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splitting barrels

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  • splitting barrels

    I was at a local gunsmith yesterday and he informed me ( backed up by pictures ) that the stainless barrels on the browning A-bolt have a tendency to split in sub-zero tempts, I wasn't happy to hear this as I have one in 338 win. mag but I've never used it in sub-zero weather yet. Has anyone heard of this or had a personal experience???
    I once held the yardstick of anothers perfection, I threw it down and carved my own................

  • #2
    Never heard of it. Makes me wonder what the 'smith was trying to sell in his next sentence. Kinda like a Chevy salesman talking about Fords.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard


    • #3
      Yes, I heard that too

      I heard something about a stainless Browning A-bolt barrel splitting several years ago. I have no idea how common it might be, or if there isn't/aren't some other circumstantial cause(s). But I would doubt that any gun brand that "had a tendency to do that" would be on the market for very long without a lot more fanfare and potential recall. (Have you done any internet searches on the subject. I don't think you'll find much.)

      I think it's true that stainless steel is more brittle (if that's the correct terminology) than regular steel, so perhaps any stainless barrel could be subject to similar stresses (and perhaps hunting with any of them in sub-zero temps should be avoided). Remember the problems Sako had with stainless barrels a couple years ago? And Marlin's Guide gun magazine detonations? Stuff happens, and no manufacturer is exempt.

      I have all the guns mentioned here and have no plans to get rid of any of them.
      In God We Trust.


      • #4
        Say what?

        Did he have pictures of several different guns or several pictures of the same gun? As far as I know the only thing that will split a barrel is an obstruction.

        Sorry but but I'm gonna say that there is no way that this can be a factory defect!

        I would sure like to have a close look at that gun! It sounds to me like someone has a hard on for Browning.


        • #5
          split barrel

          The picture was of the same gun that came into his shop, he said he had heard of other cases as well plus he said he had taken it to a metalurgist to see why it split and they told him crystals had formed in the metal at sub-zero temps and when the gun was fired the vibrations split it, he did say it happened on the third shot. Browning did replace the gun as well, I've always found brownings to be a well made gun and haven't had any problems with mine. Just thought I would run it by everyone and see if anybody knew anything about it...................
          I once held the yardstick of anothers perfection, I threw it down and carved my own................


          • #6
            Split barrel

            So, who was the smith? I'd like to take to him about this myself, if he's in Anchorage.


            • #7
              I've heard of numerous a-bolts with rusted triggers, and broken trigger guards, but first I've heard of the barrel's splitting.

              Stainless is a curious term because there are so many different alloys that are referred to as stainless, and their phsical properties are vastly different.

              As far as crystals and vibrations, I say bunk. Being brittle at cold temps, yup that is a known phenom, and can cause catastrophic failures.

              Also it is easy to get a barrel plugged with ice in cold temps, and obstructed bores have resulted in plenty of burst barrels in both blued and stainless tubes.
              Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

              If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


              • #8
                I'm thinking this stuff was about Browning A-bolt Stainless Stalker /BOSS with lightweight pencil barrels had reports of failure due to improper tempering in fabrication. After
                extensive shooting, or something like that would cause a metallurgical fault, ultimatly resulting in the barrels failing. The serial # code has the letters NX or N something. I couldn't find any history on it other than Browning had some safety issues with a pin shearing off and the safety not working properly, and the rifle would fire just by bumping it.
                The number for The Browning Recall Center is 1-800-727-4312, from 8-4,
                M-F, MST. If you have one of these rifles, you may want to check it out. Keep in mind, all this news about the A-Bolt rifles breaking is over 10 years old.

                The other Browning A-Bolt issue was Wal-Mart has an active Recall on the A-Bolt .375 H&H Stainless Stalker II w/BOSS. If you search They claim there are no recalls.
                God, Guns and Guts is what made America Great


                • #9

                  Are you trying to settle on an avatar? I was just getting used to 'sniper-kitty'! =^)



                  • #10
                    Barrel Splits...

                    I take all these catastrophic failures with a grain or two of salt.

                    I suppose it could happen because of inferior steel or because of a flaw in the barrel or improper manufacturing technique but I'm very skeptical of that. As for freezing temps, I'm sure it's more likely then because there is more snow to plug a barrel with. I have had in my hands far too many rifles from too many manufacturers to believe much in the faulty material theory. Most of the rifles I have seen damaged/destroyed (of which many claimed of faulty material/workmanship) were damaged because of barrel obstruction or ammo overload. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, just that it is very rare. On the other hand, snow on the ground is very common during hunting season, as are freezing temps, and when a barrel is stuffed into a snow bank, there is a strong likelyhood of a burst barrel, when it is fired, this is quite common.

                    A notable point, however is that many manufacturers had some growing pains while getting their learning curve up about the various stainless steels when that became the material of choice for barrels. If that did happen because of faulty material, it likely will not happen again. So I would agree with Paul and the others, I don't consider it anything to be concerned about.

                    It seems obvious that steels are different and some apparently stronger such as the Freedom Arms special top secret stainless they make the 454 revolver from. S&W must be using something similar now for the 500 and the 460. And, of course Ruger with their Super Redhawk 454, they keep their steel secret also. So it seems some manufacturers had steel that would work and maybe others didn't, but I'm just guessing.

                    I've seen fluted barrels (fluted after they were made) split when fired. I know some barrel makers won't flute there barrels (Shilen for one) so that must be a concern. That was part of the issue with the Sako/Tikka bursting. I don't like flutes anyway so not a problem for me. Interesting stuff, good shootin', guys.

                    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                    • #11
                      Something new to look at

                      I change it out occasionally, just to keep it fresh and interesting...
                      God, Guns and Guts is what made America Great


                      • #12
                        SS barrels

                        I did not see it mentioned in the previous posts so I thought this is was appropiate. Remington had an low temp quality issue with early 700 BDL 17 Rem barrels which were blued stainless. As a former 70s grad student/ ND pelt hunter armed with a factory stainless barreled 700, coyotes paid my tution for several years hunting in sub-zero weather. Later Reminton 700 17s dropped the stainless barrel as did the 7mag/264 barrels but throat erosion suffered. Douglas for many years did not catalog a SS #1 contour barrel . In a seperate but associated note regrading fluting, if you examine the firing pressure curves in barrels, generally fluting exists in areas that are less than 30% of chamber pressures. WWII German lab tests showed that .01 wall thickness was fine for muzzle pressures but hell on accuracy. Shilen's non-fluting policy was oriented towards the stress reliefs (accuracy) concerns of their button rifled barrels not a safety issue. I expect most barrel failures being seen today are caused by obstructions verses metal flaws. Most gunsmiths do not have the capability to technically validate the cause of barrel structural failure and consumers tend to cover their mistakes. Major C


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