Thank you to Nwcid for pointing that out, there is a huge difference.

    Thank's
    M67
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  2. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    There are too many factors for a definitive answer. First one is what do you consider life expectancy? For a competition shooter the barrel may be "wore out" after a couple thousand rounds for their use but would be useful for several thousand more for hunting.

    I know you listed some calibers but that will be a huge issue as well. Some calibers can cause major wear within a couple thousand rounds where other guns like .22 have an almost infinite life.

    Most military rifles have an expected life in the 40-50,000 range.
     
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  3. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Speed kills The faster the round travels the more powder being burnt in the throat have a lot to do with the condition of the barrel.
     
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  4. M67

    M67 NW Oregon Active Member

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    Oh, so say a 7mm mag or .338 mag would have a much shorter life span, than the calibers i listed above. And i should have said, for hunting use only, not competition, style shooting.

    Thank's
    M67
     
  5. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    A friend of mine says his AR barrels are good for 50k rounds.
     
  6. Mutt

    Mutt Washington, Kitsap County Member

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    A barrels throat is what decides barrel life. If you are shooting a military M16, I believe the armors change out barrels somwhere between 25,000 and 35,000 rounds. But, those barrels aren't 1000 yard percision match winning barrels either. And, you can't expect superb accuracy out of them when they are new. Once the throat wears out, accuracy drops off. But, even a barrel with a worn out throat might give you 2-3 inch groups .... which would work for most short range hunting. My Remington 700 chambered in .308 with a carbon steel stock barrel will probably get 8000-10000 rounds before the throat is worn out. Now, a stainless or chrome lined barrel is going to last longer. Now, take that same rifle and change the caliber to .300WM and the barrel life is alot less.
     
  7. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    A huge factor not mentioned here is barrel warming. Shooting a rifle barrel to the point where it is hot, with no relief will accelerate barrel wear tremendously, and in some cases can ruin the barrel in one session. This makes perfect sense when we realize that at high temperatures all metal becomes softer.

    High capacity cases, coupled with comparitavely small bores are more prone to barrel wear than cartridges of more conservative shapes. This is the source of "short barrel life" reputations amongst cartridges such as the .220 Swift, .264 Magnum, .25-06, and the like. Shooting these cartridges (and others of small bore/large case capacity) while paying strict attention to barrel temperature can mitigate their "short barrel life" reputations to a great degree.

    I have a .25-06 (Browning B78) that is the only rifle I've ever owned which shows visible throat erosion. This gun has had every round through it recorded since new. It is at about the 2000 round mark now. However, it is not the 2000 rounds that caused the throat erosion. Twelve rounds, fired as fast as I could load the gun (at a wounded Pronghorn that was going away fast) did all the damage to that barrel within about 90 seconds. This when the barrel had only about 400 rounds through it.

    However: do not write off a barrel that has such visible damage. This gun shoots just as accurately as the day it was new, despite visible throat erosion in the first 1-2" of the rifling.

    A "conventionally shaped" cartridge, such as a .30-06, .308 or such in a modern gun will allow barrel life way beyond one shooter's hunting lifetime, even with usage far beyond average. I have worked with numerous guns delivered to me as being "shot out", and almost invariably, all the gun needed was a good cleaning to restore perfect accuracy.

    P.S.: I finally caught the goat with a 100g Ballistic Tip at 650 paces. Torturing my barrel was the price paid to recover a wounded animal.
     
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  8. Phillyfan

    Phillyfan Oregon City, Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I don't think you can ever wear out a hunting rifle barrel if it is only used for hunting (although once I retire, I would love to test the theory). I have a 1943 98k nazi marked mauser, sporterized to .270 win., that I hunt with every year. Sights in at less than 3/4 of an inch for a 5 shot group year after year prior to the season. Point is that you will never wear out a hunting rifle's barrel in one lifetime. If you do either the rifle sucked, you were lucky enough to hunt a lot more than most folks ever get to, or you were lucky enough to hunt a lot more than most folks ever get to and you can't shoot for .........
     
  9. Mutt

    Mutt Washington, Kitsap County Member

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    That says alot