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Thread: Manufacturer instructions for break in,or simple break in ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Manufacturer instructions for break in,or simple break in ?

    I normally do break in the barrel on a new rifle,but I keep it simple.I start with a nice clean bore,shoot,and run a wet brush ,and a dry patch through it after each of the first two shots,and then do the same twice more after after shooting twice,and then I shoot two series of five doing the same,and call it good enough.I recently bought a Howa 1500 mini action 223,and although the booklet that came in the box does not cover break in,I have noticed on Howa's online info that Howa calls for a pretty tedious break in .They want the bore cleaned with solvent,patched,and then cleaned with ammonia based cleaner after each shot,and then wait until the barrel is completely cooled down before shooting again.They want this procedure followed after each of 10 shots,and claim that by doing so it not only insures future accuracy,but also makes the rifle much less affected by point of impact changes due to a hot barrel .I am just curious as to whether or not you folks would follow Howa's instructions,or give it the same break in as any normal sporting rifle.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Here is how Bartlein Barrels recommend you break in their barrels.
    https://bartleinbarrels.com/break-in-and-cleaning/

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the link tazman.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    I used the Bartlein recommended break in with one of their barrels. 2000 rounds(30-06) later it still shoots 1.5 inch groups at 200 yards for me.
    The throat is finally starting to wear significantly. I may need to have the barrel set back and re-chambered soon.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    There is no comparison between a custom after-market barrel and an over-the-counter barrel. To quote a local rifle builder who was building a competition rifle for a client, "Remington uses a $10 barrel, this is a $350 barrel." Just shoot a mass-=produced rifle, break in a custom barrel with loving care.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I do break in all my barrels. How depends on hat they are and intended use. A gull blown match rifle gets a more thorough break in than a hunting gun does.They also get broke in with the loads appropriate to their use. My match rifles get jacketed bullets heavy and long bearing surface same with most hunting rifles, my uzzle loaders and BPCR rifles BP and lead bullets.For center fires I also use a lighter load when starting out. By lighter its usually just below a starting load.
    I have noticed several things when a barrel is broke in, 1) it cleans much easier, 2) Its first shot from a clean cold barrel is in the group or much closer, 3) it dosnt seen to foul out as quickly. 4) while I wont claim improved accuracy I will say more consistent accuracy. For a high master High power shooter these are important things.

    With jacketed bullets I normally shoot 1 round and clean 5 times. then a 10 min soak to see where Im at. production barrels and some aftermarket barrels will require this to be repeated 2-3 more times. A upper end custom barrel is usually done here and we move on to 2 shots and clean for 6 rounds with the soak test, when the barrel passes this its 5 rounds and clean and the soak test after each. Then its 10 rounds and clean.

    With lead bullets and 22 rim fires I shoot and clean 1 round for 10 rounds. I watch for lead shavings and smears on the patch. After is the short soak. Then 2 rounds and clean for 10 rounds again watching the patches and the soak after. 5 rounds and clean for 20 rounds then the soak. and last is the 10 rounds and clean with a soak after each. I tend to fire a few more rounds with the lead break in. I have yet to find a way to check for fouling with lead, solvents dont change colors like jacketed dose.

    With some calibers where the barrel throat life is short fewer rounds may be a benefit. A 243 or 6 284 with barrel life of 2000 rds or so you may not want to use 200 rds up in break in

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I had the worse case of leading and copper fouling in a BSA take down that was done on a Canadian BSA Martini. Butche's bore shine would show green every time I used it. So would wet patch and let soak over night. Next day green again. To top it off barrel looked really rough. Had just received a case hardened cocking lever and installed it. Grabbed an old box of montgomery wards shells and went out side to see where the firing pin would strike and if it needed any adjustments. Put 5 rounds down the tube and firing pin strike on the 22rf case was perfect so no adjustments was needed. Ran a couple wet patches to get the carbon out of the barrel then dry patches. When I looked down the barrel was like looking at a mirror. I had been patching,brushing and a few choice cuss words thrown in. My best guess is that those 5 old rounds literally scraped whatever leading out of the barrel. Ran a brush through and a few wet patches and let it sit over night. No green.someone must have put a goodly amount of rounds through
    that barrel and never cleaned the barrel. Frank

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I just run a patch with 009 or butchs bore shine then shoot .patch through when finished look down bore if clean job done.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    ive had probably a 100 rifles through the years from entry level guns to some high dollar guns. Never broke in a single barrel. If I bought a 1500 dollar rifle and the builder told me the bore need breaking in id RUN not walk away from his products. Only concession I make is when im working up loads after the end of the session I take the gun home and clean it. But theres probably 50 rounds through it first. Once I get a load worked up its very rare a brush touches my barrels. Except for high round count guns like ar15s or varmint rifles.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    I have done a "proper" break in twice. A M70 and a Compass. Both are sub MOA .308's with hunting bullets. Not sure if it mattered or not. A bit time consuming but I will likely do the same for the little Howa .223 I am setting up this year.

    The AR's are basically blasting/battle rifles (expect for one upper with a better HB), and do not get the same treatment.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  11. #11
    Boolit Master buckshotshoey's Avatar
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    It the barrel has been bore lapped, the break in is basically done for you. You wont find much copper after shooting.

    The reason they want you to use an ammonia based cleaner (like Sweets 7 62) is to keep track of the copper deposits. If you are shooting lead, you can forget about the ammonia. I did notice on my Savage .243 that during the break in period, the cooper became less and less as the procedure went on.

    Mine was 5 shots with a thorough cleaning between each shot. Then 5 groups of 3 with a cleaning after each group. Then 5 groups of 5. For a total of 45 rounds. All of these after the barrel cooled to ambient temperature. It took me all afternoon, but I have a sub moa groundhog rifle. Of course that's after a process of choosing components and carefull handloading. You will want a bullet with a long bearing surface if possible) for break in, even if that is not the most accurate one.
    Last edited by buckshotshoey; 03-19-2020 at 07:17 AM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    ive had probably a 100 rifles through the years from entry level guns to some high dollar guns. Never broke in a single barrel. If I bought a 1500 dollar rifle and the builder told me the bore need breaking in id RUN not walk away from his products. Only concession I make is when im working up loads after the end of the session I take the gun home and clean it. But theres probably 50 rounds through it first. Once I get a load worked up its very rare a brush touches my barrels. Except for high round count guns like ar15s or varmint rifles.
    You really would not buy a Bartlein or Krieger barrel? Both recommend a break in, mainly to get rid of reamer marks in the throat.

    My 'cheap' barrels I don't do a break in. I just shoot them. They do take a little longer to settle in but I could see the difference in group sizes as the round count increased.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    I cleaned between each shot for the first 10,but I just used #9 ,and a few patches .I did not use ammonia cleaner.It was a little time consuming,but I had nothing better to do 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