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New Barrel Preparation Questions

08 Nov 2014
@ 11:13 pm (GMT)

Ben Grady

Hi Nathan and members.

My new barrel should be arriving at my gun smiths during the week. So I am studying up on barrel preparation and breaking in a barrel in Nathans latest book. My action is already pillar bedded so I will get the new barrel re-bedded for a snug fit.
I will degrease the bore and prep with CRC long life. Then do I -
break in the barrel in with federal factory ammo. (as I want to hunt with 117gr Hornady SST which you say isn't the best to use when breaking in). Or do I hand lap the bore first because it is a new barrel and will need it? and then break in the barrel with factory ammo. Just need clarification on these steps. And can I do any damage when hand lapping?

p.s The barrel maker managed to rifle the barrel at 9.5 twist rate.

cheers Ben


09 Nov 2014
@ 09:10 am (GMT)

Jim Moseley

Re: New Barrel Preparation Questions
What caliber and barrel maker? Most custom barrels are hand lapped before they leave the factory. I shoot one round and clean for the first 20 rds. Then 3 rds and clean for 30 rds. It's a slow and tedious process, but the barrel will last you a long time, so take your time and do it right. People have their favorite cleaner, so I use Kroil oil and shoot the barrel wet during the break in. Read the book and you'll be fine. Nathan is a walking encyclopedia! Enjoy your new rifle and let's know how it groups.

09 Nov 2014
@ 01:31 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: New Barrel Preparation Questions
Thanks Jim.

Hi Ben, the purpose of suggesting federal when breaking in (if using factory ammo) was simply, as an example, to avoid the type of frustration that Craig Henard experienced in his '7mm Rem Mag not happy' post- should the SST prove a bit finicky.

Let the barrel tell you what it needs. After you fire that first shot, and set about copper removal, you can immediately gain an understanding of the bore by how long it takes to remove the copper. Each time you shoot and clean, you will be able to study the bore.

It does take time to remove copper, even with a good copper solvent, but if you see very heavy gloopy fouling that is very difficult to remove, you will know that the bore probably needs lapping. Remember, the cutting of the chamber was a separate act and will have in itself resulted in light circumferential burring regardless of bore lapping procedures performed by the barrel maker. The smith may or may not have lapped this himself. Either way, vigilance is required. Observation is the key.

It is near impossible to bed the barrel only with pre-existing bedding, the tolerances are nearly always ruined. I am not sure if I am understanding you correctly in this regard. If the rifle is already bedded, float the barrel and test shoot. If the rifle has pillars but is not actually bedded, the rifle will need bedding. Again- follow the book.

It annoys me when rifle makers say their rifles are pillar bedded when there is no actual bedding- just two ali pillars. It can cause guys a lot of confusion if I suggest that their rifles need bedding, when as far as they are concerned "it said the rifle was bedded in the advert".

Great to hear you got a 9.5 twist barrel, that should be plenty of fun to work with.
10 Nov 2014
@ 12:26 am (GMT)

Ben Grady

Re: New Barrel Preparation Questions
Hi Nathan
Sorry for confusion but I'm just trying to sort out the correct procedure. I've never broken in a new barrel before and don't want to stuff it up.
My rifle has pillars and bedded already for the old barrel, I will get the old bedding ground away and re-bed for the new barrel . Leaving the pillars as they are. I will also ask the barrel maker if the barrel has been lapped. I will break in with factory ammo as a good starting point. Then work out my home loads down the track once I am happy with progress. Other than "to lap or not to lap" I think I have it sussed.

cheers Ben
21 Nov 2014
@ 06:45 pm (GMT)

Ben Grady

Re: New Barrel Preparation Questions
Hi Guys

My new barrel is on its way to my gunsmith.
It is stainless steel, not chrome moly as I was originally thinking. But from reading Nathan books it sounds like it may be the better way to go for shooting in NZ. Hugh Bradley is the barrel maker and he has managed to rifle the barrel at 9.5 twist in 25-06 rem. So I can't wait to see how the 117gr SST shoot, and to compare velocities with old data I have from the original shorter barrel. I am interested if anyone has any load data for 117gr or 120gr projectiles with ADI powder. I have 2208 varget, 2209 and 2217 but always interested in what others have to offer. And if anyone has a sweet spot velocity range to aim for.

cheers Ben
05 Dec 2014
@ 04:42 pm (GMT)

Ben Grady

Re: New Barrel Preparation Questions
Hi guys.

Well my new barrel has arrived chambered in 25 06 rem. It is 26" stainless steel with a 9.5 twist. It has a heap or meat at the knox and tapers down to about 16mm at the muzzle. It is going to be a fairly heavy set up looking at the barrel on it's own. I have ordered a laminated stock from boyds as it is touch and go if there will be any wood left, next to the knox once the barrel is inletted being a heavier contour (with my exiting stock). I've decided to hold off threading for a suppressor (Nathan will be happy to hear). This rifle is going to be my baby, not my bomb up rifle. Still a wee way away before it's ready but the new stock shouldn't be too far way.

Cheers Ben


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