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Thread: When is a barrel cold again after shooting.

  1. #1

    When is a barrel cold again after shooting.

    When zeroing for a cold barrel how long should one wait between groups?

    Obviously a heavy match barrel will be less susceptible than a mountain rifle to thermal change. But I have no idea if, for instance, when the barrel is cool to touch previous events have ceased to have an effect on the next group or if, actually, once the barrel and mod are only warmish the effects would be negligible.

    Also anyone like to hazard a guess as to whether the effects are more linear or binary?

  2. #2
    Cool to touch is fine. Some go as far as using a thermometer, but provided the barrel is not obviusly warm to touch then good to go. How long - well very much depends on air temperature, direct sun, barrel weight etc. But after shot feel barrel, open bolt and leave open and then leave for three/ four minutes before next shot. Between groups leave for five / ten minutes. I take my 22rf along and shoot this between shooting groups with centrefire rifle.

    The reason for letting barrel cool is that as barrels heat up the metal expands. No issue if the barrel os perfectly concentric - ie hole is perfectly in the middle. But in practice they are not, and thus as barrel heats up you get a degree of warping. Thin light barrels are more susceptible than heavy barrels, and the most extreme is on double rifles/ combination guns where one barreled is soldered to another - on my combination gun as the rifle barrel heats up it expands length ways and as it is soldered to the top barrel it has to warp upwards.

    In practice though barrel heating is not an issue in the field - first shot is the key shot and if a second or third is required they will be close enough.

    As important though barrel cooling is for groups, more important is ensuring that the rifle is held the same way for each shot and that the rifle is subject to the same forces each shot. I learnt to shoot the old fashioned way off a sling with the rifle firmly held and squeezed in. I do use a Soft rest if possible but still hold the rifle the same way with a firm hold on the foreend. Many use a bipod and use their off hand on the butstock - no argument from me in this technique, but don't be surprised if the rifle shoots differently.

  3. #3
    Cheers Heym, just the sort of info I was after.

  4. #4
    i too find taking the rimfire along and shooting some groups with it while i wait for the centre fire to cool down beneficial. I also like to practise shooting off sticks and firing from different positions with the rimfire.

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