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Thread: Barrel break in with jacketed or cast?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by Static line View Post
    I know that but why add to it? At 71 years old,I have learned a few things.It will be a lot easier to remove a little bit of copper fouling then a lot.Does that make better sense now?
    That's why I like to do the break in by removing the copper and smoothing the throat.

    And, copper will not ruin the barrel. An accumulation will just ruin accuracy until it is removed.

    You do NOT want copper in a barrel that you shoot cast. It just means you have lead and copper to remove when accuracy goes bad.

    Removing copper is not that big a deal. Just get a good solvent and apply as directed. Some take longer than others but they all work eventually. Even a badly fouled barrel can be cleaned in a couple of hours with minimal work.
    Last edited by charlie b; 01-14-2019 at 10:57 PM.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    People are in such a hurry that they never learn one of the secrets to removing copper. That is time. Even the very old mild Hoppe's solvent will remove copper if you give it time. Once treated let your barrel sit for 2 or 3 days then clean again. Repeat until clean even if it takes a month. I can remove copper with just Hoppes and patches. It just takes patience.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    Oct 2012
    That's why I like KG12. Treating a barrel takes an hour, even on horrible fouling.

  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy
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    Dec 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    That's why I like KG12. Treating a barrel takes an hour, even on horrible fouling.
    I got a bottle of that, and haven't used it yet. Its supposed to be ammonia free so that's a benefit I guess. However sometimes the new fangled copper removing stuff has not worked at all.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master

    Walks's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    I use J-B Bore Cleaner. Oil the bore with Kroil, put a patch with J-B imbedded into it and pass back & forth through the bore. Clean the jag & push 2 oiled patches through the bore & then 2-3 dry ones. Until they come out clean.

    Repeat 9 more times. An Ancient Bench Rest Shooter passed on this method to me. It's time consuming and I know others have faster or better methods, but this works for me.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Yep, the new stuff works ok. I also tried some of the other non-ammonia solvents. They worked just as well as Hoppes and Sweets without the smell.

    The KG12 worked much faster than the others. IIRC it only took about 10 applications (apply three soaked patches, let sit 30 seconds, wipe, check muzzle for copper). Yes, the mfg says 30seconds. I let it sit for a bit over a minute during each application I also did two more applications after I could not see any copper in the muzzle.

    FWIW, this was with a severely fouled bore. No hour long or overnight soaking of the barrel like I have had to do with the ammonia based solvents.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Glad it did that for you. If 1/2MOA is what you get on every group then you are lucky. 3rnd, 5rnd or 10rnd groups? Does it maintain that for a day of shooting, 50-100rnds?

    My Savage Axis would do a 1/2MOA every now and then when new. Now it will do that with almost every group if I am up to it. Unfortunately I am usually the weak link.

    Don't know what you mean by generations. I'm only 65 but I knew about barrel break in when I was a kid.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Bensalem, PA
    I think I'd be surprised if I found out the old timers didn't have some kind of seasoning ritual a century ago.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    You are mistaken. Many barrels are still made using ancient Pratt & Whitney machines from both world wars.
    I suppose you never buy an older rifle. I shoot several that are 100 years old and a few dozen that are 70 years old.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1 View Post
    Barrel makes love the "break in" myth and all the abrasive stuff (What G.L.P. Herter called "mouse milk") sold to suckers.

    The techniques for making barrels are as up-to-date as those used to build car engines. I bought my last new car in 2005. Nothing in the manual about "break in".

    Odd that generations of shooters existed w/o ever hearing about "barrel break in".

    My newest rifle, a $300 Ruger American, shot 1/2 MOA groups from day one ---- sufficient for me.

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by largom View Post
    I would Fire-Lap the barrel either with Tubb's Final Finish or with cast boolits lubed with fine valve grinding compound. I do this to any new gun/barrel I get. Lots of info on this site regarding fire-lapping.
    Gunsmith here,
    I don't have an 'Opinion', I have a high powered bore scope.

    Barrel break in, and FINISH hand lapping is done to POLISH.
    The idea (and function) is to break sharp edges that will scratch material off the bullet.

    A gouge or chatter mark in the bore will scrape off copper, the next round will liquify copper under pressure, and hydraulic out the depression, making it larger.

    By cleaning, firing, cleaning, firing... The rounds break over the edges, smooth out the scratches, and the rifle is MUCH easier to clean.

    Rough lapping, under intense pressure, like fire lapping, is a last ditch effort to save a barrel.
    This is a last ditch effort to break over edges of rifling ridges, remove tight spots in bores, help clean up damaged crowns, etc.
    With these pressures, there is no such thing as 'Finesse' or 'Feel'.

    By breaking in with common copper jacketed bullets, assuming you clean the bore completely between shots, the copper will neither build up and cause problems, and the copper is soft enough it won't damage the bore.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Very few people have a Harry Pope rifle barrel.
    His work has nothing to do the mass produced barrels from all over the globe.

    You might want to expand your reading. Most top quality match barrels are hand lapped using abrasives and a lead slug. Ask around and you will find out the truth. When McMillan sold their barrel making business it was bought by a guy named Wiseman in or near College Station, TX. I worked with one of Wiseman's former employees who did a lot of the barrel making work including lapping of the barrels.
    It is pretty easy to pick out a button rifled barrel that was not lapped. They have reamer marks on top of the lands. Some are so bad that the reamers marks even exist in the grooves after being ironed in by the button.
    A button rifle barrel that was lapped has most or all of the reamer marks removed by the linear lapping marks running along the length of the barrel.

    I can guarantee you that a lot of the Marlin Microgroove barrels foul. I have an 1981 Marlin .375 that looks like a corn cob on the inside.
    The 1903 A3 barrels that I owned were full of tool marks.
    I do have 7 barrels that are of superior workmanship.
    2 are Hart benchrest barrels from the early 1980s or late 1970s.
    2 are factory Remington 40XBR barrels
    3 are hand lapped barrels made by Badger.

    I have a number of 45-70 rifles. The bores on a 45-70 are so large that it is very easy to see tool marks at the muzzle. Unless you get a hand lapped high quality barrel you will see tool marks in a .45-70 barrel. Take your pen light and examine any Ruger #1 in that caliber.

    I have other rifles that have tool marks. Most shot better with several hundred rounds through them. The tendency to foul drops off a good bit between 100 and 200 rounds of jacketed bullets.

    No i don't think Harry Pope would toss me out the door.
    I think he would know exactly how to smooth a rough barrel.

    [QUOTE=AndyB1;4554671]Yes and those barrels shot just fine as issued.

    My SC 1943 03A3 was brand new when I got it. 5 pounds of grease and no marks on bolt face or fouling in bbl.

    Built it into 03A4 tribute and it shot MOA then and still does. Has never seen any abrasive stuff in its barrel and never will.

    I own dozens of old shooting books and never saw anything about coating bullets with abrasives and running them down the barrel.

    Harry Pope would have tossed you out the door.
    Last edited by EDG; 01-20-2019 at 02:00 PM.

  12. #32
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    S. Ky
    A trick I found useful, spray some Dupont dry Teflon down the bore. Use the long aerosol tube to get past the chamber. (Not good to slick up the chamber walls) Subsequent rounds force the Teflon into the pores of metal creating a very slick interior. While I'm not enough of a chemist to know the lifespan of such a trick I have experience with a 243 loaded with cast boolits (gaschecked)to 2400fps. No perceptible leading. A couple applications make cleaning a lot easier. A little humor: solder is mostly lead + tin, when you add copper you get something akin to babbitt. Even the slightest amount of babbett in a pot will set up like concrete. The old rolls of telephone lead are particularly bad about this. (a warning) Your pardon for any failed comedy...

  13. #33

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    NW GA
    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1 View Post
    Yes and those barrels shot just fine as issued.

    My SC 1943 03A3 was brand new when I got it. 5 pounds of grease and no marks on bolt face or fouling in bbl.

    Built it into 03A4 tribute and it shot MOA then and still does. Has never seen any abrasive stuff in its barrel and never will.

    I own dozens of old shooting books and never saw anything about coating bullets with abrasives and running them down the barrel.

    Harry Pope would have tossed you out the door.

    You might want to read this:

    Attachment 234379
    Was that one of the CMP guns? Sounds like a beauty. Love some classic military arms.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Barrels lapped at the factory are known to be superior to un-lapped barrels so you lose that one.
    I have never advocated fire lapping anything so where did you get that? My break in is nothing more than extra cleaning of the bore while I am working up loads. So I do not use abrasives and I do not fire extra rounds. Keep the bore clean between shots and you don't see much if any fouling. Accuracy gets better during the first 100 to 200 rounds unless you start with a hand lapped barrel.
    You can quote McMillan if you want but I don't think he worked on other people's barrels that much so he would not really have experience with the full range of barrels produced in this and other countries. If he made 1000 barrels a year he hardly had time to shoot anything himself. That is about 4 barrels per work day unless he had help...
    My question is what do you know first hand based on your experience? My first hand experience is that barrels shoot better after 100 to 200 rounds. Between working up loads and sight in after 3 or 4 trips to the range the barrel is easier to clean and is more accurate.
    You can quote others if you want but it does not mean that non McMillan barrels on the planet do not get better with a few rounds and extra cleaning. if this extra cleaning is so bad why not quit cleaning your bores completely? Your logic needs some help.

    In 55 years of shooting I have worn out ZERO barrels so why should I care? i have been shooting longer than most folks. I bet your buddy McMillan did not shoot cast bullets either.
    Do you know anyone that ever wore out a barrel with cast bullets? After a couple hundred jacketed bullets you can shoot cast bullets about forever. I believe that Harry Pope had a barrel that he competed with that he fired over 35,000 rounds of cast bullets through. No matter what McMillan did he never had a barrel last that long.
    Break in hurts nothing when done right.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1 View Post
    Really doesn't matter how they look, it matters how they shoot.

    To hand lap a barrel you need to do it when it's a blank as you need to cut off both ends before crowning.chambering to get rid of "bell ends".

    But, barrel makers love folks who wear out their barrels with "break in" as they get to sell a new one sooner.

    From a real expert:

    From: Gale McMillan <" gale">
    Newsgroups: rec.guns
    Subject: Re: Barrel break-in necessary?
    Date: 7 Jan 1997 20:40:25 -0500

    Mike Sumner wrote:
    > ...

    As a barrel maker I have looked in thousands of new and used barrels
    with a bore scope and I will tell you that if every one followed the
    prescribed break in method A very large number would do more harm than
    help. The reason you hear of the help in accuracy is because if you
    chamber barrel with a reamer that has a dull throater instead of cutting
    clean sharp rifling it smears a burr up on the down wind side of the
    rifling. It takes from 1 to 2 hundred rounds to burn this bur out and
    the rifle to settle down and shoot its best. Any one who chambers rifle
    barrels has tolerances on how dull to let the reamer get and factories
    let them go longer than any competent smithe would. Another tidbit to
    consider, Take a 300Win Mag. that has a life expectancy of 1000 rounds.
    Use 10% of it up with your break in procedure for ever 10 barrels the
    barrel maker makes he has to make one more just to take care of the
    break in. no wonder barrel makers like to see this. Now when you flame
    me on this please include what you think is happening to the inside of
    your barrel during the break in that is helping you.

    Gale McMillan
    NBSRA IBS,FCSA and NRA Life Member

    From: Gale McMillan <>
    Newsgroups: rec.guns
    Subject: Re: Good barrels for Rem 700 in .308?
    Date: 10 Feb 1996 12:50:53 -0500

    Consider this, every round shot in breaking in a barrel is one round off
    the life of said rifle barrel. No one has ever told me the physical
    reason of what happens during break in firing. In other words to the
    number of pounds of powder shot at any given pressure, is the life of the
    barrel. No one has ever explained what is being accomplished by
    shooting and cleaning in any prescribed method. Start your barrel off
    with 5 rounds and clean it thoroughly and do it again. Nev Maden a
    friend down under that my brother taught to make barrels was the one who
    come up with the break in method. He may think he has come upon
    something, or he has come up with another way to sell barrels. I feel
    that the first shot out of a barrel is its best and every one after that
    deteriorates until the barrel is gone. If some one can explain what
    physically takes place during break in to modify the barrel then I may
    change my mind. As the physical properties of a barrel doesn't change
    because of the break in procedures it means it's all hog wash. I am open
    to any suggestions that can be documented otherwise if it is just
    someone's opinion forget it.

    Gale McMillan
    From: Gale McMillan <" gale">
    Newsgroups: rec.guns
    Subject: Re: Remington 700 break in
    Date: 8 Aug 1997 00:01:07 -0400

    Arthur Sprague wrote:

    # On 29 Jul 1997 22:50:26 -0400, (John W. Engel)
    # wrote:
    # #This is how (some) benchrester break in barrels, and it does work.
    # #The mechanism is that the bore has pores in it (microns in size).
    # #If you simply shoot a box or two through it without cleaning, the
    # #pores fill up with gilding metal, and stay that way. If you
    # #follow the above procedure (and they mean *clean* between shots!),
    # #the pores are "smoothed over" with each successive shot. A barrel
    # #correctly broken in is MUCH easier to clean than one that is
    # #not. If it is a good quality tube, it will also be more accurate.
    # #Regards,
    # #whit
    # Well, the range hours here are quite limited. On my first trip I
    # managed to fire a whole fourteen rounds, with a thorough cleaning
    # after each round. It couldn't hurt! Fun gun! Difficult to think of
    # .223 as a battle round after experience with .30-06 and .45ACP, but it
    # surely going to be a pleasure to shoot.
    # Thanks to all for their advice.

    This is total hogwash! It all got started when a barrel maker that I
    know started putting break in instructions in the box with each barrel
    he shipped a few years ago. I asked him how he figured it would help
    and his reply was If they shoot 100 rounds breaking in this barrel
    that's total life is 3000 rounds and I make 1000 barrels a year just
    figure how many more barrels I will get to make. He had a point it
    defiantly will shorten the barrel life. I have been a barrel maker a
    fair amount of time and my barrels have set and reset bench rest world
    records so many times I quit keeping track (at one time they held 7 at
    one time) along with HighPower,Silloett,smallbore national and world
    records and my instructions were to clean as often as posable preferably
    every 10 rounds. I inspect every barrel taken off and every new barrel
    before it is shipped with a bore scope and I will tell you all that I
    see far more barrels ruined by cleaning rods than I see worn out from
    normal wear and tear.I am even reading about people recommending
    breaking in pistols. As if it will help their shooting ability or the
    Gale Mc.
    Index Home About Blog
    Last edited by EDG; 01-20-2019 at 08:53 PM.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Most premium barrels are lapped. And barrels are manufactured in factories. The Browning BPCR barrels made by Badger were hand lapped. The Hart and Remington BR barrels I have are lapped. McMillan lapped his barrels before Wiseman bought the business and the last I knew Wiseman lapped his barrels.
    You are asking questions that have already been answered above.
    You can quote a dead man but how much do You Know to be true first hand? I bet McMillian knew very little about barrels used for cast bullets or he would not have said some of those things.
    I know my barrels shoot better after break in and my method does no harm to the barrels.
    And that includes dozens of barrels made by companies McMillan knew nothing about.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1 View Post
    "Barrels lapped at the factory are known to be superior to un-lapped barrels so you lose that one."

    Known by whom ? What factory barrels are hand lapped today ?

    Of course a barrel that has seen 100 rounds is smoother. After 10,000 it will be REALLY smooth. BUT who can prove it will shoot better ?

    As for Gale, he forgot more about barrels than you and I will ever know.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Yes but what do you know first hand to be true?
    Can you only quote dead guys?

    Here are the simple facts.
    1.My barrels shoot better after break in.
    2. I have never damaged a barrel.
    No one you quote can change those facts.
    Why do you find that is impossible to believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1 View Post
    Okay, I know you are ALWAYS right, so you win. Harry Pope is also dead and he know 1000 times as much as you about getting lead bullets over black powder to shoot. But YOU WIN !
    Last edited by EDG; 01-21-2019 at 01:35 AM.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Goodhue County, SE Minnesota
    As I read through this topic, I am reminded of another topic...

    It makes me wonder more about "breaking in a barrel" of a firearm.

    I also think it may have been mentioned earlier, but I also wonder how many folks in earlier times, "broke in the barrel" of their new firearm when lead & not jacketed bullets were the only thing they fired in their firearms, if they did try to "break in the barrel" at all.
    Since the cost of the components may have been expensive to many and unless they were shooting to defend themselves or for food, they would likely consider any extra costs to shoot more than necessary, would not be wise.

    I am also thinking of how anyone knew , using jacketed bullets, just how many times it took & would do the job of "breaking in a barrel"; meaning, at what point do they now "know" the barrel is broken in, as compared to "not" broken in?
    Once again, the cost & availability of components, as well as the cost of the firearm & a new barrel that got wore out possibly pre-maturely by shooting what might be considered extra rounds might be considered.

    I, personally, have not ever done more than shoot jacketed bullets in any new firearm( not including .22 cal, or shotgun) for about 100-200 rounds, simply to get used to the firearm, sighting in, pleasure, etc. & was not ever was concerned with "breaking in the barrel" per se. I was more interested in seeing how it performed for me & if there was any problems with it mechanically. For my muzzleloader, it was 10-20 shots to get used to loading, check for accuracy, etc., then off I went to hunt. No "breaking in the bbl." & it is a helluva accurate piece.

    I am not convinced that "breaking in a barrel" is necessary.

    I will continue to read & study up on this, including following this topic. I am going to also continue to shoot my firearms regardless of not "breaking in the barrel' & enjoy the doing of it & not regret not "breaking in the barrel" of any one of them.

    Perhaps I have been doing it wrong for some time, but I have not noticed any difference , and perhaps that is also because I do not shoot in bench rest competitions or the like & just enjoy shooting my, what I consider, relatively inexpensive firearms.

    If I owned an expensive firearm & it was recommended by the manufacturer, or someone who had way more actual hands on previous experience with that firearm platform to "break in the bbl.", I would certainly consider & likely follow that "break in" period. But without more info, I am going to continue to do as i have done & just go shoot.

    I imagine it would be a pity if many folks bought a firearm and did not know about this "breaking in the barrel' & after only 150-200 shots, got rid of it, not knowing that it was supposed to have a 200-300 round "break in" before it performed as it should... Think about that for a minute. How many folks sell their firearm with less than 300 rounds thru the bbl.?

    I would bet a lot. Since not that many people shoot like many of us do.

    So, it is likely that every time one of us goes to the LGS to buy a used firearm, and it appears as though a firearm may have only had less than 300 rounds thru it, that it is not broken in yet?

    Yep... I reckon I need to ponder on this some more, read the comments here & elsewhere & get a handle on this "breaking in the barrel' stuff. I am not so "sold" on it...

    BTW, I am serious & sincere in this post & not making fun of the subject, nor anyones comments. I truly do not know about this subject & want to know more. I am just having a hard time thinking I have been doing something wrong for so long since I have not ever tried to "break in a bbl.". I really do not think I have heard it said it was necessary before, other than here. I am wondering why there has not been more folks here that have been shooting for a lot longer & a LOT more, in competitions & such shooting 1500+ rounds a week & not mentioning that they needed to 'break in a bbl." before going out to shoot anything, even if it was NOT in competition or the like.

    Something is not clear to me on this & I reckon I will just have to do some more research on this subject & read more of the comments here as the get posted, to get a better grasp of this type of thing.

    Thanks to all who are participating with interesting info on the subject!
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  18. #38
    Boolit Master

    Hickory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    The Great Black Swamp of Northwest Ohio
    Barrel break in for me;

    Handgun-Run a wet patch down the bore of a new gun followed with 3-4 dry patches.
    Muzzleloader - Same as above.
    Shotgun-No break in necessary, see above for new gun.
    Rifle-Shoot rifle X number of times sighting it in. Clean as above for new gun.
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