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Thread: Barrel life expectancy?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master


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    I'm pretty sure I won't live long enough to wear out a rifle barrel with lead boolits. I have several that got a fifty year (or more!) head start on me and with the exception of the ones used with corrosive primers they'll outlast me in fine condition.
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  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    A good friend who is no longer with us had a Kimber 45acp that he only shot hard cast 230 grain round nosed bullets. He used to shoot about 300 rds on saturday and sunday. 600 rounds in two sessions except when they held steel plate matches. We jokingly called his rounds grease balls as he didn't load to normal velocity levels except for the steel plate matches. They would chronograph your loads to make sure they made major power factor. I know for sure he had over 30k through that barrel. Bushing wore out so he got a Briley barrel bushing and continued on. About twice a month UPS would show up with boxes of 230 grain rn bullets. I would hazard a guess conservatily he had way over 50k long before he passed away. He had buckets of 45 brass he would process and save when he loaded his ammo on a Dillon 550B. I have shot over 15k through my tricked out Springfield Armory and no barrel wear except it being shiney.Outside of a couple hundred rounds of hardball that was it. Heck even my 1943 Ithaca has only seen 230 rn through it. I asked one time to see the barrel after his passing 30k rns through it. Except for some slight rounding of the lands in the throat all looked good. My 1935 Finnish M27 has only seen cast bullets. No idea of the round count before I got it though. My 1898 Krag has had about 200 rnds jacketed in it to get some brass. Cast bullets for that one next. So unless you are shooting some high pressure cast loads I wouldn't worry about barrel erosion or wearing out the barrel. Have fun as that is what it's all about. Frank

  3. #23
    Boolit Master


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    My old PPC gun (S&W 586) had a few thousand rounds thru the original barrel and maybe 10K through the first Douglas barrel before I ringed it by chasing a squib out with a round that had powder in it. Best I can figure the third and current barrel fired somewhere in the neighborhood of 200K rounds of PPC target loads (mostly swaged wadcutters) during nearly 20 years of fairly serious competition and practice before I retired from competing awhile back. I suspect it will still hold the 10 ring on a B27 target easily at fifty yards.....just wish I could.
    Endowment Life Member NRA, Life Member TSRA, Member WACA, NRA Whittington Center, BBHC
    Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
    I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
    Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by murf205 View Post
    This is the beauty of cast boolits-they will shoot through a Buick without driving them to warp speed. Ain't it grand!!
    not for the Buick!
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preacher Jim View Post
    Overbore rounds can eat a throat out in as little as 800 rounds to the point accuracy suffers.this is with jacketed bullets.
    Cast Boolits do not erode throat near as fast. Cleaning rods do more damage to these barrels than boolits
    PreacherJim, what is your definition of overbore? Bullets larger than lands or cartridges with a large capacity to bore ratio?
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  6. #26
    Boolit Master

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    A .220 Swift is overbore.

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  8. #28
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    When I bought my M1 the throat erosion gauge measured at "1". I've fired 5000 rounds so far-- a mix of lead and jacketed, but nothing really hot. The throat still measures at "1".
    Hick: Iron sights!

  9. #29
    Boolit Master

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    Theres a lot of factors affecting throat erosion and barrel wear. By far the worst on a barrel is a improperly used cleaning rod. short necked cases with shallower shoulder angles are said to promote faster throat erosion. Large charges of powder with small bore bullets. I had an accuracy gunsmith once tell me 220 swift and 22-250 with full bore jacketed loads barrel optimum life was 600-900 rds before it leveled off and started dropping.
    With cast bullets and the lighter powder charges, I suspect round counts will be surprisingly high. The old sharps, rollers, ballards, and High walls that shot black powder and soft lead bullets or paper patched bullets all its life still have pretty decent barrels on them. Also look at the round count most get from the mildest lead bullet round we shoot the 22 lr. very small powder charge. light bullet. These are counted in the 10s of thousands of rounds with proper care and cleaning.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Theres a lot of factors affecting throat erosion and barrel wear. By far the worst on a barrel is a improperly used cleaning rod. short necked cases with shallower shoulder angles are said to promote faster throat erosion. Large charges of powder with small bore bullets. I had an accuracy gunsmith once tell me 220 swift and 22-250 with full bore jacketed loads barrel optimum life was 600-900 rds before it leveled off and started dropping.
    With cast bullets and the lighter powder charges, I suspect round counts will be surprisingly high. The old sharps, rollers, ballards, and High walls that shot black powder and soft lead bullets or paper patched bullets all its life still have pretty decent barrels on them. Also look at the round count most get from the mildest lead bullet round we shoot the 22 lr. very small powder charge. light bullet. These are counted in the 10s of thousands of rounds with proper care and cleaning.
    Guess I got lucky with my Swift, regularly shot well under an inch in matches at the local club. 50 grain Nosler loaded to 3800, certainly not a screamer load out of a swlft but it gets down range right quick. Accuracy started going down in the 3000-3500 round range. At 4500 it's been retired to the back of the safe until I get a new barrel put on it. Maybe a good job for today, deliver it to the gunsmith.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master


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    I have put 2837 rounds of HV/high intensity (48,000 to 51,000 psi [actually measured]) loads using medium and mostly slow burning powders through my 30x60. There is no measureable throat wear nor any that is visually discernible.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  12. #32
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15meter View Post
    Guess I got lucky with my Swift, regularly shot well under an inch in matches at the local club. 50 grain Nosler loaded to 3800, certainly not a screamer load out of a swlft but it gets down range right quick. Accuracy started going down in the 3000-3500 round range. At 4500 it's been retired to the back of the safe until I get a new barrel put on it. Maybe a good job for today, deliver it to the gunsmith.
    I did take the Swift to the gunsmith today. He took it and bore scoped it. Said the first inch to inch and a half was a smooth bore. Ordered a new barrel. Ouch.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    Bought my 357 win trapper in 98 shot about 40,000 mainly GC boolits through it can't see any wear still shoot better than me .lead is your barrels friend .

  14. #34
    Boolit Master am44mag's Avatar
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    As others have said, throat erosion is your enemy, but even that is going to take a very long time to become a real issue. If you can afford to shoot THAT much, even with cheap cast bullets, I wouldn't worry about having to buy a new barrel. It's going to be a drop in the bucket compared to what you spent on primers, powder, brass, and lead.
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  15. #35
    Boolit Bub
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    Your lifetime and one or two more.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master woodbutcher's Avatar
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    How about forever and six months?
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  17. #37
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    I have a Ruger Single 6 .22 caliber that I bought in 1974. After I recorded over 5000 rounds going through it my friend told me that my barrel was probably shot out. That was a few thousand rounds ago and it’s still pretty darned accurate, and the rifling still looks like new.
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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghh3rd View Post
    I have a Ruger Single 6 .22 caliber that I bought in 1974. After I recorded over 5000 rounds going through it my friend told me that my barrel was probably shot out. That was a few thousand rounds ago and it’s still pretty darned accurate, and the rifling still looks like new.
    Your friend is giving you bad advice.

    Rimfire's erode from the glass beads in the priming compound. With a borescope you can see it at about 20,000 rounds. On target rifles 50,000 rounds without loss is not unusual. I know of one range rental Ruger MKII pistol that has over a 500,000 rounds through it and it still is shooting well.

    Unless it is a early one it will have a .224" bore for the 22 Mag cylinders. True 22 short, long and long rifle bores are .222". They tend shoot best with the 22 Mag cylinders.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 04-16-2018 at 01:20 AM.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    With the overbore cartridges, the grin factor outweighs the pain of wearing out the throats.

    With cast the lack of or low degree of wear far and away overshadows the minuscule wear.

    Three44s

  20. #40
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    Somewhere in the cobwebs of my memory, I remember reading an article on barrel life and cast. IIRC, the lowest round count estimate by some very savvy industry gurus, was 350,000 rds. for a pistol, and estimates went on up to over 500,000 rds. for most rifles. This is with "normal" cast loads in the 1700-2000 fps range. I wish my memory were better, but IIRC, it was in one of the glossy mags, and may have been G&A? Sorry about the memory thing, but .... ya' can't have everything I guess?

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check