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Discussion Starter #1
interested to hear your thought on breaking in a new deer rifle barrel. Has anyone used fire lapping and if so, how tedious and long of a process is it. Where did you purchase the bullets? Cast or jacketed?
 

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Personally I never worry about it. I do fire a fouling round in a clean barrel before sighting though. I then just sight the gun in and go hunting or target shooting.
There is so much disagreement on this subject, even between so called experts, it will blow your mind.
Go to Google and type in " new rifle barrel break in " to see what I mean. Happy reading.
 

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Well, I do this:

Fire three rounds(normal copper jacket bullets, nothing special). Then clean thoroughly(copper solvent and all!). Then repeat for at least 30 rounds. Usually I start to notice a difference around that 30 round mark. I try to do 50 like that...shooting 3 then cleaning well.

I don't know if it improves accuracy all that much, but in the end I get virtually no copper fouling when cleaning. Also, after my break-in I don't clean the bore very often. I may clean it after a rainy day afield, but not just for trips to the range. It's not needed and affects accuracy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, I've been doing a lot of research. I've always fired a shot, cleaned, fired / cleaned for about 10 rounds, then went to a 3 shot string for 15 rounds, then a 5 shot string until I've fired about 100 rounds. But I was hearing that fire lapping can get rid of the tool marks that eventually collect copper fouling a lot quicker. didn't know if anyone has ever tried it.
 

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I would highly reccomend that you don't even think about fire lapping with diamond dust... more than likely you'll clean the rifling, especially in the throat area right out.. Better off to get some JB and use it lightly with the first 10 shots you shoot, mixed with Butches....just brush lightly and that will remove most of the debris from cutting the rifling..and for the most part 99% should already be removed..if it's that bad then no amount of cleaning will remove a big slice, nick, or bur..I have a friend who tried fire lapping..he cleaned the first six inched of rifling out of the barrel, so be careful if you try it.
 

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I never use to believe in any type of break in procedure. But lately, I've moved a little off dead center.

I just purchased a new 220 Swift barrel for my Encore. Now, when I got this delivered the bore was full of machine oil and "stuff" from the factory. So, I swabbed the bore with Butch's and a patch. (Did this with about 5 different patches) Then I ran a poly brush down it, and another Butch's soaked patch.

I was still getting a light brown patch. So, I bought some JB bore paste that comes with a small amount of oil. This is the non-EMBEDDING compound that is sold. I first ran an oil soaked patch down the barrel, then I applied the past. I ran the patch (patch is fairly tight in the bore....but not "knuckle busting" tight) down the bore for 20 strokes, then I cleaned the bore with Butch's, and again, ran a dry patch down the bore.

So, I got another clean patch, soaked it with Butch's and ran it down the bore. Well....this was the first one that came back with no...and I mean NO!!! dirt on it. There wasn't a hint of brown on this patch!!

So, I'm very pleased with JB. Now....I haven't had a chance to shoot this barrel yet, but maybe this weekend.

SW
 

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I used the Tubbs Final Finish on my 300WSM to speed up the break in process(in theory). I don't know if it made much difference or not. It shoots well and cleans easy now.

Anymore I shoot a barrel and see how well it cleans up before worrying about a specific break in routine. My match grade barrels are all hand lapped when I get them so they tend to clean up easy right from the start. The factory barrels have been touch and go. Some clean up good and shoot well from day one with no break-in. Others are so rough that no break-in regime is going to help.
 

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What you need to do to a new barrel really depends on the quality of the barrel. And the initial condition of the barrel. I have seen new barrels that need fire lapping. Some that needed a good hand lapping. Some that came hand lapped from the factory. And some that needed no lapping or initial break in.

So what are you starting with??

Normally with any factory rifle I do a good hand lapping of the barrel before I shoot the first shot. This has always been all that was needed. But I have had a couple of Savage's and one Encore Barrel that need a fire lapping. And it worked out very well in all cases.

If you have a question about what to do with a particular rifle then you really need to use a bore scope and check it out. But for any factory rifle a good hand lapping is normally a good thing.

Don't fire lap a barrel unless it really needs it. Fire lapping will remove some metal. And maybe more than you want. Tom.
 

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if the barrel is a custom tube, i'd follow the makers instructions for break-in. a factory tube will never know the difference. and i'd never fire lap a custom.
 

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I recently purchased a Win Mod 70 extreme weather in 300 win mag. FNH makes the barrels (they make the machine gun barrels for the military). I called and spoke to a tech. He told me that there is no break in for this barrel. It should shoot right out of the box. It did.
 

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I got a question for you fellas. I have heard about fire lapping for a while now and I am wondering how a softer material such as copper will actually lap a harder material such as the gun barrel? even more so without actually putting a lapping compound or some sort of abrasive to cut material away?
 

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It burnishes the bore....does not cut any material away. The friction and general forces applied from the bullet traveling down the bore smooth out mostly microscopic machining marks.
 

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bigben said:
I have heard about fire lapping for a while now and I am wondering how a softer material such as copper will actually lap a harder material such as the gun barrel? even more so without actually putting a lapping compound or some sort of abrasive to cut material away?
By definition "lapping" includes the use of an abrasive. Fire lapping requires applying an abrasive to the bullet and it will remove material.

In contrast "breaking in" a barrel by firing involves no abrasive. It happens when the contact pressure exceeds the metal yield strength. Copper forced under extremely high pressure exceeds the yield strength of the raised machining marks and bends them over. The machine marks are cut perpendicular to the bore and the bullet "burnishes" the steel by forcing the high spots over to follow the direction of the bore. Little or no metal is removed as compared to lapping.

One way or another, the barrel will be broken in, just as one way or another an engine will be broken in. If you remove the copper after each shot or after every few shots the steel will lay down easier and quicker because the copper is not trapped between the ridges, maybe around 20 shots. This will provide a smoother than original cut surface preventing copper from building up as fast, allowing more shots before accuracy falls off, and allowing a clean barrel to shoot closer to a previous point of impact.

The alternative is not to remove the copper between shots. At some point the barrel will achieve some level of burnish with copper embedded under the steel. Often a rifle will settle in like this somewhere between 50-100 shots. The bore will foul quicker because the steel cannot lay over as well, exposed embedded copper collects copper quicker than bare steel, when the barrel is cleaned very well the interior of the bore will be quite different than when copper fouled so it will require several shots to foul and return to previous point of impact.

To stabilize a barrel with a break-in procedure requires maybe 20 shots and elbow grease, to not follow a specified break-in may take 80 shots to stabilize the barrel but little elbow grease. But over the life of the barrel you will clean it more often or suffer accuracy drop-offs quicker.
 

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Very good explanation!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
what do you recommend as a course of fire for new barrel break in? I'm thinking 10 single shot string with a powder and copper cleaning in between each shot and then moving to 5 3 shot strings with a cleaning every 3rd shot. does this sound about right?
 

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no one can prove either way if breaking in a new barrel helps or hurts accuracy or prolongs barrel life.
 

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sweg, that is a pretty standard recommendation and what I use. I personally attended accuracy seminars by Darrell Holland, Kenny Jarrett, and the Barnes ballistic lab. All 3 recommended a similar routine. I have a borescope and production barrels can look very different so no one specific routine and count will be the "best" for every barrel but that should work well. Posted this link on here before, I have a variety of bore videos posted, new barrels, used, some very used and old, some with defects, just to show some variety. All the videos start by going around the throat and then move down the barrel a bit.
http://picasaweb.google.com/tundragriz/BoreVideos#

Here are some similar routines, I think the Krieger write-up has some informative details in theirs:

Krieger
http://www.kriegerbarrels.com/Break_In__Cleaning-c1246-wp2558.htm

Montana Rifleman
http://www.montanarifleman.com/New_barrel_break_in.pdf

Pac-Nor
http://www.pac-nor.com/care/

Lilja
http://www.riflebarrels.com/support/centerfire_maintenance.htm

Shilen
http://www.shilen.com/faq.html#question10

Barnes, “From the Lab”
http://www.barnesbullets.com/resources/newsletters/december-2008-barnes-bullet-n/

http://www.gunnersden.com/index.htm.rifle-bore-cleaning.html

http://www.rifle-accuracy-reports.com/barrel-break-in.html

Sisk, down the page several paragraphs into “range testing”
http://www.siskguns.com/sisk%20rifles%20-%20magazine%20articles.htm

“shoot in the barrel"
http://www.shootingsoftware.com/fouling.htm
 

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hart says no break in, and hart wins there fair share of matches. gale mcmillan states barrel break in proceedures were dreamed up by a barrel maker to sell more barrels. shilen barrels state "How should I break-in my new Shilen barrel?
Break-in procedures are as diverse as cleaning techniques. Shilen, Inc. introduced a break-in procedure mostly because customers seemed to think that we should have one. like i said before no one can prove breaking in a new barrel helps or hurts, just opinions. one thing is for sure, improper cleaning will ruin a barrel fast.
 

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Exactly who at Hart told you no? I just got off the phone with Bobby Hart and asked him about the 700 they did for me. His question to me was, "is it one of our barrels or a production barrel?" I said they hand lapped my production barrel. He then explained their break-in procedure of shooting and cleaning just like the ones above.

Let's be clear here, this is not a discussion about custom hand-lapped competition barrels (McMillan's point). They already have the ridges removed from at least the bore area by hand-lapping, and yet still despite this, the vast majority of barrel makers prescribe a barrel break-in as a recommended practice. I can also direct you to gun makers that do the break in procedure on whatever custom barrel they use after they are lapped so their clients do not have to. But this discussion is about production hunting guns without any final polishing. If you're afraid that you might damage your barrel because you don't know how to clean it correctly then the problem resides in you, not the practice.

You also forgot to complete the Shilen quote, in the part you forgot they describe how breaking in the barrel "in fact" accomplishes the same thing as they provide by doing the handlapping, the rest of the Shilen quote:

All our stainless steel barrels have been hand lapped as part of their production, as well as any chrome moly barrel we install. Hand lapping a barrel polishes the interior of the barrel and eliminates sharp edges or burrs that could cause jacket deformity. This, in fact, is what you are doing when you break-in a new barrel through firing and cleaning.
I think the Shilen quote makes it pretty clear what break-in is accomplishing.
 

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I suspect he was talking about the barrelmaker Hart?. The barrelmaker Hart does not believe a break-in process is needed on their barrels....
 
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