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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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From time to time we have members posting asking if anyone can predict how long their particular rifle's bore will last before requiring rebarreling. Perusing an old July 2009 issue of Field and Stream Magazine, it contained the following information as compiled by writer, David E. Petzal. I have edited the article for the salient points:

Every time you ignite a cartridge, some 5,000 to 6,000 degrees of heat is applied for a few thousandths of a second and at whatever chamber pressure the cartridge individually develops. This causes steel to melt. This is called "erosion". The more powder to burn and form gas pressure, the faster the erosion. A small case capacity with slow burn rate powders will not erode as fast as large (and overbore) capacity cases with faster burn rate powders. A fast burn rate powder will burn hotter than a slower one.

Stainless steel resists the damage of heat/pressure more so than chrome/moly steel.

Now, some generalities of useful barrel life, based on factory loaded standard ammo:

.223 Remington (3,000 to 4,000 shots)

22/250 Remington (2500 shots)

.270 Winchester (3,000 shots)

7mm Remington Magnum (1,500 shots)

30/30 Winchester (6,000 + shots) He says "God only knows, never saw one shot out!

30-06 (4,000 to 5,000 shots)

.300 WSM (2,000 shots)

.300 Weatherby (1,000 to 1,500 shots)

.338 Winchester Magnum (2,500 to 3,000 shots)

An interesting side note: gunsmith Melvin Forbes told Petzel he saw something like 3,000 rifles come in for rebarreling, but only found 3 that were actually shot out. The other 2,997 were due to neglect in not cleaning or improper cleaning.

Moral of post - don't overheat the barrel while shooting (should be able to keep hand comfortably grasping barrel), use the slowest powder that provides adequate accuracy, be knowledgeable of proper cleaning techniques and clean when accuracy tails off.
 

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interesting you say to clean my rifles when accuacy tails off. i always thought i should clean my rifle after every session at the range no matter if i shot 5 or 50 shots? am i wrong in doing this? does doing that constitute improper cleaning? what exactly is impoper cleaning?
 

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I only clean if I'm going to store for an extented period or if I've fired enough to kill accuracy. Remember what they say about to much of a good thing.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Dave - I've got the same problem. Compulsive cleaner!

Always clean after a range session and after a hunting season. Can't stand to store a fouled firearm. I think what Petzal was getting at was, as hairsmoker says, you can overdo a good thing. My rifles/handguns/shotguns will continue getting cleaned up after the aforementioned activities and put away clean awaiting the next session. The one extra step taken is a final light coating of high grade oil in the bore, the exterior wiped down with a slightly oiled cloth and then the item placed muzzle down for a few days on a shop rag layered box to drain any oil that wants to wick down the bore. Used to store the firearms muzzle down in the vaults to save the soft butt pads, but don't do that anymore.
 

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I got close to 6,500 rounds out of a model 70 Winchester in 30-06 once and it still would shoot 3 to 4 inch groups at 100 yards. A family memeber has got over 4000 rounds shot out of his .270 Winchester in a Browning rifle.

I think the big key is to NOT get your barrel to hot at the range when shooting and to clean it properly. I never store a rifle in a gun case, especially one of those soft cases. It will rust a gun up in a jiffy!

I also try not to shoot Max Loads in my hunting rifles. I am more in tune with shooting small litter groups than taking my "Chrony" to ultmate numbers via my rifle.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I've got an old junker 788 in .223 that's seen IN EXCESS of 10,000 rounds. It STILL puts five shots in under a dime at 100 yards. The only thing that will come close to it's accuracy in my arsenal? Yet another junker 788 in .223. :D

It's all in the "care and feeding". Oh, and not letting it "get too hot".

RJ
 
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What about .204 barrel life? Any idea what that would be?

What about .204 barrel life? Any idea what that would be? Also, how can you tell when you have reached the end of a barrels life?
 

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What about .204 barrel life? Any idea what that would be? Also, how can you tell when you have reached the end of a barrels life?

.204 would be on par with the .223 I would say, similar case capacities with lower pressure.

Typically the rifling is gone in the first 3-6". That is called throat erosion. A rifle could still shoot very well but the odds are against it.
 

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mattsbox99;539189.....Typically the rifling is gone in the first 3-6". That is called throat erosion. A rifle could still shoot very well but the odds are against it.[/QUOTE said:
My best shooting rifle has a bubble half way down the barrel, it is slight but there none the less. That's why it only cost me $75. It is the best of the lot and I would not trade or sell it for the newest, fanciest or most accurate rifle to come out of a box.

As for barrel cleaning, I follow the rule of "if it ain't broke don't fix it. My rifles get two patches, two times. First with powder solvent then a dry patch. Then with copper solvent followed with a dry patch. If it will not be shot in the next month I'll run a patch with a light oil on it, then a dry one before the next firing. Storing is done in a dehumidified safe with a light coating of oil on the exterior and I've never seen any indication of rust after years of storage.

GD
 

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i've borrowed the info off this post for another forum i visit. hope you don't mind me sharing it but someone was just asking the same question and i remembered this thread. thanks
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Discussion Starter #13
No problem, Jim - that's what its for - general information.
 

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Bore Life Of Centre Fire Rifles

300Win Mag, 27" heavy match barrel 16X target optics. 168 Sierra BT Match and max load 4831 Fed Mag primers.Groups started to open up at around 750 shots. Removed the target scope then a hunting weight profile job on the barrel.
Next re crown and recut the throat, Finished up with a 26" hunting rifle and a 2-7VX111. This new life lighter loads with acceptable hunting groups with 165gr Nosler Partition.
 

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We used to see many a lad pumping a brush through that hunting rifle maybe twenty times . And with that of course that old rod that bent in the centre would rub the middle of the bore and sometimes the crown.
Then there was an old timer, you used his post war 30/30 that shot a deer evey year . Fist thing he would do each fall as we came to set up camp, He would shoot one round . " Just cleaned the rifle " He would say .
After he passed away at about 82- 83 his son took and cleaned that rifle with a foam cleaner then a few patches . The outside blueing was all worn where he had carried the rifle , or stood with his hand on the barrel on his watch . The walnut finish gone going through heavy cover all the years . But the rifling and crown on that old winchester - brand new !!

Well mine get a bit of oil on a patch if the weather has been damp. or maybe some solvent after a trip to the range . Then just before winter before they are put away .

Just use a good steel rod with a cone to protect the muzzle if you must clean from that way . I too now like the foam cleaners , then no need for a brush , just a patch or two and the deed is gone .Think more barrels are lost to the rod , then to a day at the range .
 

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If I was a guessing man I'd have to say about after 10 pounds of powder regardless of caliber.
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Well I have a few swede's that saw three times that much powder over the years , one from 1915 the other a model 38 from 1943.
At one time we could buy pulled 6.5x55 hard points where the brass could be reloaded and the 139 gr. hardpoints could also be bought in bags of 100 . Man ol' man sure fired alot of surplus WC852 powder as well as H450 powder before it was discontinued or used up .10-20 lots of powder seemed to last forever in these guns .
 

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powder and cleaning

I read an article that related powder burn rate to bore size. Fast powders like H-4198 in a 30 caliber barrel (30BR) will last I've seen 8000 rounds in competition. Slow powedrs like Reloader 22 in a 6.5 barrel (6.5X284) less than a 1000 for comp.
Now for cleaning,
1. Never ever clean from the breech without a decent bore guide
2. Never use a jointed aluminum rod only use SS one piece or coated one piece rods that have ball bearings like Dewey.
3. Clean often!!
4. Done properly you can't wear out a barrel by cleaning.
5. Bronze brushes only!!
6. Clean w/ JB every 100 rds or so to remove powder residue that won't come out w/ solvents.
7. buy a hawkeye bore scope to verify
 
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