Barrel break in can be one of the most important and most misunderstood aspects of extracting the utmost accuracy from your rifle.

Proper barrel break-in will smooth the bore of your barrel to creates better consistency and accuracy. With today’s demand for accuracy, most high-quality barrel makers lap their barrels to remove minor tooling marks and create as uniform a finish as possible. This is generally done when the barrel is at the “blank” stage before the barrel has been contoured, crowned and chambered. While this lapping technique provides great results, the post-lapping machining during the chambering process adds additional tooling marks. However it is possible to lap the barrel after the chambering process, it is very difficult and can damage the throat or create uneven gas venting behind the bullet which can lead to poor accuracy. Live fire barrel break-in can minimize these potential problems and is much more fun!

Proper barrel break-in consists of a series of shooting and cleaning sequences. Although many different break-in sequences exist, the following has been developed over the last 15 years, and is very simple and has given excellent results.

Barrel break in can be one of the most important and most misunderstood aspects of extracting the utmost accuracy from your rifle.

 

Proper barrel break-in will smooth the bore of your barrel to creates better consistency and accuracy. With today’s demand for accuracy, most high-quality barrel makers lap their barrels to remove minor tooling marks and create as uniform a finish as possible. This is generally done when the barrel is at the “blank” stage before the barrel has been contoured, crowned and chambered. While this lapping technique provides great results, the post-lapping machining during the chambering process adds additional tooling marks. However it is possible to lap the barrel after the chambering process, it is very difficult and can damage the throat or create uneven gas venting behind the bullet which can lead to poor accuracy. Live fire barrel break-in can minimize these potential problems and is much more fun!

Proper barrel break-in consists of a series of shooting and cleaning sequences. Although many different break-in sequences exist, the following has been developed over the last 15 years, and is very simple and has given excellent results.

NECESSARY SUPPLIES

SOLVENT

Ammonia Based Copper Solvent

BRUSHES

Nylon bore brushes – one the correct size for your caliber, one 1 or 2 sizes smaller

CLEANING ROD

High quality cleaning rod with ball-bearing handle

CLEANING PATCHES

1 3/8″ cotton cleaning patches

GUN OIL

To lubricate and neutralize ammonia solvent

AMMO

50 rounds of ammunition

BORE GUIDE

To protect the bore throat and keep solvent from entering the trigger mechanicism

BREAK-IN PROCEDURE

01 CLEAR BORE

First make sure that the barrel is clean and free of any oil or solvents from the manufacturing process. Once clear, fire 2 three-shot groups.

02 BOREBRUSH

With the bore guide inserted, run a solvent-soaked patch through the barrel, breach to muzzle, removing it at the muzzle. Repeat this with a new soaked patch 3 times or until no black is showing on the patch. Then scrub the barrel back and forth using the caliber-correct nylon brush soaked with solvent. Ensure the brush completely exits the muzzle and chamber before reversing direction. Repeat 20 times for a total of 40 passes through the barrel. Follow this step with a dry patch until it comes out clean and dry.

03 UNDERSIZED BOREBRUSH

Next, using the undersized brush, run a solvent-soaked patch through the barrel, scrubbing back and forth for a total of 20 passes through the barrel. Again, ensure the patch exits both ends of the barrel before reversing direction. You will notice a blue tint on the patches from dissolving copper residue. Repeat until no blue/copper residue is found. Follow with dry patches until they come out clean and dry

04 SHOOT AGAIN

Fire another 2 three-round groups for a total of 6 rounds.

05 REPEAT

Repeat steps 1-4 until you have fired a total of 50 rounds. 50 rounds is usually sufficient to smooth out the surface of the barrel lining and “break in” your barrel. As your barrel breaks in, you will notice that it will clean faster and without using as many cleaning patches or solvent.

Bolt action rifle with scope leaning against post