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Predicting? the end of useful barrel life?

HandLoadHandLoad Member Posts: 15,998
I have inherited my Father's most cherished/most custom rifle.

I want to sight it in, try for best handload accuracy, etc.

It is a .35 Whelen - Ackley Improved. It has a barrel made by Chick Donnelley, of Siskyou Gun Works, on a not very common variant of '98 Mauser Action.

My Question is: "Will two hundred shots (or so) excessively wear the barrel, such that a significant portion of its remaining life is used/expired?"

A corollary Question: "How many shots will it make before reaching "Shot-Out" condition?"

It has about 100 shots on the clock already. Assume diligent cleaning and careful storage is followed.

Is there any way to tell? Is there any way to minimize deleterious aging?


  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    5000 rounds at peak accuracy. 5000 at decent accuracy. Then not so hot. THat would be my guess.

    Don't use max loads for target shooting and clean with caution- use something to center the rod so it doesn't scrape the muzzle or chamber.

    Should last forever so long as you don't shoot it 100 rounds every week.
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,346 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You might consider cast bullets if you want to shoot it a lot. Think big 357. One reason I like big bore is cast bullets can be fired at 100% of jacketed bullet velocity.
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,203 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Good cleaning practices are MOST important to the life, not shooting it. Clean Only from the Breech end. Use a guide on the rod do not use bronze brushes unless necessary. I like Buches Bore Shine, it cleanes without harm and is a awesome copper remover. Don't over clean it. If you only shot 5 or 10 rounds save the bore cleaning until next time you shoot.

    You are gong to have to shoot that thing A LOT to burn out the barrel. Probably two lifetimes worth of shooting might do it in. The best policy is to avoid rapid firing to the point the barrel is too hot to grab just in front of the chamber.
  • Tailgunner1954Tailgunner1954 Member Posts: 7,815
    edited November -1
    The old rule of thumb, for -06 class cartridges is 40 pounds of powder = burned out throat. As there are 7000gr in 1 pound, and about 55gr in a 35 Whelen round, I'll let you do the math.

    As far as holding "gilt edge" accuracy levels go, it's a hunting rifle for cripes sake, not a BR gun. Fire a 5 shot group with factory ammo, than set that box asside. When another 5 round group from that same box is 2x the size of your first group, than it's time to start worrying about a new barrel.
  • HandLoadHandLoad Member Posts: 15,998
    edited November -1
    Thanks to all, I want to preserve this honey for further generations.

    I got to shoot it today - it is really sweet - first two shots were touching @ 100yds, then I got excited...I was using handloads that were stuffed in 1980!!

    What a fun gun!
  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,453 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    Congratulations on your inheritance! And a fine piece to remember your father by.

    I'm thinking that two hundred rounds through that caliber will have it just about broke in. It'll give you lot of hunting accuracy for years to come.

    As far as 'shot out' I would go with Tailgunner's analogy. 5 8lb kegs is what a comp shooter goes through before they consider the barrel done for competition. You're not going to compete with that rifle I would imagine so you're not going to bring it to the heat levels it might see in competition. Hard but good use would give 5k rounds through it. Add a bunch more because you won't be shooting it near as hard.
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