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When someone says you need to "break in / lead up" a barrel...

Yrrah

Member
Apr 1, 2015
461
73
NSW, Australia
    Possibly that is what they mean Michael.
    But a barrel with "imperfections" will probably benefit from being polished or lapped.
    You should be able to properly clean a good barrel, or one that has been properly lapped and polished, and then have it return to perfect shooting within a couple of shots.
    In the AR benchrest scene at the top level our barrels are cleaned after every 25 shot target which may use from half a dozen up to 50 shots including sighters. Some shooters will even put a few felt cleaning pellets through during a target.
    None of my barrels have ever required "leading" to give their best and the groups I have shown over the last 14 years. But I use a pull-through, dry or with cleaning agent, every 50 shots or less. Two or three shots, if that, see them shooting at their best again.
    Now I don't have any Chinese or Marauder / Discovery barrels. And I don't discount the possibility of such barrels somehow building up lead to "tighten" the barrel or, as you surmise, to "fill in" deficiencies. I also doubt that a barrel which actually responds to such practice will ever shoot to true match grade standards. ... I do know of excellent barrels which may last at that level beyond 50 shots and even perhaps to more than 100.
    If 3/4" to an inch groups at 50 yards are all that is asked for, then good barrels will do that for thousands of shots with the best available pellets, but there will be a gradual increase in the % of fliers. All of course IMO and experience. ...... Kind regards, Harry.



     
    I have to agree with Yrrah. Even cheap barrels that I have, shoot best when clean. I do prep all of my barrels regardless of brand, maybe that has something to do with my results?

    I do know of some old timers that would "break in" a barrel by shooting it a bunch. The thought was that firing rounds down the barrel would remove the "imperfections"? No evidence that ever worked as far as i am concerned. Other than the ultra high end barrels that have already been prepped, I have found great success prepping all new barrels I get. Some need lapped, almost all need atleast a good polishing, but the end result is a barrel that shoots it's best when clean and accuracy slowly falls off until cleaned again.
     
    Nov 15, 2015
    139
    12
    Idaho
      I think it is a hold over from firearms. With a powder burning rifle, there is a different point of impact from the clean cold barrel to subsequent ones. Snipers, and the like, learn what the cold bore shot is relative to their subsequent shots and hold, or click, off accordingly. Too, I have found that many powder burning barrels settle in after "seasoning", especially when using cast bullets. There, however, I suspect it is not a matter of leading the barrel, but getting the pores of the steel filled with the particular bullet lubricant. If one changes lubricant mid-stream without cleaning, precision tends to suffer. If cupro-nickel jacketed bullet have been shot through the barrel, all the copper must be removed before using cast bullet if any sort of precision is expected. 

      I have found with airguns that if one changes lubricant, the precision goes down for at least several shots. However, cleaning the barrel first removes this problem.
       
      • Like
      Reactions: ajshoots
      Okay, I have some real questions about this video (mainly the part two video that is the continuation of this one)
      1. "Don't use monofilament pull-through because it will cut the steel". Really???
      2. "The first time you push the brush through it will be difficult. Choke down on the rod..." Really??? So you don't allow the bronze brush to turn with the rifling? And this is the same steel that can be cut by plastic line?
      3. 20X? Are we cleaning cosmoline from a cheap chinese import?
      4. Who is this guy and what are his qualifications? I think I would prefer to see this subject addressed by a champion benchrest and/or olympic shooter, IMHO.
       
      So, watched the video and, I was thinking airgun velocities couldn't produce leading as well, just from cast bullet powderburner experience. Are airguns different? And, I always thought harder lead alloys prevented leading but, the video says adding antimony increases/allows leading. Is this true? And if so, how do you know which pellets are pure lead? Can't seem to find that info on suppliers websites.
       
      That video is part of the reason there is so much bad information floating around the airgun world. Shy of the old crosman and benji's I own that do have brass or soft barrels, all of my pcp barrels are made from the same materials used for firearm barrels. My field of expertise includes metallurgy and I have alot of experience both gunsmithing and airgunsmithing. Alot of what is said on the forums and on some of these YouTube videos is just plain FALSE regarding airgun barrels!! Take it however you want, but we should all take a personal responsibility to post and make videos in the most factual way possible. There are alot of misinformed and confused airgunners because of videos and posts like the above PA video.

      I like buying from PA, but between the godfathers blog and their YouTube videos, PA puts out alot of bad info!!
       
      • Like
      Reactions: Andy
      Aj
      Why would a business put out bogus info? Not saying they don't, but sure doesn't look like a good business practice to me.
      If you notice I prefaced the link with: "And then there is this." I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the content of the video. In fact, I am kinda baffled by what the guy says. I take every video, post, and anything else I see with a grain of salt. Stuff that seemingly works for one person doesn't necessarily work for the next.
      I remember when I was a kid and used to shoot a cheap Crosman pellet gun everyday, all day. Probably ran several thousand pellets and bbs through it. Never cleaned the barrel. Never had an accuracy problem. Wish I could still shoot like that now. Just my 2 pennies worth.
       
      Sprocket, I took your words just as you intended them and apologize if I came off the wrong way towards you as that was not my intention.

      In regards to PA and incorrect info... if you have followed "The Godfather" over the years you would be aware of the multiple times he has put incorrect info in his blogs and has even been called out for it. The videos much the same, are filled with some false ideas as well. For the record I like Tom Gaylord and think the PA videos have good intentions as well. However, they are passing on some incorrect info not because they mean to do harm, but because they are believing and passing on old myths but don't have the proper knowledge to understand that some of what they post and put on video is indeed incorrect.

      I am just trying to point out that taking certain ideas or thoughts as fact only because you heard, watched, read, or was told, does not make something a fact or 100% true. Again, I don't feel that most people have bad intentions when spreading such info, but non the less, we need to be putting forth factual proven info versus myth and legend for the health and growth of airgunning.

      I would like to state that I am not an expert and make plenty of mistakes of my own. But, there are certain things that can be 100% proven as fact and when info can be proven wrong we should do so. Not to gloat or shove something in another's face, but to try to keep our hobby credible and help current and future airgunners progress with better and more credible info than we had in the past.

      Edit for additional text: Sprocket, for most airgunners frequent cleaning is unnecessary. For those that chase ultimate precision, the need for very frequent cleaning and many other tedious things are needed. We all do different things in this hobby/passion therefore what makes sense to one might seem ridiculous for another.
       
      "ajshoots"That video is part of the reason there is so much bad information floating around the airgun world. Shy of the old crosman and benji's I own that do have brass or soft barrels, all of my pcp barrels are made from the same materials used for firearm barrels. My field of expertise includes metallurgy and I have alot of experience both gunsmithing and airgunsmithing. Alot of what is said on the forums and on some of these YouTube videos is just plain FALSE regarding airgun barrels!! Take it however you want, but we should all take a personal responsibility to post and make videos in the most factual way possible. There are alot of misinformed and confused airgunners because of videos and posts like the above PA video.

      I like buying from PA, but between the godfathers blog and their YouTube videos, PA puts out alot of bad info!!
      
Theres allot of misinformation in the airgun world even beyond barrel quality or what it takes to make them accurate. My AA S510 will start to lose accuracy as it gets dirty and when I clean it the accuracy is spot on without this needed leading in that you always see getting talked about. I have owned 12 pcp rifles and they all were the same way they took one or two shots to settle not a tin of pellets.
       
      LDP
      "ajshoots"That video is part of the reason there is so much bad information floating around the airgun world. Shy of the old crosman and benji's I own that do have brass or soft barrels, all of my pcp barrels are made from the same materials used for firearm barrels. My field of expertise includes metallurgy and I have alot of experience both gunsmithing and airgunsmithing. Alot of what is said on the forums and on some of these YouTube videos is just plain FALSE regarding airgun barrels!! Take it however you want, but we should all take a personal responsibility to post and make videos in the most factual way possible. There are alot of misinformed and confused airgunners because of videos and posts like the above PA video.

      I like buying from PA, but between the godfathers blog and their YouTube videos, PA puts out alot of bad info!!
      
Theres allot of misinformation in the airgun world even beyond barrel quality or what it takes to make them accurate. My AA S510 will start to lose accuracy as it gets dirty and when I clean it the accuracy is spot on without this needed leading in that you always see getting talked about. I have owned 12 pcp rifles and they all were the same way they took one or two shots to settle not a tin of pellets.


      Yrrah and Irons both had great points and I believe that maybe a truly sloppy cheap barrel may need to be "leaded" to get it shooting, but as you have seen first hand, any decent quality and above barrel shoots best when clean.
       
      Helpful discussion. Thanks, guys. My interest is due to my first pcp arriving Monday. Not sure if or how I should clean it before shooting? Then I saw you guys talking about leading. But, I gather that what airgunners call leading is not what I've always called leading from my experience with powderburners. That leading does NOT come out with patches. Again, helpful discussion, which is why I look here for answers.