Do You Need To Break In A New Rifle Barrel?

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

I run a break-in procedure on my rifles.  This involves (1) a round, (2) brush/solvent/patch full stroke down the barrel, (3) dry patch or mop, next round, and so on. This process continues for several dozen rounds, then you skip to three rounds before the same procedure, and so on until the process is completed at 50 or more rounds.  You’ll wear out at least two bore brushes this way.  I’ve done it.  A bore guide is handy, and a day at the range is necessary.  You can’t complete the process in under a day.

This is a question I have wondered about myself, and I’m glad that the video author found several high powered barrel manufacturers to discuss it.  The first two representatives essentially reiterated what I thought and what I’ve been told, except that they focus on the machining marks in the throat and chamber, while I always thought it had to do with machining marks on the throat, chamber and barrel (inconsistencies in the throat, chamber and barrel such as microscopic burs, ridges and chatter marks left by the machining process).

The third barrel manufacturer was slightly more nonchalant about the process.  You be the judge.  I think I’ll continue to run the break-in procedure when I buy a new rifle.  Any gunsmiths or tool and die / jig engineers are welcome to weigh in on this issue.

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Comments

  1. On February 5, 2016 at 10:41 am, Geoffry K said:

    When I built my 5.56 and 300BLK I just went and shot a mag or two, then cleaned.
    The more I shoot them, the better they get.
    The 5.56 is 1/2MOA and the 300BLK is 1 to 1.5MOA.
    I don’t bother to clean them for less than 20 rounds until the next time I shoot.

  2. On February 6, 2016 at 11:48 am, Haywood Jablome said:

    I always had done the same thing. Then I bought a LaRue Tactical 556 and a LMT 7.62 and called them directly since they were both pretty damn expensive and I didn’t want to screw them up. Both insisted that no break in period was necessary. LaRue suggested using match ammo for the first couple hundred rounds, but said just clean it normally. LMT said fire away.

    This is a tough one…I really wish I had the money to buy two identical rifles and try it both ways. Anyone want to buy me a couple?

    Another great article Cap. Keep ’em coming….

  3. On February 9, 2016 at 10:34 am, Pat Hines said:

    The barrel material and finish is also involved. Unless it’s a stainless steel barrel, I try to have them chrome lined. The chrome process fills in some of the tool marks, and presents a very hard, smooth surface. This is why chrome lined barrels are easy to clean, “stuff” just doesn’t stick to them. t do not think a break in process will improve a chrome lined barrel much at all.

    Stainless steel barrels are another thing. While a break in process possibly smoothes up things, things that a precision target shooter using custom made ammo might be able to measure, I don’t think the ordinary shooter will see much here either.

    I’ll leave discussion of plain steel alloy barrels to others that use them.

  4. On February 10, 2016 at 6:24 pm, SSG K said:

    I have used the barrel break in of an F class champion whose name I have long forgotten which goes something like this:

    And that’s all there is to it!”

    Those are his exact instructions. lol Anyway, I clean the new barrel on all my rifles until the patch comes out nearly as clean as it went in. After that, the only cleaning the barrel gets is getting the carbon out after a shooting session which means using ONLY carbon solvents and no copper solvents (nothing with ammonia or any other chemical designed to remove copper). I do not use copper solvents until my accuracy goes bad from copper buildup which can take hundreds to thousands of rounds depending on caliber, powder chemistry, bore quality and more. I have done this with all new rifles and barrels over the last 20ish years. My precision rifles still shoot very sub MOA groups. With heavy magnums having barrel life of 1200 rounds or less, that break in really shortens the time before you need to replace a barrel needlessly.

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You are currently reading "Do You Need To Break In A New Rifle Barrel?", entry #14740 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published February 5th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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