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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Barrel Fluting good or bad?

Barrel Fluting good or bad?

23 Aug 2016
@ 08:19 pm (GMT)

Ben Grady

Hi Guys

Thomas's discussion on fluted barrels reminded me of this:
My gun smith asked me to read this article a while back when I was discussing fluted barrels with him.

http://www.gunsmith.co.nz/FlutingNotes.pdf

What are your opinions?

Replies

24 Aug 2016
@ 04:18 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
A most interesting opinion, and a good read. While I have never had any personal experience with fluting, I think it would be safe to say that I would tend to shy away from it. It seems to be an awfully expensive marketing ploy with little or nothing to gain from it. The clincher for me was the comment made about the number of fluted barrels on the firing line in competition benchrest. After reviewing a number of PRS competition videos, fluting is also absent on these firing lines. That says a lot.
28 Aug 2016
@ 11:39 pm (GMT)

David Fleming

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
I have a few barrels that are fluted that shoot extremely well.
These are however single point cut rifled stress relieved premium barrels. IMO I would not try this with anything less due to the stress problems I believe that would likely show their ugly faces. That said I have never tried it with a button rifled or hammer forged barrel so it is all just an educated guess on my part.
The only benefit of fluting I see is weight reduction.
YMMV
29 Aug 2016
@ 12:12 am (GMT)

David Fleming

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
An added note to my previous post.
These are purpose built for Palma shooting. Long barrels for max velocity out of the mandatory .308 115g bullets.
Not the average sporting rifle by any means.

Generally I do agree that for most purposes it is a waste of material, time and money.
29 Aug 2016
@ 04:15 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
David - are most Palma barrels fluted? And is it only for weight reduction, or does it help in the cooling after long strings? So maybe the article only refers to sporting type barrels? Or it was written without previous knowledge of Palma discipline. Good to hear your points on this.
30 Aug 2016
@ 09:17 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
Your educated guess was correct David. With button rifled barrels, the barrel has to go back into the kiln if fluted.

True-Flite have spent a great deal of time testing this in NZ. The light flutes they employed when they first took over the business did not help reduce weight in a meaningful manner and it was then found that the flutes did cause stress and harmonic issues.

Later experiments involved deeper flutes to make a meaningful difference to weight while increasing surface area and then stress relieving which became standard practice by necessity. There are other seemingly subtle yet major factors. For example, True-Flite often use a meaty knox- one could say a tree with strong roots. If a knox (start of the barrel) has a long and fat parallel, the barrel may look much thinner than (e.g) than a Sendero, but still weigh the same, not so good if the customer wants one contour smaller than the Sendero for a decrease in weight but ends up with the same. So in this sense, some fluting can offset this.

The worst case secenario is having a barrel that is long and sagging under its own weight. Yet long and too thin can be equally bad. The higher the power of the cartridge, the more such a barrel will whip, whether light and flexible or heavy but with extra momentum. The tree root and trunk tends to be an easy metaphor I can use to explain such things.
30 Aug 2016
@ 09:39 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
Ben, that was a good article. I am sure Grant at True-Flite would agree also. It is a lot of work for the smith and much of the time fluting is unecessary. But as a testimony to his barrel making, I have seen excellent results with True-Flite fluted barrels. Grant and I suggest the same, if you are going to flute, do not flute anything lighter than #4.

The article goes into the silly extremes we see now, showing a blown up Finnlite (just one of several). These are one of the worst rifles to work on, an already flyweight barrel that is fluted, often producing double groups or simply poor accuracy if not allowed to cool to ambient between shots. Immensely frustrating.

The smith who wrote the article obviously prefers to avoid fluting altogether- quite fair enough. I also doubt he has a barrel kiln for heat treatment. Even if he had a kiln, this would then have to become an additional operation and cost. I can fully understand where he is coming from.
06 Sep 2016
@ 06:46 am (GMT)

Andy Hrelja

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
Hi Everyone. First time poster here so sorry if I'm veering off topic a little, but what about factory fluted barrels? Only reason I ask is that I'm now in the process of (possibly) purchasing a rifle which has a fluted barrel. It's a Howa 1500 .308 Sporter with a 22" fluted barrel. I wasn't specifically looking for a fluted barrel but this one came up and is well within my budget. Or should I just stick with a normal sporter barrel?

Just wondering what the thoughts are out there. Cheers :)
06 Sep 2016
@ 10:15 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
Hi Andy, yes, I have thought about this myself. I still don't know if these are stress relieved after fluting.

I suspect the barrels are not and that this may account for occasional rifles being innacurate. You'll find that the shorter and fatter the barrel (eg .308 rifles), the more you can 'get away with it'. Many have proven to be extremely accurate. Having said this, the WBY Accuguard has proven accurate in some of its larger chamberings. The Japanese machinists are certainly obtaining some good results. Cold hammer forging can also help minimize directional stress with the Howa / WBY barrel.

In any case, I have popped the question directly to Legacy Sports. Hard to say if they will reply, they never replied to my last tech questions. These days I get a lot of duck and run. You'd think having a higher profile in the industry would help me but it doesn't. I used to get a great deal more responses when I was fresh.

In any case, I would like to know this for myself as this rifle and the Vanguard with fluted barrel has been on my mind for several months now. This goes back into what I wrote in the June newsletter (see blog).



07 Sep 2016
@ 01:15 am (GMT)

Andy Hrelja

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
Thanks Nathan. I'd love to hear if you actually do get a response. In the meantime I'll go and read your June Newsletter.

Now I just need to make a decision on the rifle...

I do like the Howa rifles and especially at the price point. Really, really impressed with the 233 mini action I bought for my son a while back (so much so I got my self one). I know Tikkas are great but I can get the Howa and reasonably good optics for the price of the Tikka rifle alone. Ok...I'll stop rambling on now...sorry everyone :)
07 Sep 2016
@ 07:58 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
Hi Andy and welcome to the forum.
this thread maybe of interest to you http://www.ballisticstudies.com/Resources/Discussion+Forums/x_forum/17/thread/11776.html

i may sound like a salesmen but i highly recommend Nathan's books.
my wife gets annoyed as my copies are always left somewhere as i seem to be always looking something up.
08 Sep 2016
@ 07:49 am (GMT)

Andy Hrelja

Re: Barrel Fluting good or bad?
Thomas,

Thanks for the tip. I'll be reading that post as soon as I post this reply.

As for the books, sorry my friend but if you were a salesman you would have missed the commission...hahaha. I just bought the full package a couple days ago ;-)

Cheers,
Andy
 

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