July 22nd, 2022

Monitor Barrel Heat with Handy, Infrared Thermometers

infrared pocket pen battery thermometer

Monitor Barrel Heat with Pocket Infrared Gauges
It’s the middle of summer, and temperatures are HOT around the country. That makes it more important than ever to monitor your barrel temp when at the range. You NEVER want to run the barrel of a precision rifle too hot. Excessive barrel heat kills accuracy, increases copper fouling, and can cause rapid barrel throat wear. Over the years people have devised various means to cool their barrels — from electric fans to dunking in tubs of ice water.

But how do you know if your barrel is too hot? Consider a “non-contact” thermometer that reads your barrel’s “infrared signature”. The small pocket-sized, non-contact Infrared (IR) thermometers are ideal for shooters at the range or in the prairie dog fields. Such thermometers are handy and inexpensive. You can buy these mini IR pen thermometers for under $15.00 from Amazon, Walmart, and other vendors.

infrared pocket pen battery thermometer

Pen-Sized Thermometers
Just 3.2″ long, and weighing an ounce, these handy IR pen thermometers are small enough to carry in your pocket, and will easily stow in any range bag/box. The Yidexin unit, sold by both Amazon and Walmart, can measure from -58 to 428 °F (-50 to 220 °C). You can also find considerably larger hand-held IR thermometers for industrial applications. These can measure up to 716 °F. But for quick measurement of barrel temps, we prefer the small pen IR thermometers that fit in a pocket. A little IR thermometer like this is a gadget that every serious shooter should have. Given the cost of replacing barrels these days (up to $700 for barrel, chambering and fitting), can you afford NOT to have a temp gauge for your match or varmint barrel?

TECH TIP — How to Get More Consistent Readings
When using IR Thermometers on shiny steel barrels, sometimes the polished surface throws off the beam, causing inconsistent readings. You can solve this problem by simply putting a piece of masking tape on the area where you take your reading. Some other folks use a grease pencil to create a non-reflective spot to read. Forum Member Jon B. says: “I used an Exergen infrared in the HVAC industry. Without the grease crayon they sold, you couldn’t get an accurate reading with shiny metals.”

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