What is barrel life like on the safari calibers?

hammz

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Just curious what barrel life will be on the Safari calibers? Ammo is so expensive I imagine not many people have actually shot a barrel out, not to mention most people probably don't go target shooting with these and put 100s of rounds through them every week. I assume the cold hammer forged barrels on stuff like the CZ 550, Winchester Safari Express, and Sako rifles will last a real long time.

Just curious what kind of barrel life can be expected on these calibers? I assume much better than the fast magnums like 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag, 338 Lapua Mag, etc. I thought I once saw someone say a 375 H&H should be good to at least 10,000 rounds while maintaining reasonable hunting accuracy, but can't remember where it was.

Thought that this would be an interesting topic as well just because there seems to be so little discussion on this anywhere on the internet, vs. the fast magnums and varmint cartridges.
 

mark-hunter

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To cut the story short: muzzle velocity above 800 m/sec the problems of barrel wear out start ,and increase exponenetially with increase of velocity.

Most true african calibers will have less then that, and should be no problems.

I believe, every on-line formula, based on: casing volume - bore diameter - pressure, will confirm. Mid .40'' bore, at 2.200 fps (or less then 700 m/sec) will last for ever.
 

kurpfalzjäger

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It's correct that you will never shoot a lots of rounds with an big game rifle. This is less due to the price , for example the cartridge 460 Weatherby Magnum is not very expensive to reload , but rather to the physical performance.

Several thousand shots are needed to shoot a barrel down. I probably fired about 2000 shots in 25 years with my rifle caliber 460 Weatherby and so far I don't notice anything. Two stocks have given up , but not the barrel. My two old DR from 1909 and 1926 have barrels in good condition , and I shoot much less with the other big game rifles in my possession. The price and especially the availability of the ammo and components for reloading play a part here.

I believe that there will hardly be anyone who shot down the barrel of an big bore rifle.
 

Major Khan

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During my career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India from 1961 to 1970 , l have seen the following rifles which had the rifling in the barrels wear out :
1) A pre 64 Winchester Model 70 chambered in .220 Swift
2) A few Model 1 Garand semi automatic rifles , chambered in .30-06 Springfield
3) A pre 64 Winchester Model 70 chambered in .458 Winchester magnum , belonging to a repeat client who was using it for 8 years . Not only was he using the rifle for shikar in India , but he also was using it for safaris in Africa . By 1970 , l noticed that the groupings produced by that rifle were erratic . We realized that the rifling in the barrel had completely been worn through.

During the Bangladesh Liberation War , l observed a few .303 British calibre Lee Enfield bolt rifles in our inventory which had very badly worn rifling.

I have never seen a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle with worn out rifling .
 

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I have a 458 Lott that started life as a 458 Win. It is 34 years old and My diary says I have put more then 900 rounds thru it as a 458 Lott. Don’t know how many rounds were fired when it was a458 Win.
Still has the same stock.
 

Major Khan

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@Major Khan

You gave good examples where you can observe something like that. Only in the case of the Winchester 70 caliber 458 Win Mag i wonder. After 8 years and even several thousand shots something like that is rare.
You may very well be correct , Kurpfalzjager. The client was using hand loaded cartridges , loaded to extremely high velocities. I wonder if that is why the rifling wore out .
 

kurpfalzjäger

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I have a 458 Lott that started life as a 458 Win. It is 34 years old and My diary says I have put more then 900 rounds thru it as a 458 Lott. Don’t know how many rounds were fired when it was a458 Win.
Still has the same stock.

The stocks on big bore rifles are a topic in themselves. There are some reasons why they split when there is a strong recoil. In the case of my rifle caliber 460WM i know why. On the other hand , my rifle caliber 500 Jeffery has the strongest recoil of all and has also the same stock for over 20 years.
 

Ray B

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I have never understood how the velocity of the bullet leads to throat erosion. Pressure- yes, velocity- no. Take the example of the well known barrel burner the 220 Swift. If using a 45 grain bullet, running peak pressure to 60K, muzzle velocity 4000+ fps. And it is agreed that the barrel will go in a season of ground hog shoots. but increase the bullet weight to 60 grains, keep the pressure the same and the velocity lowers to 3500 fps. Even though the pressure peak is the same and the duration is longer (since the bullet takes longer to get out of the barrel) for some reason there is supposed to be significantly less erosion. The general claim is that the velocity of the powder going out of the case "sands" the throat. Back to the 45 grain @ 4K+, say the barrel is shortened from 26" to 22". Now the MV is reduced from 4K+ to 3600. The pressure has the same peak but the duration is lower since the bullet is out of the bore quicker. I question the velocity of the powder since when it was just approaching that of the 4K+ firing, the bullet exited, the pressure would have dropped, but the velocity of the powder would have increased since its flow would no longer be impeded by the bullet.

As noted, I can understand pressure, heat and duration but I don't see the correlation to velocity other than that it is a result of increased pressure.
 

perttime

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I wonder if the rifling went out of the 458 win mag due to old school monolithic solids, they have been known to ruin barrels.
How are they constructed?
Some people that I know fire a lot of rounds through semi-auto carbines - and use the cheapest ammunition they can find. Sometimes that means steel bullets or steel jackets. That seems to wear out barrels quickly.

The only other quick and common way to destroy a barrel is letting a cleaning rod rub on the rifling, especially at the beginning and end of the rifling.
 

Major Khan

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I wonder if the rifling went out of the 458 win mag due to old school monolithic solids, they have been known to ruin barrels.
The bullets used were traditional metal covered solid bullets of 500 grain weight , Master Smith . I do not believe that l have ever seen a monolithic bullet being used during my career . I 1st heard about monolithic bullets in 1999 , Master Smith .
However , l did read a book " Ballistics in Perspective " written by Mr. Mike LaGrange which mentions monolithic bullets being experimented with , in 1985 or so.
 

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How are they constructed?

First generation of old monolithic bullets were constructed without outer radial rings.
Allegedly causing high friction and barrel wear out.

New generation, is made with outer radial rings, which make good gas seal, and less surface area to make friction with inner walls of bbl.
 

fourfive8

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Well documented, opposite ends of ballistics spectrum example would be: A .22 RF using standard velocity load swaged lead bullets shot over 1 million rounds with no observable effect on accuracy or damage to bore.... whereas a 220 Swift standard high velocity Jbullet load shows degradation of accuracy and throat damage at well under 1000 rounds.

Several things affect a barrel/bore when shooting/cleaning. Depending on individual variables and type of barrel/bore design and type of steel, one or more may have much more detrimental effect than others.

Could include he following:
1) Plasma gas cutting effect of hot gas especially through the throat. 2) Friction of bullet passing down the bore. 3) Friction and abrasion of the particles of powder as they pass through the bore especially through the throat. 4) High temp damage to metal surface due to build up of high temperature especially the throat area (commonly described as alligator skin appearance of the throat). 5) Corrosion over time (very slow rusting) as per normal with any metal/steel. 6) Corrosion from caustic chemicals used in cleaning. 7) Mechanical abrasion from improper cleaning techniques. 8) Metal fatigue from pressure distortion during each shot.
 
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When you have enough money to shot out a safari rifle, you also should have enough money for a new barrel.

HWL
 

Wyatt Smith

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The bullets used were traditional metal covered solid bullets of 500 grain weight , Master Smith . I do not believe that l have ever seen a monolithic bullet being used during my career . I 1st heard about monolithic bullets in 1999 , Master Smith .
However , l did read a book " Ballistics in Perspective " written by Mr. Mike LaGrange which mentions monolithic bullets being experimented with , in 1985 or so.
Very interesting, I would guess that the crown was ruined by cleaning rods.
 

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