June 27th, 2021

Monitor Barrel Heat This Summer with Handy Temp Strips

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

You never want your barrels to get too hot, which can happen more quickly in summertime. Accuracy suffers when barrels over-heat, and excessive heat is not good for barrel life. So how do you monitor your barrel’s temperature? You can check if the barrel is “warm to the touch” — but that method is not particularly precise. There is a better way — using temperature-sensitive strips. McMaster.com (an industrial supply house) offers stick-on temp strips with values from 86° F to 140° F. A pack of ten (10) of these strips (item 59535K13) costs $12.77. That’s a mere $1.28 per barrel for strips — cheap insurance for your precious barrels. For best barrel life, try to stay under 120 degrees F.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

NOTE: On the McMaster.com website, you’ll need to scroll down to the multi-use “Temperature Indicating Labels”. Then click on the horizontal label and select item 59535K13, as shown below.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr
Click image for large view.

Forum member Nomad47 says: “I have temperature strips (bought at McMaster-Carr) on all my barrels. I try not to shoot when the barrel gets to 122 degrees or higher[.]” Here are photos of the McMaster-Carr temp strips on Nomad47’s customized Savage.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, there’s considerable evidence that hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.

Neconos.com offers BAR-L Temp Strips that visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers that monitor barrel heating.

Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. There is also a “general purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (see bottom row). The Benchrest strip (86°F to 140°F) is in the middle. These Bar-L temp strips cost $9.00 each, or $25.00 for a 3-pack.

NOTE: These strips can be permanently fixed to the barrel with the heavy-duty clear plastic tape strip provided with the BAR-L Temp strip.

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July 17th, 2020

Summer’s Here — Monitor Barrel Heat with Stick-on Temp Strips

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

You never want your barrels to get too hot, which can happen more quickly in summertime. Accuracy suffers when barrels over-heat, and excessive heat is not good for barrel life. So how do you monitor your barrel’s temperature? You can check if the barrel is “warm to the touch” — but that method is not particularly precise. There is a better way — using temperature-sensitive strips. McMaster.com (an industrial supply house) offers stick-on temp strips with values from 86° F to 140° F. A pack of ten (10) of these strips (item 59535K13) costs $12.77. That’s a mere $1.28 per barrel for strips — cheap insurance for your precious barrels. For best barrel life, try to stay under 120 degrees F.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

NOTE: On the McMaster.com website, you’ll need to scroll down to the multi-use “Temperature Indicating Labels”. Then click on the horizontal label and select item 59535K13, as shown below.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr
Click image for large view.

Forum member Nomad47 says: “I have temperature strips (bought at McMaster-Carr) on all my barrels. I try not to shoot when the barrel gets to 122 degrees or higher[.]” Here are photos of the McMaster-Carr temp strips on Nomad47’s customized Savage.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, there’s considerable evidence that hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.

Neconos.com offers Bar-L Temp Strips that visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers. With adhesive backing, they can also be used to monitor barrel heating.

Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. There is also a “general purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (see bottom row). The Benchrest strip (86°F to 140°F) is in the middle. These Bar-L temp strips cost $9.00 each, or $25.00 for a 3-pack.

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July 2nd, 2013

Monitor Barrel Temps with Heat-Sensitive Strips

Thermometer barrel heat accurateshooter.comMany parts of the country are experiencing a heat wave right now. It was 117° F in Las Vegas yesterday. Unfortunately, this is “prime time” for shooting matches, so competitors may have no choice but to shoot in very hot weather. When ambient temperatures soar into the 100s, you need to be especially careful about barrel heat. Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.

Bar-L shooting temp strips

How do you monitor your barrel temperature other than guessing by “feel”? BAR-L Benchrest strips visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees F. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers. These adhesive-backed strips can be used to monitor barrel heating. Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. These strips are easy to read. The green box displays the current temperature of the barrel in both °F and °C. We recommend using the Benchrest strip (86F to 140F), shown in the middle. There is also a “General Purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (bottom row).

Installation: Before placing the temp strips on your barrel, clean and degrease the barrel with alcohol for better adhesion. Once in place, the plastic-covered strips should provide years of service. Note, we do not recommend use with high-polished blued barrels.

Value-Priced Temp Strip 10-packs
If you have many rifles, McMaster.com (a large industrial supply house) offers the handy reversible, 7 temperature, 86F to 140F strip (item 59535K13) for $10.71 per pack of ten (10) strips. That’s an excellent value.

Another source for BAR-L Temp Strips is Neconos.com. This vendor offers Bar-L temp strips for $9.00, or $25.00 for a 3-pack. From the Neconos Online Catalog, search for “Bar-L” to find the Temp Strips. Three temp ranges are offered: 32F to 86F (Moderate Zero); 86F to 140F (Benchrest): and 86F to 194F (Gen’l Purpose).

Controlling Ammunition Temperature is Important Too
Igloo MaxCold 70 Roller CoolerKeeping your loaded cases at a controlled temperature is vital for maintaining good ES and case life. At a late summer varmint match we observed pressure signs with cases that had been sitting in direct sunlight for about 15 minutes. As we were running a “moderate” RL15 load, the pressure indications were surprising. Testing over a chronograph, cases that had been sitting in direct sunlight showed velocities up to 70 fps higher than those that had been kept in the shade. Using QuickLoad’s temperature function, we calculated from the rise in velocities that case pressures had increased by over 4,000 psi–just from 15-20 minutes in direct sunlight! Accordingly, you’ll want to keep your ammo out of the sun, in an insulated container. The Igloo Ice Cube MaxCold 70 Roller Cooler can hold enough ammo for a multi-day varmint safari or a week at Camp Perry. It’s large enough to also store water bottles and cold beverages.

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