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Centerfire Rifles - Manually Operated Lever action, bolt action or other non gas operated centerfire rifles.

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  #1  
Old 01-18-2019, 12:00 PM
threeperreaper threeperreaper is offline
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Default poll: barrel break in

I tried reading up on barrel break in...

Some say it is unnecessary and provides no accuracy benefit (but makes cleaning easier)

Others say you can damage the barrel and decrease accuracy if you don’t break in a barrel


So which one is it?

Breaking in a barrel is a pain in the butt...however if it somehow improves accuracy and/or can avoid damaging the barrel somehow then I’ll continue to do it.
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2019, 12:14 PM
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I have never worried about it. I clean the new barrel and go shoot it. Maybe not the proper thing to do, but I have many sub-moa rifles - perhaps they'd be even better if I had followed some other procedure.
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:18 PM
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Not sure anyone can prove it does any good, but I have always done it. Even on a quality BR Barrel.

It is like allot of stuff we do, it is VooDoo. We do it just to eliminate one more variable.

When someone asked me if they should break in, I always say yes, it can't hurt.

Also, if you are talking about a production barrel, i.e. Remington, Savage, Ruger, etc. I think it makes a big difference for future cleaning. And that effects accuracy.

JMHO
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:19 PM
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I just clean, spray the inside with dry tungsten disulfide powder, run a swab through for the excess and run it.
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Old 01-18-2019, 1:26 PM
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I clean it before first shots, then sight in. After sight in I will clean again, shoot a few groups and clean again. After that usually clean about every 100 rounds or so.
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Old 01-18-2019, 2:26 PM
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Barrel break in is definitely real, but procedures for doing so seem to be baloney.

I've had several brand new barrels go from "meh" to wowzers after 50-150 rounds or so.

One barrel manufacturer I know of puts a barrel break in procedure into their instruction manual just to stop the calls and emails from customers wanting advice on break in methods. They said it didn't matter in any of their testing, but it was a full time position just answering cautious customers regarding lack of instructions.
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Old 01-18-2019, 2:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MongooseV8 View Post
I clean it before first shots, then sight in. After sight in I will clean again, shoot a few groups and clean again. After that usually clean about every 100 rounds or so.
This is how it should be done.

Some over clean it like some sort of ritual.

Some are just careless about the breaking in a mechanical device.
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Old 01-18-2019, 3:07 PM
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The best "break in" is to shoot your firearm. Then stop when you cannot hold the barrel in your hand because it is too hot. It is the heat that eats up the barrel.

Much of the so called break in procedures do no more than slow up your shooting and thus the barrel does not overheat and get excessive wear.

My AR50 came with instructions that say no break-in because it does nothing. Mc Millan came out with a statement as to how and why this break-in came about and it really boiled down to a small barrel maker wanting to sell more barrels to the bench rest guys who change barrels very often and at low round count. He has built many excellent rifles and barrels.
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2019, 3:16 PM
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Proper procedure for rifle barrel break in ... take a time to watch exactly how it's done

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRRahHX9Zkg
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2019, 3:50 PM
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^^^Now I know how thieves treat stolen rifles
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Old 01-18-2019, 3:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZirconJohn View Post
Proper procedure for rifle barrel break in ... take a time to watch exactly how it's done
Well... Not exactly. He didn't say anything about making sure there was no obstruction in the barrel after that. Even the most 'obtuse' fool would, at least, check for that after throwing the rifle in the dirt several times - right? Other than that though...

I think the most accurate piece of advice was in Shooting Illustrated in 2017...

Quote:
...My main focus was the process of breaking in new barrels, about which any two people will have three opinions. True to form, about the only thing they all agreed on was that some barrels break in easier than others... Talking to the gurus solidified a notion I've had for many years: There is no single right way to break-in a new barrel...

Last edited by TrappedinCalifornia; 01-18-2019 at 4:06 PM..
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2019, 4:42 PM
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I would strongly suggest you think twice...then think on it some more before starting ANY "barrel break in" procedure. you invested some money into a rifle, and you do not want to mess up that rifle following poor advice.

while this is admittedly a personal conclusion, but if you put on your "question things hat" it is hard to not reach this conclusion....that being 99% or greater of suggested break in procedures are pure snake oil. there is zero zilch nada to support them. the more elaborate, the higher the round count, the more effort...the less likely the procedure has any merit or anything to support the specifically suggested procedure.

I do agree that there does appear to be something going on where a rifle appears to shoot more accurate with some use. HOWEVER... is what we are seeing and story we tell for why this happens accurate?

But...lets agree for the sake of argument that the improvement is due to rounds going down the barrel vs just the shooter getting better at shooting. what proof do we have that a break in procedure is what is causing that improvement vs just simply shooting the rifle and allowing the "break in" to happen as it happens? Answer is NO ONE has that answer. I have had people claim the answer exists, but can't provide even the smallest grain of evidence.

to date...I have yet to read anything that supports the wear/tear/effort actually pay off vs simply shooting your rifle and not abusing it.

The most common offered evidence... I did the procedure and look at the results on paper....the problem of course is there is nothing to compare to gauge against. we don't know what the result would have been had the procedure NOT been done. how can you. So the "proof is on paper"... is NOT proof when talking a sample of one.

Personally, I am not yet convinced. That is just me. do your own googling and question, question, question.

But if you think there is something to it...please, please at least follow something that isn't insane, such as the opinion and suggestion steps given by https://bartleinbarrels.com/cleaning...n-guide-lines/

they provide an opinion for what they think is going on, a reasonable approach to solving the believed problem, and a way to measure progress. you will also note they are suggesting very few shots are needed compared to some procedures you will find out on the internet.

to answer the questions regarding break in...someone is going to have to cough up some BIG bucks to do a study with controls. I don't think we will be able to establish causation and absolute certainty of one path or the other. I could be wrong, but I think the best we would ever come up with is high statistical correlation. But right now we have assumptions and samples of one without any way to compare to the path not taken.

Last edited by 1859sharps; 01-18-2019 at 4:46 PM..
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2019, 6:26 PM
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What poll? I don't see no stinkin' poll.
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Old 01-18-2019, 6:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZirconJohn View Post
Proper procedure for rifle barrel break in ... take a time to watch exactly how it's done

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRRahHX9Zkg
That's the tactical rifle break in procedure. He didn't show us throwing it into the creek or smashing the FFP scope into a tree trunk due to lack of time.
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Old 01-18-2019, 6:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k1dude View Post
What poll? I don't see no stinkin' poll.
Poll.......We don’t need no stinking poll
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Old 01-18-2019, 6:59 PM
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I just bought a new barrel from Ballistic Advantage for an upper I’m building (not a bolt gun, but still a new barrel) and was referred to their FAQ web page, regarding barrel break in. Turns out I’ve always basically followed the same process that they recommend.


Here’s the jist of their procedure & reasoning.

No matter how polished the finish is inside the chamber of a barrel, tooling marks in the throat will always be across the direction of projectile travel. When a bullet is fired, copper dust that is dissolved in the expanding hot gasses, travels through the bore and then condenses on the bore and the rifling. To the untrained eye, fouling appears to be caused by the bore due to the projectile travel but in fact it is the cross sectional feed lines in the throat that cause fouling. Now, with this understanding we see that barrel break in is really a smoothing effect about the throat.

The following break in procedure is based on experience and should be considered only as a guide. Results may vary based on a number of different variables. Some of these variables might require more or less cycles. Initially, you should perform the one shot and clean for five shots. Try this and observe if the amount of fouling reduces between cleanings. If it does not, continue with your one shot procedure until foiling is perceived to be reduced. At this point begin a 3 shot then clean procedure. Again take note of the amount of fouling and when it has reduced, then it is time to move up to 5 shots then clean. Do not be alarmed if your seating depth gets longer during this break in period. Typically the throat will grow .005 – .01 of an inch during break in.
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Old 01-18-2019, 7:22 PM
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I clean it with a few patches when I first get the barrel. Take it out and shoot it then bring it home and clean it. Then after that I cleanwith a few patches after a couple hundred rounds. I don’t clean out copper until it starts shooting bad.

The tooling and machines barrel companies have now are much more precise and tolerances are great “if they change out their tool heads ” with that really don’t see a need for break in. As said on a few other forums and podcasts barrel companies created barrel breakins to have people stop calling them asking them how to break a barrel in and wouldn’t understand it’s ok to just shoot it. Could be true, who knows
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Old 01-18-2019, 7:32 PM
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25 rounds down a new barrel at 100 yards, cleaning it only a couple times in between.

A 26 round ladder test at 1,000 yards to tell me where the tune is at (and it was very apparent from the test where the load should be, and wasn't too far off from previous loads).

59 round palma match (15 rounds at 800,900, and 1K yards) to validate the load shoots well...and it was good enough for a 1 pt win over some very good shooters.

I'm ready for a big match!

Break in....what break in?

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Old 01-19-2019, 7:17 PM
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Well I did it....

I took my new rifle to the range and made up my own break in process...

1 shot, then clean
3 shots (to get the gun close to zero), then clean
10 shots, then clean
20 shots, then went home and cleaned

Not saying this is better than any other break in process, I just didn’t feel like cleaning the fun 10 times and figured it was better than nothing

By the end of the day I was shooting great groups (for me) at 200 yards...and I fully realize my groups may have been just as good if I didn’t do any sort of break in process....

My understanding is that there is some sort of “smoothing out” process that occurs and that it occurs faster with a clean barrel (which is why a ‘break in process’ helps)...I don’t believe your rifle will shoot worse if you don’t do a break in process, but that it may take more rounds before you see the same consistency.

I have another gun of the same model that is just as accurate
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Old 01-19-2019, 7:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threeperreaper View Post
My understanding is that there is some sort of “smoothing out” process that occurs and that it occurs faster with a clean barrel (which is why a ‘break in process’ helps)...I don’t believe your rifle will shoot worse if you don’t do a break in process, but that it may take more rounds before you see the same consistency.
I have another gun of the same model that is just as accurate

Rough chamber jobs are the main reason for needing a break in. The bullets going down the barrel, burnishes the throat area which is typically the roughest part of a new barrel.
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Old 01-19-2019, 8:30 PM
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There is a U-Tube video on John Krieger, owner of Krieger barrel. He was interviewed at a gun show and he only repeated about 5-6 times that barrel break-ins is no longer necessary and most 'over clean' their barrels.
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Old 01-19-2019, 9:25 PM
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That's not what he said in this YouTube video.

https://youtu.be/3d0-FOEpAuw
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Old 01-19-2019, 9:38 PM
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OP. FWIW. Cue up to 4:40. He starts talking about the break in process. At 7:30ish he explains what to do.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LitGDerYR6Y
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Old 01-20-2019, 6:27 AM
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its funny how much this subject comes up and how divided ppl are about it.

the gun smith that chambered my first after market barrel kinda laughed when i asked him what he thought about barrel break in and this is what he said...

ive seen more barrels ruined from improper cleaning than any other reason.
most of how a barrel is going to shoot and clean up depends more on the guy cambering the barrel and the tool he is using than the barrel itself.

if the guy is just blow and go and or using dull tools the tooling marks left in the chamber are going to be harder to get smoothed out...if he goes slow,takes his time,keeps his tools sharp and uses quality lube then the tooling marks will be minimal.

he said he did not look at this from a break in stand point but more so to see what the barrel wanted...

shoot 1 clean....if very light blue or no blue shoot 10 then clean and your done...if dark blue shoot 1 clean if still dark shoot one more and clean...regardless of blue only shoot 3 and clean then shoot 10 and clean if still dark blue bring it back i did something wrong...i never took one back.

the shoot 1 clean was to see how the barrel was going to foul the 10 is to season the barrel.

my latest smith believes in the full break in of shoot 1 clean x5 shoot 3 clean x3 shoot 3-5 5 shot groups and clean in between groups.

when he chambers a barrel he goes in .050-.060 pulls out and flushes the chamber and reamer...he has chambered at least 10 barrels for me and in every one i only shot 1 round and clean then the 10 and clean...they just do not hold any copper.
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Old 01-21-2019, 3:32 PM
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I won't say what's right, what's wrong, etc.

Will just give my experience;

New build, bartlein barrel, began load development until I found the right load, and kept shooting up to +800 or so rounds.

I remember meeting someone at the range doing a "barrel break in" and I asked if it worked for him. He said he read about it online and was suggested to do so by many people he met.

Anyway, that day, I had that rifle I just described and told him that after my build was completed, I only cleaned it prior to firing the first round. Since then I never cleaned it out because accuracy was consistent at 3/8" 5 round shots at 100 yards.

Am I wrong? I don't think so considering the accuracy stayed the same until about 1,000 rounds and then I finally cleaned my rifle. Since then, I've been shooting and have yet to clean it.

Is he wrong? I don't think so either since he was claiming his rifle was shooting well. I've yet to see him at the range again to get a follow-up but others seem to mimic the same I've read here.

I will say that over cleaning, or cleaning done incorrectly, will do more damage.
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