In order to participate in the GunBroker Member forums, you must be logged in with your account. Click the sign-in button at the top right of the forums page to get connected.

lets discuss this...moved from the exp. forum

bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,221 ✭✭✭✭
Barrel wear.

I know several post have been made on the subject, I would like to explore your ideas from a different angle.

If we take a common caliber, say a .243 Winchester. This is a tried and proven round for over 50 years that has a bit of a barrel hurting reputation.

If you shoot ONLY heavy bullets using the slowest powders like H4350 and H4831 will the barrel last longer than shooting lighter bullets using powders in the H4895 and IMR4320 class?

If you use heavy bullets driven to the limit of pressure will a lighter bullet using the same powder charge reduce erosion and wear?

If you use the lightest bullets possible at pressures averaging a bit under max will the barrel last longer than the same pressures shooting a heavier bullet?

In essence, are barrels going to last longer using light bullets or heavy bullets.

What is your thoughts on it.


  • Ray BRay B Member Posts: 11,822
    edited November -1
    Barrels aren't "worn" out, they are "burned" out. Higher the pressure generally equals higher temperature (some variation due to powder type). So the longer the pressure is above a certain level, the more time the temperature has to burn the barrels surface. As such the heavier bullets that take longer to get out of the bore would result in wear on the barrel since it would be exposed to the pressure for a longer period of time.
  • JustCJustC Member Posts: 16,055 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Fast powders burn hotter in the initial throat area. Slower powders can burn dirty if not run to appropriate pressures. Keeping the throat clean of hard carbon residue helps increase life. Not running the temp in the throat too high and allowing the erosion to occur at an increased rate will increase life. The individual has a lot to say about the life of their barrels throat.
  • rhoperhope Member Posts: 118 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I recall a question in some gun magazine a number of years ago about wearing out barrels. Basically the answer was "if you shoot enough to wear out your barrel you will spend enough money on ammo that the cost of replacing the barrel will be insignificant".

    If you do much shooting, the cost of ammo and components will soon exceed the cost of most guns, never mind just the cost of replacing the barrel.

    I grew up in a home where there were always a number of guns. The problem for me was the cost of ammo. I learned to look for ways to get more shooting for my money. I started to reload. I cast bullets. Later I happened to be in the right place at the right time and I bought a large quantity of bullets at scrap metal prices. They were in many different calibers, types and weights. Some had obviously been pulled and damaged in the process. Given the mix of calibers and bullet types it was pretty obvious that they had come from what was at that time a large and well known Canadian ammunition maker. I bought them because I could see there was a large quantity 22 and 25 calibre bullets and I had a 222 Rem. and a 250 Savage.

    There were also large quantities of 30 caliber (.308) and 303 caliber (.311) bullets. At that time surplus Lee-Enfields were available at very reasonable prices. I think I paid something like $22 (or maybe it was $27) for a very nice full military 1945 No.4 Mk I*. This was also the time when surplus H4831 could be bought for less than $1/lb. I bought a 20 (or maybe 25) pound drum for less than $20. I still haven't wore out that barrel.

    Unfortunately, many of the 25 caliber bullets were 117 gr. soft points (intended for 25/35). With the slow twist rate in my Model 99 Savage I couldn't push them fast enough to get good accuracy.

    Solution: Buy another gun. For a number of years I kept thinking that one day I would find a good Model 94 in 25/35. But it didn't happen. I always liked the look of the T/C Contender and I had read that they had been made in 25/35. But I didn't find one of those either. Finally I bought one with barrels in 7-30 Waters and 357 Rem. Max. Then I bought a 25/35 barrel from Fox Ridge Outfitters. Shoots real good. Haven't wore out that barrel either!
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,221 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    WOW, that thread is four years old, where did you find it?
  • 375H&H375H&H Member Posts: 1,545 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Years ago I bought a mod 70 in 264 win mag

    I was told by some that the caliber was known for being a " Barrel Burner "

    I read in one of my load manuals , that if I let the barrel cool between 3 or 5 shot strings , it would do the throat a world of good , and last the average shooter a life time of service .

    I followed that advice and to this day it still groups at or just under 1" @ 100 yards . If I were to guess at how many rounds I have out of it , it would prob. be some where around 300 , maybe 400 rounds tops .

    Not sure what the load I used for it , but the bullet was/is a 120 gr ballistic tip loaded to aprox. 3000 or so fps.

    I believe the biggest thing for barrel/throat life is to let cool between your shot strings

    Just sharing .
  • wpagewpage Member Posts: 10,203 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A good modern barrel cannot be burned out with typical use...
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,221 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by wpage
    A good modern barrel cannot be burned out with typical use...

    It is easy and common to wear out a barrel if you shoot competition or are serious about accuracy and into reloading like some of us are.
  • Tailgunner1954Tailgunner1954 Member Posts: 7,815
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by wpage
    A good modern barrel cannot be burned out with typical use...

    Well, using the a plain ol' 30-06 round in a Shilen barrel and a match chamber, you'll burn out the throat out in 4000-4500 rounds, to where your groups will be more than double what they were when new.
    I'm currently working on burning out the 3rd barrel on my hunting rifle (but I may not be a typical hunter, by your definition).
    I doubt the rig I'm currently building will go much over 1500-2000 rounds before it's toasted (300 Tomahawk, AKA 300 RUM Improved 35^)
  • zimmdenzimmden Member Posts: 237 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Barrels are almost never worn out or burned out. The throat can be eroded. If you reload to the same COL or use factory loads, the overall accuracy will degrade slightly after 1000 to 2000 firings. Savvy reloaders that measure the erosion, simply reload bullets closer to the lands. I shot over 4000 reloads through a M70 22-250. Accuracy went from 3/8" 100 yd groups to 3/4" in this time. The erosion was about .250" but the barrel was still healthy thanks to frequent cleaning.
Sign In or Register to comment.