Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by NurseFet, Jan 23, 2019.
Bruce is spot on.
Ladies & Gents,
I’ve tried the formal “breaking in ritual”.
Afterward, I found no meaningful difference in accuracy with rifles I had gone through all that tedium with and those that I did not bother to fuss over at all.
In all fairness to better shots than myself, such as serious competition shooters, “breaking in” of new barrels may have some advantage.
Since I’m not one of those people who, lays awake at night trying to figure out how I’m going to put 5 shots from sand bags, into the same hole at 100 yards, I have given up on the formal “breaking in” of rifle barrels, about 30 years ago.
In previous rants here within the world’s greatest forum, I have said that a hunter really does not need to obsess over the proverbial “minute of angle” accuracy, as it pertains to hunting antelopes, swine and so forth.
If your rifle will put from sand bags, 3 shots into 2 inches at 100 yards / meters, and you can hold steady on the sticks for the moment-of-truth-shot into your quarry, the braai will surely sizzle and pop every evening.
running in barrels offers 2 things.
one is the best accuracy that barrel is capable of.
the tighter that barrel groups, the more room for error in aiming or breaking the shot.
the other is how the barrel fouls, i.e. it minimizes fouling.
with fouling, the first layer is copper, coate with carbon, the another layer of copper, then carbon and so on.
these layers become a battery, having electrons moving to make a current.
the current is actually slowly pitting the bore, making it rougher so it picks up copper more readily as bullets slide through.
the copper keys into the rougher bore and is harder to remove, making cleaning harder and taking longer to do.
this can lead to copper/carbon being left in the barrel, making the whole thing worse.
building up of fouling can change point if impact during a string, usually upward, so your zero shifts.
not a problem at 100, but possibly at 300 yds.
the more you have to clean, the more damage you can do with rods, brushes, etc.
so minimizing this is a worthy goal.
running in a barrel minimizes cleaning requirements.
a little bit of work in the beginning will save a lot later.
chrome moly barrels will foul more and be harder to clean than stainless with similar internal finish.
if you don't run in the barrel first, you can never make it up later.
I will be sure to look into the proper way to break in my barrel then. I’ll at least give it the old college try before giving up. Thanks for the advice!! I never would have done it had you not mentioned it.
Hi again Bruce,
Your experiences with rifle barrels have differed from my experiences with rifle barrels for sure.
This is to include a half dozen or so small bore/high velocity calibers from when I hunted ground squirrels out to 400 yards in California and Nevada (1970’s)
Back then, I had not yet even heard of breaking in a rifle barrel.
That said, most but not all of the rifles I’ve owned over my lifetime were 2nd hand purchases and so, maybe the used ones had received proper breaking in from their assorted previous owners ?
I only heard of breaking in a rifle barrel after moving to Alaska in 1982 and soon tried it with great enthusiasm.
This was only with .270 Winchester plus larger calibers and again, it made no difference as far as I could tell, none at all.
I suppose we can just chalk it all up to the old saying, “One man’s bread is another man’s poison.”
Either that or I’m not a good enough shot to notice the difference haha.
Perhaps neither bright enough to notice that by only just cleaning my rifles the old fashioned way (a few passes with solvent/patches/cleaning rod) that I’ve inadvertently set up a corrosion-from-jacket-material-battery in the bore, thereby causing damage to rifles I’ve owned.
My first wife said I was “a cave man”, I guess she was right LOL.
I enjoy your posts, they are always quite excellent and well stated.
I re-barreled my rifle to 7mm mag. The first shot left a copper mine in the barrel. Took over 24 hrs to remove it all. Second shot not quite as bad. After 5-10 single shots I could then shoot multiple shot groups before it fouled too much. After 100 shots fouling was minimal.
It might just have been a really bad barrel, but I did notice the reduction in fouling following the break-in process. Didn't really notice an improvement in accuracy.
For my new Blaser K95 I fired 5 shots to work out velocity of different powder weights, then took it home and cleaned it back to bare metal. A few days later shot a couple of 3 shot groups to zero the scope, took it home and cleaned it abck to bare metal. The barrel doesn't foul as badly as my 7mm mag barrel.
It’s really quite simple and IMO a good barrel is worth the effort. As Velo Dog states, we may never be able to see the improved accuracy, but the fouling issue is real. As a guy who has spent a lot of time sorting through heat waves while trying to say hello to a prairie dog at 400+, I take all the accuracy I can get out of each of my rifles.
@WAB @bruce moulds @Velo Dog
What do you mean by the copper being left in the barrel? And how do you know how much copper is being left behind? I’m guessing the residue left from cleaning?
Too many questions. Time for some in-depth research and YouTube searching!!
When you fire a cartridge there is an explosion creating a great deal of energy, creating friction and heat, pushing the bullet through the barrel. With all of that energy, friction and heat the copper jacket of the bullet somewhat liquifies or turns into a plasma, depositing some of the copper along with the carbon from the powder onto the inside of the barrel. This is not necessarily problematic until you notice a loss of accuracy which may be the result of too much copper fouling.
Barrel brake in and cleaning is a rabbit hole you really don't want to go down but since it seems you are I'll give you my two cents worth and risk the wrath from others. The biggest advantage to some kind of barrel brake in is that, I think, it may make it easier for future barrel cleanings by burnishing the tooling marks left by the boring and rifling process thus making it a smoother barrel. I haven't seen a significant difference in accuracy or precision, between the brake in process of some and no brake in at all. But, I do like the idea of shooting fewer rounds between cleanings rather than waiting to clean say after 10+ rounds before cleaning, at least in the very beginning. I think you will find that the Blaser barrels don't really require the traditional barrel break in process that some by their own experience like.
On cleaning, this should open a can of worms, I would recommend using something like KB, Bore Tech or Sharp Shooters Wipe Out. There are other good cleaners out there but these are the ones I use. They are non corrosive and environmentally safe and most importantly work well.
you will see copper fouling if you do this after removing the bolt.
stand the rifle on its butt with the muzzle pointing upward.
stand holding it with the sun coming over one shoulder onto the interior of the bore at as square an angle as you can.
look at the side of the bore inside the muzzle (as square on as you can) where the sun shines on it and the copper will be very aparrent if it is there.
you will have to adjust the angle of the bore to capture the sunlight.
if it is there it is also down the whole bore.
one of the things that makes plazma come off bullets in a new barrel is the finish to the leade and throat applied by the chamber reamer.
the reamer leaves radial scratches that are in effect a file which the bullet has to travel over, and rasps jacket material off the bullet.
the bullets will burnish the sharp edges off this file, and the flame will also erode them to some degree.
once the bullet is travelling over a smoother rurface copper fouling reduces.
if you just go ahead and shoot over this copper fouling repeatedly, your bullets will be burnishing the uncoated bore, and the part of the bore protected by copper will not burnish, setting up a bore with varying conditions through which bullets have to pass, making each bullet jerk along in its travel, and other bullets jerk differently from each other.
if they start different, they cannot end up the same at the target.
dchamp mentions some good solvents.
the modern waterbased solvents are extremely effective, and KG for example have a carbon, and a copper solvent to be used in conjunction with each other for best effect.
do not leave these water based solvents in a barrel more than overnight.
there are also some godd abrasives, like JB and KG that should be used every couple of hundred rounds to minimize the buildup of carbon which can become ceramic and can then never be removed.
never put teflon oil in a barrel.
there is no point in making a good barrel worse.
it is a bit like cleaning your teeth.
you can't make them better, but not doing it will allow them to get worse.
i am prepared to do a bit of work now to save a lot later.
one barrel i had took a whole day to run in.
not fun for sure.
I've been hanging around the snipershide forum where long distance shooting and accuracy is THE thing. Some might do the careful break-in - but it is generally accepted that you do not want to keep cleaning a barrel to plain steel. Leaving copper in the imperfections of the barrel ensures consistent accuracy. When those guys do a complete copper removal, they fire a few shots to get the accuracy back where they want it.
that is true.
a fouler or two will guarantee a true zero.
So what I gather from this.
1) Before I shoot it just clean it for dust and debris and oil it.
2) Shoot 2-3 shots and clean it.
3) Shoot 3-5 shots and clean it again.
4) Continue to clean regularly after a day at the range or firing multiple shots as I see fit based on the copper I can see in the barrel?
Do you advise cleaning regularly with the copper/carbon solvents each time? I definitely don’t want to over clean and cause damage.
before shooting any rifle, put a dry patch through the bore to push out oil.
there will still be some lubrication in the bore, as you will never get it all out.
before doing 2 - 3 shots, do 3 single and cleans. see post no 166.
these shots will be the most important for run in.
then do as you said.
when cleaning, push 2 - 3 solvent soaked patches through on a spear point jag and drop them out the muzzle.
this will remove any abrasive residue from primers and powder, minimizing cleaning damage.
i have found the most effective copper remover to be
proshot iv, but boretech and sweets is also good.
application with a nylon brush will speed up this process.
letting it soak will minimize rod use in the barrel.
pushing this out, and bronze brushing with good old hoppes no 9 will usually finish the copper, and deal with carbon as well.
hoppes no9 wiped out will leave the bore ready to shoot, and if you leave it till the next day will also offer protection from rust.
personally i would clean for copper and carbon after each days shooting.
every 200 shots or so 10 strokes with JB is of value in terms of ceramic carbon minimization.
have a good rod like proshot or dewey with freely moving bearings.
edit to say,
there are now solvents that are applied to bores in the form of foam.
these reduce the need to put rods down barrels if that worries you.
What Bruce has laid out is exactly how I break a barrel in.
Good day Bruce Moulds, NurseFet and others,
Even though I am convinced (after a lifetime of shade tree experimenting with many rifles/calibers) that, the tedious and time consuming “breaking in” of rifle barrels is not important whatsoever for typical hunting rifles, I do totally agree with Bruce Moulds on cleaning products.
Hoppe’s has been a standard forever and I’ve helped keep the factory in business.
However, be advised that the fumes are VERY poisonous so, I suggest only using it outdoors, never indoors, never ever.
Likewise, both JB and Sweet’s have been favorites of mine for a long time.
They are superior to Hoppe’s in every way.
Plus, JB Bore Compound is very economical as a little goes a loooong way, because “a little dab will do ya”.
And for airplane travel, it is a paste / not a liquid and as such, acceptable to fly with in your luggage.
However in a pinch at home, I’ve also had very good results with Ronson brand lighter fluid (!), as well as Kerosene and I’ve even used diesel from any fuel station, again with very good results (except that diesle stinks for a long time).
Ronson lighter fluid is so thoroughly filtered that, the almost not detectable smell is gone very quickly after use.
(Just don’t try to fly with it in your luggage).
All three are pretty close to the same chemical composition, just different levels of filtration.
Worth mentioning is that, during the past 20 or more years now, I’ve been using over the counter Vaseline on gun metal., inside and out.
I began using it as a rust inhibitor on the outside of guns.
For a rust blued or bead blasted finish (both favorite gun metal finishes of mine), I have found nothing better to keep mean old Mr. Rust away than Vaseline, here in this Coastal Alaska damp climate.
If I am ever blessed to hunt bongo in West / Central African jungle conditions, definitely I will have a small jar of Vaseline in my duffel.
(Holland & Holland recommends Vaseline as a rust inhibitor for their super expensive shotguns and rifles).
Vaseline is another “airline acceptable” product.
Plus, it does wonders for chapped skin, in desert and / or Arctic conditions as well.
Anyway, I discovered that Vaseline also loosens bore fouling, if run through on a patch and left over night or longer, then scrubbed out with any of the above mentioned products, including fuel pump grade Diesel fuel.
That said, JB Bore Compound or Sweet’s requires less physical effort than diesel or Kerosene and is superior in every way.
I suspect that even gasoline would work fairly well to remove Vaseline.
But, gasoline will take a long time to quit giving off poisonous fumes afterward.
One of my life-long friends swears by using 30 weight, detergent motor oil as a bore cleaner but, I’ve not tried it.
Whereas I don’t agree that the tedium of “breaking in” a rifle barrel has any functional advantage, as it pertains to typical hunting rifles, I do indeed agree 100% with Bruce Moulds that, you absolutely should run a dry patch through the bore, prior to firing a shot, in order to remove oil / grease, before firing your rifle.
Too much oil / grease in the bore can spike chamber pressure, due to the added thickness in there from the oil / grease.
Stay safe and happy hunting,
When I'm cleaning a barrel, I don't usually obsess with removing all the copper. Getting the carbon and dirt out is usually enough. Those precision guys seem to go after copper only when they see accuracy deteriorating. And they are talking about going from 1/4 or 1/2 MOA towards 3/4 MOA at 100 yards/meters ....
Get the black stuff out. Don't worry too much about a little green.
My favorite bore cleaner is now a non-toxic foam: http://www.milfoam.co.uk/barrel_cleaning_products.html
Not sure if that one is currently available in USA. Some US brand might have it, or something similar, under their own name.
Put some gun oil or other preservative in the barrel if you don't expect to shoot in the near future.
Definitely get any oils etc. out of the barrel before shooting. A couple of patches or felt pellets should do that.
Barrel break in is an interesting question. How do you prove or disprove it? I believe in it and I have a number of superbly accurate rifles that I would like to think benefited from it. However, each barrel is a rule unto itself and can’t be tested with and without proper break in. I do think that my rifles clean much easier than those that have not been broken in, however that too is somewhat subjective.
What does the owner’s manual or Blaser website recommend? I’d follow what ever they recommend just to cover myself if an issue arises. JMO
I have looked on the Blaser website, but I haven't had much luck. According to some of the Blaser blogs I found, and can actually read because they're in English, they all just sight them in and shoot them without any detailed cleaning steps. I'm sure somewhere in the middle is the best method, though. I'll figure something out soon. It's raining today, so I have a couple more days to figure out how/if I want to break-in the barrel in anyway.
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