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Barrel Break-in with 0000 Steel Wool

16 Apr 2018
@ 04:29 pm (GMT)

Greg. K.

As I've been researching info on getting a single-shot falling block rifle to mess around with I stumbled across this article about a much simplified barrel break-in procedure that utilizes 0000 steel wool that is much less lengthy and tedious than the typical break-in process:

Even though it's written by a guy who specializes in these types of rifles, the article is about barrels in general. After describing a typical break-in procedure recommended by a barrel manufacturer he then describes a much abbreviated process that was suggested to him by a gunsmith who is apparently highly regarded in the single shot world which uses patches of 0000 steel wool to work the barrel in a brief process prior to even shooting the rifle. He has apparently had quite stellar results, both with used and new rifles.

If I understand it correctly the 0000 steel wool does the work that fired rounds would normally do during the break-in process. I'm assuming that any lapping of the barrel would have already been completed prior to this procedure. I realize every bore is different so I'm wondering if this could really be a substitute for firing rounds, observing the results (such as copper fouling), and cleaning between rounds during a normal break-in procedure. If not, could it at least be used to shorten the normal break-in process? Has anyone used 0000 steel wool in this fashion?


16 Apr 2018
@ 10:59 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Barrel Break-in with 0000 Steel Wool
Interesting. Different. Was his method developed strictly for BPCR with C/M barrels?
17 Apr 2018
@ 07:12 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Barrel Break-in with 0000 Steel Wool
Hi Greg, I used to do this a very long time ago to revive cruddy mil bolt action bores. At the time I thought it must be OK considering the steel wool was softer than the gauze pull throughs we had for the Enfields. But I was young. I eventually realized that the steel wool was itself a contaminate.

Please, just stick to methods given in your copy of the accurizing book. Treat each bore as an individual as you have already suggested. Do not perform any pre-polishing. Most often it is the throat that needs the work, not the bore. There are times when you can pre-polish a throat on a brand of rifle that is notorious for rough machining, but it is still unwise to over generalize and expect all rifles of that brand to be the same. Also remember that it is just as important to avoid an extremely high finish as it is to avoid a rough finish.

The finish on current factory and custom barrels varies widely. Some need almost no work and one must be careful not to raise the finish, performing routine maintenance only, about every 200 rounds. Others need serious lapping, a good three or more sessions of harsh work at the throat to reduce heavy gloopy fouling throughout the bore. But it is important to get some shots through the bore to see where the rifle is at and to determine what state of fouling it actually likes as far as accuracy goes. So we have to go very slowly at this stage. Take a shot, observe the bore and so forth.

17 Apr 2018
@ 10:30 am (GMT)

Greg K.

Re: Barrel Break-in with 0000 Steel Wool
I guess there is only so much you can do to simplify things sometimes. Thanks for the feedback. I'll stick with the tried-and-true approach in the accurizing book.



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