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Thread: McGowen Barrels???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    628

    McGowen Barrels???

    Any feedback on the quality of the new McGowen Barrels? I am building an BR gun to start some learning with based on a Savage platform. Shilen pre-fits are +4 months. McGowen claims 2 weeks. Anyone had success with their blanks or pre-fits since they moved and took new ownership? If they are competitive with a Shilen or equivalent, I'll just wait it out.

    Thanks for input, Tiny

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    South Central WI
    Posts
    183
    No experience, but from what I've READ from others, they have found no fault in the barrels and felt they were as good as any they've used or seen... They're a very new company (the new ownership and employees anyway) so there's not much word out yet. Supposedly they reworked all of Harry McGowen's equipment and are producing very fine barrels. Also read that all (or most) of the employees are past workers from Montana Rifle (and barrel) company. I doubt anyone would have strayed from the big names to use one of their barrels for benchrest as they are pretty new, but they might very well be worth giving a shot. I get the impression they will be pretty big in the sportsman's barrel market (hunting/varminting) but if they are good enough for benchrest (and they might be) it will take awhile for that to be known.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    4,758

    Wow

    Talk about memories. When I got out of the Army back in late '69, I built a 30-06 using a Santa Barbara Mauser Action, a Fajen Stock and a McGowen Barrel from an add in the back of a magazine. It was completely machined to fit, all I had to do was screwit on.
    Off topic, but that brought back some memories.......jackie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2
    I ordered a lightweight sporter barrel from them, Friday will make it ten days ago. They told me 2-3 weeks so I am planning on a 3 week wait, which is no problem. Never used one before, but I'm sure it'll be better than ER Shaw. One nice thing is they haven't billed my credit card yet, most businesses bill you now and send out the goods when they get to it....Scott

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Extreme SEcorner of British Columbia.
    Posts
    160
    I've bought seven or eight barrels from them. Most were medium bore (8mm-35cal) along with one 6.5 and one 22 (8"twist).
    The barrels are all well finished inside and are nice and straight with the exception of the 22 which, as luck would have it, I bought for myself. It's not terrible but is not as good as the others.
    The interior finish is good and dimensions seem uniform. The contouring is done on a new CNC lathe and is well done.
    I have some reservations regarding the rifling form. The radius of the tops of the lands is smaller than the radius of the bore. In other words, the lands are high on the edges. Whether this is intentional and mirrors the contour of the button or whether it is an artifact resulting from a mismatch in bore/button sizing, I can't say for sure. They rotate the blank as the button is pulled through which should result in a consistent twist rate.
    They do not counterbore the breech end of the barrel to start the button (I think they should).
    My 22 barrel, at the breech end, had one groove which was .0004 shallower than the others. I cut off 2 inches and it was then OK. The edges of the lands are roughly .0003" higher than the middle of the lands. As I said, I don't really like this form. I seems to me the thin section of the high edge is likely to erode more quickly, Also, such a form adds surface area which might increase the tendency to foul. This is just my personal belief and all may feel free to ignore it!
    I turned this barrel, which I purchased as a 1 1/4 inch blank, to a light varmint contour. It turned well and showed no tendency to "walk". I chambered it to 22-250 throated for 80 grain bullets. It was fitted to a CIL950 T action (a single shot Savage 110). I used a RPA recoil lug (1/4 inch thick) and fitted the barrel conventionally (no nut). I added a third action screw and bedded the barreled action into the factory stock.
    So far, I have fired 40 rounds of 75 grain Bergers using varying charges of 4320. Bullets are seated just into the lands. The ammunition is loaded using Hornady dies with the sleeve of the seating die replaced with one cut with the chamber reamer.
    Accuracy at 100 yds has been respectable with five shot groups running around 3/8". Conditions have been very windy; too windy for me to do much meaningful accuracy testing at 300 meters. My 300 meter groups have been 1 inch tall and 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide! I hope to get out and test in calmer condiditions. As it is, I'm not able to shoot any better with my 6BR which is a solid low .3moa performer so the 22-250 might not be too bad when the wind eases up a bit. It would be nice if it quit snowing too!
    The barrel seems to clean up easily and all in all, I'm not displeased. There is no doubt in my mind that these barrels are just fine for a hunting or live varmint rifle. They may not be quite up to benchrest quality but they are pretty darn good. I'll keep buying them. Regards, Bill

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    S. Oregon
    Posts
    2

    Smile McGowen Barrels

    I got a 6.5 barrel from them awhile back. Light little bugger and made a 6.5/06 for myself. Shoots GOOD! Doesn`t seem to care if the bullets are 129 or 140. Twist is 1-10 and haven`t tried the 125 Noslers yet but will. Very satisfied with the price/service and quality.
    Aloha, Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    314
    Bill
    what do you use to measure with and how do you go about it?
    Nice write up.

    Hal

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    42
    I have had two of the new McGowen barrels.The first one is chambered in a 17 Fireball that does clean up fairly well,but I have only fired factory ammo so I can't say how well it's going to shoot.I hope alot better than what I have seen so far.And the other was a .22 rimfire barrel that slugged worse than most factory barrels.If you want a 24 inch finished length they send it out 24.25" and the lead slug would have fallen out of the last three inchs of the barrel if there would not have been a burr in the end from the center they had in it.It was rough from breech to about 3/4 of the way,then the bore was opening up to much to get a good feel for it.They also sent the wrong contours both times,but you get them quick.They did refund the rimfire barrel money,but will not talk to you about the barrel if there is a problem.They are not in the same league as many other makers.Same your money and spend the extra $50-$100.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    92
    This is A McGowem barrel. I noticed the same thing as Bill with the rifling. It slugged well, bore was lapped very well, broke in in 3 rounds, but haven't shot it yet. Winter has been toooo looong, snow too deep and they will not plow the range. It will be interesting, my budget was small and the $155 for a SS barrel was appealing along with the delivery time. They did mention that they may make there own rifling buttons,?? don't know.

    Rick
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Extreme SEcorner of British Columbia.
    Posts
    160
    Hal,
    I use a .0001 dial gauge with a small stylus ball. I measure in the lathe. It is easy to measure groove depth and the radius of the lands and grooves.
    Rick,
    They don't make their own buttons, according to Dan. I didn't take the time to measure a button but my feeling is this:
    They hone the bore after reaming. I suspect the honing takes the bore out to where it is maybe as much as .001 oversized. The high edges on the lands are a result of metal displacement by the button. I could be wrong since I have not measured the buttons. I'm not sure what the normal relationship of button to finished size is (how much springback, if any) and I don't expect barrelmakers will jump in and give up all their secrets just to satisfy my curiosity! Regards, Bill.

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