barrel break-in

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by clmanges, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. clmanges

    clmanges New Member

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    I must have messed up, I tried to post this before and it didn't take. Oh well.

    Anyhow, I found this barrel break-in instruction on Savage's website, and just wondered what you folks thought of it.
    I plan to modify the procedure a little, by using the same stuff (Shooters' Choice Firearms Bore Cleaner, which claims to work on powder, lead, and copper) as both powder solvent and copper solvent. Is this a good idea, or should I buy separate chemicals?
    All comments welcome.

    FAQs: Barrel Break-In Procedure

    Q. What is the barrel break-in procedure?

    A. Although there may be different schools of thought on barrel break-in, this is what Precision Shooting Magazine recommends:

    STEP 1 (repeated 10 times)

    * Fire one round
    * Push wet patches soaked with a powder solvent through the bore
    * Push a brush through the bore (5 times in each direction)
    * Push dry patches through the bore (2 times)
    * Push wet patches soaked with a copper solvent through the bore
    * Push a brush through the bore (5 times in each direction)
    * Push dry patches through the bore (2 times)
    * Push a patch with 2 drops of oil through the bore

    STEP 2 (repeated 5 times)

    * Fire a 3 shot group
    * Repeat the cleaning procedure from STEP 1 after each group

    STEP 3 (repeat 5 times)

    * Fire a 5 shot group
    * Repeat the cleaning procedure from STEP 1

    They recommend the use of a patch with 2 drops of oil after the cleaning so that you are not shooting with a dry bore. It is also advisable to use a powder solvent and copper solvent from the same manufacturer to be sure they are chemically compatible.
  2. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

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    They made them so they would hopefully know the correct way to break in their barrels.
  3. clmanges

    clmanges New Member

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    Savage didn't come up with this, though, it's from Precision Shooting magazine. And I have to be curious, because I've never seen any directions for breaking in barrels in the owners manuals of any gun I've ever had. If it's an important thing to do, wouldn't the manufacturers mention it?
    I will do this with the new rifle, since it isn't much trouble, but I had to wonder, because I'd never heard of any such thing before. I told my brother about it, and he said that some of the way-out fanatics tend to do unusual things with their guns sometimes. The implication is that it may be more useful as ritual (an initiation into the Sacred Order of 1/4 MOA?) than measurable benefit, and I'm not sure how its benefits could be scientifically measured.

    More feedback, please I'm curious!
  4. clmanges

    clmanges New Member

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    ***** FOLLOW-UP *****

    I spent several hours today doing a web search on breaking in barrels, and here's a synopsis of what I found out.

    Best news -- if you get a .22 and never intend to shoot anything but plain lead bullets out of it, you need not break it in at all. Cleaning is minimal too, just wet- and dry-patch about every 200 rds, brush when you think it needs it.
    If you plan to shoot copper-coated bullets out of it, you need to break it in and clean it more thoroughly and often.

    Cynical news -- one custom barrel maker claims to have started the whole break-in thing himself, to sell more barrels. He doesn't believe in breaking in barrels, himself, but includes instructions for it with every barrel he ships. He figures that the people who buy from him use a barrel for 2000-3000 rounds, and if he has them shooting up 40 or 50 of those before they ever take it out in competition, they'll be back for replacements sooner.
    I'm not sure whether to believe this or not, but there are other custom barrel makers who don't believe break-in is necessary.

    Possibly useful news -- this is what I was really after, an explanation of what the procedure does and why it's good to do. Note that this applies specifically to copper jacketed ammo.
    Presumeably, a new barrel has tiny imperfections inside of it, especially at the breach end, and the first few dozen rounds fired through it serve to smooth these out. So, you fire one round, clean thoroughly with brush and copper solvent, and the next round will smooth out some more of the little irregularities without adding more copper fouling. After a couple dozen shots, it should be smoothed out sufficiently, and be easier to clean thereafter.

    Didn't your mama tell you never to -- firelap -- shoot moly-coated bullets -- overheat your gun?
    If you feel you must lap the barrel, use patches to apply the abrasive compound (JB and Flitz got mentioned repeatedly here).
    If you want a moly coat, clean down to bare metal and then apply it with patches.
    Overheating the barrel weakens it and aids wear, especially near the breach.

    Oh, and don't ever touch the muzzle!

    No news -- some people think this is all hokum and break all the above rules. Hey, you paid for the gun, do with it as you see fit.
  5. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

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    I think a good cleaning regiment is important, more so than barrel break in. Seen a lot of firearms damaged by improper cleaning especially in the military.
  6. Mark

    Mark New Member

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    IMO, the last word on this is the Krieger barrels websight. You will find Kriegers recommendation very similar to Precision Shooting/Savage, although Krieger does not advocate using a brush.

    The reason for this has been touched on. When the chambering reamer goes in, the throat end of the reamer is not turning at optimum speed. This is because the cartridge body is usually much larger than the neck. Small shallow rings develop in the throat area of the chamber. This is just a fact of life.
    These imperfections serve to shave copper from the bullet going over them. The copper shavings are then melted, and run up the barrel, where they condense and distribute a copper fouling. This is almost like a copper plasma, and if allowed to build up, can get very difficult to remove. The reason for the shoot and clean, is to prevent copper buildup.

    The good news in all this is, in a properly chambered barrel, these little imperfections get burned away pretty quick. In most cases these imperfections are completely gone in 100 to 150 rounds, and break in is complete.
    Fire lapping will get rid of these rings VERY quickly. Fire lapping voids any warantee. Fire lapping will also erode the throat about the same as firing 1500 rounds. IMO, fire lapping is an emergency tool, only used when the patient appears dead, and all else has been tried.

    Hope this helps.
    Mark
  7. clmanges

    clmanges New Member

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    Thanks, Mark, I saw Krieger's website, it's one of the better ones.
  8. bit_o_Ruckus

    bit_o_Ruckus New Member

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    BREAK-IN PROCEDURE FOR BARRELS
    http://www.badgerbarrelsinc.com/barrel specifics.htm?68,13
    Or
    http://www.browning.com/faq/detail.asp?ID=112
    Or
    http://www.winchesterguns.com/services/faq/detail.asp?ID=28
    Or
    http://www.shilen.com/faq.html#question1
    Or
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1856552&type=story


    For the first ten shots we recommend, if possible, using jacketed bullets with a nitro powder load. Clean the oil out of the barrel before each shot using something as simple as Windex which will soak the oil out of the pores. After firing each bullet use a good copper cleaner (one with ammonia) to remove the copper fouling from the barrel. We do not recommend anything with an abrasive in it since you are trying to seal the barrel, not keep it agitated.

    After cleaning with bore cleaner, clean with Windex after each shot. Use Windex because many bore cleaner use a petroleum base which you want to remove before firing the next shot. This will keep the carbon from building up in the barrel (oil left in the pores, when burned, turns to carbon).

    To keep the temperature cool in the barrel, wait at least 5 minutes between break-in shots. The barrel must remain cool during the break-in procedure. If the barrel is allowed to heat up during the break-in, it will destroy the steel's ability to develop a home registration point, or memory. It will have a tendency to make the barrel "walk" when it heats up in the future. I am sure we all have seen barrels that, as they heat up, start to shoot high and then "walk" to the right. This was caused by improperly breaking in the barrel (generally by sitting at a bench rest and shooting 20 rounds in 5 minutes or so). Then, for the rest of the guns life the man complains that barrel is no good. If you take a little time in the beginning and do it right, you will be much more pleased with the barrel in the future.

    If you look into the end of the barrel after firing a shot, you will see a light copper-colored wash in the barrel. Remove this before firing the next shot. Somewhere in the procedure, around shot 6 or 7, it will be obvious that the copper color is no longer appearing in the barrel. Continue applications through shot 10.

    If you have any ammunitions left, you then may shoot 2 rounds and clean it for the next 10 shots. this is simply insuring that the burnishing process has been completed.
    IN theory you are closing the pores of the barrel metal which have been opened and exposed through the cutting and hand lapping procedures.

    BREAK-IN PROCEDURE FOR BARRELS-Lead bullets
    The same shooting-cleaning process may be used when firing lead bullets and black powder with this exception: shoot 2 bullets, then clean for the first 30 rounds. Naturally, you will use a cleaner appropriate for black powder. You can also use harder lead if available to accelerate the break in. This will accomplish the same as the jacketed bullets.
    It may take 80 to 100 rounds to break in with lead. That is why we recommend using jacketed bullets when possible. After this procedure, your barrel's interior surface will be sealed and should shoot cleaner and develop less fouling for the rest of its shooting life.
    *********************************************************

    For what it’s worth, you wouldn’t go out and buy a brand new automobile right off the showroom floor, and immediately drive it to the nearest multi-lane highway, and put the petal to the metal at over 100 miles an hour, for 60 or 70 miles.

    It’s the same with a new barrel, most of the top barrel makers recommend breaking the barrels in.


    Why risk not doing it!



    B.O.R.
  9. clmanges

    clmanges New Member

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    Well, I got my new rifle (Savage Mark I FVT) on Wednesday, and finally got to do the break-in yesterday. I cleaned after each shot for the first ten, then after three-shot groups for the next fifteen, then after five-shot groups for the next twenty-five, shooting only lead bullets.
    What I noticed was that the first few rounds produced a whole lot of dirt on the patches, but by the end of the process, there was very little, even after a five-shot group. This tells me that the bore was fouling less and getting easier to clean, if nothing else, so on that basis alone, it's worth the effort.
  10. hoser1

    hoser1 New Member

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    Using a bore-scope, someone scoped a new Remington bbl and a E R Shaw bbl.
    The Remington looked like a gravel road and the Shaw bbl looked like glass.
    Well, one is a std factory bbl and the other is a hi-dollar custom, lapped bbl but the break in procedure would stand to reason on the Remington bbl.
    Also, you can lap your bbl at home but as it ovals out the muzzle end, you'd need to cut an inch off and recrown.
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