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Posted: 3/22/2006 3:02:30 PM EDT
I am on the fence on cryoing my next 24" stainless bull barrel. I ask 10 different people about this and get 10 different answers! Will it improve my groups, some say yes some say no. I have heard that in some cases it will make the barrel shoot worse. I am looking for some educated answers and real world experiences.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:08:20 PM EDT
Cryo is heavily misunderstood by both it's supporters, and even more so with it's nay sayers.

Will it improve groupings. Yes and no.

Cryo does not change the physical dimensions of a barrel. There fore, your gun will not shoot smaller groups, nor will it shoot worse unless the cryogenicist messed up some how. You can air gauge a cryoed barrel before and after, and unless something went wrong in the process, you will have the exact same results.

What it does do is strengthen the molecular bond and relieve internal stress. The number one benefits of cryo are less molecular deformation caused by heating, outside stress, and internal molecular stress. It also reduces wear on areas that see contact from other objects.

Heat Deformation.
Heat deformation is a very common problem with accuracy. As the metal heats up, it literally softens, causing the barrel to deform easier. When the molecules heat up, they tend to lose their composure and bond, causing the metal to be more prone to said unintended movements. Cryo strengthens these bonds, so the barrel will keep it's accuracy longer during shooting sessions. Basically, your barrel will hold it's accuracy longer while you shoot. This is considered to be the number one benefit of cryo treatment.

Outside Stress.
This is a force applied to the metal object by a foreign source that causes unwanted consequences. Picture a bullet traveling down a barrel. Each time a bullet passes down the barrel, force is applied to the structural form of said barrel. Cryogenics will help stabilize the barrel when such forces are applied. This is believed to be a minor gain opposed to others.

Internal Molecular Stress.
When an item is forged, the molecules of the object are literally forced into place. As with all force shaped metals, they have a tendancy to attempt returning to their original shape. For instance, picture a spring and the effects of what happens when you compress it. Heat is a major contributor in this process. Again, increasing the molecular integrity of an item will help lessen the likeliness of an object to do so. The molecules in a forged item naturally fight themselves. Heat treating is a major factor, but Cryogenics have shown very positive results when relieving internal stress as well.


However, some barrels may not benefit from cryogenics at all. When a barrel is made absolutely right, the effects of cryo may never receive the chance to prove themselves. Luckily for the cryogenics industry, a very minimal amount of barrels are manufactured to such standards. Cryo does have it's benefits, but most slow firing bench shooters won't be able to tell a difference. Some people go out and fire one five shot group and expect to have their groups cut in half. It doesn't happen, so they hold a grudge against money they paid for a service that may never benefit them.

So it's up to you to decide if cryo is worth it. Your barrel should last longer, and you should be able to hold your groupings longer while shooting. I haven't cryoed a barrel, as I don't feel I'll ever need or use it's benefits.


Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:11:04 PM EDT
I wouldn't pay for cyro!!!
To each his own....
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 7:02:25 PM EDT
I had the chance to shoot a DPMS AP4 w/a cryoed barrel.....we made it a point to take several shot groups w/the gun cool then got it nice and hot using 3 beta mags then shot several more 5 shot groups and the differences in the cool and hot groups was practically negligible.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:10:23 AM EDT
Thanks for the good info!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:40:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GUNFRK223:
Thanks for the good info!



The structure of steel is not molecular. Knowing that, go read the responses again and ask yourself how useful they really are?

The last research I did nobody had any idea of the real effect of a deep cryogenic cycle on steel, beyond the recovery of some retained austenite. There are some people out there who claim wonderful benefits from doing it: most of these people have marketing degrees and a financial interest in the company.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 2:08:54 PM EDT
If PS Mag says cryo is a waste - thats good enough for me.

Your money, your call.

Good luck
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 4:45:06 PM EDT
In general, Cryo does seem to toughen up the steel a little bit, but the effects of Cryo on steel in general is a somewhat different discussion than the specific effects of Cryo on a button rifled barrel that contains internal stresses directly caused by the rifling process. The Cryo process does tend to relieve those internal stresses somewhat.

It actually does provide some real benefit in that case... however, the benefit is directly proportional to the amount of unrelieved stresses that are remaining in the barrel. In other words, a lower quality barrel, having more internal stresses, will have more "stress relieving" done, and more improvement will be accomplished by the Cryo treatment.

The problem with all this is that, since the percentage of improvement is rather small, perhaps around 5%, Cryo treating a low quality barrel will still not improve its accuracy level to that of a good barrel. And since the best barrels have already been de-stressed quite a bit during normal manufacturing, the Cryo benefits will be small, and perhaps not noticeable in normal use.

It might be considered a useful tool for the benchrest crowd that needs to wring out that last tiny fraction of improvement to stay in their game, but those barrels are usually so good that one could argue if there are even any gains there to be had.

Being somewhat obsessive by nature, personally, I usually go ahead and Cryo treat all the barrels that I work with, and it has always seemed to have some benefit in my eyes, but if someone had to pay out hard cash for for it, it would seem to me that the money would be better spent toward the purchase of a better quality barrel to begin with.

On the other hand, money spent on match grade ammo will almost always result in a dramatic accuracy improvement.

That's been my experience...anyone had any different results?

TC
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:10:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BattleRife:

Originally Posted By GUNFRK223:
Thanks for the good info!



The structure of steel is not molecular. Knowing that, go read the responses again and ask yourself how useful they really are?

The last research I did nobody had any idea of the real effect of a deep cryogenic cycle on steel, beyond the recovery of some retained austenite. There are some people out there who claim wonderful benefits from doing it: most of these people have marketing degrees and a financial interest in the company.



I'm well aware that metals are actually comprised of crystalline structures. For the sake of being simple, I called them molecules. My apologies.

I assure you I have no interests or financial ties to a cryogenic facility. I'm just sharing the very little I've picked up through automotive applications (which have been very noticeable).
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