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Thread: New rifle barrel run in

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    New rifle barrel run in

    Hi guys. I'm picking up my new rifle tomorrow and am wondering if I should get some factory jacketed ammo to run the barrel in? I'm thinking it will smooth the machining roughness out a little better and maybe make it shoot soft lead better? What do you think? I'd appreciate your thoughts please.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master mattw's Avatar
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    I usually load a couple of hundred jacketed for most of my new guns just for that purpose. Is it needed? Not really sure, but in my mind it helps.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy DAFzipper's Avatar
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    I have guns that have never seen a jacketed bullet and probably never will.

    Sent from my LG-H700 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    id clean then shoot a jacketed, repeat a few times, cleaning before each so your not embedding fouling in whatever your smoothing

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I shoot one and clean
    Shoot two and clean
    Shoot three and clean
    Shoot five and clean.
    Then clean every 10 shots another couple of times

    Did it on the last two rifles I broke in. A M70 and a T/ C Compass and both are sub MOA. NOt sure it is necessary but it was recommended to me and it worked....or maybe not. No way of telling.

    I have a new rifle to wring out and will follow the same procedure

    BTW, only shoot jacketed in rifles, except for the pistol caliber carbines.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks guys. I'll buy a few cheap factory rounds to run it in. I'm hoping it will work well with cast later on and plan to use the gun to try to develop a good hunting load with them. First idea is to run a lee c309-170f with a high tin alloy and added hollow point.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    You could just hand Lapp the barrel concentrating around the throat and crown.
    Paper patching will smooth and polish well if shot dry and cleaned frequently also.
    I’m not a real fan of fire lapping.

    There will be some burnishing from the chamber reamer to smooth out.

  8. #8
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    I have several rifles I built that have never had a jacketed bullet in them. As long as you have good fit and lube, the cast will shoot fine without any special process.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Well, according to Gale McMillan of McMillan Barrels........

    https://www.6mmbr.com/GailMcMbreakin.html
    "We take a thousand moments for granted thinking there will be a thousand more to come. Each day, each breath, each beat of your heart is a gift. Live with love & joy, tomorrow is not promised to anyone......"

    unknown

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by centershot View Post
    Well, according to Gale McMillan of McMillan Barrels........

    https://www.6mmbr.com/GailMcMbreakin.html
    There could be a difference in the finish quality of a custom barrel vs the cheap barrels found on something like my Compass. I doubt I could buy a McMillan barrel for the $225 I paid for the entire gun>>>LOL.

    Plus the rounds used for breaking in are not wasted. After the last 4 shot group, I am shooting 5 shot groups to test loads anyway. For the two rifles mentioned in my post above, I had a sub MOA load after 50 shots through each.

    Cannot comment on cast bullets but expect they would not cause nearly the wear of jacketed. From what I have seen, cast bullets will not achieve the accuracy of a jacketed bullet so the point may be moot. If I wanted a cast bullet rifle, I would do the break in with jacketed.

    Are 45-55 bullets going to wear out a barrel??? I will do as I have done as so far it has yielded results. It may have done nothing...but it did not do any harm either. And if I get a gun that will not shoot, I will not have to ask, "I wonder if I should have done the break-in?"
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Have had two rifles I did not do a break in process. I have regretted it both times now. Took over 200 rounds to settle down and I believe that could have been shortened if I had taken the extra time for the break in process.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    be intresting to take 2 guns exactly the same and do 1 each way and compare .
    Otherwize how do you know if breakin works??

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    There is no 2 guns that are the same though. Youd have to have a large sample size to smooth out the data and see any valid result. But nobody really goes to the gun store and says ill take 30 savage axis please

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    so this barrel break in is unproven to do anything??

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Most of my guns only shoot lead. Those guns start out on lead and will never see a J-word bullet.

    I've got a Remlin 1895 that has only ever shot lead. I have a skinner sight on it and have been able to hit 2' diameter targets at 400 yards consistenly with that sight setup. I'm thinking of buying a post sight to see if I can consistenly hit at 800 or 1000 yards... Pretty sure it will.

    I "shot in" a couple guns and finally just decided to shoot them and it works for me.
    WWG1WGA

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    The break in process is proven to work. The method is the part people have differences on, ie, how many rounds does it take to 'break in' the barrel.

    And, interesting enough, some rifles will shoot really well with 'rough' bores. Some have theories that the rough bore simply fills up with copper until it is smooth. They have plotted curves of accuracy vs rounds fired and show a definite leveling off point. It usually shows that 20 to 100 rounds are required to 'fill' the 'pits' and reach optimal accuracy. Then 300 to ?? rounds before accuracy falls off again. This means a really good copper removal session and start over.

    There are also people who say not to clean the barrel at all until accuracy falls off.

    I have one barrel that likes being shot when it is fouled with copper and can also go several hundred rounds without being cleaned at all. The other one likes to be cleaned of all copper after each shooting session. This is for 1/2MOA accuracy, not precision shooting.

    How does this relate to cast bullets? Don't know as I usually shoot enough jacketed bullets through a barrel to 'break in' before shooting cast through one.

  17. #17
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    From what I have seen, cast bullets will not achieve the accuracy of a jacketed bullet so the point may be moot.
    "
    You are doing something wrong if you can't get a group as good or better with cast.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  18. #18
    Boolit Man
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    I will have to agree with Gale McMillan, the first shot is your best, from their, you are wearing the barrel out.

    My son and I will sit down and shoot all day at our range tomorrow with two new guns, the plan is to shoot and clean, enjoying ourselves all the time. The only breaking in will be breaking into laughter!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    You are doing something wrong if you can't get a group as good or better with cast.
    That's true up to a point. Benchrest competition for cast bullets are "much" larger groups than jacketed bench rest competition groups.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtlezx View Post
    so this barrel break in is unproven to do anything??
    You ask 100 people about barrel break in, you'll get at least 200 answers. If it makes you feel more confident in your gun then do it, otherwise my opinion is you're burning through finite barrel life for nebulous gain. Handguns and most rifles that are going to shoot cast it probably won't be a noticeable reduction in life. Over bore barrel burners I wouldn't do it, but you are unlikely to be casting for them anyways.

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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