MDT Mention - Burning out a 6.5 Barrel

Posted by MDT on 2022 Jun 28th

MDT Mention - Burning out a 6.5 Barrel

How much shooting is too much shooting? Many hunters, shooters, and firearm owners wonder, "is it possible to shoot out a barrel?" meaning can you ruin a barrel – its accuracy, stability, and safety? To test this theory, MDT Pro Shooter Ryan Mclean took a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle to the range and shot 1,000 rounds through it.

After an initial sight-in, he shot 100 rounds as fast as possible and then shot a group for accuracy. In this manner, he would measure how much the groups would open up or shrink as the barrel's round count and heat stress increased.

More: How to Examine a Rifle Bore

Surprisingly (or maybe not for some), MDT was able to cook bacon on their rifle with the exterior heat pushing over 450°F! The next step in the research was to put a bore scope down the barrel to see the damage (or lack thereof). What they found was a tremendous amount of carbon build-up. Once the barrel cooled, Ryan fired several groups with the dirty barrel, thoughtfully cleaned it, then shot some more groups.

Dirty Groups

  • Group #1 – 1.272"
  • Group #2 – 0.921”
  • Group #3 – 1.053"

Clean Groups

  • Group #1 – 0.815”
  • Group #2 – 1.418"
  • Group #3 – 1.093"

Ryan's conclusion from this mini-experiment is that the barrel had been "shot out" – the heat damaged it so significantly that the accuracy is now suffering. The way to curb against running your barrel when you anticipate a high round count is to let your barrel cool down between magazine and shooting sessions.

More: How to Clean your Rifle Chamber

Ryan postulated that once you begin to shoot around 15 to 20 rounds in succession, you will witness a marked decrease in accuracy over time if you are not allowing time for your barrel to cool. All things considered, this extreme torture test was completed in 2 hours. Thanks for reading! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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