Preserving the barrel

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by calaper, May 8, 2008.

  1. calaper

    calaper G&G Addict

    Hi all,

    I recently posted on someone else's thread something about the barrel life of a .243. I have just purchased my first .243 and was shocked to hear many of you talking about the barrel having only 1000 - 1500 shots. I was wondering what measures can be taken to preserve the life of my barrel a bit better.

    Would shooting heavier slower projectiles and using slower burning powder help at all?

    Also what should be done with terms of cleaning the barrel? Do i need to buy solvents which clean copper out better or anything like that. I would really appreciate some knowledge in this field as i know NOTHING!

  2. Dont load it hot,or dont use it.I dont own a 243 but do have a 22/250 and dont care how many ronuds i get out of it.Its accurate.Once it stops being accurate ill rebarrel it.

  3. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Evangelist

    the 243 is not hard on barrels. secondly even if the 243 had say a 1500 round life, most people would never shoot that many rounds thru it. and if you are one that shoots that much, you can afford the ammo, you can afford a new barrel.
  4. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    Believe that someone might be pulling your leg just a little and go have fun.I have heard and read stories that the .22-250 was good for 1000rds and others out to 6000rds.I have burned out three barrels,always loaded max or close(Why have a hotrod if you dont drive fast)and ran about 3000rds.You cant have fun if you worry. sam.
  5. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

    ^+1. Just shoot it and keep her clean. I would recommend using a Bore Snake for cleaning. I believe more wear is done to rifle bores with cleaning rods than firing them!
  6. Ron AKA

    Ron AKA Guest

    On cleaning be very careful not to damage the muzzle or the chamber neck area.

    The most important thing to preserve barrel life is allowing the barrel to cool down between shots. In hunting situations you will not always be able to do that, but barrels don't often get worn out hunting -- much more likely at the target range. So at the range don't let your barrel get hot -- warm is ok.

    I believe barrel burning is caused by the amount of power in the load. As a rough guide look at the muzzle energy of your load. The lower the muzzle energy the less energy you have created in the throat and bore to do damage. So for target shooting lighter loads with less powder are better if you want to preserve barrel life.

    I don't believe velocity is the problem as barrel wear typically occurs in the throat area right ahead of the cartridge neck. The bullet does not have any speed in that area of the barrel. Maximum speed is at the muzzle, and the muzzle does not typically wear out.

    As Sam suggested you can refurbish a barrel by cutting an inch or so off the receiver end and rechambering it to get rid of the burned out throat. Some shops can also rebore the barrel to a larger size -- .308 for example. Or, you can just get a new barrel.

  7. Ding Ding Ding! Hold all calls, we have a winner. Proper cleaning, and not abusing the barrel at the range will keep a barrel happy and healthy for thousands of rounds...

    Quality, size and contour of the barrel are also factors.

    I have 3,500 on my second barrel. I ran to about 6,200 before my last one started getting1 1/2 to 2 inch groups.

    I doubt you will ever shoot enought to worry about barrel life.
  8. Jimmy243

    Jimmy243 G&G Newbie

    Mine's had 4500+ factory rounds through it and its still toight loike a toiger, and no pitting or anything. Never been used in extended rapid fire though, or with hot loads. I expect these would reduce life significantly.
  9. BTW, if you can shoot a 2" group at 100 yards you'll likely kill every deer you might wanta shoot.
  10. Do not panic . . .

    . . . . as firing rounds in the standard factory loading range should not
    wear out a barrel in a normal lifetime of shooting.

    If you are an average hunter who will go to the range before hunting season then take a deer or antelope (America) and/or
    perhaps two or three other animals a year the barrel will outlive you.

    Use recommended cleaning methods and protect the bore with
    a quality gun oil or grease.

    Many people wear out the bore in repeated sessions of firing a
    very large number of cartridges at one setting thus putting too much heat
    on the metal. Heat is a major enemy of the bore. You do not need to
    fire 50 rounds through a .243 in one session at the range. Taken to the extreme just remember the old truism that most machine gun barrels do not wear out but they do burn out.

    Avoid the danger of hot loading in the belief velocity conquers all.
    Use common sense. The barrel has a rifling twist (almost always published by the manufacturer) meant to stabilize bullets of a certain weight range within a certain velocity range. This weight/velocity information is not a secret. It is very available if you do a little research. Loading for ultra-velocity creates abnormal friction wear and increases heat wear to launch a bullet that is not properly stabilized. So, you shorten barrel life and lessen your chances of hitting the target.
  11. Midas

    Midas Chief Troll B' Gone Forum Contributor

    As long as you don't shoot excessively hot loads, and clean your barrel good after shooting, barrel life won't be an issue. It's not like the .243 is a barrel burner, anyway.
  12. Paper

    Paper I can justify anything. Forum Contributor

    NOW THATS my kind of logic!!!:beerchug:

    Let's see...
    (calculator out)

    20 round box of factory ammo.. I'm going to use an easy dollar amount as you can spend more or less than this, but I'll just use $1 a round, as most hunting rounds for the .243 are $17 to $30 a box for 20 rounds..

    So, at $1 a shot, and IF the barrel were to be worn out at 3000 rounds, you've spent $3000 in ammo, let alone fuel to go to the range, range fees or dues, shooting accesories, the price of the gun in the first place, and all the other little shooting items that come with the game of shooting..

    I'm thinking a $200-$300 replacement barrel, and another $100 to install isn't that big of an issue if you're able to spend the money to wear it out in the first place..
  13. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    Paper:Good logical reasoning. sam.
  14. Ron AKA

    Ron AKA Guest

    Some links to check out:

    Barrel Life and The Cost of Shooting

    Defining “Overbore” Cartridges via Comparative Index Bulletin

    Barrel life (Bart Bobbitt)

    I used the formula proposed in the last link I posted and came up with a barrel life of 1268 rounds for a .243 using 46 grains of powder. If you load it down to 34 grains of powder predicted life increases to 2321 rounds. I got 885 rounds for my .264WM using 65 grains of powder.

    To compare to the chart I posted earlier, I get about 1170 for a 22-250. So if Browning did the testing they claim they did, then the formula perhaps overestimates real life.

    Last edited: May 8, 2008