Question for guys who shoot a LOT on barrel replacement

bm11

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Ok,

My AIAX .308 barrel is just south of 6,000 rounds at this point, and while it still shoots better than the average stock SPS Tactical, it's not quite as tight as it once was. I have read a number of times that .308 barrels run around 10k rounds, but I imagine that the accuracy is significantly different for the last 1000 of that as opposed to the first 1000?

I am thinking it may be time to retire this barrel. Last shooting session I had it out, it averaged in the .6 moa range over the course of the 7 groups I shot. Still acceptable, but it used to average in the .3-.4 range. Last time I had the barrel off, switching from my .260 barrel back to .308 for the winter, I took a look down the bore and throat erosion was evident to the naked eye. The barrel doesn't run as long betaeen cleanings before accuracy falls off now (needs to be cleaned around 200 rounds where I used to clean every 500 or so,) and it takes more rounds to settle in now.

Lastly, the POI seems to "shift" around a bit. Meaning that if I go to the range and shoot 10x 5 round groups, the first group is as much as .2 mil up and left as the last group. This results in some misses that would otherwise be hits when shooting dot drills etc. It now occasionally throws a "flyer" that I know wasn't me where it didn't used to.

I guess I am posing this question to see where everyone else changes out. I know f class and palma guys go 2500 or so rounds before they dump a barrel. I also know that they go 10k or more at Benning on the m24's, but the accuracy requirements of those training rifles is not as high perhaps as my standard.

Finally, am I missing something? Last time my accuracy dropped off, I cleaned thoroughly with Butch's Bore Shine and got a ton of copper out. Let the bore soak an hour between patches, and cleaned more thoroughly than before. It seemed to help temporarily, but I just think this barrel is tired.

At the cost of components today, I'm thinking that getting every last bit of accuracy out of .75 cent reloads is more important than getting every last round out of an $800 barrel, but I'd like to hear input. I have a brand new AINA Bartlein ready to go on as soon as I get the muzzle rethreaded for my suppressor.

Thanks,

-Bob
 

cmh2007

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I went 6300 on my factory VLS barrel before it just wouldn't shoot any more...but that was a factory remington barrel. When it went, I knew it. It just stopped shooting, I cleaned it VERY well and it made no difference. If the rifle still shoots sub MOA as you say, keep it till it no longer gives acceptable accuracy.
 

Frank Green

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Sounds like you got some fouling going on? As the throat gets rougher the barrel will foul more. Hence it will need to be cleaned more often between the number of rounds fired etc....

If you have a fouling problem due to wear I'm going to ask this question. From a clean barrel. No copper in it. You start shooting how does the gun group? Group size at 5 rounds? 15 rounds? 25 rounds etc...with out cleaning. Answer this question than I will add to this....

Also have the muzzles crown looked at and checked before you give up on the barrel. The muzzles crown can get worn from the gas cutting effect of the powder as well as cleaning wear. Sometimes guys think they're barrel is done/worn out but not always the case. Sometimes you check the crown for wear or damage you recrown the barrel and you will see the accuracy come back.

10k round accuracy? What is your accuracy requirement? Yea they pull the barrels mandatory at 10k rounds but they're accuracy requirement if memory serves me correctly is 1 moa. If 1 moa is o.k. to you than that is fine. If your accuracy req. is .5moa than I'm going to say they won't go 10k rounds. A .5 moa requirement in 10 round groups I'm going to say your looking at around 4k-6k rounds. Depending on how the barrel was made etc....

Later, Frank
Bartlein Barrels
 

ashland

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Frank, what is your opinion on the number of rounds you can get out of a .260 barrel at .5 or less? The best barrel I ever had was one of yours for my MkII. Shot a .16 -5 shot one day. Very sad when I had to retire that barrel.
 

sinister

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If you're a competition benchrester then anything that shoots bigger than .2-.3 means you lose. If you're a military sniper and the accuracy standard is 1.5 MOA to 800 Meters on an E-type silhouette you can shoot it to at least 10,000 rounds.

If you're not happy with the way it shoots then it's time to rebarrel.

Barrels and brass are expendable components (like tires and belts). Expect them to wear out and have a standard or schedule to replace them.
 

bm11

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Exactly Sinister. I view the barrel like car tires.

1 moa accuracy is not an acceptable level for me. Sub half moa 5 shot groups CONSISTENTLY is what I am looking for.

Frank, I will get back to you on how long it takes the barrel to settle in. 5-10 rounds I THINK, but I am not sure.

FWIW, this is a UK barrel that started out as a 26" barrel on my AW. I had it cut to 18.5" amd retreaded somewhere around 1500-2k rounds (I'd have to check.)

Also, for those that are curious- all but the first 1000 or so rounds were shot suppressed. All but the first 1000 or so were pretty hot 155 Scenar loads, so it is possible I have a bit accelerated wear as a result of the loads. Up until 5k or so, this barrel was very consistent. 1/4 moa was common and 1/2 moa was easy.

Edit to add: I have not been easy on this barrel. I have shot some pretty long strings without letting it cool. Making it last forever never has been a concern, and I am starting this thread out of curiosity, I have no complaints with the barrel life I have had nor do I mind replacing it.
 
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M

milo 2.0

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Once a person has lost confidence in what the rifle or barrel can do, it's time to go. Anytime you miss a shot, it's going to be in the back of your head that it's the barrel, life's no good.
 

Frank Green

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Frank, what is your opinion on the number of rounds you can get out of a .260 barrel at .5 or less? The best barrel I ever had was one of yours for my MkII. Shot a .16 -5 shot one day. Very sad when I had to retire that barrel.

A question or questions I have to ask back are: How many rounds in between cleaning? What is the number of rounds fired in your group?

Now for the variable questions? Type of powder you are using? Some powders will wear the barrel faster? Types of bullets? Longer bullets will also wear the barrel faster? Cleaning? How hot the barrel gets? What type of environment is the rifle being shot in? These are all variables that can have a impact on barrel life that we cannot control.

If I had to put a guess on it and say .5moa or less and 10 shot groups. I would go on a limb and say 2k rounds.

I'm playing with a .260 Rem. chambered barrel right now and I had the barrel Melonited to see what I can get out of it.

Later, Frank
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Frank Green

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Barrels and brass are expendable components (like tires and belts). Expect them to wear out and have a standard or schedule to replace them.

The above comment is very true! If you shoot 5k rounds a year in hi power rifle competition than about 1/2 way thru the year if you don't have a spare barrel already you should be getting one on order so you have it. That way before the next shooting season you have the barrel already. Having it in your hands is half the battle.

Later, Frank
 

buffybuster

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You got 6K rounds through it. If you're having doubts, it's time to pull the barrel.

Would still make a fine hunting rifle barrel.

Shooting 155's run hard, my barrel got inconsistent at a bit over 5K rounds.
 

ashland

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Frank, all of my rounds were 42 gr. of H4350 using 139 Lapuas. I got around 1,500 rds on the barrel and started to see the groups open up. I clean about every 300 to 400 rds and I may should have cleaned more. I was seating the bullets as far as I could in the mags. I shoot some F-Class and some PRS type of shooting. I've come to the conclusion as several of the other posters that the barrel will eventually wear out and I'm going to rebarrel anytime I feel its losing its accuracy. Ordered one from AINA about a month ago just so I'll have one when my current barrel goes south.
 

walley2960

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I would change it. I haven't done that math but have heard it said. Bullets, powder, and primers cost more than barrels. If you got 6000 round out of the tube it sounds like you did good.
 

Deadshot2

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Also have the muzzles crown looked at and checked before you give up on the barrel. The muzzles crown can get worn from the gas cutting effect of the powder as well as cleaning wear. Sometimes guys think they're barrel is done/worn out but not always the case. Sometimes you check the crown for wear or damage you recrown the barrel and you will see the accuracy come back.

For this very reason I have invested in a crown cutting "reamer". My factory Remington 5-R barrel looked like it was crowned by someone in a "sheltered workshop" on a cheap chinese lathe. Some patient work with the piloted cutter I was able to straighten it up, now looking like it was done in the finest shop in the country. Accuracy improved measurably.

I clean up the crown every thousand rounds of so, just remove the edge erosion caused by cleaning and muzzle gases.

So far, having passed the 6k mark and maintaining sub .5 MOA accuracy, I really can't answer how many rounds are left. It just keeps shooting and shooting and shooting.

BTW it's a Rem 5-R Milspec with the hammer forged barrel. Other than the "Crappy Crown" everything else was nicely done.