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Author Topic:   Rifle barrel break-in and cleaning.
David Pennington
Novice
posted 03-07-2002 19:05     Click Here to See the Profile for David Pennington   Click Here to Email David Pennington     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just purchased a new Remington 700 LTR and had a few barrel break-in questions. I've never bothered before but this is my first personally-owned precision type rifle and wanted to start it off right.

Is a break-in period really needed? If so, what's recommended? And finally, what are the benefits?

ALso, what are ya'lls thought on specific methods and intervals of barrel cleaning on a bolt gun?

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Kenneth Bowen
Member
posted 03-08-2002 01:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenneth Bowen   Click Here to Email Kenneth Bowen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm suspicious of the barrel break-in procedures I've seen and hear of. Of
course your barrel should be cleaned, but more damage is done in the name of
cleaning that by neglect, I'd guess.

Shoot-clean-shoot-clean. Hope you don't nick the crown or drag some crap
through the barrel. All these attempt to do is polish. Why not just cut to
the chase and use JB Bore polish, mentioned on another thread, or Flitz?

If you think barrel break in is black magic, how about this from the Shilen
web site:

quote:
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.

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Evil Brad
Novice
posted 03-08-2002 02:47     Click Here to See the Profile for Evil Brad   Click Here to Email Evil Brad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Try this...

Here is what I do with a new firearm... Get up early... Shoot untill I get tired...

Have a few beers with lunch...

Clean the all the crap out of it when you are done with lunch...

Repeat as needed untill you feel that the firearm is broken in...

Just my .02

Brad

------------------
KMA 367

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David Pennington
Novice
posted 03-08-2002 07:37     Click Here to See the Profile for David Pennington   Click Here to Email David Pennington     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
EB,
In general, I agree. On a blaster (carbine/subgun/pistol), I wouldn't really worry about a break-in and would just shoot the heck out of it. Precision bolt guns, however, DO require more frequent cleaning that every couple of hundred rounds if you want decent barrel life (with accuracy).

General thoughts?

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tacmedic45
Novice
posted 03-08-2002 12:40     Click Here to See the Profile for tacmedic45   Click Here to Email tacmedic45     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
David, what i do and keep in mind i am no expert but, on a new rifle i will shoot 10 shots clean and let barrel cool i will do this ten times (100 rds)at that point i consider it broke in and ready to shoot. I learned this from Dave Logosz at Daves Gun SHop in Dickinson N.D. when i had him rebarrel a pre 64 mod 70 in 30-06. Dave has a history as a pretty good benchrest shooter so i trust him on the accuracy Dept.

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Rosco Benson
Novice
posted 03-08-2002 16:23     Click Here to See the Profile for Rosco Benson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The late Gale MacMillan posted his opinion on barrel "break-in" voodoo over on thefiringline.com a year or two ago. In short, he thought it was BS.

Rosco

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Damon
Novice
posted 03-09-2002 00:59     Click Here to See the Profile for Damon   Click Here to Email Damon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My information may be out of date, but I was taught to break in a barrel. It was to polish the bore and seal the pores of the steel giving a smooth surface. Abrasives are NOT recommended since it could roughen the surface. Keeping the bore clean helps to prevent premature wear if the cleaning is done properly. That is, use a bore guide, clean from the action to the muzzle, use a bronze brush, use a one piece steel rod. A coated rod can pick up dirt that abrades the bore and a stainless brush can roughen the bore. A bore guide is needed to prevent excessive upward or downward pressure, that could cause premature wear, where the rod enters the bore. Clean every ten shots. Clean, clean, clean. Consistency equals accuracy and you can always put your bore consistently in a clean condition. One break-in pattern that was taught to me is 10 singles, clean between each, 20 pairs, clean between each, and 20 fives, clean between each. If barrel makers are polishing the bores this may not be necessary. I don't know if Remington polishes the bore of their match barrels. Shooter's Choice and Hoppe's 9 were the recommended solvents and Sweets 7.62 to take out copper fouling. The procedure is run a wet patch through, then a wet brush at least ten strokes, then dry patches until clean. Then repeat if you have time. Before you take the first shot of the day, punch the bore with a clean dry patch, then take your clean, cold-bore shot.

Cheers,
Damon

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Kenneth Bowen
Member
posted 03-09-2002 01:24     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenneth Bowen   Click Here to Email Kenneth Bowen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Damon:
I don't know if Remington polishes the bore of their match barrels.

If they don't, why not just skip all the shoot-clean-shoot-clean voodo and polish it yourself with JB, Flitz, or some other mild abrasive? I'm not saying don't clean your rifle, I'm saying that the new barrel break in procedure is a waste of time. I didn't make this up. A lot of pro's will tell you the same thing.

[This message has been edited by Kenneth Bowen (edited 03-09-2002).]

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Damon
Novice
posted 03-09-2002 17:42     Click Here to See the Profile for Damon   Click Here to Email Damon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm glad we agree that a clean bore is an accurate bore. Break-in is a very controversial subject. I won't go there. Research the subject and make your own conclusions.

Abrasive for polishing, I guess depends on your technique. Will you uniformly polish the bore where the lands make mechanical contact with the bullet or will you microscopically abrade and roughen the bore with uneven application? This leaves places for fouling to adhere and cause inaccuracy.

Cheers,
Damon

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YeeDude
Member
posted 03-11-2002 05:19     Click Here to See the Profile for YeeDude   Click Here to Email YeeDude     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did some not-so-quick research on this and found the following comments by various folks in favor of barrel break-ins.

From: Badger Barrels, Inc.

quote:
“We've received a number of requests regarding what we believe to be the best way to break in a new barrel, so it seemed appropriate to address that here. We recommend the following for the first 10 shots using jacketed bullets with nitro (Smokeless) powder loads. After firing each bullet, use a good copper cleaner to remove the copper fouling from the barrel. After shot 6 or 7, you'll note, you will not be able to see any copper residue on the rifling, but continue the process of cleaning after each shot until all 10 have been fired. For the next 10 shots, clean after every two shots until all 10 have been fired.

This method is nothing more than insurance that the burnishing process has been completed. In fact, what you have accomplished is closing the pores of the barrel metal which had been opened and exposed through the cutting and lapping procedures. By the way, the same process applies to firing lead bullets and black powder with one exception, shoot two bullets before cleaning and follow that procedure until 30 rounds have been fired. Using harder lead bullets will help speed up the process if you have them. Following this procedure, your barrel should shoot cleaner and develop less fouling for the remainder of its useful shooting life.”



From: Kreiger Barrels, Inc.

quote:
”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. 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 released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. The copper dust is vaporized in this gas 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.

Barrels will vary slightly in how many rounds they take to break in because of things like slightly different machinability of the steel, or steel chemistry, or the condition of the chambering reamer, etc. . . 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 the same 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. (Chrome moly and stainless steel are different materials with some things in common and others different.) 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 clearing procedure are really the same except for the frequency. Remember the goal is to get or keep the barrel clean while polishing out the throat.

Finally, the best way to break-in the barrel is to observe when the barrel is broken in; 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.



From: Lilja Barrels, Inc.

quote:
”We recommend that your new Lilja rifle barrel be properly broken-in to obtain the best accuracy. A proper break-in will help ensure that your barrel will clean easily in the future and that you will achieve maximum accuracy potential. Please follow these important instructions.

We are concerned with two types of fouling: copper fouling, which is caused by bullet jacket material being left in the barrel, and powder fouling. During the first few round a lot of copper fouling will be left in the barrel. It is important to remove this fouling completely, after each shot, to help prevent a build-up later on. Powder fouling is ongoing, but easy to remove. Do not use moly-coated bullets during the break-in procedure.

Break-in Procedure

For an effective break-in the barrel should be cleaned after every shot for the first 10-12 rounds or until copper fouling stops. Our procedure is to push a cotton patch that is wet with solvent through the barrel. This will remove much of the powder fouling and wet the inside of the barrel with solvent. Next, wet a bronze brush with solvent and stroke the barrel 5-10 times. Follow this by another wet patch and then one dry patch. Now soak the barrel with a strong copper removing solvent until all of the blue mess is removed from the barrel. The copper fouling will be heavy for a few rounds and then taper off quickly in just one or two shots. Once it has stopped or diminished significantly it is time to start shooting 5 shot groups, cleaning after each one. After 25-30 rounds clean at a normal interval of 10-25 rounds. Your barrel is now broken-in.”



FROM: Pac-Nor Barreling, Inc.

quote:

“Barrel Break-In and Cleaning Techniques
For best results, of course, it is necessary to 'season' it and use proper cleaning equipment. We like the Dewey coated rods, a good bore guide, copper/bronze brushes and cotton flannel patches, the appropriate size to keep that jag and rod in the middle of the bore. You will need a good bore solvent, like KG 3, Shooters Choice or CR-10 to loosen the fouling, followed by a scrubbing with JB bore Paste, Holland's Witches Brew or KG 2. After cleaning, nullify the solvents with rubbing alcohol and patch dry. Finish with Tetra Gun Oil, KG 4 or Holland's Bbl Break-in Fluid. Never shoot a dry bore as this will greatly promote copper fouling.

Chris recommends:

Shoot one, clean, for first ten rounds; shoot three, clean, for next thirty rounds; shoot five, clean, while working up load. Allow bbl to cool to the touch before testing a new load to avoid unnecessary throat erosion.”



FROM: Shilen Barrels, Inc.

quote:

”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.”



FROM: Armalite, Inc.

quote:
”BREAK IN PROCEDURE: To properly break in the barrel, first fire 11 single shots, each shot followed by about 20 strokes of a tight fitting patch bearing J-B bore cleaner (available from Brownells, telephone 515-623-5401) or another high quality paste type cleaner. Failure to use J-B or another paste type cleaner can triple the break in period. Use a Parker Hale or other wrap-around style jag rather than a slotted jag. It is convenient to perform this step from the muzzle, but a brass or plastic rod guide must be used to assure that the rod never touches the rifling at the muzzle.
From shots 12 to 30, clean after each 3 shots. From shots 31 to 50, clean after each 5 shots. From shots 51 to 100 clean thoroughly with a high quality bore cleaner every 10 shots. The barrel should thereafter be cleaned every 20 rounds to assure best match accuracy.

It is best to use solid based, hollow point match bullets for break in: full metal jacket ammunition normally contains a lead slug which is exposed at the base of the bullet. A small amount of lead ablates as the bullet travels down the bore and is deposited on the bore.

Black Hills Ammunition's moly coated .308 Win Match ammunition can reduce or eliminate the normal break in procedure. Accuracy has proven to be outstanding.”[/I



FROM: L. Bengston Arms, Inc.

quote:
[I]”Most of the barrels we have worked with are new, match grade stainless steel, barrels known for their fine accuracy potential and close manufacturing tolerances. Although we're unable to point to a single solvent as "the best", all of out experimentation with solvents and cleaning techniques has firmly convinced us that each new barrel MUST go through a "break-in" period prior to actually being put to work. While the temptation to see how that expensive new barrel will group is a great one, our best--and only--advice is DON'T DO IT.

The break-in method--conditioning, if you will--which has proven successful for us is to fire only three rounds between cleanings for the first 30 rounds, and then fire only five rounds between cleaning for the next 100 rounds. The barrel should then be fired no more than 20 rounds between cleanings, preferably less. Bench rest shooters generally clean their rifles after every 6 to 10 rounds. for those seeking to obtain the best possible accuracy form a favorite hunting or varmint rifle, there is a lesson to be learned here!

The break-in method we've outlined above is tedious, but it does pay dividends in the long run. We've checked out the results "on the target" and with a bore scope, and we're convinced that lesser cleaning techniques result only in fouled barrels and impaired accuracy. we've followed the procedure outlined above with Shooter's Choice and with Mercury Quicksilver Engine cleaner with uniformly excellent results.”



FROM: Jackson Rifles (of Scotland)

quote:
[I]”Most good quality new rifle barrels benefit from being broken-in by cleaning after each shot until the machining marks in the chamber throat area have been smoothed out. This usually takes between 5 and 50 rounds, depending on the steel and the quality of the machining work. For new "all weather" Tikka rifles, 5 to 10 rounds usually suffice. We use a bore-scope to see when a barrel is broken in, but this can also be determined by noting a marked reduction in copper fouling after each shot.”[I]

[This message has been edited by YeeDude (edited 03-11-2002).]

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