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Thread: hot barrels

  1. #1
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    Default hot barrels

    I was at the range today working on my 270 win. I found my barrell was needing a whole lot more cooling time then i was in the mood for. To finish a five shot group i needed to occcupy myself with cleaning up the range for 10 min after the third shot. My question is does anyone have a suggestion for a centerfire cartridge that wont heat the barrel so fast? A similar trajectory would be a bonus as well! thx

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    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    Wow, here we go with the hyper-technical arguments about heat loss. To keep it SIMPLE, it has to do with how much powder you burn, and the weight of the barrel. A heavier barrel, generally, will take longer to heat, as it is a bigger heat sink. But it will also take longer to cool once it is heated up. The more powder you burn the more heat you apply to the barrel. 220gr of IMR 5010 per round will heat a 28lb, 45 inch long barrel pretty quickly. I said GENERALLY for all the HYPER TECHNICAL hair splitters out there.
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  3. #3

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    I always take 3 to 5 rifles to the range and rotate them after shooting a group. Sometimes I spend a fair amount of time shooting a 22 lr while the other barrels cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seant View Post
    I always take 3 to 5 rifles to the range and rotate them after shooting a group. Sometimes I spend a fair amount of time shooting a 22 lr while the other barrels cool.
    I do the same thing, I carry multiple centerfire rifles and a rimfire for intermediate breaks at the range. 5 shot groups are excellent tests and have value for certain applications, but with most rifles I use three round groups as IMO they are sufficiently indicative of the rifle's field accuracy (I'm actually more concerned with the first shot from a cold barrel than grouping). I've no hard statistics to prove this, but I remove the bolt to help air flow and I make certain the rifles remain in the shade after firing. This increases the cooling rate IME and allows more trigger time with each rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunbugs View Post
    Wow, here we go with the hyper-technical arguments about heat loss.
    I dont see this thread....

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    thx guys. I agree with 3 shot groups and field accuracy. I was using 5 for pure pleasure. I think Im going to look into a 223 or when i can afford it.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by seant View Post
    I always take 3 to 5 rifles to the range and rotate them after shooting a group. Sometimes I spend a fair amount of time shooting a 22 lr while the other barrels cool.
    Same here. My 22 usually gets the workout, rather than having multiple centerfires to shift on and off the rest, much less keeping the right cartridges in the right rifle. I just set up an a smallbore target at 50 yards in addition to the centerfire target at 100. What a great opportunity to stand up and practice your offhand shooting!!!!

    In the field, the worst situation I know of for rifle barrels is prairie dog shooting on our place in the Southwest. An average day can involve 500 shots, and a long day can push 1,000. There aren't enough hours in a day for 500 shots from a rifle with proper cooling, and it's hard to allow sufficient cooling even if you're determined to shoot only 100 shots a day. There are just too many targets and the shooting is too much fun. I typically carry three or four rifles on the shoots and switch between them every 2 or 3 shots. Another way to cool things is to shoot with your buddies and take turns shooting.

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Let's see,the barrel is a heat sink? That sound right, and if that is the case (and it is) let's use another heat sink to take the temperature down! Could we use a wet, cold cloth to draw the temperature down? Could we place a cold and wet cloth over the barrel? Could we run cold water over the hot barrel? No running water at the range? That means we are back to the wet, cold cloth? Wait a minute where else do you ever see this kind of treatment of hot barrels? At registered matches? Why yes we do. But you might ask, does this really work? Shooters have been doing this for decades. In fact you might even see this done were it really gets hot because of the weather might even be over 100 degrees.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    I must admit I was never conserned about this.
    So how hot can the barrel get before it requires cooling?

    Is it just because you loose some accuracy as the barrel expands?

  10. #10

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    You can seriously damage a bore with lots of shooting through hot bores. It's not going to happen right away, but the "long haul" of a barrel's life is going to be shortened if you keep it up.

    The most extreme example is a machine gun. They're shot continuously in worst cases and can in fact be ruined in a single session. That's why they made the old water cooled versions. The bulk of water cooled was done away with by making the barrels changeable in the field. If it gets too hot, put on some heavy gloves and swap it for a fresh barrel.

    One of my shooting pards in the Southwest managed to completely ruin the barrel of his brand new 22-250 in three days firing only around 1000 rounds, shooting it as fast as he could all day long. He sure had a ball and managed to bap a lot of prairie dogs while he could still hit them. When it quit hitting anything on day 3 we cleaned it good and put it on paper. About half the bullets that managed to cut paper at 100 yards were keyholed, and you couldn't even find the rifling for about the first 3 inches in front of the chamber. A VERY expensive weekend of prairie dog shooting, fun or not.

    You're not likely to do that anywhere in Alaska but on a range. Your choice about how fast your barrels burn out. Many of us are being over-cautious I'm sure, but none of us wants to replace a barrel any sooner than we have to.

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    I know machine guns have that issue, but my guns don't get any where near that hot.

    How hot do you let yours get before stopping and letting it cool?
    Just start to feel warm?
    Warm to the touch?
    Hot to the touch?

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    You can seriously damage a bore with lots of shooting through hot bores. It's not going to happen right away, but the "long haul" of a barrel's life is going to be shortened if you keep it up.

    The most extreme example is a machine gun. They're shot continuously in worst cases and can in fact be ruined in a single session. That's why they made the old water cooled versions. The bulk of water cooled was done away with by making the barrels changeable in the field. If it gets too hot, put on some heavy gloves and swap it for a fresh barrel.

    One of my shooting pards in the Southwest managed to completely ruin the barrel of his brand new 22-250 in three days firing only around 1000 rounds, shooting it as fast as he could all day long. He sure had a ball and managed to bap a lot of prairie dogs while he could still hit them. When it quit hitting anything on day 3 we cleaned it good and put it on paper. About half the bullets that managed to cut paper at 100 yards were keyholed, and you couldn't even find the rifling for about the first 3 inches in front of the chamber. A VERY expensive weekend of prairie dog shooting, fun or not.

    You're not likely to do that anywhere in Alaska but on a range. Your choice about how fast your barrels burn out. Many of us are being over-cautious I'm sure, but none of us wants to replace a barrel any sooner than we have to.
    I'm not doubting what you're saying, but I think it takes a lot. I run 40 rounds through my HBAR often in less than 10 seconds. The same with my FS200, and 25 rds through my Sage-stocked M1A in 7-10 seconds. I often do this multiple times in the same afternoon (it's not how I shoot most of the time, but just when playing around shooting cans on private land, especially with someone who has not shot that type of rifle before). I originally bought my HBAR back in 1999, recently had to replace my gas tube from wear recently, and it still shoots very well. Maybe the semi-auto military barrels are made differently?

    When I shoot my bolt rifles, I often bring one or more pistols to shoot. That way, I can let my rifle cool and am doing something mechanically different than rifle shooting. Then, come back and really focus on shooting the one rifle.

  13. #13

    Default Barrel are cheap, especially if you own a Savage or Marlin

    bolt gun as you can swap em' out yourself. My Marlin XLC "270", fitted with a Savage 22-250 barrel rechambered to 22-06 (55 gr @ 4000 fps). Will it burn out fast, yup, do I care ? no as I bought the take off barrel for $25.00.
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  14. #14
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Modern machine guns often have stellite lined barrels and bore erosion it slowed down considerably, they can in-effect be shot over a million rounds with no applicable wear.


    I know of no or none machine guns that are still water cooled that are still in service. What we are trying to stop is the high temperatures that brings the rifling to the melting point and wears the bore out.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_dog60 View Post
    How hot do you let yours get before stopping and letting it cool?
    I don't recall where I got it (50 years of shooting addles more than your eardrums), but long ago I was told to touch the inside of your wrist to the barrel just in front of the chamber. If it's too hot to hold it there, let it cool some more. Like I said, I don't have a clue to the source of that wisdom (or its authenticity for that matter), but I've always done it and never regretted it resulting barrel life.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    I'm not doubting what you're saying, but I think it takes a lot. I run 40 rounds through my HBAR often in less than 10 seconds. The same with my FS200, and 25 rds through my Sage-stocked M1A in 7-10 seconds. I often do this multiple times in the same afternoon (it's not how I shoot most of the time, but just when playing around shooting cans on private land, especially with someone who has not shot that type of rifle before). I originally bought my HBAR back in 1999, recently had to replace my gas tube from wear recently, and it still shoots very well. Maybe the semi-auto military barrels are made differently?

    When I shoot my bolt rifles, I often bring one or more pistols to shoot. That way, I can let my rifle cool and am doing something mechanically different than rifle shooting. Then, come back and really focus on shooting the one rifle.

    What I've seen is a result of different shooting parameters I think. I'm talking mostly "overbore" long range rounds such as the 22-250 and 220 Swift and some wildcats, burning a whole lot of powder relative to bore size. In hot shooting it's easy to knock off over 500 rounds in a morning- call it 4 hours, or 125 rounds an hour or 2 a minute, minute after minute with no break in target opportunities. If you don't spread that out over several guns or take some long breaks with one gun (really hard to do when the dogs are whistling and peeking their heads up), you can get a barrel hot enough to blister bare flesh in very short order. Back in the early 70's Fred Huntington (RCBS) showed me three barrels he had sawed lengthwise to explain why he took several guns on our shoots and worked to keep them cool. All three had severe throat erosion after only a few weeks use without sufficient cooling. One was chambered in his Rockchucker, but I only recall that the other two were 22 caliber without the specifics of the chambering.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_dog60 View Post
    I know machine guns have that issue, but my guns don't get any where near that hot.

    How hot do you let yours get before stopping and letting it cool?
    Just start to feel warm?
    Warm to the touch?
    Hot to the touch?
    I usually let mine cool to ambient or near ambient temps. It's your choice. The warmer/hotter you run it, the faster you will cook your throat. it's not as critical iwth some cartridges as it is others. You can run a 30-06 warmer than a 300 WM because it has less case capacity/powder for the same size bore.

    Another reason I let mine cool is so each shot is as close to a cold bore shot as possible. As your barrel warms the steel is going to expand which may affect barrel harmonics and stresses in the barrel from manufacturing.

    On occasion, I might fire a quick 3 shot group or two to see how it shoots like that if I need a quick 3 shots in the field.

    I know of a guy in AZ who rigged up a CO2 cooling system which he says works like a champ. It needed a special regulator as I recall. He would give the bore a shot of CO2 every couple of rounds and it cooled it right down, and no condensation. I'm thinking of rigging something like that up for PD shooting.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post

    I know of a guy in AZ who rigged up a CO2 cooling system which he says works like a champ. It needed a special regulator as I recall. He would give the bore a shot of CO2 every couple of rounds and it cooled it right down, and no condensation. I'm thinking of rigging something like that up for PD shooting.
    the rig i think your talking he used a paintball co2 unit with a pressure release value with a wand unit that he could stick into the barrel from the bolt acton end and give it a couple of blast of air after every string of fire if think that the guy your talking about ..it was at a brenchrest match out at Ben Avery range where he had the set up ..

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