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Thread: Cooling the barrel

  1. #1
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Cooling the barrel

    As I work up loads for my rifles, Iím shooting groups for accuracy and measuring velocity.

    As part of the process, I let the barrel cool completely between shots.

    When itís 30 degrees outside, this doesnít take too terribly long, and I can shoot 3 groups with each rifle (I bring two with me, working up loads for both) in the 2+ hours I have to spend at the range.

    But now itís in the 60s (maybe even 70 today). Often the barrels wonít seem to cool completely, even in the shade - even leaving 10 minutes between shots. Iím late getting back to my family, only having shot two groups with each rifle.

    Much as I love spending time at the range, Iíve got other obligations in life, so Iím wondering if thereís a good way to cool the barrel more quickly. Iím obviously not dousing my rifles with cold water, but perhaps I could wrap a couple gel-packs in towels and set them atop the barrel for a minute or two? Then I could pull Ďem off and give it a couple of minutes for the heat to redistribute so the steel is a uniform temperature all the way around before firing. Wouldnít want a barrel thatís cool on top and warm down by the stock, Iím sure.

    Is there a downside to this idea? Iím only talking about one shot at a time, so I canít imagine the temperature differential would temper or in any way weaken the steel, would it?

    Is there a better method? Do I just need to suck it up and put in the hours?

  2. #2
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default cooling

    Good question- having thought of the same thing many times. I guess my thoughts have been to try to cool by about the same amount for each shot- waiting a little longer when it's warm weather and not so long when it's cool. Sometimes keeping in the shade may help as will pulling the bolt out and letting the breeze through the bore??? I have no idea about how exact any can be without a few thermometers attached along the barrel One thing I think is true though ... it's probably best not to try to wrap something around the barrel like a damp cloth or cold pack. Pretty sure that would give uneven cooling at certain areas of the barrel- the harmonics thing... but don't think it would compromise the metal temper- not enough temperature difference for that.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Shoot your groups as fast as you can and don't worry about it. It is much better to shoot in the same condition than it is to worry about the cool barrel issue. A switch in wind direction or velocity will have more effect on your groups, than barrel temperature.

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    8mm Mauser, thought of this many times too. It is just to hot outside to really get into some chrony work and by time the day cools off so do I-ha. I thought of getting a small cylinder and filling it with compressed air and blasting the barrel and letting it sit for a few moments to balance out and cool-should work better than waiting for the sun to cool it. Now that I have another rifle to load and have fun with I am in the same delimma-should wait for overcast and some cool temps-could be fall time for that. good luck and good shooting!

  5. #5

    Talking just shootem

    I'm with George on this. Just shoot 3-5 and don't be concerned (unless it's a match shoot). If you feel it's a problem, keep your ammo on ice until you're ready...then it'll be fairly consistant. Now, a 250 round day on rock chucks in 95 degree weather...better cool the barrel. Ciao.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

  6. #6
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Maydog & Big Al,

    I appreciate the sentiment, and it may even hold true for the Mod. 70.

    But the Mauser 'double groups' if I let it heat up. the first two shots are pretty close to one another, then the next few are pretty close to one another, but a good inch or two off the first pair.

    Compressed air is an interesting thought. I worry a little about condensation with compressed air, though - what else?

  7. #7
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    If the shift in the group is predictable then shift your sighting point over to compensate. Remember this is a hunting rifle that is concerned with minute of moose accuracy only.

  8. #8
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    "Minute of moose" is a good line.

    But I'm nutty enough to want to wring every last bit of performance I can out of my handloads. Not because I need it -- because I want it.

    My wife suggested Otter Pops. I laughed and told her they were too big to fit down the barrel. But then I thought, what about plastic tubing? If I filled lengths of plastic tubing (with plugs in one end) about 2/3 full of water, I could put 'em in the freezer standing up. Once they're solid, I could put plugs in the open end, and lay 'em down in a cooler to go to the range. Surely there's narrow enough tubing out there, it would just slip right down the barrel and absorb heat like crazy. Follow with a dry patch (to deal with condensation) and fire, right?

  9. #9

    Default

    I forget where I read it but someone was using the aerosol icing spray used by athletic trainers. They said they had good results and it was non corrosive.

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    It does not matter whether you cool the inside of the barrel or the outside - the steel conducts heat well enough that the entire barrel will assume the same temperature very quickly.

    This being the case, why not use a damp washcloth draped over the barrel? Wring well and drape. Wait five minutes for barrel temperatures to even out. Shoot some more.

  11. #11

    Default

    I've turned by gun upside down and muzzle down and run ice cubes along the barrel to cool it off. Worked for me. I just made sure the water didn't run between the stock and the barrel. Then I let the barrel temperature equilibrate for several minutes before firing again.

    I agree that with thin barreled rifles, as the barrel heats up the groups typically open up. When working up accuracy loads I feel I have to keep my barrel temperatures somewhat controlled.

    In the winter, I've used snow the same way. I dry the barrel with a paper towel or cloth before turning the gun right side up to keep water from getting between the barrel and stock.

    I've read of others taking a cooler along filled with ice and water and using wash clothes to cool down their barrels.

    It's a hassle either way, but it's better than waiting 20 minutes between shots because the barrel is getting too warm to hold the groups that it might otherwise produce if the gun barrel wasn't heating up.

  12. #12
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    All your worries are not really worth the trouble, unless of course you think that global warming is going to happen during hunting season.

    My loads don't shoot the same at 15 to 20 deg f. as they do at 70 degrees. when I working up a load.

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    I tried aerosol cleaners like gun scrubber.....no dice.....the barrel cooled very fast but then the temp diff made condensation all inside the bore like a beer can on the table right out the fridge.

    I found that taking out the bolt and setting the gun barrel up like a chimney in the shade works fastest if you want to do it without chemicals or aerosols or compressed air.

    As the hot air rises, cooler air is pulled in to replace it I guess.

    The best way to check barrel temps is with a pyrometer.

    http://www.omega.com/ppt/pptsc.asp?r...680&Nav=temj06

    http://www.omega.com/ppt/pptsc.asp?ref=OS643&Nav=temj06

    http://www.omega.com/pptst/OS532E_OS533E_OS534E.html

    jedi

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