Breaking in your rifle barrel

beauhunter41031

12 pointer
Jan 1, 2018
2,906
Cynthiana, Ky
Hell half the rifles I own are still in the break in process, most of them don’t even have 40 rounds through the barrel yet. I fell for that barrel breaking crap several years ago. Running a patch here in there as you’re dialing in the new scope you just put on isn’t gonna hurt anything but I’m not going through that 20-60 round waste of ammo gimmick anymore.
They will get broken in as they get used
 
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JR in KY

12 pointer
Jan 25, 2006
6,555
The Occupied South
That is total BS from Browning. If you see Copper trace in the barrel, you are in trouble. Ask @riverboss he never did get his to Shoot. You hope the barrel isn't a "Copper Miner" but a lot of cleaning with JB bore paste will help. Factory barrels are Hit and Miss; some ok, some not. I bought a used Remington 700 PSS used, Cheap that had issues. Polished for many hours and it finally quit coppering up.
When New, the barrel should be cleaned after every few shots But if it's screwed up it won't help.
 

riverboss

12 pointer
Jan 26, 2009
8,236
northern ky
I cleaned my savage shot it 4 times ran a bore scope down it just a couple specks of copper, cleaned it and sent 10 down it, scoped it again nothing!
Put 4 more down it sighting In was done.
Moved back to 250 yrds 2 shots 2in group moved back to 400 dialed scope put it within a inch of the 250 yrd shots.
Took it hunting fired one shot at 435 dead deer.
Rifling is rough looking threw a bore scope but man those savages shoot!
 

predator1

12 pointer
Dec 25, 2008
3,772
On top of a hill in Ky
I’ve always said I was going too. But have yet to…. They claim some rifles will start shooting better after 100 or so rounds down the pipe. I don’t know that I’ve ever put more than 100 rounds down any gun except my .243. Most others are less than 50.
 

predator1

12 pointer
Dec 25, 2008
3,772
On top of a hill in Ky
A
That is total BS from Browning. If you see Copper trace in the barrel, you are in trouble. Ask @riverboss he never did get his to Shoot. You hope the barrel isn't a "Copper Miner" but a lot of cleaning with JB bore paste will help. Factory barrels are Hit and Miss; some ok, some not. I bought a used Remington 700 PSS used, Cheap that had issues. Polished for many hours and it finally quit coppering up.
When New, the barrel should be cleaned after every few shots But if it's screwed up it won't help.
Any of y’all ever tried the Tubb’s Final Finish bullets?
 

JR in KY

12 pointer
Jan 25, 2006
6,555
The Occupied South
@riverboss did. Don't think they helped much.
A Defective Barrel cant be fixed.
I bought a almost new Remington VSSF for $500 a few years ago knowing it had a bad barrel. Fella had the Action trued, recrowned and gave up. He spent a lot of money on it. I looked at it through a Borescope ....missing rifling, skipped several places, looked like a small glob of SS just about 2 inches into the barrel. Horrible. I had it rebarreled with a Lilja (Remington contour) custom barrel chambered in 6 Dasher.
I considered it cheap, as I wanted the HS Precision stock and SS Action as a Donor Rifle.

I have another one just like it that is a real shooter.
 

riverboss

12 pointer
Jan 26, 2009
8,236
northern ky
A

Any of y’all ever tried the Tubb’s Final Finish bullets?
Yes I used them they helped and I think would of did a better job with them if I would of had the bore scope first!
I don't think I ever had all the copper out when I used them.
I'm going to do another round of the fine compounds just to see.
 

mwezell

12 pointer
Jan 22, 2006
4,110
Auburn, KY
Barrel break in a poorly named. It should be throat or chamber break in, as that's what break in is all about. Otherwise, you'd think a lapped bbl would have a significantly different routine than unlapped. A big portion of copper fouling originates at the tooling marks left by chambering. Friction of a copper bullet going down the bbl has little or nothing to do with it but a 5-8000° flame does. I often use the analogy of running a blow torch over the burr on a freshly bandsaw cut piece of metal. That burr will glow almost instantly and burn away without friction. It might do so before the piece of metal even gets hot enough that you can't hold it.
Another analogy is...When S&W first came out with their big 500 revolver they had issues with flame cutting of the top strap. The fix...polish the inside of the top strap. The flame smoothly traveled over the surface rather than the rough surface prior to polishing created a heat sink where erosion was given a starting point. Once the surface is roughened, it's hard to stop...like a fire cracked bbl bore.

A break in scenario that puts it in perspective is, say the first shot lays copper on one land only. That land it shielded from the flame so the other lands "break in" while that one doesn't at the same rate. That's why it should be done from the start, imho.
 

predator1

12 pointer
Dec 25, 2008
3,772
On top of a hill in Ky
Barrel break in a poorly named. It should be throat or chamber break in, as that's what break in is all about. Otherwise, you'd think a lapped bbl would have a significantly different routine than unlapped. A big portion of copper fouling originates at the tooling marks left by chambering. Friction of a copper bullet going down the bbl has little or nothing to do with it but a 5-8000° flame does. I often use the analogy of running a blow torch over the burr on a freshly bandsaw cut piece of metal. That burr will glow almost instantly and burn away without friction. It might do so before the piece of metal even gets hot enough that you can't hold it.
Another analogy is...When S&W first came out with their big 500 revolver they had issues with flame cutting of the top strap. The fix...polish the inside of the top strap. The flame smoothly traveled over the surface rather than the rough surface prior to polishing created a heat sink where erosion was given a starting point. Once the surface is roughened, it's hard to stop...like a fire cracked bbl bore.

A break in scenario that puts it in perspective is, say the first shot lays copper on one land only. That land it shielded from the flame so the other lands "break in" while that one doesn't at the same rate. That's why it should be done from the start, imho.
Great explanation. Which leads me to a different question of sorts. Does this mean a barrel is better off cleaned and polished before firing the first shot? And does doing so matter even matter much if a person isn’t a high volume shooter like the benchrest shooters?
 

beauhunter41031

12 pointer
Jan 1, 2018
2,906
Cynthiana, Ky
How accurate do you want it? If I’m understanding right Peak performance can be after 200 shots. At that point how many shots do you have until things start to change? Guns that I buy for hunting will probably never see 100 rounds in the next 5 years and I put money up saying they’ll shoot at least 1 moa indefinitely
 

ChrisInKY

Spike
Nov 7, 2019
53
Fort Knox
How many of you break in your barrel on your rifle. I’m talking about cleaning it after each shot for the first five rounds or so, then cleaning it after every 5 rounds, and so forth till you get a couple hundred rounds through it.
Why would you stop cleaning after every round at the five-shot mark? One look at my powder drop's reservoir and you can see how easily fouling happens.

For precision rifle: Absolutely.
For hunting rifles: Why not?
For ARs: Nope.
 

DocPain

6 pointer
Aug 23, 2021
205
Hardinsburg Kentucky
Why would you stop cleaning after every round at the five-shot mark? One look at my powder drop's reservoir and you can see how easily fouling happens.

For precision rifle: Absolutely.
For hunting rifles: Why not?
For ARs: Nope.
Just took the five shot mark as an example from one of the manufacturers recommended break in procedure.
 

DBNF HNTR

Spike
Nov 10, 2018
89
Rowan Co, KY
I used to but I don’t anymore. Never could tell a difference. If I’m doing load development I won’t clean as long as I’m shooting the same bullet jacket material from a manufacturer, but if I’m going to switch to a different company’s bullet I will clean the barrel before running that new bullet.
 

mwezell

12 pointer
Jan 22, 2006
4,110
Auburn, KY
Great explanation. Which leads me to a different question of sorts. Does this mean a barrel is better off cleaned and polished before firing the first shot? And does doing so matter even matter much if a person isn’t a high volume shooter like the benchrest shooters?
Yes, any new gun or bbl should be cleaned before firing, including the inside of the bolt and fire control parts. I saw several guns this season with failure to fire issues. A couple of them brand new guns. If you think about it..it was unusually cold to start the gun season. Oils left by the mfg or from cleaning and storing tend to gum up or thicken in cold weather. That slows firing pin fall, sometimes drastically.

As for polishing the bbl before firing, that's a double edged sword, so to speak. Too smooth can actually promote copper fouling. Normal cleaning will cause no such problem. But yes, some smiths will lightly polish the throat after chambering a new barrel to help with initial break in. This needs to be done by a very qualified smith. You can do way more harm than good if you're not careful. In this context, I'm literally referring to fin sandpaper or similar on a dowel while the bbl is still in the lathe. Now, using a little jb bore compound or similar is a good idea on a new chamber/bbl, but you can take it too far. The best bbls are final lapped with no finer than about 320 grit aluminum oxide lapping compound. That leaves a good finish but certainly not what I'd call polished. Many use closer to 220 grit. Aluminum oxide breaks down into much finer grit as it's used, too..fwiw.

I'll see if I can take or find some borescope pics of a very good looking throat vs one that is much more likely to cause fouling and needs more break in, a little later and post them. All chamber reamers are far from being equal. Some produce a smoother throat/chamber than others. Doesn't mean one will out shoot the other after a proper break in though. The chamber will be pretty much a mirror image of the reamer used to cut it. I have some reamers that leave a super finish and one in particular that has won me a few national level matches that is fugly, by comparison. Those bbls have all foulded more than I want but they break in, just takes a little more work and time doing it..while some never pulled the first bit of copper, ever.
 


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