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Thread: Slugging new barrel blanks?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    976

    Slugging new barrel blanks?

    A good friend and local gunshop owner has recently started chambering barrels. He has a machinists background and also attended a well known school for barrel work. He has chambered a couple of barrels for me and his work is meticulous. I think he is capable of doing excellent work and is interested in all the nuances. Yesterday he told me that it has been strongly recommended to him that he slug all new blanks that customers bring to him for chambering. This would be to avoid problems arising from "bad barrels" and him being blamed for doing poor work, when in fact, it was an inferior blank. I have been playing the benchrest game for going on twenty years and have had numerous barrels chambered. So far, maybe I've been lucky, but I've never had a really "bad barrel". In fact, most have been excellent, with only a few even mediocre. I'm certain that none of those who have chambered my barrels have slugged them. So, my questions are, do most smiths habitually slug new blanks? Do those of you who do your own barrel work slug your blanks? Considering adding the recommended charge of $100 for slugging to the cost of chambering, threading both the tenon and muzzle end for a tuner, is this a cost effective idea for the shooter or the gunsmith?

    Rick
    Last edited by Greyfox; 04-22-2018 at 01:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    San Antonio
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    Slugging a blank is much more common if the barrel will be used with lead bullets such as 22LR. A lead bullet gun doesn't have the pressure to deal with groove diameter variation like a CF. That small bore variation may affect the accuracy with lead bullets.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Central Texas
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    IMHO it is just another excuse to charge the customer more money. I wonder who "recommended" the slugging. I'm no pro, but I have used several barrels from Shilen and Krieger in my own rifles. I have never slugged one, but I have inspected all with a bore scope. All have been completely smooth and perfectly finished. I don't see how one of their finished barrels could have a significant variation in the bore or groove dia. because of the manuf. and inspection techniques they use and the fact that they hand lap every barrel before shipping. Maybe cheaper barrels made from less than highest quality blanks can have problems, but I don't use them.

    RWO

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Northshore
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    A well known smith showed me how a Krieger barrel bore I had was larger for the last 2 inches of the muzzle. You could feel it with a lead slug. Jackie on here recently had to cut off and recrown a barrel and it improved. Maybe slugging would have caught that. Who knows.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Mid TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWO View Post
    IMHO it is just another excuse to charge the customer more money. I wonder who "recommended" the slugging. I'm no pro, but I have used several barrels from Shilen and Krieger in my own rifles. I have never slugged one, but I have inspected all with a bore scope. All have been completely smooth and perfectly finished. I don't see how one of their finished barrels could have a significant variation in the bore or groove dia. because of the manuf. and inspection techniques they use and the fact that they hand lap every barrel before shipping. Maybe cheaper barrels made from less than highest quality blanks can have problems, but I don't use them.

    RWO
    I am a rimfire shooter and I do my my own barrel work and wouldn't even think of setting up a blank without slugging it first. I use good hand lapped blanks from shilen, mueller, benchmark, krieger, and the rest and someone who doesn't slug in the rimfire game is letting luck control how their barrel will shoot. May not be the case in centerfire because of the preasure increase but I am not flying blind on the few centerfire rifle barrels I do either. May not be much of an advantage on the centerfire but I am all about getting every crumb I believe is there.

    While I would be comfortable in doing a barrel just off of the feel of a slug, I like having a borescope to make sure there is no funny stuff going on in the section of usable barrel I want. On the contrary I would not feel comfortable in just using the borescope to evaluate a new blank with no slugging. I know there are good centerfire barrels created every day that aren't slugged but I just don't feel that lucky.

    As far as the charge, I don't know how well that will go over. Once a person gets comfortable with doing it, a pretty good idea can be made of what's going on inside in about 15 minutes. Little more time for someone looking for benchrest accuracy but not substantially more.

    Tad

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    36
    Quote Originally Posted by Tad.E View Post
    I am a rimfire shooter and I do my my own barrel work and wouldn't even think of setting up a blank without slugging it first. I use good hand lapped blanks from shilen, mueller, benchmark, krieger, and the rest and someone who doesn't slug in the rimfire game is letting luck control how their barrel will shoot. May not be the case in centerfire because of the preasure increase but I am not flying blind on the few centerfire rifle barrels I do either. May not be much of an advantage on the centerfire but I am all about getting every crumb I believe is there.

    While I would be comfortable in doing a barrel just off of the feel of a slug, I like having a borescope to make sure there is no funny stuff going on in the section of usable barrel I want. On the contrary I would not feel comfortable in just using the borescope to evaluate a new blank with no slugging. I know there are good centerfire barrels created every day that aren't slugged but I just don't feel that lucky.

    As far as the charge, I don't know how well that will go over. Once a person gets comfortable with doing it, a pretty good idea can be made of what's going on inside in about 15 minutes. Little more time for someone looking for benchrest accuracy but not substantially more.

    Tad
    Hi- What is the procedure for properly slugging a barrel? How do you get the slug to swell up sufficiently? If the barrel has choke do you slug it from both the breech end and also the muzzle end and only then drive the slugs to say, the middle of the barrel in each case? Also, is it possible to slug a gain-twist barrel?

    Sorry for all the questions but I'm sure there are right and not so right ways of doing this!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Mid TN
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    Hi wall check your pm's.

    Tad

  8. #8
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    Dec 2003
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    washington.........STATE that is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiWall View Post
    Hi-

    How do you get the slug to swell up sufficiently?

    If the barrel has choke do you slug it from both the breech end and also the muzzle end and only then drive the slugs to say, the middle of the barrel in each case?

    Also, is it possible to slug a gain-twist barrel?
    Hi Hi (I mainly answered because Tad got to say Hi Wall)

    This is a big subject and now that laps are also involved.... even bigger so I'll opine a couple times then pull back

    #1, FOR ME, I "swedge up" (swage up, tighten, obturate, smash, upset) my slugs using steel rods wrapped with masking tape

    #2, "barrels with chokes" is a lapping issue, not a slugging issue IME so I'll just withdraw into my foreskin on that one and

    #3, no, it is not feasible to slug a gain twist, it's _possible_ in the sense that yes, you can push the slug thru but....why?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    7,530
    If you do slug a barrel, (centerfire in this case),and find some precieved tight or loose spots, what do you do then?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    527
    Cheap insurance on a barrel blank to make sure any lapping was done correctly.

    It is very hard to put metal back into a bore after removing it.

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