AR Gunsmith and Barrel Break-in

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My SPR build is nearing completion, and I need a good gunsmith to permanently attach an Ops Inc. brake/collar. The reason I am asking for recommendations is that I have had some issues with gunsmiths and the, "permanent" part of permanently attaching brakes in the past. It seems like a simple enough operation, but apparently not based on the results I have gotten. The Ops Inc. is a little trickier than your average brake since you need to fix both the brake and collar, and i would like to have the option of reversing the work on the collar (don't care about the brake) if I ever move to a free state. I have read online that this is quite possible.

Second, the break in instructions for my CLE barrel seem to suggest shooting 20 rounds, wrapping a brass brush with a patch, inserting from the chamber end, moving it back and forth 5 times in the first half of the barrel, then pushing it out the muzzle and unscrewing it. CLE doesn't want you to even pull the brush back through the barrel...but they are OK with changing directions in the barrel 5 times? Everything I have ever read says this is a big no-no. What do you guys think? I want to follow the break in instructions as closely as possible - this is an expensive build designed for accuracy.

Also, just want to plug CLE (Compass Lake Engineering). I ran into some trouble installing one of their gas blocks on one of their barrels. Things got a bit ugly, and they handled the situation above and beyond my expectations. I am still not sure if a part was out of spec or if I did something wrong (I have since bought a set of calipers to help with this) but they took care of it. Very very good company to do business with.
 
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Barrel break in is mostly voodoo. I would suggest you simply do what the barrel maker says to do.

Conrary to what most people think, all reversing inside the bbl does is wear the brush faster. When you reverse, you are pressing relatively weak brass bristles into a steel or chrome barrel. It kinks the bristles so they don't have as much tension.

Don
 
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mac1911

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CLE is top notch....
Which barrel did you get ?

I think if anything a good proper cleaning and a nice clean dry bore is more critical than break in?
All else fails do as the manufacture says.

The break in procedure just does not want you trying to pull the brush/jag back through into the muzzle/crown

Also the compass lake instructions are not to bad.
Wants you to clean before 20 rounds, then at 60 then again at 120. If I remember right.
The want you to use JB bore cleaner?
They say this will polish the chamber and bore?
Then they want you to clean the bore free of copper after each range trip?
Then the JB bore cleaner every 300?

Seems like a lot of work....good luck.

I'm not to quick to clean my bore after every range trip. I give it a wet patch let it sit for 5 min then dry patch it. Then oil patch for storage, then dry patch when back to the range. I give it a good copper wash around 300 rounds....my barrel doesn't seem to pick up to much copper.

As for the brake/collar why not just pin the break and reserve the collar for when you get to a free state....then you could just remove the brake and install the collar.

I assume the collar is for use to easily switch from brake to silencer?
 
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warwickben

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Silver braze is reversible . If you have mapp gas you could do it your self . Brownells sells silver suspended in flux. Put on threads heat and your done.

Heat to remove and run a die to clean the threads up.
 

xtry51

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I know Eddie Coyle has some voodoo like lapping bullets he's recommended in the past. They have different grade compounds to polish out the bore. I've never used them, but I've seen him post the link several times in the past.

Me? I just buy quality barrels, load ammo for that gun and shoot it.
 

mac1911

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I know Eddie Coyle has some voodoo like lapping bullets he's recommended in the past. They have different grade compounds to polish out the bore. I've never used them, but I've seen him post the link several times in the past.

Me? I just buy quality barrels, load ammo for that gun and shoot it.
I contacted the manufacture of my barrel about break in. "That barrel is hand lapped (he mentioned to what degree but I forget) just clean the anti corrosive compound out of it and enjoy. Clean every few hundred rounds.

- - - Updated - - -

Silver braze is reversible . If you have mapp gas you could do it your self . Brownells sells silver suspended in flux. Put on threads heat and your done.

Heat to remove and run a die to clean the threads up.
How does heat from mapp gas affect the metal finish.
 
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I've posted this before, but this is from John Holliger of White Oak

Q: How should I break in my barrel?
A: I suspect that more barrels have been damaged than helped by "breaking in". Barrel makers take a lot of care to get a uniform finish on the inside of a barrel. Barrels are lapped not so that they will be smooth, but so that the finish and dimensions will be uniform over the entire barrel. When you use an abrasive cleaning compound you will change the finish on the inside of the barrel. Since some areas of the barrel are going to be protected by copper that you are trying to remove, and others areas are not, the surface finish is no longer going to be uniform. Since I got a bore scope I have backed off on my use of abrasive bore cleaners. I use them, but not nearly as aggressively, particularly on a new barrel.

My personal break in procedure is to take a new upper to the range and zero the front sight and shoot a group or two. This will take about 15-20 rounds. I then bring it back to the shop and clean it good with shooters and a good quality brush. I check it with a bore scope, but generally very little copper fouling is present. Depending on how it looks I may hit the throat lightly with some JB. That's it, it is now broken in.

This is for all for good quality hand lapped barrels. I will get a little more aggressive with mass produced barrels.

For general cleaning and barrel maintenance we use Hoppes #9 for cleaning, Break Free CLP for lube, and only use Dewey rods.
 

wahsben

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http://www.davidtubb.com/final-finish-loaded-ammo. David Tubb has bore lapping & bore polishing bullets & ammo. Some if not all of it is available at Midway and probably elsewhere too.


I know Eddie Coyle has some voodoo like lapping bullets he's recommended in the past. They have different grade compounds to polish out the bore. I've never used them, but I've seen him post the link several times in the past.

Me? I just buy quality barrels, load ammo for that gun and shoot it.
 
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Here's what some real high quality barrel makers say:

http://www.hartbarrels.com/faq/

What do you recommend for barrel break-in?

We do not believe that a break in procedure is required with our barrels. If you follow our normal cleaning procedure, outlined in this brochure, you should not have any problems with your new rifle. You always want to clean your rifle as often as your course of fire will allow. If you have time to shoot one and clean, that would be fine, but we personally do not feel it is necessary. Please be sure to only use the cleaning solvents listed in our cleaning instructions.
Should I use JB or other abrasive cleaners in my barrel?

You should avoid abrasive cleaners of any kind in your barrel, as if used improperly, it may damage your barrel and reduce the life expectancy of the barrel.
Can I get my barrel too clean?

Yes, it is possible to get your barrel too clean, or to actually dry out the stainless steel. After brushing your barrel with a brass brush soaked with Hoppe’s #9, Shooters Choice, or Butch’s Bore Shine & Oil, several times and letting it soak for a few minutes, run a couple of dry patches in your barrel. Shoot a few more rounds, and if there is a considerable amount of cooper or fouling, then you may need to repeat the procedure. The key is, if your rifle is performing well, then you are probably getting it clean enough.
And, by the way, I've used more than a few Hart barrels. Shot some mighty small groups with them too. Still got a bunch of rifles with them.

https://kriegerbarrels.com/faq#breakin

What is the best way to break-in and clean a Krieger Barrel?
Background:

Below are our recommendations for proper break in and cleaning of a barrel. The information below is meant as a guideline and not meant as step by step instructions. If you have a better way that works for you without damaging the bore or using improper chemicals, by all means continue to use your methods. Many successful competitive shooters will use these instructions to the letter, some will disagree.
LONG & SHORT TERM STORAGE:

Your Krieger barrel has been shipped to you with a SHORT TERM rust inhibitor sprayed in the bore to protect it from corrosion during shipping. Upon receipt of your barrel, you should first review the order confirmation and/or packing list to make sure the barrel matches the specifications you ordered. The very next thing you should do is clean the bore and apply a bore protectant suitable for the length of time it will be stored. This can range from a light gun oil all the way up to a preservative grease or cosmoline. The same should be done after a barrel is fit to your rifle.

Preventing oxidation/corrosion in the barrel is the responsibility of the customer. We cannot be responsible for a barrel that has been improperly stored, neglected, or abused by either the end customer, gunsmith, or a distributor.
BREAK-IN & CLEANING:

With any premium barrel that has been finish lapped -- such as your Krieger Barrel --, the lay or direction of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, so fouling is minimal compared to a barrel with internal tooling marks. This is true of any properly finish-lapped barrel regardless of how it is rifled. If it is not finish-lapped, there will be reamer marks left in the bore that are directly across the direction of the bullet travel. This occurs even in a button-rifled barrel as the button cannot completely iron out these reamer marks.

Because the lay of the finish is in the direction of the bullet travel, very little is done to the bore during break-in, but the throat is another story. When your barrel is chambered, by necessity there are reamer marks left in the throat that are across the lands, i.e. across the direction of the bullet travel. In a new barrel they are very distinct; much like the teeth on a very fine file.

When the bullet is forced into the throat, copper dust is removed from the jacket material and released into the gas which at this temperature and pressure is actually a plasma. The copper dust is vaporized in this plasma and is carried down the barrel. As the gas expands and cools, the copper comes out of suspension and is deposited in the bore. This makes it appear as if the source of the fouling is the bore when it is actually for the most part the new throat.

If this copper is allowed to stay in the bore, and subsequent bullets and deposits are fired over it, copper which adheres well to itself, will build up quickly and may be difficult to remove later. So when we break in a barrel, our goal is to get the throat “polished without allowing copper to build up in the bore. This is the reasoning for the fire-one-shot-and-clean procedure.

Every barrel will vary slightly in how many rounds they take to break in For example a chrome moly barrel may take longer to break in than stainless steel because it is more abrasion resistant even though it is a similar hardness. Also chrome moly has a little more of an affinity for copper than stainless steel so it will usually show a little more color if you are using a chemical cleaner. Rim Fire barrels can take an extremely long time to break in, sometimes requiring several hundred rounds or more. But cleaning can be lengthened to every 25-50 rounds. The break-in procedure and the cleaning procedure are really the same except for the frequency. Remember the goal is to get or keep the barrel clean while breaking in the throat with bullets being fired over it.

Finally, the best way to tell if the barrel is broken in is to observe the patches; i.e. when the fouling is reduced. This is better than some set number of cycles of shoot and clean as many owners report practically no fouling after the first few shots, and more break-in would be pointless. Conversely, if more is required, a set number would not address that either. Besides, cleaning is not a completely benign procedure so it should be done carefully and no more than necessary.
CLEANING:

This section on cleaning is not intended to be a detailed instruction, but rather to point out a few do's and don'ts. Instructions furnished with bore cleaners, equipment, etc. should be followed unless they would conflict with these do's and don'ts.

You should use a good quality one piece coated cleaning rod with a freely rotating handle and a rod guide that fits both your receiver raceway and the rod snugly. How straight and how snug? The object is to make sure the rod cannot touch the bore. With M14/M1 Garand barrels a good rod and muzzle guide set-up is especially important as all the cleaning must be done from the muzzle. Even slight damage to the barrel crown is extremely detrimental to accuracy.

There are two basic types of bore cleaners, chemical and abrasive. The chemical cleaners are usually a blend of various ingredients including oils, solvents, and ammonia (in copper solvents). The abrasive cleaners generally contain no chemical solvents and are an oil, wax, or grease base with an extremely fine abrasive such as chalk, clay, or gypsum.

We recommend the use of good quality, name brand chemical cleaners on a proper fitting patch/jag combination for your particular bore size and good quality properly sized nylon or bronze brushes.

So what is the proper way to use them? First, not all chemical cleaners are compatible with each other. Some, when used together can cause severe pitting of the barrel, even stainless steel barrels. It is fine to use two different cleaners as long as you completely dry the bore of the first cleaner from the barrel before cleaning with the second. And, of course, never mix them in the same bottle. NOTE: Some copper solvents contain a high percentage of ammonia. This makes them a great copper solvent, but if left in the bore too long, can damage/corrode the steel. Do not leave these chemicals in a bore any longer than 10-15 minutes MAXIMUM! DO NOT EVER use straight ammonia to clean a barrel.

Follow instructions on the bottle as far as soak time, etc. Always clean from the breech whenever possible, pushing the patch up to the muzzle and then back without completely exiting the muzzle. If you exit the muzzle, the rod is going to touch the bore and be dragged back in across the crown followed by the patch or brush. Try to avoid dragging items in and out of the muzzle, it will eventually cause uneven wear of the crown. Accuracy will suffer and this can lead you to believe the barrel is shot out, when in fact, it still may have a lot of serviceable life left. A barrel with a worn or damaged crown can be re-crowned and accuracy will usually return. Have the crown checked by a competent gunsmith before giving up on a barrel that may otherwise be in good condition.

This information is intended to touch on the critical areas of break-in and cleaning and is not intended as a complete, step-by-step guide or recommendation of any product. Use a quality one piece cleaning rod that is either vinyl coated or carbon fiber, a rod guide proper for the action you are cleaning, and chemicals, jags, patches, and brushes that you have determined work best for you. There is no “right answer to cleaning products and equipment, however under NOcircumstances should you use a stainless brush. If you choose to use brushes in your cleaning use only quality bronze phosphor brushes or nylon. Clean them after every use to extend their life. Copper solvents will dissolve a bronze brush rather quickly.
BREAK IN:

The following is a guide to break-in based on our experience. This is not a hard and fast rule, only a guide. Some barrel, chamber, bullet, primer, powder, pressure, velocity etc. combinations may require more cycles some less. It is a good idea to just observe what the barrel is telling you with its fouling pattern and the patches. But once it is broken in, there is no need to continue breaking it in.

Initially you should perform the shoot-one-shot-and-clean cycle for five shots. If fouling hasn't reduced, fire five more cycles and so on until fouling begins to drop off. At that point shoot three shots before cleaning and observe. If fouling is reduced, fire five shots before cleaning. Do not be alarmed if your seating depth gets longer during break in. This is typical of the “high spots in the throat being knocked down during this procedure. It is not uncommon for throat length to grow .005-.030 from a fresh unfired chamber during break in.
Stainless

5-10 one-shot cycles
1 three-shot cycle
1 five-shot cycle


Chrome moly

5 - 25 - one-shot cycles
2 - three-shot cycles
1 - five-shot cycle


SERVICE LIFE:

Quite often we get asked about the service life of a barrel or How long will my barrel last?. The truth is a complicated result of many factors, ultimately service life is determined by a combination of cartridge, cleaning practices, shooting style, etc. A barrel is “Shot Out or at the end of its service life when the throat erosion has resulted in the bullet no longer able to be seated to touch the lands and still remain in the case by a reasonable amount, and heat checking/cracking has progressed several inches forward of the throat.

These are the normal determining factors that cause a degradation in accuracy from when the barrel was ‘fresh or new. Cartridge choice, powder selection, pressure (a combination of powder selection/amount, bullet weight, and cartridge design), and cleaning procedures will ALL have an effect on how long of a service life your particular barrel has. No two pieces of barrel steel will have the same exact properties either. We can give an “average barrel life for a particular cartridge if it is a common one used in competition, but that is no guarantee of any round count due to all of the listed factors above. Most cartridge designs larger than .223 Rem or .308 Win in powder capacity to bore ratio will begin to erode the throat measurably in less than 1000 rounds.

Thank you for choosing a Krieger barrel.
 

warwickben

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I contacted the manufacture of my barrel about break in. "That barrel is hand lapped (he mentioned to what degree but I forget) just clean the anti corrosive compound out of it and enjoy. Clean every few hundred rounds.

- - - Updated - - -



How does heat from mapp gas affect the metal finish.
The melting point for high temp silver is lower then the melting point of the metal of the barrel .
So it's not heating your barrel/brake more then when some one tig welds a pin in.

It depends on the finish of the part .
 
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The directions for all of my Noveske barrels were very clear on break in.
Clean it then shoot it, The End.
These barrels have been lasers since day one with zero break in ritual. Do what the maker suggests.
 

mac1911

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The melting point for high temp silver is lower then the melting point of the metal of the barrel .
So it's not heating your barrel/brake more then when some one tig welds a pin in.

It depends on the finish of the part .
Just wondering I have pinned a few brakes over the past few years and if the silver solder flux works easy enough with out hurting the finish much then that's good. Right now I just pin on bottom side of brake a good bbbzzztt with the welder. Quick clean up and hit it with cold blue and gtg...

These threads alway remind me of being a kid with my dad dropping what ever needed to be fixed at the gunsmith he went to in VT.
Sign on his desk said " I have fixed more clean guns than dirty guns"
 
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The melting point for high temp silver is lower then the melting point of the metal of the barrel .
So it's not heating your barrel/brake more then when some one tig welds a pin in.

It depends on the finish of the part .
In case anyone cares. Here is the ATF documentation on approved "permanent" methods of muzzle device attachment.

Don

https://www.atf.gov/file/58196/download
 

KMM696

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How does heat from mapp gas affect the metal finish.
I've silver-soldered one brake on an FAL with MAPP. I degreased the threads, but didn't degrease the surrounding parkerized areas. I suspect the finish appearance changes came from burning oils remaining on the barrel, because when I degreased that area afterward and reoiled, the finish blended right in with the unheated areas. If I do it again, I'll degrease more.
 
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CLE is top notch....
Which barrel did you get ?
17.9" Douglass blank 1:7 SPR barrel. M4 ramps...basically all the options. :D

I think if anything a good proper cleaning and a nice clean dry bore is more critical than break in?
All else fails do as the manufacture says.

The break in procedure just does not want you trying to pull the brush/jag back through into the muzzle/crown

Also the compass lake instructions are not to bad.
Wants you to clean before 20 rounds, then at 60 then again at 120. If I remember right.
The want you to use JB bore cleaner?
They say this will polish the chamber and bore?
Then they want you to clean the bore free of copper after each range trip?
Then the JB bore cleaner every 300?

Seems like a lot of work....good luck.
Yea, shoot, that's another thing. I want to get the JB cleaner.

I was amazing about cleaning my guns when I first started...not as much now. But...this is an SPR which I'll use for longer range shooting, so the round count won't be as crazy, and I do want to keep it very clean. I have my AKs and will be building an M4 for more "spirited" shooting.

I'm not to quick to clean my bore after every range trip. I give it a wet patch let it sit for 5 min then dry patch it. Then oil patch for storage, then dry patch when back to the range. I give it a good copper wash around 300 rounds....my barrel doesn't seem to pick up to much copper.

As for the brake/collar why not just pin the break and reserve the collar for when you get to a free state....then you could just remove the brake and install the collar.

I assume the collar is for use to easily switch from brake to silencer?
For the brake/collar, the brake is actually threaded on the outside to allow you to attach a can, as you said. So, I'm sure MA would still consider it a threaded barrel, so I need to attach the collar that covers those threads permanently.
 
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Silver braze is reversible . If you have mapp gas you could do it your self . Brownells sells silver suspended in flux. Put on threads heat and your done.

Heat to remove and run a die to clean the threads up.
This is exactly what I want to do. I tried it with a previous rifle and just a portable/disposable MAP gas torch from sears. It didn't work out.

I was thinking that this is what I would ask the gunsmith to do, though...seems like the most easily reversible.

Thanks!
 

warwickben

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This is exactly what I want to do. I tried it with a previous rifle and just a portable/disposable MAP gas torch from sears. It didn't work out.

I was thinking that this is what I would ask the gunsmith to do, though...seems like the most easily reversible.

Thanks!
If your brake is really thick you'll need some thing bigger .
 
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I've posted this before, but this is from John Holliger of White Oak

Q: How should I break in my barrel?
A: I suspect that more barrels have been damaged than helped by "breaking in". Barrel makers take a lot of care to get a uniform finish on the inside of a barrel. Barrels are lapped not so that they will be smooth, but so that the finish and dimensions will be uniform over the entire barrel. When you use an abrasive cleaning compound you will change the finish on the inside of the barrel. Since some areas of the barrel are going to be protected by copper that you are trying to remove, and others areas are not, the surface finish is no longer going to be uniform. Since I got a bore scope I have backed off on my use of abrasive bore cleaners. I use them, but not nearly as aggressively, particularly on a new barrel.

My personal break in procedure is to take a new upper to the range and zero the front sight and shoot a group or two. This will take about 15-20 rounds. I then bring it back to the shop and clean it good with shooters and a good quality brush. I check it with a bore scope, but generally very little copper fouling is present. Depending on how it looks I may hit the throat lightly with some JB. That's it, it is now broken in.

This is for all for good quality hand lapped barrels. I will get a little more aggressive with mass produced barrels.

For general cleaning and barrel maintenance we use Hoppes #9 for cleaning, Break Free CLP for lube, and only use Dewey rods.
Thank you, sir!

The instructions I got from the barrel manufacturer...that's the only reason I am asking. My plan was to clean it with a patch, maybe a brush, just like with any other rifle but the instructions talked about going back and forth, etc.

Going forward I will probably just use my usual cleaning method (hoppes 9, etc.) but it's this break in period that's messing me up.
 
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I have a ery complex procedure for breaking in a barrel. I load ammo and I shoot it. Be careful not to miss a step or its not effective.
Hahaha!

With the M4 I built for my old man this is exactly what I did. He cleans religiously, but I didn't have him do any voodoo procedures for it. :D

This rifle is my attempt to build something for precision, and, well, it also cost a shitload of money. So I'll do whatever voodoo procedures and then go back to my usual for my next rifle.
 
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I've silver-soldered one brake on an FAL with MAPP. I degreased the threads, but didn't degrease the surrounding parkerized areas. I suspect the finish appearance changes came from burning oils remaining on the barrel, because when I degreased that area afterward and reoiled, the finish blended right in with the unheated areas. If I do it again, I'll degrease more.
Degreasing may have been part of the prob when I tried silver solder as well. I thought I had cleaned it up very well, but the solder did not flow as well as I was expecting.

- - - Updated - - -

If your brake is really thick you'll need some thing bigger .
The AK brake I did was a standard 74 brake which is def pretty thick. This one is a bit smaller.

Thanks, though....I think I may give silver solder another try. I'll see if I can find a better torch for not too much money and really go the extra mile with de-greasing. It would be nice to do this final step myself and not have to have someone else put the finishing touch on the build.
 

Mel

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I have a ery complex procedure for breaking in a barrel. I load ammo and I shoot it. Be careful not to miss a step or its not effective.
Hah!
-- Wow, I think you just broke my brain. I... can't even understand why someone would do this to their gun! Do the proper thing- put it in a drawer, by your bed, and never shoot it. Sure-fire way to break it in during a break in. {Not recommended advice}
 
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