Barrel break in

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by mark-hunter, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Enthusiast

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    Dear Colleagues,
    I was not able to find separate thread on this subject, so I opened this one.

    Some rifle makers reccomend break in of the barrel, and some dont.

    Those who recommend, usually give some procedures of number of shots to be done, then followed up by cleaning before next sequence of shots..

    However, I was not able to find information what cleaning means?
    Does it mean usual cleaning using ordinary brushes and gun oil spray?

    Or, does it mean full cleaning treatment using some copper solvent, drying the barrel, followed by gun oil spray, and drying the barrel?

    I tend to beleive it is the second option, to remove all copper fouling, before firing next sequence of break in shots.
    But I am not certain.

    You thoughts and advise, please?

    Many thanks in advance
     
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  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have never "broken in" a barrel in my life. I will admit to being fascinated by the lengths some people seem to go in doing so. I am just not that OC.

    I also don't spend a lot of time worrying about copper fouling which seems to be another compulsive issue with a lot of folks.

    If your rifle is shooting MOA or nearly so, what is to fix? Sight it in, take it hunting, and push a balistol dampened patch or two through it after the season. Should be an interesting thread as soon as the barrel cranks see it! ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018

  3. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Krieger video





    Krieger barrel break in https://kriegerbarrels.com/faq#breakin


      • What is the best way to break-in and clean a Krieger Barrel?

      Background:
      Below are our recommendations for proper break in and cleaning of a barrel. The information below is meant as a guideline and not meant as step by step instructions. If you have a better way that works for you without damaging the bore or using improper chemicals, by all means continue to use your methods. Many successful competitive shooters will use these instructions to the letter, some will disagree.

      LONG & SHORT TERM STORAGE:
      Your Krieger barrel has been shipped to you with a SHORT TERM rust inhibitor sprayed in the bore to protect it from corrosion during shipping. Upon receipt of your barrel, you should first review the order confirmation and/or packing list to make sure the barrel matches the specifications you ordered. The very next thing you should do is clean the bore and apply a bore protectant suitable for the length of time it will be stored. This can range from a light gun oil all the way up to a preservative grease or cosmoline. The same should be done after a barrel is fit to your rifle.

      Preventing oxidation/corrosion in the barrel is the responsibility of the customer. We cannot be responsible for a barrel that has been improperly stored, neglected, or abused by either the end customer, gunsmith, or a distributor.

      BREAK-IN & CLEANING:
      With any premium barrel that has been finish lapped -- such as your Krieger Barrel --, the lay or direction of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, so fouling is minimal compared to a barrel with internal tooling marks. This is true of any properly finish-lapped barrel regardless of how it is rifled. If it is not finish-lapped, there will be reamer marks left in the bore that are directly across the direction of the bullet travel. This occurs even in a button-rifled barrel as the button cannot completely iron out these reamer marks.

      Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, by necessity there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file.

      When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is removed from the jacket material and released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. The copper dust is vaporized in this plasma and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore when it is actually for the most part the new throat.

      If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it, copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may be difficult to remove later. So when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat “polished without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reasoning for the fire-one-shot-and-clean procedure.

      Every barrel will vary slightly in how many rounds they take to break in For example a chrome moly barrel may take longer to break in than stainless steel because it is more abrasion resistant even though it is a similar hardness. Also chrome moly has a little more of an affinity for copper than stainless steel so it will usually show a little more color if you are using a chemical cleaner. Rim Fire barrels can take an extremely long time to break in, sometimes requiring several hundred rounds or more. But cleaning can be lengthened to every 25-50 rounds. The break-in procedure and the cleaning procedure are really the same except for the frequency. Remember the goal is to get or keep the barrel clean while breaking in the throat with bullets being fired over it.

      Finally, the best way to tell if the barrel is broken in is to observe the patches; i.e. when the fouling is reduced. This is better than some set number of cycles of shoot and clean as many owners report practically no fouling after the first few shots, and more break-in would be pointless. Conversely, if more is required, a set number would not address that either. Besides, cleaning is not a completely benign procedure so it should be done carefully and no more than necessary.

      CLEANING:
      This section on cleaning is not intended to be a detailed instruction, but rather to point out a few do's and don'ts. Instructions furnished with bore cleaners, equipment, etc. should be followed unless they would conflict with these do's and don'ts.

      You should use a good quality one piece coated cleaning rod with a freely rotating handle and a rod guide that fits both your receiver raceway and the rod snugly. How straight and how snug? The object is to make sure the rod cannot touch the bore. With M14/M1 Garand barrels a good rod and muzzle guide set-up is especially important as all the cleaning must be done from the muzzle. Even slight damage to the barrel crown is extremely detrimental to accuracy.

      There are two basic types of bore cleaners, chemical and abrasive. The chemical cleaners are usually a blend of various ingredients including oils, solvents, and ammonia (in copper solvents). The abrasive cleaners generally contain no chemical solvents and are an oil, wax, or grease base with an extremely fine abrasive such as chalk, clay, or gypsum.

      We recommend the use of good quality, name brand chemical cleaners on a proper fitting patch/jag combination for your particular bore size and good quality properly sized nylon or bronze brushes.

      So what is the proper way to use them? First, not all chemical cleaners are compatible with each other. Some, when used together can cause severe pitting of the barrel, even stainless steel barrels. It is fine to use two different cleaners as long as you completely dry the bore of the first cleaner from the barrel before cleaning with the second. And, of course, never mix them in the same bottle. NOTE: Some copper solvents contain a high percentage of ammonia. This makes them a great copper solvent, but if left in the bore too long, can damage/corrode the steel. Do not leave these chemicals in a bore any longer than 10-15 minutes MAXIMUM! DO NOT EVER use straight ammonia to clean a barrel.

      Follow instructions on the bottle as far as soak time, etc. Always clean from the breech whenever possible, pushing the patch up to the muzzle and then back without completely exiting the muzzle. If you exit the muzzle, the rod is going to touch the bore and be dragged back in across the crown followed by the patch or brush. Try to avoid dragging items in and out of the muzzle, it will eventually cause uneven wear of the crown. Accuracy will suffer and this can lead you to believe the barrel is shot out, when in fact, it still may have a lot of serviceable life left. A barrel with a worn or damaged crown can be re-crowned and accuracy will usually return. Have the crown checked by a competent gunsmith before giving up on a barrel that may otherwise be in good condition.

      This information is intended to touch on the critical areas of break-in and cleaning and is not intended as a complete, step-by-step guide or recommendation of any product. Use a quality one piece cleaning rod that is either vinyl coated or carbon fiber, a rod guide proper for the action you are cleaning, and chemicals, jags, patches, and brushes that you have determined work best for you. There is no right answer to cleaning products and equipment, however under no circumstances should you use a stainless brush. If you choose to use brushes in your cleaning use only quality bronze phosphor brushes or nylon. Clean them after every use to extend their life. Copper solvents will dissolve a bronze brush rather quickly.

      BREAK IN:
      The following is a guide to break-in based on our experience. This is not a hard and fast rule, only a guide. Some barrel, chamber, bullet, primer, powder, pressure, velocity etc. combinations may require more cycles some less. It is a good idea to just observe what the barrel is telling you with its fouling pattern and the patches. But once it is broken in, there is no need to continue breaking it in.



      Initially you should perform the shoot-one-shot-and-clean cycle for five shots. If fouling hasn't reduced, fire five more cycles and so on until fouling begins to drop off. At that point shoot three shots before cleaning and observe. If fouling is reduced, fire five shots before cleaning. Do not be alarmed if your seating depth gets longer during break in. This is typical of the “high spots in the throat being knocked down during this procedure. It is not uncommon for throat length to grow .005-.030 from a fresh unfired chamber during break in.

      Stainless
      1. 5-10 one-shot cycles
      2. 1 three-shot cycle
      3. 1 five-shot cycle

      Chrome moly
      1. 5 - 25 - one-shot cycles
      2. 2 - three-shot cycles
      3. 1 - five-shot cycle

    I found this years ago on the Legacy Sports (Howa importer) website.

    HOWA RIFLE RECOMMENDED BREAK-IN PROCEDURE
    Please do not sight-in and or group the rifle during the break-in procedure.

    For the first ten shots we recommend using copper jacketed factory ammo. Clean the oil and powder residue out of the barrel before each shot using a commercial bore cleaner with an ammonia content. After firing each cartridge, use a good bore cleaner (one with ammonia) to remove fouling from the barrel using only a soaked patch. We do not recommend anything with an abrasive in it since you are trying to seal the barrel, not keep it agitated.

    For the first ten rounds, clean and let the barrel cool between each round fired using a patch and rod only.

    Following the initial ten shots, you then may shoot 2 rounds, cleaning between each pair of shots. This is simply insuring that the burnishing process has been completed. In theory, you are closing the pores of the barrel metal that have been opened and exposed due to the manufacturing process.

    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 impede the steel’s ability to develop a home registration point, or memory. It will have a tendency to make the barrel “walk” or “climb” when it heats up in the future. If you take a little time in the beginning and do it right, you will be much more pleased with the performance of your barrel in the future.
     

  4. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't follow protocol all the time
     
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  5. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Oh yeah? Well, there's a special place in hell for you guys that don't break in your barrels. The rooms are lined with copper and old powder residue, a forever reminder of your transgressions. :eek: I'm not taking any chances. To me, barrel break in is a religion.
     
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  6. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I tend to go part way in this. I always clean new barrels. It is amazing the gunk that is in them. Then I'll shoot anywhere from 3 to 10 shots sighting in, and clean again. Then typically a full range session or hunt and then clean real well again. And then normal cleaning and lubing as needed.... Sort of. I tend to take better care of my hunting and predominately bolt guns than automatic pistols and AR or AK types... mostly because I use them more for playing around and because more ammo tends to go through them;)
     

  7. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I don't view it as a religion, but I figure it can't hurt.

    Shilen Barrels is pretty indifferent to barrel break in too.

    How should I break-in my new Shilen barrel?
    Break-in procedures are as diverse as cleaning techniques. Shilen, Inc. introduced a break-in procedure mostly because customers seemed to think that we should have one. By and large, we don't think breaking-in a new barrel is a big deal. All our stainless steel barrels have been hand lapped as part of their production, as well as any chrome moly barrel we install. Hand lapping a barrel polishes the interior of the barrel and eliminates sharp edges or burrs that could cause jacket deformity. This, in fact, is what you are doing when you break-in a new barrel through firing and cleaning.
    Here is our standard recommendation: Clean after each shot for the first 5 shots. The remainder of the break-in is to clean every 5 shots for the next 50 shots. During this time, don't just shoot bullets down the barrel during this 50 shot procedure. This is a great time to begin load development. Zero the scope over the first 5 shots, and start shooting for accuracy with 5-shot groups for the next 50 shots. Same thing applies to fire forming cases for improved or wildcat cartridges. Just firing rounds down a barrel to form brass without any regard to their accuracy is a mistake. It is a waste of time and barrel life.
     
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  8. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Or just buy a SAKO that does not require a break-in. I admit, however when it come to cleaning, I clean the snot of them: Hoppe's and use copper remover overnight and clean again.
     
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  9. JakeH

    JakeH AH Veteran

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    Yeah, I’m in the “buy it, shoot it a bunch, clean it” camp. Nothing fancy needs to be done, IN MY OPINION.
     
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  10. Beretta391

    Beretta391 AH Member

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    I’m also in the buy it and shoot it!! Clean it every once in a while!!! I know this is about rifles but I shoot sporting clays a lot with a Beretta 391. It will usually go about 2500 rounds before it jams!! Then I spray more break free clp in it and shoot some more!! Did I mention I hate cleaning guns!!!;):)
     
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  11. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I used to do the break in procedure. Grew tired of that quickly. Clean a brand new barell up to remove whatever was left from the manufacturing process. Go and shoot. Clean once a year or after a hunt or whenever the mood strikes you. Seems with all of my rifles it takes awhile before I notice accuracy dropping off.
     
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  12. mdwest

    mdwest AH Fanatic

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    I have owned several "precision", sub .5 MOA rifles over the years in addition to countless "hunting" rifles..

    Never broken in a barrel in my life..

    Never experienced a problem because of it..

    Maybe thats why I have always liked Shilen barrels.. they dont seem to buy into the "break in" mess either... :)
     
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  13. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Fanatic

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    McMillan wrote a piece on this and said it is a waste. It was started by a small barrel maker who would benefit from those bench rest shooter that replaced barrels every 1000-1500 rounds that he sold barrels to.
    The one thing that is IMPORTANT is to not let the barrel get too hot to hold at any time you shoot as that will cause the barrel to wear much faster.
    Another thing is more barrels are ruined from over and improper cleaning than other reasons. If you use a 3 piece Alum cleaning rod you should not even try to clean a rifle!

    My AR50 came with instructions that break in was not needed and a waste of time/ammo.

    So shoot it. Do not let the barrel get too hot and clean it when accuracy drops off. No need to clean every time you shoot the rifle/pistol.
     
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  14. IdaRam

    IdaRam AH Elite

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    Slightly off the break in topic, but if anyone is looking for a good copper remover this stuff is the best I’ve found. It does not contain ammonia and hardly has any smell at all.
    Copper in moderation is accuracy’s friend, but if you have a barrel that picks up a lot of copper and needs to be scrubbed down occasionally, this stuff really works well.

    5CCA67CF-524C-4502-A80B-1CB4AF17E8BD.jpeg
     
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  15. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Second that
     

  16. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Except for rimfire, all of my barrels are aftermarket, lapped barrels both cut and button rifled. I clean after the first couple rounds and then go ahead and shoot as normal. For today's mass produced factory barrels, I believe break in is a waste of time.

    My previous post was tongue in cheek. No religion involved.
     
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  17. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I pre clean any new barrel as well as the action. At the range I run a Frog Lube patch down the barrel each time for the first 4 shots, then run a patch after 4 shots and will pretty much follow that pattern for the first 50 or so shots I use the number 4 because most sporter barrels will get pretty warm after 4 shots. After the range session I'll let the barrel cool down run a wet patch down followed by a dry. I also use a one piece graphite cleaning rod
     
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  18. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    LOL. God bless you. I am just trying to imagine myself with the self-discipline to remember to maintain that sort of count during shooting.

    I have a Ruger Number 1 in .270 that I purchased at the Rod & Gun in Wertheim Germany in 1974. I have no idea how many head of game I took with it while stationed in Germany for five years - but it would be well over a hundred (helped a forester with his shooting plan on a 4k acre revier in the Spessart mountains). It has subsequently taken many whitetail and seen a lot of rounds down range at various stops over nearly five decades. I fired it about six weeks ago, and it clover-leafed its favorite 150 gr load with typical monotony. It has never had a bore brush or solvent through it - ever. Most years it gets a couple of patches with a bit of balistol.

    And Hogpatrol - no problem - that would indeed be hell. (y)
     
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  19. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I also wash my car and change the oil and filter on a regular basis :K Moon:
     
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  20. larry4831

    larry4831 AH Enthusiast

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    15 to 20 shots clean it. If you are out hunting and you get moisture in the barrel clean as soon as possible at least when you get in at the end of the day even if the barrel is stainless, because stainless will rust. To me, that is breaking in a barrel.
     
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