Among serious rifle marksmen there are few topics more enduring than the subject of break-in procedures for a new rifle barrel. Discussion generally falls into two separate areas. One is the question of what a proper new barrel break-in procedure should be: how many rounds, and what type of cleaning procedures and intervals to follow between rounds and between groups. The other, more fundamental question is whether a new barrel actually needs any specific or special break-in procedure at all.
Informed and expert opinions on both questions run from procedures simple to complex, and from “absolutely essential” to “waste of time.” Let’s take a brief look at some of the issues involved.
First, nearly all rifle shooters are already generally familiar with the basic barrel break-in concept. Break-in guidelines are included in the owner’s manuals of many factory production rifles and most custom rifles, as well as on myriad internet websites and forums.