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Thread: 03A3 2 Groove vs. 4 Groove Barrels

  1. #1
    Boolit Man Trapaddict's Avatar
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    03A3 2 Groove vs. 4 Groove Barrels

    Is there really any appreciable difference between the two with regard to overall accuracy? Looking for a good cast bullet shooter. Is one really any better or worse than the other?
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    No. However I have read that towards the end of production of two groove barrels the tolerances were relaxed so that may make a small difference. I have also read that cast boolit shooters prefer the 2 groove barrels. There have been tome written about the subject - Google is your friend...
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    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    For the cast bullet shooter the difference is the style of bullet you use to get the most out of the barrel . As I remember a two groove tends to like a bullet with a long nose such as a 311334 . The four groove likes just the opposite a bullet with a long body like the 311467 .

    Jack

  4. #4
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    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Yes there is a difference. The 2 groove was a war time expedient to cut production time and cost. Many think the result was a barrel that shot "as good as" the 4 groove barrels but that wasn't the case. The acceptence report states they shot "within acceptable accuracy requirements" for M2 ball ammo. Those "requirements" were pretty libera and most M1903s and M1903A1s with 4 groove barrels shot much betterl. Ask yourself this; since it is cheaper to produce the 2 groove barrels if they are as accurate as 4 groove (or more) barrels then wouldn't they be made and used today? Answer is they are not made today for the obvious reason.

    I know some will post pictures of 3 or 5 shot groups but so? I ahve shot a lot of 2 and 4 groove M1903s and 'A3s and 'A4s. There isn't much accuracy difference on the whole out to 200 yards with cast or jacketed. However, at 300 yards and beyond the 4 grooves almost always proved more accurate. Look at the muzzle of a 2 groove barrel; it seems almost oval in shape. Well you are sending a bullet reshaped to that down range. A 4 groove maintains concentricity a lot better.

    However, if you are only shooting to 100 or 200 yards then the 2 groove barrel will prove accurate enough as compared to a milsurp 4 groove.

    Larry Gibson

  5. #5
    Boolit Master DEVERS454's Avatar
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    Got back from the range and fired 4 sets of 5-round shots from a pair of 1903a3 rifles. 2-grove remington 1944 vintage and a 4-groove Criterion recent production.

    2 groove barrel had a better grouping because the trigger was much nicer and the setup of the barrel/rcvr/action was better. The 4-groove barrel was "fresh from the shop" and had a military rough trigger and I couldn't get comfortable with the cheek weld.

    There is not a hill of beans difference between the two if the rest of the setup is not improved. Bad trigger, bad shooting position, bad ammo will do more to hose up your shots that a pair of extra grooves.

    As someone already stated, out to 200 yards, there is not likely to be enough of a difference.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    in cba matches to 300 yds the 2 groove still is winning and shooting small groups.that's all the proof needed IMHO.until a 4 groove is winning every match by a large margin I doubt. guys will throw away those poor quality 2 grooves.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    2 or 4 groove didn't seem to make much difference. What did make a difference happened when the Springfield Armory barrel rifling machine was set up incorrectly and production was actually ( as I remember it) a 10 1/2" twist and the testers reported increased accuracy over the usual barrels.
    The Army checked, found the discrepancy, and changed the set-up back to 10" because that was "regulation"!
    All of us who served are familiar with that line of thought.

  8. #8
    Banned 45 2.1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HARRYMPOPE View Post
    in cba matches to 300 yds the 2 groove still is winning and shooting small groups.that's all the proof needed IMHO.until a 4 groove is winning every match by a large margin I doubt. guys will throw away those poor quality 2 grooves.
    Well.... one of the first things we have agreed on. BTW, those poor 2 groove rifles shooting the short bodied long nosed boolits do very well at longer ranges (500 to 600 yards) also.... more so than the 4 groove rifles do.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by 45 2.1 View Post
    Well.... one of the first things we have agreed on. BTW, those poor 2 groove rifles shooting the short bodied long nosed boolits do very well at longer ranges (500 to 600 yards) also.... more so than the 4 groove rifles do.
    Hmmmmm....I've done a lot of shooting at 500 and 600 yards with cast out of numerous 2 and 4 groove barreled M1903/M1903A3s and even several M1903A4s. My records show I've used 311466, 411284,311299, 311467, 311365, 311334 and the Lee 200 gr at those ranges. Four of them are "short bodied long nosed boolits". I have to admit they did better at those ranges but would reason it had to do with their BCs as they were the only ones holding sonic at 500 - 600 yards.

    However, as to accuracy between 2 and 4 groove barrels; as I stated before, most often the 4 grooves consistently proved more accurate at and past 300 yards. I'm not talking an ocassional 5 shot group but 20 shot strings slow fire for record. Yes the 2 groove barrels with issue sights do quite well in matches with cast and jacketed at 100 and 200 yards but as the distance increases the variance of the shape of the bore (the bullet does assume that shape) of oval vs oblong begins to make the 4 groove shot bullets more accurate in flight. The mass of the 4 groove shot bullets is slight closer to the center of spin so any equal imbalance has less effect. If 2 groove barrels were/are as accurate then why aren't they still being made today and used by match shooters? Are the new replacement barrels for the M1903s for match shooting being made with 2 groove barrels? The answer is they are not because they are not as accurate as 4 and 6 groove barrels.

    No, I'm not trading off my 2 groove barrels. As a matter of fact I still have a new 2 groove barrel in the wrapper that will go on my "shooter" M1903A1 when the current barrel is shot out. That 2 groove will do very nicely for the shooting I do with that rifle. The new in the wrap 4 groove barrel will go on my M1903A1 match rifle when it's current barrel is shot out. The 4 groove goes on the match rifle for the above stated reason; I know, from shooting a lot of cast bullets at 500 - 600 yards, that it will be more accurate than the 2 groove.

    Larry Gibson

  10. #10
    Banned 45 2.1's Avatar
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    The difference Larry is that i'm shooting boolits I cast (out of my molds) and load...... not those you cast and load. It makes a large difference on just how things are done...... Your also not going to shoot out a rifle barrel with cast...... but you will with all the jacketed loads your shooting.

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    Bullshop's Avatar
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    I have an idea that hi antimonial low tin alloys may be just as erosive as jacketed bullets and maybe more so at equal pressure.

  12. #12
    Banned 45 2.1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullshop View Post
    I have an idea that hi antimonial low tin alloys may be just as erosive as jacketed bullets and maybe more so at equal pressure.
    Hardly an issue with a two groove barrel.......... especially the 03A3 although some of the 03 replacement barrels were two groove also.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Cast bullets do very well for me in my Springfields. In the four groovers, including the Garands, Lyman #311284 shoots very well. In my 03A3 with its 2 groove barrel I use the Lyman 311334 and it performs excellently. I also have the Saeco 301 which performs as well as the 334. Both appear to do better too with my 1917's. The common denominator is that bores with a larger amount of land percentage prefer the bullet designs with the short bullet body and the longer noses that ride on the tops of the lands and are positively guided by them. LLS

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by 45 2.1 View Post
    The difference Larry is that i'm shooting boolits I cast (out of my molds) and load...... not those you cast and load. It makes a large difference on just how things are done...... Your also not going to shoot out a rifle barrel with cast...... but you will with all the jacketed loads your shooting.
    45 2.1

    Of course! We all know you cast so much better than I (or the rest of us for that matter).....we all know only you have the "secret" to loading at HV and the rest of us don't.........and we all know you shoot so much better than the rest of us...........so of course you do so much better than I and the rest of us.....we know because you tell us so! Sure would be nice to shoot with you and learn how it's done.....but then you always turn me and everyone else down.......must be a reason you don't want us to see "how it's done.....by you, eh?

    You get the last word as I'll not respond anymore..........

    BTW; you can shoot a barrel out with cast bullets. Friction is not the denominator; the psi and duration of the burn, temperature of the burn and how hot you let the barrel get. If you shot any high power competition you'd probably know that.......oh yea.....you learn everything there is to know from one hole "groups".......

    Larry Gibson

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullshop View Post
    I have an idea that hi antimonial low tin alloys may be just as erosive as jacketed bullets and maybe more so at equal pressure.
    Quite correct Bullshop. 2 groove barrels don't give any longer barrel life than 4 groove with equal loads shot through them. Again, if they did give equal or better accuracy and the barrel life was longer then the military and match shooters would be using them. They are not and you are correct in why.

    Larry Gibson

  16. #16
    Banned 45 2.1's Avatar
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    Larry... temper tantrums really don't become grown men. I simply don't care for you and won't ever give you information because of previous verbiage and harassment.......... others, some of them very well known here on this forum, have already got that information.

  17. #17
    Boolit Man Trapaddict's Avatar
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    I thank you all for the info. Now I just need to find one that won't set me back too much. That is easier said than done...

    Jeff
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    Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I think the two groove barrels may hold up to the sometimes poorly done cleaning that rifles got in wartime. Narrower lands would be more prone to damage by jointed steel rods.
    If cleaned with care a four or more groove barrel don't suffer much if any cleaning rod damage, but not every soldier is scrupulously careful.
    The Springfield rifle had an ultimate bore life of 18,000+ rounds with ball ammo, but an expected bore life of 4-5K rnds in service due to damage in cleaning.

    Some two groove bores I've examined had indentations on the lands mid way of the bore. This sort of damage comes from being roughly cleaned from the muzzle with a steel rod. The rods twanged when striking the bolt face and the center of the rods vibrated against the lands. This sort of damage was more common with rifles used by peasant soldiers and guerilla fighters who had little or no real training in how to maintain a rifle.

    Theoreticly all other things being equal a three groove bore is superior to a two or four groove bore, and a six groove better than a three groove.
    Testing on this was done in the 1840s and again in the late 19th and early 20th century.
    Odd number grooves give the most equal engraving resistence, so the bullet is best centered to the bore.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master FAsmus's Avatar
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    Larry Gibson;

    Back there in the thread you mentioned (twice) "shooting out" barrels on your Springfields.

    I ~ just for example ~ have a 6-groove Douglas barreled M70 with over 10,000 counted cast bullet rounds through it and it shows no noticeable wear, certainly nowhere near barrel-replacement wear.

    Just what kinds of cast bullet loads are you shooting?

    Good evening,
    Forrest

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    How about an apple/orange comparison.

    The 2-groove "ratchet" bbl's are an excellent bbl in the rimfire br community. They are finding they have less wind drift (buck the wind) and are extremely accurate with the lead 22lr ammo.

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