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Thread: hot barrel and accuracy

  1. #1

    Default hot barrel and accuracy

    looking for some advice on how to dissipate heat waves from a warm barrel. when i go out trying new loads or target shooting my .338 win mag i find i can initially only get about 4 rounds down the barrel before the barrel heat starts causing heat waves as i look through the scope (this causes my crosshairs to kinda "jump" around). after it heats up, it'll only shoot about 1-2 before i start getting the heat waves again; even if it has sat for 30 mins. this makes it kinda tough to put 3 round groups downrange and i don't have the patience to shoot 1 round, wait 30 mins, shoot another, and so on. it's a savage with a fluted barrel (if that makes any difference). i've thought about bringing a little portable fan to blow the heat to the side so it won't rise and affect the optics. any suggestions? Thanks.

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    Run some electrical tape down the length of the barrel.

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    Ive run into this problem with both of my fluted bbl rifles. It is a royal pain and I will probably not get another fluted bbl because of of it.

    That said there are a few things that help. Take a piece of cardboard or paper and lay it on top of the barrel under the bell end of the scope. That will help some. Also when you are lined up and ready to fire, exhale a large breath down the side of the rifle as you start to calm your breathing, that will buy you a couple of seconds of clarity.

    The tape that PRDTOR mentioned is a good idea too, but don't use electrical tape, IMO. When heated or left on too long it leaves the black gooey mastic on your rifle and it is a birtch to get off, so much so that I just left it on my SS Ruger bbl as "camo"..

    Blue painters tape might work good, ill have to try that one of these days..

    Good luck

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    Wow that's a lot of heat, what happens to accuracy when it gets that warm?


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    When I've shot long strings or in hot temps I've used a small, portable, battery operated fan to do away with the mirage from the barrel (placed to blow across the barrel), though I must say that in AK I've not found this to be a problem.
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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    This is the sort of thing you're looking for:

    http://www.sinclairintl.com/shooting...prod32718.aspx

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    When I've shot long strings or in hot temps I've used a small, portable, battery operated fan to do away with the mirage from the barrel (placed to blow across the barrel), though I must say that in AK I've not found this to be a problem.
    i've found in the winter i can get about 8-9 shots before getting the mirage. the barrel does cool down a lot quicker though!
    thanks for your replies...some really good ideas.

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    In many lighter weight barrels, just a few rounds will not only give you a heat mirage, but it will also change the bullet's impact point due to the steel flexing or warping. So the hapless shooter continues to change the scope or sight settings and then wonders why he or she misses the moose when firing the ONE shot from a cold barrel a week or two later.

    I like to take another couple rifles to the range and let the primary rifle cool with the bolt opened while I goof around with firing another.


    This photo shows how the group fired from a super accurate m/96 Swedish Mauser goes up and to the right as the barrel becomes hotter. and this is a fairly heavy barrel firing a mild mannered cartridge.
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    I take 3, or four, other rifles with me and rotate shooting them while giving the prior rifle time to cool. It is the best and most enjoyable method for me, and I am usually at the range for 3 to 4 hours when I go.

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    To further make my point about hot barrels, here are two photos of groups fired from a Model 700 titanium mountain rifle.
    One group is fired with waiting ( cooling ) periods between shots to keep the super thin barrel from over heating.

    The next group shows the shots fired at the same range but from a hot barrel.

    BTW, some serious target shooters and R&D folks actually set up little air pumps with a hose and blow coll air down their barrels between firings.

    I have seen a few shooters use a blade from a set on Venetian blinds. mounted above their barrel and running the length of the stock. They had it mounted to some sort of flexible wire frame that clamped to the stock so it would not touch the barrel.
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    I also take three to four rifles with me and rotate shooting three shot groups, works good for me

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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak-fang View Post
    looking for some advice on how to dissipate heat waves from a warm barrel. when i go out trying new loads or target shooting my .338 win mag i find i can initially only get about 4 rounds down the barrel before the barrel heat starts causing heat waves as i look through the scope (this causes my crosshairs to kinda "jump" around). after it heats up, it'll only shoot about 1-2 before i start getting the heat waves again; even if it has sat for 30 mins. this makes it kinda tough to put 3 round groups downrange and i don't have the patience to shoot 1 round, wait 30 mins, shoot another, and so on. it's a savage with a fluted barrel (if that makes any difference). i've thought about bringing a little portable fan to blow the heat to the side so it won't rise and affect the optics. any suggestions? Thanks.
    cheap fix here: http://www.championshooters.com/inde...=14&Itemid=111

    I use these on my bolt guns when target or you could make your own

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    To further make my point about hot barrels, here are two photos of groups fired from a Model 700 titanium mountain rifle.
    One group is fired with waiting ( cooling ) periods between shots to keep the super thin barrel from over heating.

    The next group shows the shots fired at the same range but from a hot barrel.

    BTW, some serious target shooters and R&D folks actually set up little air pumps with a hose and blow coll air down their barrels between firings.

    I have seen a few shooters use a blade from a set on Venetian blinds. mounted above their barrel and running the length of the stock. They had it mounted to some sort of flexible wire frame that clamped to the stock so it would not touch the barrel.
    I have an ultra light model 77 that will clover leaf the first 3 rounds. The fourth round is high and right by an inch to inch and a half. By round ten it may not even be on a paper plate. I've delegated it to be my walking predator rifle. If I don't get it killed by three rounds I'm out of luck anyway.

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    Using what I see a lot of in the automotive field, use some aluminum foil and make a heat shield. I wouldn't wrap it around the barrel but a strip the length of the barrel, folded a time or two for thickness and increase the rigidness, creased down the middle to make a ^ shape and secured to the rifle to allow the shield to sit a top the barrel. I've seen wires and gaskets less than an inch from catalytic converters that are 800+ degrees F.

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    In reading the comments and posts for this thread I have to ask, are we talking "hunting" rifles or benchrest and varmint guns ? If you are referring to "hunting" rifles and "cooling periods between shots" and all I see no problem getting the moose and caribou to wait around since they always like an extra mouthful of grass or lichen or a branch prior to bitin' the dust but ELK on the other hand have known about rapid shot dispersement and won't stick around - Seriously though, whatever a HUNTING rifle holds, 3,4 or 5 (or more) why would anyone not shoot for groups just as fast as they can ? or just get a single shot and cure the controversy - And what's the "problem" with a fluted barrel ? If done correctly it will make the barrel MORE stiff just like drilling holes in a piece of sheet metal will make it stronger if done correctly - When even the slightest amount of heat is introduced into steel or alloy (as in machining) it alters the speed of the molecules in that metal and forever afterward, the warmer or hotter that metal becomes the faster those molecules travel all around helter skelter, hence heat warpage - solution: cryogenic tempering which PERMANENTLY slows the "orbit" of those same molecules to manageable speeds and reduces potential heat warpage drastically - side benefit: bearing surfaces of that metal become noticeably more smooth and (Rockwell) harder, often times, in barrels, more resistant to erosion from heat ahead of the chamber - proven true long ago, surgical centers have been cryogenically tempering cutting blades and tools for years

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    In reading the comments and posts for this thread I have to ask, are we talking "hunting" rifles or benchrest and varmint guns ? If you are referring to "hunting" rifles and "cooling periods between shots" and all I see no problem getting the moose and caribou to wait around since they always like an extra mouthful of grass or lichen or a branch prior to bitin' the dust but ELK on the other hand have known about rapid shot dispersement and won't stick around - Seriously though, whatever a HUNTING rifle holds, 3,4 or 5 (or more) why would anyone not shoot for groups just as fast as they can ? or just get a single shot and cure the controversy - And what's the "problem" with a fluted barrel ? If done correctly it will make the barrel MORE stiff just like drilling holes in a piece of sheet metal will make it stronger if done correctly - When even the slightest amount of heat is introduced into steel or alloy (as in machining) it alters the speed of the molecules in that metal and forever afterward, the warmer or hotter that metal becomes the faster those molecules travel all around helter skelter, hence heat warpage - solution: cryogenic tempering which PERMANENTLY slows the "orbit" of those same molecules to manageable speeds and reduces potential heat warpage drastically - side benefit: bearing surfaces of that metal become noticeably more smooth and (Rockwell) harder, often times, in barrels, more resistant to erosion from heat ahead of the chamber - proven true long ago, surgical centers have been cryogenically tempering cutting blades and tools for years
    That too, I failed to mention that part of my shooting practices, not only shooting the consecutive rounds quickly, but starting out with a quick shot and run through them. Taking too long to shoot/overthinking is one more step to inaccurate shooting.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    I take 3, or four, other rifles with me and rotate shooting them while giving the prior rifle time to cool. It is the best and most enjoyable method for me, and I am usually at the range for 3 to 4 hours when I go.
    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    I also take three to four rifles with me and rotate shooting three shot groups, works good for me

    Sent from my MB865 using Tapatalk
    I do the exact same thing as these two gentlemen. Wow, thirty minutes to cool down a barrel seems like a real long time! Sometimes I have to wait for 10 minutes, but 30 minutes seems pretty extreme. I wonder if it has to do with the fluted barrel like you are saying. But it seems like a fluted barrel would cool off quicker though because it has less mass and more surface area. I wonder if it has to do with the ammo you are using. Did you mention what ammo you are using? Are you reloading or buying factory ammo?

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    I assumed the Op was talking about load development, thats where I run into warm barrels, but never had one get so hot it causes a mirage, I put it down well before then and shoot a different gun.


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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    I assumed the Op was talking about load development, thats where I run into warm barrels, but never had one get so hot it causes a mirage, I put it down well before then and shoot a different gun.


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    i am the same way except with my fluted barrels. After 3 shots with my tikka or my M70 EW I am getting mirage. Never have the problem with my other rifles......Maybe it's because I'm shooting in the cold??


    Then again my AR has a fluted bbl and I don't have a problem with it.....but it's not stainless, I think the stainless bbls tend to hold heat more, or transfer it slower.....

  20. #20

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    [QUOTE=limon32;1358326]I assumed the Op was talking about load development, thats where I run into warm barrels, but never had one get so hot it causes a mirage, I put it down well before then and shoot a different gun.

    it actually hasn't mattered whether i'm shooting factory or handloads (handloads are the 225gr hornady w/h4831-finally got some imr and look forward to trying some of that). and i've done the waiting thing between 3 round bursts and eventually it'll still warm up and cause the mirage. i've found that once it gets heated up it only takes 1-2 rounds to get it hot again; even if i give it some time. i admit i love shooting that gun a little too much and don't exercise as much patience as i should; hence, looking for a solution to avoid waiting 30 minutes between sending groups downrange. i've appreciated all the responses and education!
    ahh, dkwarthod - it is a stainless barrel so i think you might be onto something.

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