Good/bad custom barrels ?

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
We all hanker after a good custom barrel, and have our favourite or recommended gun smith fit and chamber the tube...
The barrels all come in at different price points.

We all know what brands are recommended, and other that are not, but what creates the thought that the cheaper end (lets just say for talking sake...) barrels are not "good barrels". In simple terms - if they are not "good barrels", it means they are "bad" barrels surely?

Can any one help me define a what makes a "bad barrel" - bad?
Also, what brands this would be suggested as "bad"?

I fully appreciate that every manufacturer of firearms, barrels, parts etc can be deemed producing the odd "sunday morning jobs", but leaving that aside, lets just discuss generalisation of the subject.....why not choose one brand over the next?
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
To start off to say, I have had a selection of various brands of custom barrels in my time - Bartlein, Kreiger, border cut and button, custom barrel cut as a one off, Bergara, Brux, to name but a few.
I have my own thoughts, but I'm interested to hear your own educated thoughts and opinions....
 

srvet

Well-Known Member
I would say that every barrel maker can produce a good barrel but the best barrel makers do it every time. I have also used cut and buttoned over the years from Bartlein, Border, Shilen, Lothar Walther, PacNor, GB Barrels and Sassen. Both cut and buttoned can work really well but I prefer cut rifled barrels as no stress should be induced by the process. There may also be differences in quality of raw materials that could explain why some makers more consistently produce so called hummers!
It would be great to get the opinion of a real expert in barrel making @borbal
 

308tikka

Well-Known Member
As above, a good barrel is one that is going to perform once smith chambers it. You dont mind paying the money and if it is a wrongun, the company will stand over their product.

But it doesnt matter how good the barrel is, a bad smith will ruin it.
 

Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
This may be controversial and I guess potentially contradictory but here goes:

If a gun plumber gunsmith is going to issue a minimum group size guarantee with every custom made rifle, is it any wonder they will only wish to use a barrel that has flown to the sun and then been triple dipped in the Mariana Trench?

K
 

Ronin

Distinguished Member
Most quality barrels will deliver consistent accuracy rather than the “odd good group”

Bartlein, Kreiger, Broughton, Pac Nor, INternational Barrels, Sassen, GB Barrels, Brux, Lothar Walther are all excellent makers

Best to avoid “the others “ even if you get two for the price of a bag of chips.

Quality usually speaks for itself
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
Most quality barrels will deliver consistent accuracy rather than the “odd good group”

Bartlein, Kreiger, Broughton, Pac Nor, INternational Barrels, Sassen, GB Barrels, Brux, Lothar Walther are all excellent makers

Best to avoid “the others “ even if you get two for the price of a bag of chips.

Quality usually speaks for itself
Everyhing else is considered "not good" in your opinion?
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
I appreciate your honesty....

My question was more regarding your professional insights that you can offer over the "Average Joe" customer that can only go by recommendations or hearsay.

I understand that 99.9% barrels are inherently straight and without issues, but the want of a premium barrel by many, it's good to know why others do not fit the description of "premium" or recommended eg Hart, Douglas, shilen or bergara (I can only suppose as a "Spanish Shilen" as an easy way to describe it).

It goes back to what makes "not a good barrel", the not good barrel, (assuming all things equal as all works done by the same competent 'smith to create a fair and educated opinion) as I consider myself an "Average Joe" who pays for my barrel work to be done.
 

HandB

Well-Known Member
I have a Walther barreled .308 AI and it shoots nicely but so do my other rifles with ordinary factory barrels - I would suspect that the major limiting factor is my marksmanship skills as I hover around 1MOA with all my rifles. If you have excellent marksmanship skills then I guess a high end barrel could make a detectable difference to your accuracy but if you are more like me I doubt it would be distinguishable in accuracy terms from an ordinary barrel.
 

caberslash

Well-Known Member
I'd worry more about who did the fitting, inquire about their process and ask for them to walk you through it verbally, refusal to do so is a red flag.

The best barrel in the world will be wasted if the reamer is blunt from poor/overuse, chamber is badly cut/ off centre to the bore, barrel clocked poorly to the centreline of action, muzzle threads not concentric to bore, headspace not set properly, action timing affected... etc

No need for magic truing/fairy dust/special barrel rubbed on the thighs of unicorns and washed with angel's tears.
 

Ronin

Distinguished Member
I'd worry more about who did the fitting, inquire about their process and ask for them to walk you through it verbally, refusal to do so is a red flag.

The best barrel in the world will be wasted if the reamer is blunt from poor/overuse, chamber is badly cut/ off centre to the bore, barrel clocked poorly to the centreline of action, muzzle threads not concentric to bore, headspace not set properly, action timing affected... etc

No need for magic truing/fairy dust/special barrel rubbed on the thighs of unicorns and washed with angel's tears.


Meticulousness and attention to detail would be a good starting point
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
Meticulousness and attention to detail would be a good starting point
That's why I initially posted "all things being equal by not considering the Smith".

The post is in hope that the professionals on here can define why the likes of a shilen, Douglas, bergara, are not top...a few of them have won some big competitions in the USA, but we don't consider them good....
Is it straightness, steel quality etc?
It's not lack of availability as we can get bartlein, Krieger, Pacnor etc.

@Ronin as a customer, we do look for your encyclopedia knowledge and insights from your experience, as a professional. If a barrel brand does give "fliers" I would suggest that it would have been documented on various USA forums, and the brand check their inventory to catch any further accuracy issues.

At the end of the day I still struggle to understand what is a bad barrel brand (all things equal by being fitted by a suitable competent'smith). They must all be better than a factory...
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
After one of the comments from Ronin, it got me asking another question (I honestly have no clue over the answer) - what causes "fliers" from the cheaper/not as good barrels?
The answer as suggested is fit a top tier branded barrelsso it doesn't...

Any insight into the cause of why it happens?

Again, this is hope that the professionals can pass on a smidgen of their expertise and knowledge to us lesser mortals.

It was an interesting read of borbals paper, which I thoroughly enjoyed - many thanks for your knowledge.
 

imwatchingyou

Well-Known Member
For me a barrel is good when it is shoots accurately and consistently, is not fussy, cleans nicely, resists corrosion (internal and external), lasts well and also feels nice to clean and shoot. When I shoot a good barrel I can feel its good. Provenance and reputation are good starting points, use the brands that the top shooters use, use what the best smiths will use, and only use the best smiths, the ones with reputation for good work and reliable service. Who wants some wobbly rusty old pipe with rifling breaking away fitted by a bloke who wont talk to you and doesn’t work to the highest standards?
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
Who wants some wobbly rusty old pipe with rifling breaking away fitted by a bloke who wont talk to you and doesn’t work to the highest standards?

This sounds like a tikka T3 stainless in many cases I've seen with my own eyes....
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
For me a barrel is good when it is shoots accurately and consistently, is not fussy, cleans nicely, resists corrosion (internal and external), lasts well and also feels nice to clean and shoot. When I shoot a good barrel I can feel its good. Provenance and reputation are good starting points, use the brands that the top shooters use, use what the best smiths will use, and only use the best smiths, the ones with reputation for good work and reliable service. Who wants some wobbly rusty old pipe with rifling breaking away fitted by a bloke who wont talk to you and doesn’t work to the highest standards?
I agree with many points out of your expectations with regards to choosing a barrel, but to keep it on point.
Given we remove 'smiths out of the equation, if you have only every used "good", do you have any experience of "bad" brand barrels (in the same scenario) and retired a barrel early on this knowledge (and now experience)?
As mentioned earlier, many non current top tier brands have won many competitions in USA, but are not encouraged here....this is my initial question again - are they now not good (bad) barrels?
 

sauer

Well-Known Member
Why does a barrel produce fliers you ask?

How do you know it’s not the other variable …. The ammo ? Must say I’ve seen borescope of near shot out .22-250 and when see the images you would think it couldn’t hit a barn door but did moa for another wee while before finally opening up in groups


Paul
 
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