Proper Barrel Break-in
ensures long Barrel Life
Proper barrel break-in procedures are crucial for top accuracy and performance. More barrels are damaged by cleaning rods than by any amount of regular shooting a person may do. If not done correctly, one can do more harm than good.
The barrel break-in technique we endorse, is the “Speedy Method” named after Speedy Gonzalez, owner of S.G.& Y Rifles.Speedy is well known in Benchrest disciplines; national champion, world record holder, and Hall of Fame inductee in the National Benchrest Shooters Association (NBRSA). He has given permission to share with you, his expert advice on the correct method of barrel break-in and cleaning.
Rifle Cleaning the Right Way
Barrel break-in. Many of our customers upon taking delivery of their new rifle or barrel are in a quandary as how to go about breaking in their rifle for maximum life and accuracy. With so much written in magazines these days stating use this, don’t use that, brush, don’t brush...what’s a person to do?? At S.G.& Y. Rifles, we have a unique opportunity to inspect many rifle barrels on a daily basis with our video borescope. Consequently, we see the results of a variety of barrel break-in and cleaning procedures, and most of them leave the rifle owners with their mouth agape when they see the fruits of their misinformed labor on our color monitor. We have seen practically new barrels ruined with less than a hundred rounds shot through them by some of the crazy and sometimes humorous barrel break-in methods. Anyway here goes for what it’s worth.
A. Bore guides- If you don’t have one, get one! Without a good bore guide you are just wasting your time trying to break-in a barrel or cleaning it for that matter. More rifle barrels are destroyed by cleaning without a bore guide than by shooting! There are many types and brands of bore guides available on the market and range in price from $5.00 to $50.00. The only onewe recommend is the Lucas two-piece bore guide. They are the best insurance you can buy for that new barrel. All other boreguides in my opinion are only good for keeping the solvents out of the trigger and action.
B. Solvents - We recommend Sweets 7.62 for copper and a *solvent mix of our own (Actually Pat McMillan gave me this formula)for powder fouling and for cleaning/storing your rifle for the next match or season. This Speedy Formula is made as follows:
Mix 2/3 rds. Hoppes No. 9 Plus Black Powder solvent with 1/3rd. Regular Hoppes No. 9 Nitro solvent. Let this mixture set overnight and it will form a sort of gel that adheres very well to the brush and cuts powder fouling to a minimum.
* Note: Butches Boreshine may be substituted for this Speedy formula.
C. Procedure for “Break-in” - Before firing that first shot, clean the barrel as if it had been shot by following these simple steps.
Step 1. Insert Lucas bore guide into receiver and chamber. If you don’t have one stop here and get one, if not, just shoot your rifle and forget trying to take any care of your barrel at all. If you do have one, proceed, and give yourself one “At-A-Boy” for being astute enough to have purchased the proper tools for the job.
Note: One “Aw-Sh*t” wipes out ALL “At-A-Boys”.
Step 2. Run one wet patch of Sweets through the bore and let soak for approximately 30 seconds. Do not patch this out.
Step 3. Next, run the brush through the barrel only enough to expose the entire brush. Yes, I know that you still have12 more inches of cleaning rod you could push out the end of your barrel but we want to protect that new crown.Also, if that rod hangs out that far, you will eventually start wearing down the rifling at the crown from about 4 to 7 o’clock. This is very bad “JU-JU” for accuracy. OK, back to our next step. Once the brush is exposed, saturate it well with our Speedy Formula or Butch’s Boreshine and SLOWLY run the brush through the barrel 10 complete back and forth passes while keeping the rod as straight as possible. This is when the Lucas bore guide really pays for itself! Remember, the key word is slowly. We are not trying to break any land speed records today. Let this sit a minute or two and proceed to the next step.
Step 4. After you have let the barrel soak for a few moments, saturate a patch with the Speedy Formula or Butch’s Boreshine and pass it through the bore. Follow this with 2 dry patches and then dry the chamber with Brake Kleen or lighter fluid. Next, gently wipe the crown off with a soft cloth and lube your bolt (lets not gall the lugs just yet). Now, your ready to shoot your first shot. Then follow the schedule below to complete your barrel break-in.
1. Clean barrel / lube bolt / 1 shot.
2. Clean barrel / lube bolt / 5 shots.
3. Clean barrel / lube bolt / 10 shots.
4. Clean barrel / lube bolt / 10 to 15 shots and clean again.
D. Additional Barrel Break-in and Cleaning Tips -
1. Each time you clean you may also follow the last dry patch with a patch soaked with LOCK-EEZ. This is a graphite powder suspended in a quick evaporating carrier that coats the bore slightly before passing that first round through a completely dry bore.
2. We are always asked about powder fouling and how to remove it. The only product that we have seen that really doesa good job on powder fouling, especially on the carbon ring that forms just ahead of where the neck ends in the chamber, is IOSSO Bore Paste. This is used with a Pro-Shot nylon bristle brush and worked slowly in the neck and throat areas, then slowly down the entire bore. Follow this up with a few wet patches, then dry the bore as usual, and your ready to shoot.
E. Follow the outline above for your regular cleaning program and I promise that your rifle barrels will deliver their greatest accuracy and life without a lot of grief and hours of wondering if they are clean.
Here is an BoreScope video Comparing the Differences between a Quality, Custom Rifle Barrel, and that of a Mass Produced, Factory Barrel.
LILJA CUSTOM BARREL VS FACTORY BARREL
REVIEW OF LUCAS BORE GUIDE
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