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> What To Do With Pitted Barrel
hilljack
post Jun 14 2007, 04:14 AM
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I have some pitting in the barrel of my 223 and wanted to know if there is anything I can do to fix it. I have a feeling I will just need a new barrel which might not be that bad. It is not grouping very well and I like precision when I shoot it. Any suggestions or recommendations for a new barrel type. The rifle is a Ruger M77MII varmit with a bull barrel.
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wmramse
post Jun 14 2007, 04:50 PM
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Big Wes
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A lot of the pitting can be cleaned up, but it usually takes a fair bit of elbow grease. Essentially, you need to 'lap' the barrel. There's an easy way and a hard way. The easy way is to 'fire lap' it. MidwayUSA sells the Tubb's Final Finish system in loaded ammo now. Here's the link - Tubb's Finah Finish for .223. Read the instructions under 'technical specs' before you order to make sure that's what you want, but I think it will work fine on your gun. Some people say it ruins a barrel, but if it won't shoot good now, what do you have to lose?

The hard way is to 'hand lap' it. First, use J-B Bore Cleaning Compound to get every bit of fouling and rust out of the barrel that you can. It needs to be spotless before you get it good and dirty again wink.gif When it's clean, find an old patch jag or bore brush (undersized is best), put it in the end of the bore and pour hot lead over it to make a bore-sized slug. When the lead cools, pull the slug out, coat it with a fine grit valve grinding compound (or get some lapping compound - same thing) and put it back in the barrel exactly the same way it came out. Use a stiff cleaning rod with a bore guide to work the slug and grit all the way up and down the barrel. If a certain area feels tight, concentrate on that area a little more, but always finish up with full strokes. The compound will wear down the slug pretty quick, and when that happens clean the barrel out really well again to get all the grit out. If the pitting is gone you're done. If you aren't yet satisfied with the progress, pour a new slug and start over. I wouldn't use more than 2-3 slugs though. After that, all you're doing is enlarging the barrel and ruining accuracy potential. When you're satisfied with the job, clean it again and pour another slug. This time coat it with the J-B Compound and work only in full-length strokes. Give it 25-50 up and down strokes, then clean it again 'til it's spotless. The J-B paste should polish out any grinding marks. After all that you'll have to break the barrel in again, since you're essentially starting off with a new barrel. Shoot 1 round, clean - do this for 5 rounds. Then shoot 3 rounds and clean. Do this 5 times. After this it should be ready to shoot for groups.

One more thing - be very careful with the crown. If you ding it or wear one side down more than the other you'll negate any accuracy gains you get from lapping. It might be a good idea to have the crown re-cut anyway when you're done.

If it still won't shoot after all that, replacing it should be easy enough, but I'd let a qualified smith tackle the job. They should have all the tools to thread the new barrel on and headspace it correctly. Green Mountain makes good quality barrels at a really good price ($80-150ish for yours). You'll have to pay about twice as much for a better barrel if you want extreme accuracy. Those expensive barrels aren't hardly worth it if the action hasn't been worked over good first.

Hope that helps!


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Wes

Shoot low boys, they're riding shetland ponies.
- Lewis Grizzard
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TBOWK
post Jun 23 2007, 11:17 AM
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WELL I WOULD SAY THE SAME THING AS WMRAMSE...BUT IF YOUR GROUPING IS GOING DOWN HILL I WOULD FIRST CHECK THE HEAD SPACE IN YOUR BARREL TO SEE IF YOU HAVE SHOT IT OUT GO AND NO GO GAUGES.....IF GOOD THEN GO WITH IT WHIP THAT BARREL BACK INTO SHAPE....IF NOT THEN ONE OF THREE THINGS NEEDS TO HAPPEN.....#1 KEEP SHOOTING THE GUN AND WATCH YOUR GROUPS GET WORSE AND TAKE CHANCES OF WOUNDING ANIMALS....#2 HAVE A GUNSMITH PULL THE BARREL TAKE SOME OFF THE BACK DEPENDING ON HEAD SPACE DAMAGE RE-THREAD AND RE-CHAMBER (YOUR OK WITH BARREL THICKNESS OVER THE CHAMBER BECAUSE YOU HAVE A HEAVY BARREL LIGHT SPORTERS YOU RUN INTO PROBLEMS) PROBABLY MOST EXPENSIVE.....#3 HAVE A GUNSMITH TAKE A BARREL BLANK AND REPLACE IT....AND BARRELS ARE LIKE CARS THEY COME REALLY CHEAP TO REALLY EXPENSIVE......REPLACING A HEAVY BARREL MORE EXPENSIVE.....BUT DONT SACRAFICE QUALITY FOR A CHEAP FIX......I WOULD PERSONALLY GO WITH A SHILLAN BLANK.....HART AND LILJAN ARE MORE FOR BENCHREST SHOOTERS AND CHEAP BARRELS WEAR OUT FASTER....I HAVE BEEN GUNSMITHING FOR YEARS AND WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT SAFETY AND ACCURACY ARE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST.....TAKE MOST OF GUESS WORK OUT OF HUNTING WITH EQUIPMENT AND PRACTICE AND IT BRINGS CONFIDENCE IN THE FEILD......HOPE IT HELPS....
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wmramse
post Jun 25 2007, 02:30 PM
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Tbowk reminded me of another option - just having the barrel set back. It isn't a sure fix, but if the throat is worn out or your chamber is just excessively long (as most are these days), taking the barrel off and facing off a few thousandths can do wonders for your accuracy. That probably isn't the problem, but I thought it was worth suggesting.


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Shoot low boys, they're riding shetland ponies.
- Lewis Grizzard
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