Breaking barrel in, what's the verdict?

rodp

Well-Known Member
Right gents, question for the knowledgeable.

I bought a new Howa 1500 .204 as a bad weather rough gun, having said that I still have mechanical sympathy and can't stand wilful abuse. In the online manual it mentions breaking the barrel in, and using window cleaner not bore cleaner in between each shot. I understand the need to remove oil and fire a few rounds to "seal" the pores in the barrel but what's the majority view on breaking a barrel in?

Any opinions appreciated, what's your preferred method?.
 

Ray7756

Well-Known Member
Only my opinion, after having spoke to some long range target shooters that say with the modern materials and manufacturing its not needed, but if the manufacturer gives you a routine for breaking in the barrel, its not a lot of inconvience to follow the routine
I bought a new sako and followed the breaking in routine, whether it makes a difference i will never know, personaly I enjoyed the breaking in process, you get to know your rifle and how it works
plus you say you have mechanical sympathy so you know you are going to follow the procedure
Ray
 

Lupus

Well-Known Member
It works for me. See cleaning improve markedly over the course of the process.

For those convinced barrel cleaning is a waste of time, then barrel break-in is of little use.

Wolfie
 

MTLEADFARMER

Well-Known Member
Step one. Run a boresnake down the pipe.
Step two. Shoot it till you can fry bacon on the barrel.
Step three. Eat bacon.
Step four. Repeat until all ammo or bacon is expended.
If you don't like bacon I can't help you.
 

rodp

Well-Known Member
Step one. Run a boresnake down the pipe.
Step two. Shoot it till you can fry bacon on the barrel.
Step three. Eat bacon.
Step four. Repeat until all ammo or bacon is expended.
If you don't like bacon I can't help you.
I do like bacon, very much so, but I've also seen those redneck pick up trucks and they don't go down well with the mechanical sympathy route :lol: :lol: :lol: Nice and esy way to do it though ;)
 

rodp

Well-Known Member
Only my opinion, after having spoke to some long range target shooters that say with the modern materials and manufacturing its not needed, but if the manufacturer gives you a routine for breaking in the barrel, its not a lot of inconvience to follow the routine
I bought a new sako and followed the breaking in routine, whether it makes a difference i will never know, personaly I enjoyed the breaking in process, you get to know your rifle and how it works
plus you say you have mechanical sympathy so you know you are going to follow the procedure
Ray

:oops: .................. ;)
 

MTLEADFARMER

Well-Known Member
Only my opinion, after having spoke to some long range target shooters that say with the modern materials and manufacturing its not needed, but if the manufacturer gives you a routine for breaking in the barrel, its not a lot of inconvience to follow the routine
I bought a new sako and followed the breaking in routine, whether it makes a difference i will never know, personaly I enjoyed the breaking in process, you get to know your rifle and how it works
plus you say you have mechanical sympathy so you know you are going to follow the procedure
Ray
This is the only thing break in procedure is good for.
Mechanical sympathy? It's a tool, use it.
 

JTO

Well-Known Member
Would it be more applicable to bored barrels than to hammer-forged barrels?
The explanation and procedure that used to be on the old Border Barrels website, seemed to make sense. They used Forest Bore Foam.
 

Highlandsjohn

Well-Known Member
Would it be more applicable to bored barrels than to hammer-forged barrels?
The explanation and procedure that used to be on the old Border Barrels website, seemed to make sense. They used Forest Bore Foam.[/QUOTE

Yes good advice, Barrel manufacturers are, who you should take advice...

How did your barrel get in this state? " I put this incredibly corrosive cleaning agent into my barrel and left it overnight as I thought it would clean it even better than the thirty minutes advised" Mmmm how often do you do this? "I do this every time I fire a shot through it" wrong...
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
Modern manufacturing methods should mean that barrels are pretty consistent as far as they go. As far as I'm concerned the proofing should be all it takes to 'break-in' a new barrel. My rifles (22-250 and .270) were both bought used, both have had around 500 shots through them since I bought them, and both still shoot 1moa (ish :cool:) despite my cleaning regime consisting of dragging a boresnake through them, and wiping them with an oily rag now and again
 

Dorsettaff

Well-Known Member
I still drive at 30 mph for the 1st 500 miles in any brand new car with a cardboard sign with a felt pen scrawled " Running in".......

I am always fascinated by how you can carefully "run in" barrel with a gilding metal bullet travelling at 2500-3500 fps with 45-60,000 psi behind it! I can just imagine those little metal burr being "gently" burnished and lapped as the bullet gracefully passes over it....

Having said that....I'm pretty anal about barrel cleaning and from my limited experience a "run in " barrel does tend to stay cleaner and be easier to clean than some others......

or perhaps that's more to do with the actual quality of the steel and the original machining!
 

Shootist

Well-Known Member
Here's what Varmint Al has to say on the matter. This man is a top flight engineer and an accuracy nut. Check out his web site to see what I mean.

http://www.varmintal.com/ashot.htm


NEW BARREL BREAK IN.... There is so much black magic out there about breaking in a barrel, that I am not going to suggest any procedure. I will merely tell you what I do with a new barrel. I take the brand new barrel and use J-B on it. That's right, I clean and polish it with J-B before even firing the first round through it. I put a light coat of J-B on a patch and give the barrel about 50 strokes from end to end with it. Then I clean the J-B out with a couple of patches of Shooter's Choice MC#7. I dry the bore with 3 or 4 patches until it is completely dry. I carefully clean the chamber of J-B too. That's it, the barrel is broken in and I am ready to sight in, shoot some groups, and work up an accurate load. I take the rifle to the range and shoot 3 or 4 five shot groups with Moly-coated bullets. I clean the barrel with Sweet's 7.62 and usually there is no copper. From then on, shooting only Moly-coated bullets, I clean the barrel when I feel guilty. If there is copper on the first cleaning, I conclude that I didn't do enough with the J-B and repeat the J-B treatment. All that these shoot-clean, shoot-clean, etc. break in processes do, in my opinion, is perform a slow, inefficient, and expensive polishing process which the J-B does better, smoother, and faster. I use a plastic coated stainless steel cleaning rod and a jag style that you wrap the patches around. I use the blue Shop Towels for patch material and I cut a roll into a number of 1-½-inch wide rolls with a sharp knife. I never use brushes in my barrels and I don't even have any. I use J-B, Shooter's Choice MC#7, and Sweet's 7.62. I am sure there are other procedures that are just as good or superior, but this works very well for me. If I have a particularly bad copper fouling barrel, I use Flitz Metal Polish instead of JB. Here and you can see what Shilen recommends for breaking in a new barrel.
 

cambsman

Well-Known Member
Right gents, question for the knowledgeable.

I bought a new Howa 1500 .204 as a bad weather rough gun, having said that I still have mechanical sympathy and can't stand wilful abuse. In the online manual it mentions breaking the barrel in, and using window cleaner not bore cleaner in between each shot. I understand the need to remove oil and fire a few rounds to "seal" the pores in the barrel but what's the majority view on breaking a barrel in?

Any opinions appreciated, what's your preferred method?.
quote "seal the pores". Really? What kind of metallurgy do you think is going on here?
 

Moray Outfitting

Well-Known Member
Rodp - its been dealt with on previous posts - the majority of which head off to major 'differences of opinion'. The net result is everyone is satisfied their view prevailed - and if not quite utter, then at least ongoing confusion on the part of those seeking initial info on which to make a decision.

I am not aware if it has been withdrawn or updated/ revised, but the World distributor of Howa did issue advice that owners should carry out a barrel break-in process. They then ( from memory ) went on to goof it up by giving precise instructions of x number of shots etc etc. Where as I would suggest that if we are doing something for a defined purpose, then the appropriate technique is the one that achieves that. So IF you decide to go down the route of break-in - establish firmly what you want and carry the process until achieved. That may be 2 shots, 10 shots, 50 shots or use of JB compound.

Done properly and with care, you will do no harm and the process can be applied whilst sighting in etc - ie shots aren't just cracked off. Done improperly, it will cause more effective 'wear' on the barrel than you sought to address. Same with cleaning - too much/ wrong just as damaging as too little/none/ wrong.

It is covered in other threads - but my personal view is many of the issues/ variance in opinion simply comes down to semantics and people ascribing different interpretations to the same observations. Thus the polar positions repeated here.

Ultimately your sentence at post #17 above really hits the nail on the head. :tiphat: .... but thats JUST my opinion! :D
 

ChesterP

Well-Known Member
Rodp - its been dealt with on previous posts - the majority of which head off to major 'differences of opinion'. The net result is everyone is satisfied their view prevailed - and if not quite utter, then at least ongoing confusion on the part of those seeking initial info on which to make a decision.

I am not aware if it has been withdrawn or updated/ revised, but the World distributor of Howa did issue advice that owners should carry out a barrel break-in process. They then ( from memory ) went on to goof it up by giving precise instructions of x number of shots etc etc. Where as I would suggest that if we are doing something for a defined purpose, then the appropriate technique is the one that achieves that. So IF you decide to go down the route of break-in - establish firmly what you want and carry the process until achieved. That may be 2 shots, 10 shots, 50 shots or use of JB compound.

Done properly and with care, you will do no harm and the process can be applied whilst sighting in etc - ie shots aren't just cracked off. Done improperly, it will cause more effective 'wear' on the barrel than you sought to address. Same with cleaning - too much/ wrong just as damaging as too little/none/ wrong.

It is covered in other threads - but my personal view is many of the issues/ variance in opinion simply comes down to semantics and people ascribing different interpretations to the same observations. Thus the polar positions repeated here.

Ultimately your sentence at post #17 above really hits the nail on the head. :tiphat: .... but thats JUST my opinion! :D
+1....with bells on.

I always clean a new barrel before first shooting it, and can feel any tight spots whilst pushing a rag through. For me, it is just a process of carefully polishing any slight areas where there is friction felt, the idea being that if polished, these areas may be less likely to copper up as quickly. How effective it is against an un-polished barrel, I don't know, as I've always done this. The golden rules are always to use a bore guide, never run jags or brushes roughly out of the muzzle and pull back, scoring the crown or rifling near the crown. I tend to clean after every outing to remove fouling. My take on it is why leave an abrasive within a barrel which ultimately may increase barrel wear? Combined with moisture it is also chemically erosive as evidenced by the damage to a rifle I once bought (cheaply) which had a mod left on it, requiring the barrel to be re-crowned. I always run an oil soaked rag through after cleaning for storage and dry patch the barrel before first use. On my .308, there's about an inch difference in POI between the first few shots subsequently taken but for deer to 100 or 150 yds, this simply is a non issue. Other people I know who have shot all their lives have never cleaned a barrel until they noticed grouping starting to open up. For me, that is simply too long as the coppering has already exceeded the most efficient plateau and is then a pain to remove properly without an extended or more involved cleaning regime, usually requiring brushes which I don't like to use. Each to their own, There's no right or wrong to this, it is one of those things where opinion is often polarised and people have their own reasons for how they approach cleaning and "break in" (which for me is not break-in but barrel polishing).
 

Hunter686

Well-Known Member
I find the process a waste of time in my opinion. The reason why a barrel becomes easier to clean is because the rounds passing down the barrel are smoothing out the matching left over in the barrel. I have yet to see a legitimate argument that explains exactly why cleaning every shot or what ever make sense.
 

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