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Thread: How to tell if the barrel crown is bad?

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    Member kobuk's Avatar
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    Default How to tell if the barrel crown is bad?

    i own a browning BAR in .338 win mag. i have noticed over the last few years that my group sizes have opened up a little. i have been using the same loads and bullets (factory) for the last 15 years or so. the groups are not bad by any means, and the animals keep falling over with no problems. i do keep the rifle as clean as i can, but i have never used a bore guide and am wondering if i could have messed up the crown from cleaning. i didn't realize i could damage it with an aluminum rod. i need to have the rifle gone through cleaned and checked out by a gunsmith and if anyone knows a good one that is knowlagable with the BAR and would be able to check the crown, i would be gratefull. it has worked flawlessly for over 20 years with a lot of use and i would like to use it for at least another 20 or so. i live in anchorage and would prefer to use someone local. thanks.

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Two things I would check would be visible damage to the crown and even powder dispersion around the crown after shooting.

    Most likely your gun might just need a really good cleaning and copper removal.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kobuk View Post
    i own a browning BAR in .338 win mag. i have noticed over the last few years that my group sizes have opened up a little. i have been using the same loads and bullets (factory) for the last 15 years or so. the groups are not bad by any means, and the animals keep falling over with no problems. i do keep the rifle as clean as i can, but i have never used a bore guide and am wondering if i could have messed up the crown from cleaning. i didn't realize i could damage it with an aluminum rod. i need to have the rifle gone through cleaned and checked out by a gunsmith and if anyone knows a good one that is knowlagable with the BAR and would be able to check the crown, i would be gratefull. it has worked flawlessly for over 20 years with a lot of use and i would like to use it for at least another 20 or so. i live in anchorage and would prefer to use someone local. thanks.
    it is common to cause wear to your rifle when cleaned from the muzzle. it can also be caused by cleaning from the breech, and then drawing the patch BACK into the bore. the cause is uneven pressure and friction at muzzle. the remedy is to "freshen" the crown by recrowning.
    it sounds like a big deal, but actually takes only a few minutes with a recrowning tool. these tools are available from brownells for $50.-$75. or a gunsmith can do it for you(once) for about the same price.

    unless damage is extreme, most hunting rifle accuracy would have to degrade to a large extent to benefit from the process.
    happy trails.
    jh

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    There are far greater variables than the crown when it comes to accuracy suffering. You mention "groups opening over the last 15 years". Likely you are the problem. No smear here, this effects all of us over time. Eyes are older. Simple physics. I suggest getting your eyes checked. Maybe see if you are shooting larger groups with other calibers/guns as well. This would not be uncommon for anyone. Beyond that, consider getting the screws at the base of the receiver torqued down properly. Loose, or uneven torqueing can cause accuracy to suffer. Maybe the barrel is worn and the riffling is the issue. Not sure how many rounds have been through the gun. Also, consider new scope base/rings and lap the rings and properly torque them down. A fresh set of rings/base could help if the scope mount is an issue. This is a common cause of poor accuracy of course. Is the scope of high quality? Don't assume that it is, just because it once was. After that, consider the long term effects of unproperly cleaning the gun. Have a gunsmith run a scope down it for you and check things out. More damage is done in this way than many of us want to admit. Not trying to come across as a smart*****, I just feel that recrowning the barrel is at the very bottom of a long, long, list.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member kobuk's Avatar
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    thanks guys. after i typed my question i was thinking about me being some of the problem. it's kind of hard to admit but is possible.... i know the moose quarters are getting a little heavier and the hills a little steeper. i thought i was just hunting in a more rugged terrain and shooting bigger moose! any guesses on a gunsmith that is good with the BAR? i realize anyone can work on them, but i would like someone that may know a few of the things that are common to the BAR.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    For what it is worth, I made my suggestions based on personal experience. Our bodies (and eyes) don't always keep up with our ambitions. Even at 35 I am starting to tell some differences. But you make a good point, it is something we don't like to admit to ourselves. I am rolling out of my chair reading "hills are steeper", and "moose are heavier"... Good stuff man. You and me both
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  7. #7

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    A lot of good points have been made. The sugesstion of getting it bore scoped is good. If nothing else it will tell you the general condition of your throat and bore. But before you do, remove all powdwer and copper fouling. I think Wipeout is the best product for that. I did it with my old M77 and removed a ton of copper after many years of shooting. It took about 7-8 long (8+ hr) treatments, but it got the bore spotless. When I got it scoped the smith could easily see the conditon of the barrel and throat. After you do clean the bore, you might try shooting another group before taking it to the smith to see what effect the cleaning has. Then clean it again.

    There's a good chance that there are multiple issues with an old gun. Fouling, throat, bore, crown, action, scope, rings, etc. A medium or even higher grade scope and/or rings can start to go south after many years.

    Let us know what you find out.

    Good shooting

    - MR

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    Have a good look at your stock,,, people forget the stock is as important and a direction connection with the barrel.... Moisture, dryness,,, cracking etc... Leaves, dirt and grime.... Look at you sling stud to see if it hitting or rubbing the bottom of your barrel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pioneerpeak View Post
    Have a good look at your stock,,, people forget the stock is as important and a direction connection with the barrel.... Moisture, dryness,,, cracking etc... Leaves, dirt and grime.... Look at you sling stud to see if it hitting or rubbing the bottom of your barrel.
    Yep. One time ago, my only rifle (Rem. 700) wasn't shootin up to snuff, so I took the stock off , and I happened to notice that the forend wasn't bearing evenly. It was touching on one side more than the other.

    I sanded it a bit so it did, and presto, it shot better for me.

    As to crowning, I dunno how to tell if it's bad, by looking, because I've never seen anything wrong with one. However, I've had 3 rifles recrowned, for good measure, and on one it SEEMED to help a lot.

    Smitty of the North
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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Before my current occupation started 21 years ago I made my living as a mechanic. I always believed if someone else could do something with a little studying and patience I could too.

    A buddy has a 30-30 that is stunning but he didn't know how to clean it properly. He scarred his crown by cleaning from the muzzle end ramming patches through with a steel welding rod and pulling them out the chamber end.

    I bought a crown tool, (I love tools) from Midway.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=684575

    They also have a T-handle available for about $11.00 that goes with this tool. I did the work by hand with cutting fluid and took my time. I figured if I screwed it up a gun smith could fix it for about the same price as the tool and I would chalk it up as experience.

    I removed just enough material to clean up a few thousands past the scar. The crown turned out perfect and I re-blued the cut surface. Bottom line, easy work and a much better shooting rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    For what it is worth, I made my suggestions based on personal experience. Our bodies (and eyes) don't always keep up with our ambitions. Even at 35 I am starting to tell some differences. But you make a good point, it is something we don't like to admit to ourselves. I am rolling out of my chair reading "hills are steeper", and "moose are heavier"... Good stuff man. You and me both
    Wait until you hit 44. It seems like I lost my 20/15 vision over night. My knees hurt and I can't pick up the top chest of my tool box anymore. My little brother out hikes me and I get winded for he breaks a sweat.

    What's it going to be like when I reach my 60's. Oh I know, that's why the old timers invite us on their hunting trips, they take the shot, we pack the meat...

  12. #12

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    Well one way, is to recrown the muzzle...if it shoots better, then maybe it needed the work.

    I noticed the gunsmiths at Crane Naval Weapons station routinely freshened the crowns on both M1 Garands and often on M14 match rifles when they had them in the shop for work. Part of the tune up process.

    Hope that helps!

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    Member fishnngrinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Wait until you hit 44. It seems like I lost my 20/15 vision over night. My knees hurt and I can't pick up the top chest of my tool box anymore. My little brother out hikes me and I get winded for he breaks a sweat.

    What's it going to be like when I reach my 60's. Oh I know, that's why the old timers invite us on their hunting trips, they take the shot, we pack the meat...
    Yep, thats why we have sons-=pack horses. I am 69, still love to hunt, but spend more time in the pick up truck now.

    Great thread here, thanks for the info, very helpful.
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