Caribou Gear

Rifle break in question

huntin24/7

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I'm just wondering how many of you go through a barrel break in process or if you just start shooting groups right away with a new rifle. If so, what process do you go through to break in a barrel? I've always just started shooting a new rifle like I've owned the gun for years with good results, but I'd be curious to know what you more serious shooters do.
 

mtmuley

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Never bothered to follow any break-in. Shoot it without getting it hot. Keep it clean but don't clean excessively. mtmuley
 

putm2sleep

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Shoot it and abuse it then - make it a tack driver man! I believe confidence in your process and weapon and load will improve your shooting. My M77s wernt broken in and the .338 never had a cleaning patch or solution other than Federal Premium powder and NPs clean that barrel!

If you want to shoot kicka$$ groups, and long range, I would recommend a shooting school and re-loading.

note: Not all are blessed with mad trigger skills and integrated laser range finder.
 

sbhooper

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Just go shoot it! You can clean it a bit if you want, but if you clean it a lot, you will have to shoot a fouling shot or two to bring the group back.
 

Big Fin

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This information comes with every Howa Rifle. It is pretty much the process I have followed since a gun smith in Carson City, NV told me how he did it. You will get a lot of different replies and they all probably are focused on the same thing - filling the pores of the barrel that were created when the barrel was cut and lapped.

HOWA RIFLE RECOMMENDED BREAK-IN PROCEDURE
For the first ten shots we recommend using jacketed bullets with a nitro powder load (Most Factory Ammo). Clean the oil out of the barrel before each shot using a simple window cleaner (like Windex®) which will soak the oil out of the pores. After firing each cartridge, use a good copper cleaner (one with ammonia) to remove the copper fouling from the barrel. We do not recommend anything with an abrasive in it since you are trying to seal the barrel, not keep it agitated.

After cleaning with bore cleaner, clean again with window cleaner after each shot. Use window cleaner because many bore cleaners use a petroleum base which you want to remove before firing the next shot. This will keep the carbon from building up in the barrel (oil left in the pores, when burned, turns to carbon).

To keep the temperature cool in the barrel, wait at least 5 minutes between break-in shots. The barrel must remain cool during the break-in procedure. If the barrel is allowed to heat up during the break-in, it will destroy the steel's ability to develop a home registration point, or memory. It will have a tendency to make the barrel "walk" when it heats up in the future. We have all seen barrels that, as they heat up, start to shoot high and then "walk" to the right. This was caused by improperly breaking in the barrel (generally by sitting at a bench rest and shooting 20 rounds in 5 minutes or so). If you take a little time in the beginning and do it right, you will be much more pleased with the barrel in the future.

Look into the end of the barrel after firing a shot, and you will see a light copper-colored wash in the barrel. Remove this before firing the next shot. Somewhere during the procedure, around shot 6 or 7, it will be obvious that the copper color is no longer appearing in the barrel. Continue the window cleaner and bore cleaner applications through shot 10.

Following the initial ten shots, you then may shoot 2 rounds, cleaning between each pair of shots, for the next 10 shots. This is simply insuring that the burnishing process has been completed. In theory, you are closing the pores of the barrel metal that have been opened and exposed through the cutting and hand lapping procedures.

Since you have spent good money on a rifle, seems only reasonable to research the many different break-in recommendations.
 

BuzzH

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I don't think it hurts anything to do some sort of break-in, but IMO, just not shooting a rifle until you can light a cigar off the barrel is the most important thing.
 

TimeOnTarget

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For the 1st 10 rounds, 1 round then clean. next 12 rounds 3 rounds then clean, next 20 rounds 5 rounds then clean.

This is what I used to break in on my newest rifle (3 years old) and it hold .5 MOA to 600yds (maybe further, haven't tried) with hand loads if I'm doing my part.

You might as well use some sort of break in procedure...What's it going to hurt?
 

MKotur325

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I think it really matters what sort of barrel you are working with. Here's my best advice straight from Bartlein Barrels.

Link http://www.bartleinbarrels.com/BreakInCleaning.htm


The age old question, "Breaking in the New Barrel". Opinions very a lot here, and this is a very subjective topic. For the most part, the only thing you are breaking in, is the throat area of the barrel. The nicer the finish that the Finish Reamer or Throating Reamer leaves, the faster the throat will break in.

Shoot one round and clean for the first two rounds individually. Look to see what the barrel is telling you. If I'm getting little to no copper out of it, I sit down and shoot the gun. Say 4 - 5 round groups and then clean. If the barrel cleans easily and shoots well, we consider it done.

If the barrel shows some copper or is taking a little longer to clean after the first two, shoot a group of 3 rounds and clean. Then a group of 5 and clean.

After you shoot the 3rd group and 5th group, watch how long it takes to clean. Also notice your group sizes. If the group sizes are good and the cleaning is getting easier or is staying the same, then shoot 4 - 5 round groups.

If fouling appears to be heavy and taking a while to clean, notice your group sizes. If group sizes are good and not going sour, you don't have a fouling problem. Some barrels will clean easier than others. Some barrels may take a little longer to break in. Remember the throat. Fouling can start all the way from here. We have noticed sometimes that even up to approximately 100 rounds, a barrel can show signs of a lot of copper, but it still shoots really well and then for no apparent reason, you will notice little to no copper and it will clean really easy.

This is meant as guide lines only. There is no hard and fast rule for breaking in a barrel.
 

HighDesertSage

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Iv'e never broken in any of my rifles. Just put 50 rds through my new Tikka on Sunday. By the time it was dialed in, I was shooting 3" groups at 200. I allow adequate time to cool between each 3 shot group and never get it too hot.

However, I personally will only shoot out to 400 yards and I am very happy with 1" groups at 100 yards. It may make a difference of you are a bench/long range shooter, but all my rifles are definitely minute-of-deer/elk.

On a side note, I have had a gunsmith tell me that putting bore cleaner into a hot barrel is a bad idea.
 

JEL

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I bought a new rifle last fall and followed the recipe in Randy's post above. Seemed to work. On previous new rifles (it had probably been 20 years) I don't remember doing anything but shooting. That seemed to work just as well.
 

MKotur325

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I wonder if just running a bore snake through would do the trick, or should a guy stick to the cleaning solvents?

I wouldn't use a bore snake. Most custom barrel mfr's recommend either NEVER using a copper/bronze brush, or using one that's at least one caliber undersized. I've even see a few barrel makers who recommend no nylon brushes as well. If it were me, I'd bring a rod a jag, patches and solvents. Brushes are one of the largest factors in damaging the throat of a barrel and can cause early throat degradation.

Let chemestry work for you, as long as you completely remove the solvents, they will be far less damaging than using a brush.
 

.280 Remington

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Gun writers over on the 24hourcampfire claim that it isn't worth the work. The underlying theory being you can't polish a turd/a good barrel is going to shoot regardless.

I don't bother with it.
 

ccc23454

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i just shot 1 shot, run oily bore snake, shot a group then bore snake, then about every 10 shots i bore snake. after first range trip i clean real good then it doesn't anything done to it other than a periodic oily patch for 6 months, if i shot a lot then i will do a copper defouling about one a year. most barrel damage is from cleaning not shooting
 

1_pointer

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I wouldn't use a bore snake. Most custom barrel mfr's recommend either NEVER using a copper/bronze brush, or using one that's at least one caliber undersized. I've even see a few barrel makers who recommend no nylon brushes as well. If it were me, I'd bring a rod a jag, patches and solvents. Brushes are one of the largest factors in damaging the throat of a barrel and can cause early throat degradation.

Let chemestry work for you, as long as you completely remove the solvents, they will be far less damaging than using a brush.
And a bore guide. I'd bet more barrels have been harmed by the lack of a bore guide than copper/bronze brushes.

That said, I just shoot them and clean them when they quite shooting like I want them too.
 

mtmuley

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I read the barrel break-in procedures posted. Basically they say to shoot the rifle and keep the barrel cool. Proper cleaning procedure will help more than any "break-in" will. mtmuley
 

danr55

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How about "It Depends"? With a hook cut rifled barrel, you need a lot of break in and even lapping or you will be cleaning forever and the POI will constantly change. With a button rifled barrel, there are not as many burrs in the rifling, but there are still a lot of nooks and crannys that need to be worked out and cleaned up. Lapping is still a good idea. With hammer forged or Enfield rifled barrels, there is not much required. Keep the bore reasonably clean and you should be in good shape.
 

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