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View Full Version : Practice, which barrel to use? Do you use your best barrel and by doing so burn it?



Sportco
02-22-2011, 12:21 AM
I am a new shooter only having been at it for a few years and I need to practice at the range! Having read the the posts here and books relating to shooting small groups and flag reading I realise I need to spend time watching the flags and practicing under all conditions as well as simulating match conditions and times etc.
My question is which barrel do I use?
I feel there is little point in using a substandard barrel to practice and just explain any unaccounted 'flyers' as "it's just the barrel". But if I use my competition barrels I risk ruining them putting too many shots through them.
Do you use your 'older' barrels for practice?
Also I assume that you must practice using the components that you will use on the day, ie. the same bullets, cases, primers and powder.
Sportco

JerrySharrett
02-22-2011, 06:33 AM
You can get some good practice time and learn a lot with a "practice" quality barrel. If you have a hummer or near-hummer don't burn it out on the practice range. You do need to shoot it enough to know how to bring it in tune.

There are no "standards" that I know of to classify practice or match quality barrels. A good match barrel should put the first two through the same hole in almost any conditions, and should put the first three through the same hole if you are doing a good job with the flags. A practice barrel should make the first two at least touch.

A few things that would take a barrel to the practice bench would be;

Over 750 or so rounds.
Coppers badly after 10-15 rounds.
Spits out a flier regularly (ever 5-8 rounds) where you have no idea why that bullet went out.
Will not shoot 5-shot groups under about 0.350 in best conditions-this is arguable though and very conditions dependant.

All the above is assuming you have both barrels in tune and are using good flags and a solid bench setup.

TedH
02-22-2011, 08:42 AM
Sport
A lot of guys only have one barrel and that is the one they use for practice and competition. They just shoot it till it wears out and then get another.
If you have a barrel that is throwing random flyers then how will you know if you are doing something right or wrong?
Ted

steve stanley
02-22-2011, 09:02 AM
You need a pretty decent barrel for practice but the lifespan is too short to burn up a great barrel practicing. Steve

pbike
02-22-2011, 09:50 AM
Use your best barrel for practice. It will give you the best read on what is going on with your tune, the wind, & the mirage. Then when it comes time to compete, you'll be so good, you can actually throw a junk barrel on and still win, or at least if you don't win you'll have an excuse and an answer as to what went wrong. Had you left you best barrel on and didn't win, you'ld drive yourself nuts trying to figure why.

Paul

j mckinnie
02-22-2011, 10:16 AM
With a name like that I'm guessing your in OZ.If a barrel wont shoot better than .3 chuck it.Your best barrel is the one you have got tuned right and gives you confidence,it wont last forever so dont burn it up.Your practice barrel should shoot .25 or better regularly or your not learning a cracker.If you get it right yyou should still be around the mark with your practice or club barrel.They get to a point were the bin is best or cut them up to make jiggers.JMHO jim

Boyd Allen
02-22-2011, 10:48 AM
A fellow that I know, who does his own work, had several barrels that he had set aside because after chambering, he found that that they were not competitive. Later, when the tuner thing was just starting in BR, he fitted them with simple home made tuners, and all but one were improved enough to shoot competitively. Perhaps there is some help for you there. IMO while it has not been established that the best barrels' accuracy is enhanced by the addition of a tuner, it was his (and mine, on a more limited basis) that a mediocre barrel can be. Also, some time back , I shortened a couple of barrels to improve a rifle's balance when shooting free recoil, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they shot a little bit better. Perhaps it was the recrowning? I mention this as a reminder of something that we all probably know can cause a decrease in accuracy. I have seen some high round count barrels shoot amazingly well in competition. I know that this is not typical, but then neither are using the best rod guides, and using the best rod technique. I believe that Jackie has written that he sets his barrels back several times, and then cuts a whole new chamber. I doubt that he would do this if the result was less than competitive. Perhaps you might explore some of these areas.

Sportco
02-22-2011, 06:16 PM
Thank you guy's
What prompted this question was that I recently had Kelbly's chamber 2 barrels to shoot boat tail pills. They shoot great an I don't want to burn them. My other barrels are chambered to use flat base pills they still shoot ok it is just a confidence thing. Taking note of all your comments I realise it really is an individuals decision. You all more or less put you finger on the problem. So I have ordered 2 new barrels from Kelbly's chambered identically to the ones I am at present using. I will continue using the barrels I now have both in practice and competition. The next barrels should arrive soon and could be hummers, or maybe the next ones?
Cheers

Nader
02-22-2011, 06:17 PM
Sportco,
A new guy is usually a very poor judge of barrel performance.Barrels are not indestructable,there could be something in you cleaning regimen or shooting habits that may be detrimental to barrel life. There could be substandard bullets,primers,powder in your reloading room. There could be a flawed die or bushing or press in your posession. Your bench manners and flag reading ability may be atrocious.etc,etc,etc. I would resist the temptation to screw on and shoot more than one or two barrels until you gain more experience and get to hang around with seasoned BR shooters at BR matches.
Shoot as much as you can,tune and untune your rifle,streach the window with the components you have,gain your own experience. Put about 2500 rds each on your first and second barrel.Compete with them over a season,take your lumps,refine your skills. When that new third barrel gets screwed on you will know what you're looking for and what to do with it. Welcome aboard,hope to see you at some matches.
Joel

Sportco
02-22-2011, 06:30 PM
Joe,
You are right and that is what I intend doing, wring all I can out of the present barrels both in practice ( lots of practice!) and competition. I am still refining my bench technique and flag reading as will as sorting my reloading. Things are moving in the right direction at present.
Thanks

JohnVm
02-22-2011, 10:01 PM
Joel is right. I would only add that if you find a barrel that will not shoot better than .250 no matter what you do you are better off using it for anything but competition or practice. When and if you find a barrel that quite easily tunes into the "ones" than this is one you save for the big matches. All your second best barrels are good for smaller matches and practice.

Sportco
02-23-2011, 05:45 AM
John and all you guys, thank you for your input I often read the threads here and glen a wealth of first hand knowledge that makes it easier to move along.

Sportco

mdevers49
03-09-2011, 08:23 PM
[QUOTE=Nader;617050]Sportco,
A new guy is usually a very poor judge of barrel performance.Barrels are not indestructable,there could be something in you cleaning regimen or shooting habits that may be detrimental to barrel life. There could be substandard bullets,primers,powder in your reloading room. There could be a flawed die or bushing or press in your posession. Your bench manners and flag reading ability may be atrocious.etc,etc,etc. I would resist the temptation to screw on and shoot more than one or two barrels until you gain more experience and get to hang around with seasoned BR shooters at BR matches.


I'm that new guy. don't have a benchrest rifle yet but just got a 308 that probably is destined for f-class. Gunsmith suggested I spend trigger time with a 17 hmr or 22 and go to some benchrest before I spend any money. My thing is there is so many different classes from 100-1000 yds and I can only afford one rifle. I would like it to be eligible for as many different classes as possible. Weight seems to be the big issue but I think there are other equipment issues as well. Anyone else had this problem? thanks and enjoy all the post.

Nader
03-10-2011, 08:07 PM
MD,
As much as we all like to encourage new shooters into the competitive arena,you can't do it all,and you certainly can't do it all with one gun. Much of a new guys" what to shoot" decision, is usually based on where he lives and who he hangs out with.If you're not being influenced by local "tribesmen" one way or the other, then shooting your.308 for fun and pleasure is an enjoyable pastime.Accurate,easy to tune,responsive to adjustments, lot o' fun. Now imagine shooting two hundred rounds of .308 a day for a week straight,not so much fun anymore! Many competitive short range group BR guys rack up 6-10,000 rds a year. That's why we we shoot "little baby ppc's",the rifles don't wear you out.
Just about anyone that likes shooting,likes reloading,likes spending a whole day at the range. Will completely enjoy a moderately priced,used 6ppc,A sturdy front rest and rear bag and three decent wind flags.Lot's of good used stuff around and lots of good guys on this website to help get you started.
F-class guys gotta lay on the ground,Hi-power guys gotta wear those heavy leather coats in the middle of summer while some drill seargent barks commands at em,1000yd guys gotta shoot those wampin' cannons with one airport windsock to tell em which way the winds blowin'( like it's the same for the entire 1000 yds).And rimfire guys ? Well, I need a little more horsepower than that ,maybe when I get older?
Are there any fellow shooters I havn't offended ? Oh yeah,the French-Indian war flintlock guys, I could probably enjoy that. And the cowboy action shooters, I really dig the cowboy action women ! Somethin' about an eligible bachlorette wearin' a cross-draw .45.
Maybe this whole BenchRest thing needs re-thinking ?
Joel