Should my custom rifle maker do one shot one clean on new barrel test?
Having a custom rifle made and the gun is guaranteed .5 moa with factory match ammo. The maker stresses the 1 shot 1 clean rule of barrel break in, but shoots the guaranteed accuracy group without cleaning between shots. Does this make sense in terms of breaking in a new barrel? Will it affect the future accuracy of my barrel if he shoots a 5 shot group without a pre-clean and 1 shot 1 clean before the gun ever gets to me?
Thank you for your thoughts.
I should have noted that the barrel is hand-lapped.
Fireproof suit in place; flame away!
Gene, your last statement is the most important!!! There are a lot of rifles being cleaned, over-cleaned, with bad equipment, especially bore guides.
Originally Posted by Gene Beggs
I don't understand why the smith is shooting the rifle to insure .5 MOA with factory ammo. I should think the new owner would want to do that.
You absolutely must clean before the first shot in a new barrel. A look down the bore with the naked eye will tell you why this is. I used to shoot, clean, shoot, clean but haven't in a while. Like Gene, I didn't see the benefit in doing this.
This wealth of my wisdom is based on using a stainless steel barrel. I would think it's the same with barrels of other metals but then, what do I know?
IMO. It is absolutely neccessary to clean a new barrel, with a brush, before it is fired. There will be micro burrs on the trailing edges
in the leade area. If not removed before firing, the micro chips, will embed in the first bullet and plow additional grooves
in the bore.
and thus perpetuates the myth
Originally Posted by Bob Kingsbury
Bob, you are certainly correct when you say that a newly chambered barrel should be cleaned well with a bronze brush before firing the first shot. I always follow my normal cleaning procedure before firing a new barrel. I hope my statements about barrel break-in being a waste of time did not suggest to anyone that I would fire a new barrel without a thorough cleaning.
You are correct; with a newly chambered barrel, there will be lots of microscopic burrs chips and cutting oil that must be removed before firing the first shot. What I was saying is that I just don't waste time firing one shot and clean for hours on end as some do.
When I have a new barrel to test, I prep twenty new cases, fireform ten of them and clean thoroughly. Repeat with the remaining ten rounds and after another thorough cleaning, I consider the barrel ready to show me what it can do.
Hope this shines a little more light on the subject.
I really had no intentions of ever posting on this site again, but somebody notified me of this thread and they were really confused because of it. So I decided to throw my two cents in to play the devil's advocate. Also, I was informed that I had to have at least one post for my profile to be seen under a search in case somebody needed my email address or something.
One thing that no "non-believer" has ever been able to explain to me is this:
If barrel breakin is a waste of time, how come coppered patches diminish in number as the process goes along? Why does it take (for example) 9 patches for shots 1 thru 7, then suddenly go to 3 patches on shot 8? Then go to two patches on shot 10?
Here is a complete sequence set of patches used to breakin a Bartlein 338 barrel recently. Solvent used was Boretech Eliminator and the patches were wrapped around an aluminum/nylon brush to avoid "false reads". The first number in each column is the sequence shot(s) and the second number is the patch number in that sequence.
As you can see from the pic, the copper came out of the barrel easier after the second sequence and I felt like this barrel was probably broke in at that point (good barrel!). But I continued shooting one shot and cleaning up to sequence 6 where I fired two bullets. Sequence 7 and all thereafter were two shot sequences. Sequence 7 patch #3 was cleaner than second sequence patch #3 despite it being a two shot sequence. So obviously, something happened during this test that was clearly indicating that the copper was either coming out easier, or there was less copper to come out. Or both.
Now, I have run this test with every barrel I've worked with for the last ten years or so and they all have shown a similar progression of decreasing blue patches. However, the factory barrels produce bluer patches for much longer than the custom barrels (again, proof that something is happening) and it can be quantified. I can bet you $100 that I can blindly take a custom barrel and a factory barrel and tell you which is which simply by how "easy" they breakin and I won't lose a penny.
Now, to quantify how much of a difference breakin makes in the grand scheme of accuracy, I don't honestly know. Maybe it only makes the barrel .0000001% more accurate then just taking it and shooting it right off the bat such as Gene does. But, barrels that have been broken in by this method seem to clean a bit easier in the first third of their lives (before serious throat cracking appears) and also seem to "settle down" a bit quicker. Maybe it's just my imagination with that, but my eyes are seeing the above picture with perfect clarity.
Btw, this has already been said in previous threads on this topic, but most barrel manufacturer's still recommend some type of break in. So maybe I'm not the only one who still "believes"?
As for Tony's book, yes, he does agree with Gene on the subject. But he disagrees with Gene on the validity of Wind Probes (pg 312), so I guess you've just gotta realize that not everything you read is gospel and opinions are like anal orifices.
[PS. I disagree with Tony on both points of breakin and probes!]
Nicely thought out and documented test
Over the years i came to the conclusion that the only thing i do in break in is to fire one and clean and bore scope each shot 5 times if needed. This lets the you see if there is an area that has copper on it,like the throat or at the muzzle. If none,go for it but if it has copper after 5 you may have a problem.If you do have an area that still has copper and continue to shoot over it is counter productive and it will never get any better till it gets polished up. So to say barrel break in is a waist of time, i don't think so. I never use a brush and had been very lucky to this point and save the brushing till the barrel is almost gone. If i do decide to use it,i never pull it back through. I look at the crown and on barrels that have more than 2000 rds. and the crown still looks good. I would say if your happy with the way you do it stay with it.......... jim
All good points guys. Discussions like this really make us think and bring out different ideas and opinions for everyone to see, letting them decide for themselves how they want to do things.
Goodgrouper, I hope you will continue posting here on the forum. Your posts are always well written and thought out. I appreciate you taking the time to lay out your results for all to see. The more points of view the better.
Faith in the one-shot-and-clean breakin procedure rests on the premise that even a slight amount of copper fouling is detrimental to accuracy. And that if there is even a speck of copper deposited in the bore and we don't completely remove it before firing another shot, copper will continue to build up in that spot and the barrel will never smooth up. Based on what I've observed with the borescope, I don't believe either point is of any concern.
The breakin process consumes barrel life, components and time. The barrel will "break-in" after the same number of cleanings anyway and you won't be wasting either time, barrel life or components. But if one thinks what he is doing has benefits and it makes him feel good to do it, it adds confidence to his shooting whether it is true or not.
Good shootin' !
I guess if copper doesn't matter and it doesn't build up the only thing to remove is the carbon......... jim
Originally Posted by smellinsweets
Back in the late eighties,I bought two Weatherby Mark V rifles. A .257 and a 7mm. Both rifles came with a target of a three shot group in the box. (Proof of Accuracy). I was not impressed with the groups,but the rifles were beautiful. I figured I could squeeze better accuracy from both rifles with reloads. It didn't happen. Too much freebore. I'm way too impatient to fiddle around,reloading for a deer rifle,when off the shelf ammo (Expensive)shot just a good as reloads. I wonder if Weatherby cleaned those rifle barrels before they fired those three shot groups? I liquidated both of those beautiful rifles when I discovered what accuracy really was.
I would tell my Gunsmith to skip the test. The true test is whether or not you can get the rifle to consistently shoot ,5 MOA. If you can't,then send it back to your gunsmith while the accuracy warranty is still good.
A friend of mine gave me a tip, so I tried it. I now break-in a new benchrest barrel wet with BBS. So far, all the barrels have stopped fouling after the first shot. The late Skip Otto used to
use ATF to do the same thing. I clean the new barrel with Acetone and follow with Brake Cleaner before firing the first shot down a WET barrel. By wet, I mean slightly wet.