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Posted: 1/1/2011 1:47:04 PM EST
Saw an ad on the shotgun news for cryo treating barrels (300below.com) and was curious if anyone here has tried it with their ARs. I realize some companies already cryo treat their barrels (RRA I think) but wasn't sure about others like LMT, Colt, etc.

I wouldn't mind squeezing an extra inch or two out of my long distance groups if this is for real. Is it worth the money to send your barrel to these guys?

thanks
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 2:43:49 PM EST
I have a gunsmith buddy who has done bunches of them. I would not expect some huge accuracy bump, the big advantage is you can put off cleaning it. The prairie dog shooters love cryo barrels for this reason. I think there might be a plus for barrel life, but who knows?
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 2:49:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/1/2011 2:50:42 PM EST by gcrookston]
Cryo was the next big thing about ten years ago, but it's never been definitively proven effective on the types of steels used in barrel manufacture.

I tighten up my groups by running the magic indian feathers up and down the barrel just before firing, they are cheaper than the magic accuracy dust you sprinkle on the target that draws the bullet to it...

see:

http://reocities.com/ResearchTriangle/system/2599/cryogenic_treatment.html
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 3:41:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By gcrookston:
Cryo was the next big thing about ten years ago, but it's never been definitively proven effective on the types of steels used in barrel manufacture.

I tighten up my groups by running the magic indian feathers up and down the barrel just before firing, they are cheaper than the magic accuracy dust you sprinkle on the target that draws the bullet to it...

see:

http://reocities.com/ResearchTriangle/system/2599/cryogenic_treatment.html


LMFAO!!!
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 3:57:51 PM EST
So far all I have heard here op is folks who are guessing or have no real insight. The whole it helps put off cleaning is totally new to me, never noticed that. Back in 1995 through 1997 I dealt with 300 below inc and eventually with an offshoot company called One-Cryo. I had them initially do some tool steel, knife blades (440 SS) 2 10/22 barrels (one stock and one custom from Ed Brown as well as some other items including golf balls. Now the golf balls were a bust (literally) but the tool steel knife blades and barrels all showed improvements in one form or fashion. My custom barrel on my Win Mod 70 in 300 Win mag did show a noticeable improvement in accuracy and held tighter groups longer I could hold 1.5 MOA for about 15 shots before the groups would open up. One 10/22 barrel showed no accuracy increase but a definite improvement in holding the groups tighter longer. The other 10/22 barrel showed a good 1/2 MOA improvement. My custom fillet and skinning knives all remained sharper longer except for the ones I had made of old saw blades. They showed no improvement. I never tried any factory / commercial knives.
All of my AR's except my Colt A2 carbine and my 2 SP-1's have had there barrels cryoed. As have my bolt guns in 308, 22-250, 25-06 and 223. Could not tell you about improvement as they were all done immediately after purchase. They are very accurate and very consistent. There is a science to the process and I assure you it does not involve any feathers or dust. It is money well spent.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 4:53:17 PM EST
Im pretty sure the barrelmakers that didnt try and bullshit you called it snakeoil about 10 years ago.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 4:56:47 PM EST
If durability is what you're after, salt bath nitriding is what you want to do.

Link Posted: 1/1/2011 5:03:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By Nichonator:
So far all I have heard here op is folks who are guessing or have no real insight. The whole it helps put off cleaning is totally new to me, never noticed that. Back in 1995 through 1997 I dealt with 300 below inc and eventually with an offshoot company called One-Cryo. I had them initially do some tool steel, knife blades (440 SS) 2 10/22 barrels (one stock and one custom from Ed Brown as well as some other items including golf balls. Now the golf balls were a bust (literally) but the tool steel knife blades and barrels all showed improvements in one form or fashion. My custom barrel on my Win Mod 70 in 300 Win mag did show a noticeable improvement in accuracy and held tighter groups longer I could hold 1.5 MOA for about 15 shots before the groups would open up. One 10/22 barrel showed no accuracy increase but a definite improvement in holding the groups tighter longer. The other 10/22 barrel showed a good 1/2 MOA improvement. My custom fillet and skinning knives all remained sharper longer except for the ones I had made of old saw blades. They showed no improvement. I never tried any factory / commercial knives.
All of my AR's except my Colt A2 carbine and my 2 SP-1's have had there barrels cryoed. As have my bolt guns in 308, 22-250, 25-06 and 223. Could not tell you about improvement as they were all done immediately after purchase. They are very accurate and very consistent. There is a science to the process and I assure you it does not involve any feathers or dust. It is money well spent.


Having a number of clients in the machine tool industry I've heard from them the benefits for certain types of steel that Cryo can have and have been involved in installations of several facilities to so treat steel for that industry.

There are dozens of other studies I can sight as well the show benefits of Cryo for certain applications, all showing minimal or no benefit in barrel accuracy. The one I linked above is the easiest to read and understand.

However, other than the plethora of anecdotal evidence such as you've provided, I've seen no evaluations quantifying any significant benefits to our sport from the process using scientific method. I'll spend my money on a Shilen or Lilja Barrel or even magic feathers before I toss it in the cryo tank...
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 5:17:29 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/1/2011 5:27:08 PM EST by gcrookston]
Originally Posted By beltfed74:
Im pretty sure the barrelmakers that didnt try and bullshit you called it snakeoil about 10 years ago.


You've got that right, see below...........................

From Shilen: http://www.shilen.com/faq.html#question1

Should I "cryo" my barrel?
If you have heard that the cryogenic treatment stress relieves steel, this is false. We have measured the residual stress in 4140 and 416 steel with a process called x-ray diffraction. After much R&D, we have not been able to measure any changes in molecular stress after cryo treatment. For this reason we do not endorse the cryogenic process, but we can safely say that it is not detrimental to the barrel either.


From Lilja: http://www.riflebarrels.com/faq_lilja_rifle_barrels.htm#deepcryogenic

Q. What is your opinion of the deep cryogenic processing of barrels?

A. The cryogenic treating of barrels at a temperature of -300 degrees below zero has been a hot topic of discussion lately. Our short answer is that it will not harm your barrel but we are not completely convinced of all of the benefits claimed by some. The only benefits that we feel are likely to result from the treatment are possibly a longer barrel life and a slight increase in machinability.

Claims for increased accuracy through stress relief are not founded in our opinion. When barrels are button rifled no material is removed, it is just displaced. This causes stresses to be formed in the steel. If these stresses are not removed problems will result. These negative conditions include warping of the barrel during other machining operations, an increase in the bore diameter towards the muzzle end of the barrel during the contouring phase, and in the extreme, lengthwise splitting of the barrel. Also, if there are stresses remaining in the barrel they can be slowly released as a barrel warms up during firing. This causes the barrel to actually move during the course of shooting, causing inaccuracy.

In our testing we have found that the only effective means to completely remove the types of stresses introduced during rifling are with conventional heat treating using elevated temperatures. The -300 degree treatment alone will not remove these stresses. We have been told by a knowledgeable metallurgist that the deep cold treatment will, at best, remove up to 6% of the remaining stresses in the type of steel used for rifle barrels. The key words here are remaining stresses. In other words if the barrel was not stress relieved conventionally, then only 6% of the original stress will be removed. If the barrel has been treated conventionally with heat and then brought through the -300 degree cycle, up to 6% of any remaining stresses could be removed by the cold treatment. We do know through our testing that the cold treatment alone will not remove any significant amount of stress and that the problems outlined above concerning stress will remain in the barrel.

So, because of the very limited amount of stress that could be removed with the cold treatment (if the barrel has been properly stress relieved with heat as our barrels are) we do not believe that there can be much if any accuracy benefit to the -300 degree treatment of our barrels. It is for these reasons that we feel the cold process has very little potential for increasing the accuracy of our barrels. In our opinion, other than the removal of these stresses, there are no other mechanical factors involved that could benefit accuracy in a rifle barrel, resulting from a heat treating operation, either hot or cold.

For reasons not completely understood however there may be an increase in the wear resistance of the steel. This type of wear however does not contribute greatly to barrel erosion. We invite you to read our comments on this type of barrel wear in the question regarding the use of moly coated bullets.

Another possible side benefit to the freezing process is a slight increase in its machinability.

Post Script: Since I originally wrote this an excellent article by Kevin Thomas of Sierra Bullets was printed in the September, 1998 issue of Precision Shooting magazine. Mr. Thomas found, in a controlled test, that there was little benefit to deep freezing match grade barrels. He could see no difference in accuracy but probably a slight increase in useful life. I would encourage anyone interested in this subject to take a look at this article



Link Posted: 1/1/2011 5:36:34 PM EST
All cryo-treating does is force a martensite transformation of the retained austenite. This new volume fraction of now heat-treatable metal is very small...less than 5%. To notice altered properties or useability on a knife (for example), this would have to be much higher. As far as easier cleaning, a claim I've read several times...there is no reason ease-of-cleaning would be affected.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 6:15:32 PM EST
As I pointed out not all items benefit from this treatment. Like the magic feather and the magic bullet there is no 100% in this venue than any other. My experience was just that a marginal improvement.
We have folks all the time pay big bucks for bells and whistles that provide marginal improvments daily.
I dont claim the cryo process to be any different. By the way who sells these magic feathers?
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 6:23:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By Nichonator:
As I pointed out not all items benefit from this treatment. Like the magic feather and the magic bullet there is no 100% in this venue than any other. My experience was just that a marginal improvement.
We have folks all the time pay big bucks for bells and whistles that provide marginal improvments daily.
I dont claim the cryo process to be any different. By the way who sells these magic feathers?

IIRC it was Ed Shilen that told me it was worth doing if I could get it done free of charge somewhere and if they picked up the shipping charges. They didnt have an agenda, the actually researched it and wouldve made it an option that they could have upcharged for having done.
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 6:58:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By Nichonator:
By the way who sells these magic feathers?


They stopped selling them after they changed their name to 300below.com. I was able to get the last one. It was a little frost bitten, though ...
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 7:17:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By gcrookston:
Originally Posted By Nichonator:
By the way who sells these magic feathers?


They stopped selling them after they changed their name to 300below.com. I was able to get the last one. It was a little frost bitten, though ...


lol!

thanks all for the insight
Link Posted: 1/1/2011 7:37:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By ziarifleman:
If durability is what you're after, salt bath nitriding is what you want to do.



I agree with this, but I have heard from some shooters in the 50 bmg circuit 10+ years ago that the barrels must be unfired, as any residual metallic fouling will end up causing/allowing accelerated wear anywhere it was present.
Link Posted: 1/2/2011 9:06:52 AM EST
I run Cyro'd Powerslot rotors and the front of my F350 crew cab, long bed dually and noticed a huge difference over factory rotors that were garbage. Sorry no info on barrels being Cyro'd.
Link Posted: 2/1/2011 1:09:25 PM EST
UPDATE:

I sent my PS90 Hi Desert dog SBR (9") barrel to 300below and just got it back. They told me it would take 3 days turn around ($57), but it was more like 4 weeks, so I was disappointed with that. Range results were puzzling, maybe someone here can explain this to me.

I kept the targets for 50yd groups with and without my YHM Phantom can using same vmax 5.7 ammo, before and after treatment.

Before cryo, I got a 1-1/2" group no can; and 2-3/4" group with can; 5 shot groups.
After cryo, a 2-3/8" group with can (worse); and 1-7/8" group with can (better); 10 shot groups.

The only inconsistency between the tests is that the first (before cryo) was 5 shot groups, second group (after cryo) was 10-shots each target. All other factors such as temp, wind, location were same.

So overall I'm impressed that my groups shooting with a can improved, but puzzled why they got worse without the can. I should re-run the test with 5 shot strings and cleanings in between.


BEFORE CRYO



AFTER CRYO

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