AR15.Com Archives
 barrel break in process
rgsjrbear  [Member]
3/23/2010 3:07:15 PM
I read on another web site somewhere about barrel break in and was wondering how important it is and the repercussions of it not being done per say This was the first I had ever heard of it since I am generaly a shotgunner just getting into semi serious rifle shooting and this is my first AR-15 hope to build the next one myself ..
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baxsom  [Member]
3/23/2010 4:36:26 PM
You will read all over this site that there are two schools of thought on it. One is that you have to sacrifice a chicken then go through some shoot, clean, shoot, clean ritual. The other is that you shoot the hell out of it and then clean it

I guess it depends on what kind of barrel you have to begin with but I personally have yet to find the one process that has clear proof theirs is better.
DrBackJack  [Member]
3/23/2010 4:38:12 PM
Just shoot it.
jjc155  [Team Member]
3/23/2010 7:04:16 PM
Originally Posted By DrBackJack:
Just shoot it.


thats what I did. At our last rifle qualification for work I put 5 straight in the head of a shilouette target at 100yards shooting prone (no bi pod) from the ground with iron sights. Doubt that doing the vodoo version of break in would have yielded anything better.

J-

rgsjrbear  [Member]
3/23/2010 7:08:16 PM
thanks for the info . most of my accuracy problems are my own and probably have little to do with the rifle and it was also bought more for hunting then sharp shootingbut i would still like some degree of accuracy ..
Captains1911  [Member]
3/23/2010 7:59:14 PM
Nobody has ever been able to prove that "barrel break-in" provides any benefit what so ever. However, it is a fact that a break in procedure will actually decrease the life of your barrel simply because you are putting rounds through it by doing so. For an AR this is moot, but for precision bolt guns that may only have a barrel life of 1000rds, then a 50 rd break-in decreases the barrel's life by 5%. Now do you see why barrel makers like to provide break-in instructions?

Just shoot it and enjoy.
Not_Infringed  [Member]
3/23/2010 11:47:28 PM
I was on the fence about barrel break in. Now I am not. Basically you are removing the tooling and machining marks from the throat and the rifling of the barrel.

Removing the abrasive tooling marks will improve accuracy a little bit. More importantly, a smooth (lapped) barrel will scrape less lead/copper off your bullets as you shoot. This helps your first shots of the day and last shots of the day be more consistent (less lead/copper fouling will accumulate). And over a lifetime, the accuracy will also be steady as lead/copper cannot permanently lodge itself in the tooling marks.

There are three methods for breaking in a barrel.
1) Shoot clean* shoot clean shoot clean shoot clean, etc. This will works marginally and really may take a life time to do.
2) Use an abrasive agent to and cleaning rod to hand lap the barrel (like valve lapping material at an auto store). I wouldn't do this because invariably the pressure you apply will not be consistent.
3) Pressure Lapping (aka Fire lapping). Shoot specially designed, mildly abrasive bullets through the gun and let them do the lapping. You will still be required to shoot clean shoot clean, but a lot less than normal.
Examples:
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp?id=0044350216321a&type=product&cmCat=SEARCH_all&returnPage=search-results1.jsp&No=18&Ntt=barrel+break+in&Ntk=Product_liberal&sort=all&Go.y=0&N=0&Nty=1&hasJS=true&_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&_DARGS=%2Fcabelas%2Fen%2Fcommon%2Fsearch%2Fsearch-box.jsp.form1&Go.x=0

http://www.neconos.com/details2.htm

Match barrels will usually be hand lapped before they leave the factory, but they will not have a lapped throat.

If you do not break in a barrel properly when you first get it, lead/copper will accumulate in the nooks and crannies of the machine marks of the barrel and stay there hidden. Both metals adhere and "weld" to themselves very well, making permanent removal almost impossible in the future (hence the shoot once, clean to bare metal, shoot once, clean to bare metal.

Then there are others that say, "bah humbug" you don't need to do this. If this is just a plinker/casual shooter/safe queen then yeah, you may not need to worry about breaking in the barrel. Read "Rifle Maintainence" by Chris Christian for more detailed info.

* Cleaning the barrel means down to the bare metal. You have to use a brush powder solvent, then patches, then copper solvent, then back to powder solvent. You cannot just run a dry patch or oil patch through and call it good. Breaking in a barrel properly is a PITA.
Sunday  [Member]
3/24/2010 12:13:38 AM
When you consider most of the wear that occurs in a barrel is from cleaning. It is done to wear out your barrel sooner.
Not_Infringed  [Member]
3/24/2010 12:39:44 AM
Originally Posted By Sunday:
When you consider most of the wear that occurs in a barrel is from cleaning. It is done to wear out your barrel sooner.


I disagree. Furthermore, I would assert that you are doing something entirely wrong if you are wearing out your barrel by cleaning.

When you fire the gun:
1) Max pressure for a .223 is 55,000 PSI (SAAMI spec)
2) Max pressure for a 5.56x45 NATO is 62,366 PSI
3) Gunpowder burns at 5,500 degree Fahrenheit (that is from memory, so give or take). And if you use doublebase powder, then you are really flame cutting your rifle's throat at an even faster rate.
4) You are squeezing a .224" bullet down a .223" hole.

Now what part of your cleaning process exceeds those limits?
Ar-Bandit  [Member]
3/24/2010 1:48:15 AM
Originally Posted By Not_Infringed:
Originally Posted By Sunday:
When you consider most of the wear that occurs in a barrel is from cleaning. It is done to wear out your barrel sooner.


I disagree. Furthermore, I would assert that you are doing something entirely wrong if you are wearing out your barrel by cleaning.

When you fire the gun:
1) Max pressure for a .223 is 55,000 PSI (SAAMI spec)
2) Max pressure for a 5.56x45 NATO is 62,366 PSI
3) Gunpowder burns at 5,500 degree Fahrenheit (that is from memory, so give or take). And if you use doublebase powder, then you are really flame cutting your rifle's throat at an even faster rate.
4) You are squeezing a .224" bullet down a .223" hole.

Now what part of your cleaning process exceeds those limits?


If you are a moron and don't stop the cleaning rod from scraping against the barrel I guess
baxsom  [Member]
3/24/2010 5:26:17 AM
I like the militarys take on new barrels. install. shoot 10 rounds to ensure it will group and then rack it until needed.
Gregory_K  [Team Member]
3/24/2010 6:45:16 AM
Originally Posted By Not_Infringed:
Originally Posted By Sunday:
When you consider most of the wear that occurs in a barrel is from cleaning. It is done to wear out your barrel sooner.


I disagree. Furthermore, I would assert that you are doing something entirely wrong if you are wearing out your barrel by cleaning.

When you fire the gun:
1) Max pressure for a .223 is 55,000 PSI (SAAMI spec)
2) Max pressure for a 5.56x45 NATO is 62,366 PSI
3) Gunpowder burns at 5,500 degree Fahrenheit (that is from memory, so give or take). And if you use doublebase powder, then you are really flame cutting your rifle's throat at an even faster rate.
4) You are squeezing a .224" bullet down a .223" hole.

Now what part of your cleaning process exceeds those limits?


4 reason why barrel break in is a joke.

SIPCAT-C  [Team Member]
3/24/2010 6:45:47 AM
Originally Posted By baxsom:
I like the militarys take on new barrels. install. shoot 10 rounds to ensure it will group and then rack it until needed.


rgsjrbear  [Member]
3/24/2010 1:31:05 PM
Originally Posted By SIPCAT-C:
Originally Posted By baxsom:
I like the militarys take on new barrels. install. shoot 10 rounds to ensure it will group and then rack it until needed.




Mine got cleaned the first day I shot it I put 20 down it and went home and cleaned it like i normally would
SkagSig40  [Team Member]
3/27/2010 4:05:58 AM
barrel break in is 100% myth.
sleepercaprice1  [Team Member]
3/27/2010 5:35:47 AM
There are varying opinions about barrel break in ranging from do nothing to shoot one-clean-shoot one-clean, etc. As far as I know, nobody has been able to prove anything one way or the other.

In my mind, removing fouling frequently while the machining marks are polished from the throat area makes sense. Maybe lots of rounds with no cleaning will do the same thing. I follow an abbreviated break-in procedure, personally.

Why not contact your barrel manufacturer and get their opinion? I don't see how you could go wrong using their prescribed method.
sorral  [Member]
3/27/2010 11:51:50 AM
I also had questions about braking in barrels. I ran into this :

http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/Barrel_BreakIn.asp.

I sent the link to my gunsmith buddy, he read it, and said it made sense to him!
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