May 20th, 2017

How to Prematurely Kill a Barrel — .243 Win Fast Firing Test

barrel life test rapid fire cooling

Can sustained rapid-fire shooting with no cool-down period wear out a quality barrel more quickly? The answer is “Yes” according to Forum member LCazador, who did an interesting comparison test with two .243 Winchester barrels. He started off with two, identical, match-grade HV taper stainless barrels. Both were NEW at the start of testing, and LCazador shot the same load through each: 95gr match bullets with 38 grains of Hodgdon Varget. After giving both barrels the same, gentle 20-round break-in, 300 rounds were then fired through each barrel — in very different ways. Barrel condition and wear were monitored with a borescope.

Barrel One — Slow Fire, Cool Down Periods, Cleaning Every 50 Rounds
At the end of the 300-round test, Barrel One looked brand new. There was none of the severe fire cracking found in Barrel Two. This barrel was shot no more than 10 times without a cool down and firing was done at a much slower pace. Cleaning for this barrel was done every 50 shots.

Barrel Two — Fast Firing, No Waiting, Cleaning Every 100 Rounds
The second barrel, which received hard use and minimal cleaning, was severely damaged with severe fire cracking at the leade and throat. As a result, the barrel had to be re-chambered. This barrel was shot 100 rounds at time without cleaning and was shot up to 20 times in succession without a cool down.

LESSON LEARNED — Heat Kills Barrel Life
Don’t let your barrel get too hot, and keep it clean. One afternoon can ruin a barrel!

Hawkeye Borescope imageMonitoring Barrel Wear with Borescope
Some folks worry too much about what their borescopes reveal — many barrels do not have to be “squeaky clean” to perform well. In fact some barrels run better after ten or more fouling shots. However, a borescope can be very helpful when your barrel starts losing accuracy for no apparent reason. Forum member FdShuster writes:

“A borescope is a positive way of backing up your suspicions when the rifle starts to throw an occasional (soon followed by more frequent) wild shot. Using the scope is also an excellent way to determine that the cause is barrel wear and not simply a need for a concentrated cleaning session to remove built up copper and more importantly, carbon fouling.

I’ve had a few barrels that gave every indication of being shot out. But I ‘scoped them out and found the cause to be nothing more than requiring a good cleaning. They then returned to their usual performance. There’s no guessing involved when you are able to get ‘up close and personal’ using the scope. The borescope also provides an excellent view of the all-important condition of the crown. My borescope is one of the most valuable investments I’ve ever made.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 20th, 2017

Short-Range Benchrest Game Captured on Video

We know that many of our readers have never personally participated in a short-range (100/200 yard) benchrest match. That’s understandable — moving backers are required in registered 100/200 benchrest (for group) matches, yet only a small percentage of ranges have that equipment. If you’re curious about the “point-blank” benchrest game, but haven’t had the chance to see it first-hand, check out this video created by youtuber “Taofledermaus”. On his YouTube Channel, you’ll find many other interesting shooting videos, including slow-motion target impact clips. This video shows the LV and HV guns, the flags, the gun-handling, the reloading set-ups, and of course, tiny little groups on targets.

Registered 100/200 Benchrest Match

Viewer Comments on the Video:

“There is a lot more to this game than just pulling the trigger. Record targets are 5-shot groups, 5 averaged together for an Aggregate. Most times the winning Agg is under .250″ for 25 shots at 100 yards. Rifles weigh 10.5 pounds for LV class. Used rifles can be had for about $1500. Then add in another $1000 for rest, bags, loading tools, bullets, powder, not to mention windflags.” — Vmhtr

“Benchrest shooting is sort of an ‘academy of shooting’. Lots of academic thought and measurements, handloading made with anal attention at detail. It’s much more thought than action. Most of those people made their tools themselves. [There are] It’s plenty of seniors because it takes patience, lots of patience. Sure a teenager ain’t gonna bother it.” — THP

“I was surprised they did all their hand loading right there on the spot. — I think you nailed it. It’s a super-precise sport. It’s expensive, it’s slow, and it requires a lot of travel, so it’s well-suited for retired folks. It’s gotta beat golfing!” — Tao

“I used to shoot 6mm PPC in a BR rifle. I spent so much time at the reloading bench that I just gave up on it all and switched to 22 rimfire gallery matches. Saved a lot of my sanity doing that….” — Walt

Permalink - Videos, Competition 2 Comments »
May 20th, 2017

Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article by Shawn Carlock about wind reading. Shawn is a veteran law enforcement marksman and a past USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”

Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing over an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »