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Thread: Cut rifling vs Button rifling advantages/disadvantages

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Cut rifling vs Button rifling advantages/disadvantages

    I have been reading up a little on rifle barrels and noticed that some hunters/shooters prefer button rifling and others prefer cut rifling. Would like to hear some opinions on what hunters/shooters on this forum prefer. So my question is: What are your preferences for rifle barrels? (cut rifling or button rifling), and why do you pick one over the other.

    Personally, to date I have used Montana Rifle Company button rifled barrels on my family's WSM rifle projects and on my latest rifle project I went with a Broughton which the website stated is also a button rifle barrel. I guess for me personally the reason I chose the MRC is the price was reasonable and the company also provided installation services.
    For my latest rifle project I chose a Broughton barrel, heard from other more experienced hunters/shooters/riflebuilders and read online that Broughtons are a really good quality rifle barrel. So I decided to give it a try. Thanks

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    Nukalpiaq,

    You fool! You left out the ONLY barrel worth owning……. Hammer Forged!

    Just kidding about the “fool” part, I actually think you’re a pretty sharp tack and I enjoy your posts, but just couldn’t let you go without mentioning the coolest looking barrels! I cant say that they actually shoot any better, but the ones that still have the hammer marks left on them up by the chamber look better to my taste than any other barrel! As for the difference in “accuracy” between button, cut or hammered, I have no idea…………

    I honestly believe that the technology for each technique has matured to the point that they are all potential equal provided the company making them has the quality control aspects nailed down and is marketing towards the “discriminating buyer” (read expensive barrel). Pay a lot for any one of the three and I would bet a months wages that you will get a good barrel.
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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Alangaq,
    No big deal on the joking around stuff and thanks for adding in hammer forged barrels to the thread.
    Forum members please take into consideration hammer forged barrels if you choose to add your thoughts and/or opinions to the thread. Alagnaq makes a good point about technology and the quality control aspects of barrel making. Personally I don't have a lot of reading material on barrel making except for an older book titled; Encyclopedia of American Gun Design and Performance Chapter Nine is on Rifle Barrels and whatever I can glean off of the internet, guess that is why I am asking y'all.

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    Nukalpiaq, I'm no expert on barrel making. What I know is like you, from the internet. From what I read button hand lapped barrels are easirer to break in, but their disadvantage is that they may not last as long as cut barrels.

    I'm going to use Lilja button barrels for any rebarrels or builds I do.

    If you haven't read his atricles on barrel making, here are some.

    http://www.riflebarrels.com/articles...fle_barrel.htm

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    You have to think about what you want the barrel to be capable of doing.

    There is really not all that much difference between the accuracy potential of today's cut barrels from the top manufacturers of cut barrels, compared to button barrels. Notice I said TOP makers.

    I will not discuss hammer forged barrels, as I have a believer on hand that has money.

    Just about any barrel maker in the USA produces a better barrel than any factory made barrel in the world.

    You just need to figure out what the game is you want to play with a rifle before you decide what you need in a barrel. I will tell you this as a little hint, no world records exist using hammer forged barrels.

    If you get a barrel from any of Americas top barrel makers and have it installed by someone that knows the best way of installing and fitting the action squaring everything up. Good bedding job. With good optics, the rifle may just be more accurate than you can hold.
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    I have several rifle barrels made with all three techniques and I've shot dime size groups with all off them.

    The Kreiger cut rifle barrels will maintain uniform diameter better than button rifled but I don't know that they are more accurate because of it. The unlapped smoothness of the cold hammer forged barrels is the best and they generally do not have the sharp edges of the rifling cuts of the other two. A well made barrel is an accurate barrel. One of the reasons for the different methods is tim and tool work. Hammer forged barrels are made quickly and in one pass with little or no cleanup needed and they are off the press very smooth internally. One of the best things I have found about hammered barrels is that the wear factor and rigidity is better than any other. They take less break in, maintain their accuracy longer and are less influenced by stock pressure. A well made cut rifled barrel that is lapped correctly is probably the most accurate barrel but also the most espensive. The buttoned barrel though quicker to make will take more time to finish smooth but they can be accurate well beyond a shooters capability.

    Mass pruduction rifle makers are interested in a technique that will take little time and not require tooling change often. Hammer forged would be the way to go but that is a very expensive machine, so I guess it all balances out.

    Rifling is only cut to about .004" deep giving a total depth side to side (Groove diameter) of .008" and in a 30 bore (.300" that makes the American .308") so it would seem that it wouldn't take too much to make rifling but it is kinda important that it is twisted just right, that is the difficult part.

    Like I said I have many very good examples of all types, I get rid of the bad ones. I have Broughton, Lilja, Krieger, Shilen, Douglass, Hart, and others I can't remember all of them are very good.
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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Who makes hammer forged barrel blanks that we in America can buy? Why are there no records set with hammer forged barrels? Why don't European competitive shooters use hammer forged barrels. Why do "all" the top 20 European competitors import US made button ot cut barrels from the US?

    The history of manufacturing has a lot to do with the popularity of the different styles of rifling. The reason Hart barrels has more 1 st place winner is because the Hart family were involved at the vary start of the introduction of the button process into the US during world war II. In fact they more than any other were the leaders in all the breakthroughs in the process, such as copper plating bores for lubrication.

    The advantage of cut barrels over button for the manufacture is it is a cheaper process and more flexible over the button. That is why you see more in between twists than button barrels.

    Button barrels hold more world records than cut, hands down. Forged are not even in the running in any class of competitive shooting.

    The last major manufacturer in the US to use hammer forged barrels was the first to spend the money to develop button rifling. Why did Remington go to all that trouble if their forged barrels were so much faster and cheaper to forge?
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    Nukalpaiq, I dont think you can go wrong with any of the top barrel makers in the US. Almost everything I have read, including opinions from a lot of smiths and competition shooters indicates that all these barrels are very close in quality and accuracy. One guy may have a slight preference and another guy another preference. Now and then a bad one shows up. I think the advantages and disadavantages between cut and button are minimal and basically cancel each other out. It's possible that the button barrels may be more accurate but that is always debatable. The Kriegers seem to be very accurate.

    I'm going with the Lilja button hand lapped, because they *may* be easier to break in and less suseptable to copper fouling and Lilja Barrels are about a 2 1/2 hour drive from me. I'll suppoert the local guy.

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    To an extent I don't think it matters that much when you are talking about quality barrel blanks and quality barrel makers. I'm more concerned with who fits the barrel, cuts the chamber and crowns the blank then who made the blank, as accuracy will never be realized if the barrel is fit by a hack.

    A good example is a cheapy midway 35 caliber barrel I got to have a 35 whelen ackley made. A friend of a friend chambered the barrel with a rented reamer, and I put alot of rounds down range before finding one acceptable load. I tried multiple powders, charges, bullets and primers and only one load would put 3 shots into 1 1/2". Backing off a mere 1/2 gr opened up the group to 3". That one good load was really too hot, so I elected to have a real gunsmith re-chamber the barrel to a 350 Rigby. He trued the face of the mauser action, cut a true chamber and re-crowned the barrel. Suddenly the worse loads were 1 1/2" for 3 shots, and best loads were approaching 1/2" for 3 shots.

    I don't think you can go wrong with any of the top makers, just choose a good gunsmith. I'd add PacNor to the list as I've heard good things about their barrels. I planning on putting one of there fast twist 3 groove 22 barrels on my 223 when I turn it into a 223 ackley.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Nukalpiaq,

    You fool! You left out the ONLY barrel worth owning……. Hammer Forged!

    Just kidding about the “fool” part, I actually think you’re a pretty sharp tack and I enjoy your posts, but just couldn’t let you go without mentioning the coolest looking barrels! I cant say that they actually shoot any better, but the ones that still have the hammer marks left on them up by the chamber look better to my taste than any other barrel! As for the difference in “accuracy” between button, cut or hammered, I have no idea…………

    I honestly believe that the technology for each technique has matured to the point that they are all potential equal provided the company making them has the quality control aspects nailed down and is marketing towards the “discriminating buyer” (read expensive barrel). Pay a lot for any one of the three and I would bet a months wages that you will get a good barrel.
    And just to add to your reading, check this link out.

    http://www.6mmbr.citymaker.com/barrelFAQ.html#24635
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    So far here is what we have for barrel makers and their rifling methods, please correct any errors and/or add to the list. Thankyou

    Cut Rifling
    Kreiger

    Button Rifling
    MRC
    Broughton
    Lilja
    Hart
    Shilen
    Douglas
    Schneider
    Pac-Nor

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    Ok, Al I won't argue about which is more accurate but will disagree on other points. Austrian, Swiss, Swedish, German, Finnish,and Italian barrel makers are pretty much all cold hammer forged barrels and I think the reputation of the Swiss, Swedish, Finnish and Austrian rifles is pretty good for accuracy. The old Swedish M94,96, 38 are very good barrels and very accurate rifles and they are forged. Sako has used cold hammer forging for ever and they are among the very best barrels in the world though not of the level of precision of a cut barrel.

    As for American makers I believe Ruger is presently making their own barrels with cold forging and if Remington ever did I don't remember ever reading of such. Button rifling is an American thing and good, bad or ugly they are quicker to make.

    Why would a button rifled barrel be more accurate than a precision cut barrel? There are just very few who make cut barrels anymore. Lilja barrels are some of the most precise barrels because of the specialized nature of his operation, not so much because the technique is superior. Dan's barrels are very precise and very smooth and that is what earned him his reputation but his barrels are selected from the button rifleing process with the best dimensional uniformity.

    I will have to say that if given a choice of barrels for the most accurate I would take a cut rifled barrel. This process doesn't stress a barrel and it maintains the closest in dimensions over the buttoned or hammered.

    Button rifled barrels are mass produced, the barrel is rifled in about 60 seconds. This adds many different stresses to the barrel and causes it to walk shots as it heats up or cools down. For my belt fed weapons or for the greastest in durability I'd always want cold hammer forged. Button rifled barrels are quick and cheap to make. We then sort through all of them and find those few that come out of the rifling process with good dimensions throughout the length and call them match barrels and charge an extra arm and leg for them. We then sell the rest as non-match or standard barrels.

    Cut rifle making machines are like hen molars and there are very few makers using this technique. Those who do make very few barrel because it can take over an hour to rifle a barrel. Time is money. Also in this country there are many riflemen wanting barrels now. Barrel makers need to pay the rent so the quick answer is pulling a carbide button down a barrel to rifle it. Make lots of barrels, sell the good one to the match shooters who demand the best, sell the rest to discount houses and everything comes out even.

    Cold hammer forging makes a very tough barrel but they are not dimensionally uniform and, though very smooth inside, they will never be the hummer barrrel a cut barrel will be or some of the button barrels will be because of the varying internal diameter.

    Boots Obermeyer is no longer around but he was the first good custom barrel maker in post WWII era and he made some mighty fine cut rifled barrels. Boots once said; "Any fool can pull a button through a rifle barrel, it takes a rifle maker to cut a true barrel."
    Last edited by Murphy; 07-29-2008 at 13:16. Reason: I went to lunch.
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    Premium Member shphtr's Avatar
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    very accurate cut rifling barrels

    http://www.bartleinbarrels.com/

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    Default Another cut barrel...

    HS Precision also uses the cut rifiling. They make the sniper rifles for the FBI. http://www.hsprecision.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    So far here is what we have for barrel makers and their rifling methods, please correct any errors and/or add to the list. Thankyou

    Cut Rifling
    Kreiger

    Button Rifling
    MRC
    Broughton
    Lilja
    Hart
    Shilen
    Douglas
    Schneider
    Pac-Nor
    I think Mark Chanlyn of Rocky Mountain Rifle works is also a cut rifleing man and the number one barrel I would recommend of the other crowd would be Lothar Walther of Germany. These are some sweet barrels especially if you want something bigger than BR size calibers.

    Dan Lilja is probably the most knowledgable barrel maker around today and he makes precision barrels selected from the button and his specialty is in the match shooters barrels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    So far here is what we have for barrel makers and their rifling methods, please correct any errors and/or add to the list. Thankyou

    Cut Rifling
    Kreiger

    Button Rifling
    MRC
    Broughton
    Lilja
    Hart
    Shilen
    Douglas
    Schneider
    Pac-Nor


    Cut rifle barrel maker: Lawton, Satern, H.S. Precision, Green River these are a few off the top of my head, I can think of more without looking them up, but will take more than a minute.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I think Mark Chanlyn of Rocky Mountain Rifle works is also a cut rifleing man and the number one barrel I would recommend of the other crowd would be Lothar Walther of Germany. These are some sweet barrels especially if you want something bigger than BR size calibers.

    Dan Lilja is probably the most knowledgable barrel maker around today and he makes precision barrels selected from the button and his specialty is in the match shooters barrels.

    Actual more people shoot Hart barrels for BR than Lilja's barrels, nobody wins with HS's barrels. Go to the IBS or NBRSA web sites and count all the winners in the top twenty list and count the number of cut barrels compared to button, or forged (nobody I know sells forged blanks in the USA) Most of the top twenty you will find shoot button barrels.

    Here is a link to the winners for Lilja, note no group shooter wins, hunter for score, but not one major group win, for the past how many years?

    Now for BR 50-50 old Danny boy has had some good runs.

    What does Hart have to say? http://www.hartbarrels.com/

    "Custom rifles bearing HART barrels are widely used in benchrest, silhouette, Olympic events, high-power, small-bore, military shooting events, as well as hunting. Our barrels hold several World Shooting Records in the various shooting disciplines. Our performance in the shooting sports is unparalleled by any other barrel maker."

    Then you have the all time winner in Bench Rest that got a case of the ***** at Hart and switch over to these folks in Texas in the late 1980's.

    Lets see what they have to say? http://www.shilen.com/productsRifleBarrels.html

    Now of all these button barrel maker only one has barrels that have different grades. Lilja, doesn't, Hart doesn't, only Shilen does. His barrels win a lot of bench rest for group matches.

    On the equipment lists you will only see a vary few Krieger barrels. And they are used more than any other cut barrel for BR.

    Regional: A lot of barrel selection by shooters is regional, guy on the east coast will (for the most part, pick a maker nearest to them) This is why you see the difference from east to west in the barrel makers. The majority of western shooters use Shilen, eastern shooters will use Hart. Midwestern shooters (if they are going to shoot a cut barrel) will pick Krieger. If not you will see more Broughton, of course they are button barrels.

    Here is a list to help. http://www.6mmbr.com/barrels.html


    http://www.shilen.com/productsRifleBarrels.html.

    As far as picking a barrel for a machine gun, that's kind of funny. Most barrels made in America for machine guns are stellite lined are neither cut or button and darn sure are not forged.

    And Lothar Walther barrels are button barrels.

    As to the heat from pushing a button goes. that's why there is several steps of stress relieving going on by these makers.

    I could go on, but I feel this should be enough to get anyone to find the answers for themselves to make a pick.

    Last but not least, I own and shoot more Lilja barrels than any other. But that is only because I happen to like Dan. There are other barrel makers that I've had blanks from that I believe are just as good and in some cases better. The most accurate barrels I've ever owned have all come from Hart. For two different disciplines. BR and High power.
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    How LOTHAR WALTHER Barrels are made



    All our gun barrels are button rifled. Because of this technology we intensify the strength only at the attrition area from land and groove.
    The rest of the material is in the original strength, through this best attitude against vibration.



    who would have thunk it? I was sure they hammer forged barrels over there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Actual more people shoot Hart barrels for BR than Lilja's barrels, nobody wins with HS's barrels. Go to the IBS or NBRSA web sites and count all the winners in the top twenty list and count the number of cut barrels compared to button, or forged (nobody I know sells forged blanks in the USA) Most of the top twenty you will find shoot button barrels.

    Here is a link to the winners for Lilja, note no group shooter wins, hunter for score, but not one major group win, for the past how many years?

    Now for BR 50-50 old Danny boy has had some good runs.

    What does Hart have to say? http://www.hartbarrels.com/

    "Custom rifles bearing HART barrels are widely used in benchrest, silhouette, Olympic events, high-power, small-bore, military shooting events, as well as hunting. Our barrels hold several World Shooting Records in the various shooting disciplines. Our performance in the shooting sports is unparalleled by any other barrel maker."

    Then you have the all time winner in Bench Rest that got a case of the ***** at Hart and switch over to these folks in Texas in the late 1980's.

    Lets see what they have to say? http://www.shilen.com/productsRifleBarrels.html

    Now of all these button barrel maker only one has barrels that have different grades. Lilja, doesn't, Hart doesn't, only Shilen does. His barrels win a lot of bench rest for group matches.

    On the equipment lists you will only see a vary few Krieger barrels. And they are used more than any other cut barrel for BR.

    Regional: A lot of barrel selection by shooters is regional, guy on the east coast will (for the most part, pick a maker nearest to them) This is why you see the difference from east to west in the barrel makers. The majority of western shooters use Shilen, eastern shooters will use Hart. Midwestern shooters (if they are going to shoot a cut barrel) will pick Krieger. If not you will see more Broughton, of course they are button barrels.

    Here is a list to help. http://www.6mmbr.com/barrels.html


    http://www.shilen.com/productsRifleBarrels.html.

    As far as picking a barrel for a machine gun, that's kind of funny. Most barrels made in America for machine guns are stellite lined are neither cut or button and darn sure are not forged.

    And Lothar Walther barrels are button barrels.

    As to the heat from pushing a button goes. that's why there is several steps of stress relieving going on by these makers.

    I could go on, but I feel this should be enough to get anyone to find the answers for themselves to make a pick.

    Last but not least, I own and shoot more Lilja barrels than any other. But that is only because I happen to like Dan. There are other barrel makers that I've had blanks from that I believe are just as good and in some cases better. The most accurate barrels I've ever owned have all come from Hart. For two different disciplines. BR and High power.
    Al,

    Keep in mind about 1% of barrels available for sale as barrels are cut rifled so naturally you will find more (about 99%) buttoned barrels than cut everywhere you turn. Also I said the Lothar Wlather barrels are part of the other (buttoned) group I know they are button rifled. I'm not sure why this is a pissing contest but count me out of it, I've probably shot as many good barrels as you have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    How LOTHAR WALTHER Barrels are made



    All our gun barrels are button rifled. Because of this technology we intensify the strength only at the attrition area from land and groove.
    The rest of the material is in the original strength, through this best attitude against vibration.



    who would have thunk it? I was sure they hammer forged barrels over there?
    Their statement about strengthing at land and groove is comparison to hammer forged which supposedly strengthens the whole tube through work hardening. This does make a rigid barrel. An advertised advantage of button rifled is when the button (a tungston carbide arbor) is pulled through the barrel it work hardens and toughens only the high wear areas (the lands and grooves) and allows the softer steel of the barrel to remain more flexable and maintian its natural barrel harmonics and therefore accuracy. This is the greatest claim to fame of the button rifled barrels from a target shooters perspective. The tools used to button rifle will vary in type and some leave burrs on the edges of the lands but better tooling has a second arbor that smooths these burrs. So a match barrel maker will use the more expensive tooling and make better barrels where as a mass production may not be so concerned. The internal diameter will still vary to some degree and the barrels are then sorted, by air gauging typically, or optical comparitor, to find the most uniform. Just about all barrrel makers make match quality barrels but all barrels made by any one maker won't be match quality.
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