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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > does ammo quality matter for barrel bedding purposes?

does ammo quality matter for barrel bedding purposes?

16 Oct 2012
@ 04:38 am (GMT)

lyndon hewton

i'm new to full bore centerfire shooting and i'm due to pick up my new howa m1500 in .308 next week, and have organised use of a range for an arvo to run in the barrel and sight it.
the guy at the gun shop says use the ammo that you plan to hunt with to run in the barrel.
problem is, i dont really want to waste $100 odd on a couple boxes of hornady
just to waste it.
i was just planning on running some barnaul through it for running in, as i dont really see why it would matter on the quality .
whats the school of thought on the subject?
any opinions etc would be helpful.


16 Oct 2012
@ 05:15 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: does ammo quality matter for barrel bedding purposes?
Hi Lyndon, this is interesting.

You don't have to run exactly the same ammo that you will hunt with, to break in your barrel.

A hand loader will break in the barrel with a start load, then work up loads once the barrel is broken.

So using a cheap ammo has merit. Ordinarily, I might suggest you use Highland ammo. It is both soft jacketed and reasonably slow (low pressure) in some calibers. Barnaul and Wolf on the other hand, feature copper washed steel jacketed ammo. Steel is much harder and much harsher than copper as a parent projectile material. Copper washing (really an incorrect term) is simply gilded copper.

I wouldn't put steel bullets through my beloved 7mm Practical with its carefully machined ultra match barrel. But with the recent drop in barrel quality from Howa, I think using a hard material to hone the bore has great merit.

I suggest you study your rifle bore at the muzzle. If it looks rough like the Howa pictured at the bottom of this post, I suggest that you do use Barnaul ammo to break it in. Be mindful of cleaning procedures and work towards a finely honed and polished bore. If you find any pits at the muzzle (from the rifling button being dragged over swath), have the barrel docked back to a clean section (note the muzzle pits in the photo).

All readers, please bear in mind that at anytime, my comments about current poor barrel quality from Howa could become obsolete overnight. A simple change in production procedures could/will change this status. Also, please do not think that I am calling the Howa a rubbishy rifle. I have great respect for the design. This current situation is one where we need to exercise compassion, the Japanese have been put through hell this last year, no different to Christchurch.

16 Oct 2012
@ 11:26 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: does ammo quality matter for barrel bedding purposes?

i learnt a cool tip the other day. although i havnt tried it. when you look at the muzzle like nathans picture, but prehaps with a more horizontal barrel... if you rest an ear bud half way in there... the white of the bud is bright and is suppose make it easyer to see into.
17 Oct 2012
@ 01:01 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: does ammo quality matter for barrel bedding purposes?
I posted my cotton bud method on the forums here a while back but have also been showing readers/clients how to do this by email....

Highlighting marred/chipped land;

(Bugger, Picasa seems to be down at the moment)

17 Oct 2012
@ 05:06 am (GMT)

lyndon hewton

Re: does ammo quality matter for barrel bedding purposes?
i have had a look down the barrel at the shop today (is on layby) and from what i could see, the barrel and rifling seemed to be pretty bright and shiny and sharp with none of the worm skin appearance i have seen you talking about.
mind you , it was a quick look in my lunch hour so a good inspection is yet to come.

i'm hoping that it all turns out ok and that its a good rifle since, apart from the current iffy problems, they have a solid reputation around the world for punching far above their price point.
i dont mind the extra weight, actually have always prefered to shoot a heavier rifle .( well heavy for 22 mag anyways )

thanks for the advise and will keep you informed on how it all works out


25 Nov 2012
@ 12:54 am (GMT)

lyndon hewton

Re: does ammo quality matter for barrel bedding purposes?
well , finally got out to the range today.
wasnt really concerned with sighting it dead on , but more the breaking in process.
i ended up using the federal 150gr sp box that came with it.
it did produce what you call low fouling over the first half dozen rounds.
as i was following the howa approved break in method, of cleaning the bore after each of the first 6 shots, it did produce a small amount of copper on the rifling.
after the first 6, it was cleaned after every 2nd shot for 3 pairs. the copper fouling after each pair was about equal to the first shot. a little but not much.
then it was two rounds at a time with a minute between each , at which stage it was showing very little increase between rounds of fouling.
since i am still getting used to a fullbore rifle and it needs final sighting,
i did manage to resonably consistantly put 2 shots with in about an inch and a half of each other at 100yards.
i was noticing that i was flinching slightly , so some more practice and i think it will be about an moa rifle .
a few more trips to the range and practice on my shot prep routine, i hope the groups will be more consistant



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