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As I expect to pick up a new rifle today, I've been doing a fair bit of research on "proper" barrel break in procedures. A controversial subject, to say the least, and from what I've seen so far, there are about as many different opinions, pro and con, as there are shooters :). And of those that DO consider it an important process, everyone seems to have their own pet procedure. But the basics seem to be pretty similar, clean, shoot, clean, shoot, etc., with the intent of essentially fire lapping the barrel without actually calling it fire lapping :). The idea being that a polished bore is more accurate, fouls less, and cleans easier. So here's the question.

Rather than burn through all that ammo and cleaning supplies, not to mention time, why not just clean, then polish the bore with something like JB? Not trying to start an argument here, just curious. I'm not that familiar with powder burning rifles, my gunpowder experience is decades old and nearly all handgun, and all my shooting for the last several years has been air guns. I've used JB on those, when I had one that just would NOT shoot, it worked well, and you could really feel the difference in the bore when cleaning. Seems like the technique should transfer over, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

BTW, an over due thank you to all that have responded to my recent posts, like I just said, I've been out of powder burners for a long time, and this forum has been a gold mine of information. Glad you folks are here, and I hope to be able to contribute something myself in the near future. Later.

Dave
 

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Yep, there are plenty of different opinions on the barrel break in process. I just bought a new gun and will simply follow the manufactures suggestion on the barrel break in. I had a different routine i thought of doing but will follow theirs which is a full 2 box/40 shot break in. Not really looking forward to it though. A lot of the manufactures have a barrel break in process you can find on their web or call if you can't. Good luck
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Hand lapping is done by the higher end barrel mfg'rs and is an art unto itself. Lots of elbow grease and time consuming.

JB is a fine product and I use it when wanting to clean up a stubborn bore of fouling, but don't consider it much of a lapping conpound unless you wear yourself out doing it.

The owner of this board sells a fire lapping kit complete with instructions which will polish up that bore in no time flat. Contact him at the address and/or 1-800 phone number listed on the home page. I've fire lapped several bores using this technique and believe me, it's far better than all that hand lapping!
 

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With rare and very limited exceptions, I have never seen any advantage to wearing out a barrel in any way except by shooting bullets through it. That's all polishing, lapping, shoot/clean/shoot/clean X-umpteen rounds, etc. are --prematurely wearing the bore without the fun factor.

Shoot a lot, clean when needed, enjoy.
 

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Hand lapping is done by the higher end barrel mfg'rs and is an art unto itself. Lots of elbow grease and time consuming.

JB is a fine product and I use it when wanting to clean up a stubborn bore of fouling, but don't consider it much of a lapping conpound unless you wear yourself out doing it.

The owner of this board sells a fire lapping kit complete with instructions which will polish up that bore in no time flat. Contact him at the address and/or 1-800 phone number listed on the home page. I've fire lapped several bores using this technique and believe me, it's far better than all that hand lapping!
Do you fire lap your brand new guns or are you talking about down the road ?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Depends. First, I don't firelap unless there are problems. Problems such as excess bore fouling, pressure signs with factory ammo, or tight spots in the bore.

Guns that are intended for cast bullet shooting are more sensitive to any constrictions in the bore. For example, in my Marlins you could feel where the dovetails are cut in the barrel when I slugged them (prior to lapping). Also the stamping on the side of the barrel! Those got lapped without question.

I have one bolt gun that was lightly pitted. It shot well but fouled horribly and gave pressure signs with factory ammo. It got lapped. While the fouling isn't entirely gone, it's much better and there is no more hard bolt lift. Could replace the barrel but it shoots good enough (about 1.5 MOA) and my wife has no trouble killing deer and hogs with it. So it is going to stay the way it is.

Just some examples where firelapping helps.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Both.

Using the Hawkeye borescope, could see rifling button chattering and other tool marks in the bore of a new barrel. After BTB firelapping as per Marshall's instruction, enough were removed to make the bore nice and clean.

Using the same scope on a couple of older firearms that were hard to clean of fouling, determined enough marks and small gouges were present to warrant lapping. Same result as with the new bore - nice and shiny. The lands and grooves wear at about the same rate, so not much change evident in the depth of the grooves (height of lands).
 

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The worst thing you can do is get the barrel hot. Shooting more then 2-3 rounds at a time rapidily can easily ruin a brand new rifle. JB is a great tool to help break in and does not require wearing out your arm.

I would never fire lap any barrel unless it shot really bad or was old and worn out as Mike suggested. The young guys who do this thinking its gonna make their guns sniper accurate have it all wrong. True accuracy comes from normal use and good cleaning, there is no sence in firing a couple hundred rounds through it and getting it all hot, won't help anything.
 

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i would simply clean the barrel before shooting, then shoot it.
as long as it shoots well id just keep shooting it.
when it starts to shoot less accuratly id clean it. jb could help restore the accuracy.
 

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It won't hurt it to shoot it, then clean it, then shoot, clean, etc for five rounds. Then clean after each five rounds for 4 or 5 sets. There's a whole process (or maybe several of them) and I'm a proponent of barrel break-in, in one form or another. I think if there was no sense in it, barrel makers wouldn;t lap their barrels.
 

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It won't hurt it to shoot it, then clean it, then shoot, clean, etc for five rounds. Then clean after each five rounds for 4 or 5 sets. There's a whole process (or maybe several of them) and I'm a proponent of barrel break-in, in one form or another. I think if there was no sense in it, barrel makers wouldn;t lap their barrels.
As Stretch says here, breaking in any gun you have just purchased, whether new or old, can benefit from firing "x" number of rounds, then cleaning, and repeating the process. The way I can tell when I've done enough is that the barrel cleans much easier than when I started. Instead of having to brush forever and run numerous patches down the bore, the 2nd or 3rd patch comes out lily white. Whether or not this improves accuracy is almost immaterial, but if there was a slight problem with the bore that was effecting accuracy, shooting/cleaning in the manner described will often help.
 

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It won't hurt it to shoot it, then clean it, then shoot, clean, etc for five rounds. Then clean after each five rounds for 4 or 5 sets. There's a whole process (or maybe several of them) and I'm a proponent of barrel break-in, in one form or another. I think if there was no sense in it, barrel makers wouldn;t lap their barrels.
I think if you look into it you will find that most barrel manufacturers these days don't lap their barrels. Modern rifling techniques pretty well eliminate the need for it, and the few custom barrel makers who still do it do so because they are still using cut rifling. Cut rifling can produce wonderfully accurate barrle -- but so can button rifling and hammer forging -- and cut rifling, no matter how well done, is almost always rougher, and less consistent, than rifling made with the newer techniques.
 

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As Stretch says here, breaking in any gun you have just purchased, whether new or old, can benefit from firing "x" number of rounds, then cleaning, and repeating the process.
I picked up a M700 Mtn Rifle/.280 Rem. I loaded up a pile of 175gr Hornady SP's over Trail Boss.

I figured I'd get lots of surface area, not a lot of heat and wear, and minimal wear on the shooter (me). I was able to get off 30rds on thge first session, and 30rds on the next session without a hot barrel.

Shoots the TB loads great. Another 40rds and I'll see if it shoots OK with the real stuff.
 

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If you pay attention, your barrel will tell you what it needs.

As nearly as I can figure this thing out, if you have a microburr, it will scrape off copper, and also partially wear away the burr. With the new copper, the burr is bigger, and it will scrape off even more copper.

In order to break the cycle, I think you have to get all the copper out so that the microburr is fully exposed. Then, shooting one round and cleaning will do some good.

I have a 1917 Swedish Mauser that fouled more quickly than I liked. I cleaned the bejabbers out of it and did a shoot/clean/shoot/clean break in on it. When I got to the point that shooting and cleaning was not yielding much copper, I switched to shooting three, then cleaning. 35 rounds or so, and it was done. It fouls a lot less now.

OTOH, I've had new barrels that did not foul at all. So I did not do a break in on them. They shoot fine, and can go a long time between cleanings.
 

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If you pay attention, your barrel will tell you what it needs.

As nearly as I can figure this thing out, if you have a microburr, it will scrape off copper, and also partially wear away the burr. With the new copper, the burr is bigger, and it will scrape off even more copper.

In order to break the cycle, I think you have to get all the copper out so that the microburr is fully exposed. Then, shooting one round and cleaning will do some good.

I have a 1917 Swedish Mauser that fouled more quickly than I liked. I cleaned the bejabbers out of it and did a shoot/clean/shoot/clean break in on it. When I got to the point that shooting and cleaning was not yielding much copper, I switched to shooting three, then cleaning. 35 rounds or so, and it was done. It fouls a lot less now.

OTOH, I've had new barrels that did not foul at all. So I did not do a break in on them. They shoot fine, and can go a long time between cleanings.
Sage advice, Denton...
 

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If you pay attention, your barrel will tell you what it needs.

As nearly as I can figure this thing out, if you have a microburr, it will scrape off copper, and also partially wear away the burr. With the new copper, the burr is bigger, and it will scrape off even more copper.

In order to break the cycle, I think you have to get all the copper out so that the microburr is fully exposed. Then, shooting one round and cleaning will do some good.

I have a 1917 Swedish Mauser that fouled more quickly than I liked. I cleaned the bejabbers out of it and did a shoot/clean/shoot/clean break in on it. When I got to the point that shooting and cleaning was not yielding much copper, I switched to shooting three, then cleaning. 35 rounds or so, and it was done. It fouls a lot less now.

OTOH, I've had new barrels that did not foul at all. So I did not do a break in on them. They shoot fine, and can go a long time between cleanings.
When you are doing your cleaning durring breakin, one of the few things that will aid in this is JB's bore paste. This is used by the benchrest community and many gunsmiths and knowledagable shooters. I used it when I shot benchresat and the Bore Scope guy always told me my barrell was extremely clean and in good condition, and of course I also use it on all my personal guns too.

Another product that is a great barrell cleaner is Butch's Bore Shine. In fact you can put some Butch's on a patch and add the bore paste for polishing and give it about 10 storkes, then add some more paste to the same patch and another 10 strokes. You can keep doing this another 2-3 times then final clean with clean patches and rubbing alcohol ( Isopropyl Alcohol ) It will take 6-8 patches soaked with alcohol to get all the residue out.

I used this process on my custom Krieger barrells about every 200-300 rounds. Keeps them in good shape, and I alos use it on all my own persoanl rifles and pistols. Be careful to keep the paste out of the trigger assembly and other action parts.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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John Haviland has an interesting article in this month's Rifle magazine titled "Barrel Break-in Voodoo". He reviewed all the break-in methods recommended by various big name barrel makers, including Howa, Krieger, Lilja and Montana Rifle Company.

After extensive testing of a new rifle that wasn't even test fired at the manufacturers and doing the clean, shoot, clean, shoot, clean, etc., and checking results with a camcorder mounted Hawkeye borescope, he came to the following conclusion:

"The Hawkeye borescope, however, did not show that the regimen of shooting one or a few shots followed by cleaning altered the rifle's bore in any way, helpful or otherwise. So I'm going to put barrel break-in under the category of 'it doesn't hurt anything, and if it makes someone feel like they have accomplished something, go for it'.
 

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I have only done any type of break in on one barrel an Adams & Bennet in .220 swift. It is a heck of a shooter, but fouled fairly bad at first. After about 100 rounds it cleaned up better. I still might lap it to see what happens, but I don't expect an improvement in accuaracy, just ease of cleaning.

My others which include, 2 Harts, 2 Douglas, a Shilen, a Blackstar, and a Rock Creek barrel, have not had any break in procedures, and they are all excellent shooters, and clean easily. They are all hand lapped from the maker.
 

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Hand lapping is done by the higher end barrel mfg'rs and is an art unto itself. Lots of elbow grease and time consuming.

JB is a fine product and I use it when wanting to clean up a stubborn bore of fouling, but don't consider it much of a lapping conpound unless you wear yourself out doing it.

The owner of this board sells a fire lapping kit complete with instructions which will polish up that bore in no time flat. Contact him at the address and/or 1-800 phone number listed on the home page. I've fire lapped several bores using this technique and believe me, it's far better than all that hand lapping!
What's the best way to apply the J-B's bore paste, is it with a patch or a mop or does it matter ?
 
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