Just wondering how many here actually follow any procedure for breaking in their rifle barrel. I see different procedures online. I'm receiving a new SIG Cross soon and the procedure in the manual is:
Barrel Break-In Procedure
This is suggested to obtain the best possible accuracy out of your firearm.
1. Clean the barrel as described in Section 5.1.
2. Fire 5 shots, then clean per section 5.1. Repeat 3 times.
3. Fire 3 shots, then clean per section 5.1. Repeat 3 times.
4. Fire 1 shot , then clean per section 5.1. Repeat until the barrel no longer exhibits copper fouling.
During your cleaning cycles, inspect the copper-solvent patch for green/blue color which indicates copper fouling.
Ah.... the barrel break-in debate.
My opinion only, based on years of shooting in the PRS world and going thru more barrels than 10 regular shooters would in a lifetime. Shoot it.... clean/don't clean it's likely not to matter much. High quality hand lapped barrels will perform better from the start.
That being said, I usually clean after 5-10 rounds as I want to see how much copper is being laid down in the barrel. Granted it is not measurable, but you can get a sense from what patches look like.
Most barrels "settle down" and actually speed up velocities after 50-75 rounds.
My advice - Clean it and remove factory grime, lube it and shoot it.
The instructions per Sig are a bit silly as copper fouling is laid down in micro-voids and defects and you want that to fill in these areas.
Again, these are merely my thoughts and opinions.
Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language - Gen Robert E Lee.
Im in the "likely wont matter" camp. I never have done it. Ive never felt my particular rifle underperformed but I primarily shoot hunting rifles
With the shoot/clean process you're really breaking in the barrel's throat, not the full length of the bore itself. A quality, modern barrel has a pretty smooth bore -- especially if it was hand lapped. The throat is what wears out first on a barrel. The finish on a new barrel's throat depends on the quality of the reamer and the gunsmith's attention to detail as the chamber is being cut. As I see it, break in is essentially smoothing the chatter marks made by the reamer in the rifle bore.
There may be as many opinions of how to break in a barrel as there are shooters. Many different methods work for many shooters, with different barrels.
I believe in a short break in process. Maybe 15-ish rounds on a quality match-grade barrel. I shoot a few rounds, lightly clean, look for traces of copper on patches, look for how the barrel is fouling from powder. I perform this process when sighting in the rifle. With quality ammo, with 15 rounds I already have a reasonable idea how accurately the new barrel will shoot, and a ballpark of where muzzle velocity is. I don't really get too excited about accuracy at 100 yards. Depending on the rifle and the cartridge, I am more concerned how it shoots at maybe 250, 600, or 1000 yards.
Understand that most barrels show an increase in muzzle velocity as the barrel gets a few more rounds down range. As I see it, this is truly when the barrel is "broken in". In the stainless steel barrels I have owned and currently own, the muzzle velocity tends to max out after 75-100 rounds. If you're shooting a rifle for long distance accuracy, this is when you should finalize your dope tables. When your muzzle velocity begins to decrease noticeably, you can be pretty certain that your barrel is shot out -- at least from a competition standpoint. For hunting or less demanding target shooting, the barrel likely is still quite useful as MV drops off a bit.
FWIW, I had one Bartlein SS 6.5mm barrel for which the MV appeared to stabilize at just under 100 rounds. Built my dope tables and used it in a long distance steel match. By the end of the match, I was missing many targets high. Turns out that the barrel had a second MV increase, evidently near 200 rounds. My gunsmith couldn't explain it, I haven't seen it on other barrels -- but it occurred. Weird. IMO a chronograph is a good investment.
I’ve done it once. Won’t do it again.
I have 4 MK12 HCS rifles and 1 Tikka TAC A1.
2 of my MK12 were received the same day. 1 was shot using the break in procedure and the other just got loaded up and shot. There’s ni discernible difference in accuracy/precision with either of the rifles.
When I got my Tikka, I put 50 rounds of 150 grain AE ball through it to get a rough zero on the scope and to make sure everything is right with the rifle. As long as I knuckle down, I can hold half inch at 100 all day with Lapua 175 Gr. match.
There is no one answer regarding barrel break-in.
If your barrel maker prefers to leave the barrel a bit unfinished and have the customer do the final finish on the bore via a barrel break and procedure follow the procedure your barrel maker recommends.
If your barrel maker fully finishes/polishes the bore, and says no breaking is necessary, it’s not necessary.
Speaking of barrel break-ins, I personally watched someone destroy a Ruger precision in 6.5 Creedmoor doing an unnecessary barrel break and procedure after leaving a patch in the bore.
Hence I do not want to mix cleaning procedures with live fire unless it is actually necessary.
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