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Life of a No4 barrel

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philtno View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 19 2020 at 12:49pm
Hi guys,
I know that the pieces of the answer to my question could probably be found scattered in the sections of the forum but me being a bit lazy I wonder if you could provide me with some more straight/condensed Smile?
This is my question:
What would be the expected life duration of a No4 Mk1* barrel, i.e. how many rounds?
Before any of you guys jump on me hahahaha, I know it depends on how the rifle is maintained/cleaned, on the loadings, the type of rounds, the frequency of shooting (i.e. how hot the barrel is driven) etc etc.... including military usage.
I'm just after a ROUGH idea....in the range of thousand, if you see what I mean?
I read about 4-10,000 rounds....I read about Max. 5,000.....I read about 15-20,000????
In a very standard situation, what would be your guess??
The side question is, knowing that I really enjoy shooting it (100-150 rounds per month), and I'm not prepared to retire it, is it wise to investigate for a new barrel (i guess most of you will say "yes") and what is on the market (south hemisphere - Oceania)? Are there any brand new ones? or do I have to gamble on an old stock of barrels??
Oh, and i'm talking about 303..not about putting any other caliber on it Smile
Thanks
Philtno

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Bear43 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2020 at 3:31pm
The most common number I have read is 10,000 rounds. I have seen that mentioned the most.
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Goosic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2020 at 4:01pm
I have always been under the assumption that anywhere from 10,000-15,000 rounds through the barrel and it starts to show signs of becoming worn out or is worn out,"widely dispersed groups,tumbling bullets, etc."
The laws of probability,if you multiply a minimum of 100 rounds yearly against the age of the weapon will give you a very rough estimate of how many rounds may have been through it.  
A new barrel can be obtained from Criterion. A couple of folk here have invested in one of these. I cannot speak for them as to how the new barrels have worked out for them so far. 
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303 Hunter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote 303 Hunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2020 at 5:04pm
So far I'd say that the Criterion barrel has worked out. It went from 9 to 11 inch groups down to 4 to 5 inch groups but so far I have just been fooling around with loads.
I'm very sure that it can do better with a bit of work. If you want to get a Criterion barrel New Zealand Repeating Arms Company is supposed to be a dealer for them.
The Lee Enfield is to the Canadian north what the Winchester repeater was to the American west.   Cal Bablitz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2020 at 7:17pm
Philtno,

There is some published information on this question.  There are two things that can significantly reduce a barrels accuracy life:  1. Cordite ammunition.  2. Improper cleaning.  

Most of us know the story of Cordite Ammunition, it burns hotter than nitrocellulose powder and quickly erodes the throat. Accuracy life perhaps 1000 to 1500 rounds.  

Frequent cleaning with a pullthru can cause significant wear of the barrel bore at the muzzle, particularly if it is not pulled directly in line with the bore.   This is very detrimental to accuracy.  As the bullet leaves the muzzle, the area most worn will leak gasses past the bullet base and cause the bullet to yaw.  The Long Branch No. 4 Mk. 1/2 I just got had this condition, the bore was bellmouthed.  I didn’t bother trying to shoot it, I cut about 0.1 inches off the muzzle and recrowned it. 

If you clean properly with a coated single piece rod, using a bore guide, you should expect at least 5,000 rounds from a barrel, perhaps as many as 10,000 before you notice an appreciable drop in accuracy.  A highly tuned match rifle, you will notice accuracy degrades after only a few thousand rounds.  But for a rifle that say groups at 3 to 4 MOA, it will take a fair bit of wear before the barrel causes groups to open up beyond 4 MOA.

I shoot a lot, and decided I better try and source replacement barrels.  I have a decent condition 5 groove and 2 groove, they gaged at 0.3025.  I also bought a new Criterion barrel.  My experience with Criterion .30-06 barrels on the 1903 and M1 rifles gives me no reason to believe the No. 4 barrel will not shoot excellently. 

I know I’ve shot at least 5,000 rounds thru my BSA 5 groove on my Long Branch Mk 1/3 and it is still a good shooter.  The throat is quite worn, but the rifle still shoots under 2 MOA.  










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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pukka Bundook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2020 at 7:52pm
Good answer, Brit.
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philtno View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2020 at 10:45pm
Originally posted by 303 Hunter 303 Hunter wrote:

So far I'd say that the Criterion barrel has worked out. It went from 9 to 11 inch groups down to 4 to 5 inch groups but so far I have just been fooling around with loads.
I'm very sure that it can do better with a bit of work. If you want to get a Criterion barrel New Zealand Repeating Arms Company is supposed to be a dealer for them.
Thanks, 303 Hunter Thumbs Up
Cheers
Philtno
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philtno View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2020 at 10:52pm
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

Philtno,
...But for a rifle that say groups at 3 to 4 MOA, it will take a fair bit of wear before the barrel causes groups to open up beyond 4 MOA.
I shoot a lot, and decided I better try and source replacement barrels.  I have a decent condition 5 groove and 2 groove, they gaged at 0.3025.  I also bought a new Criterion barrel.  My experience with Criterion .30-06 barrels on the 1903 and M1 rifles gives me no reason to believe the No. 4 barrel will not shoot excellently. 
Thanks for sharing that experience, Britrifles Thumbs Up
The .303 barrels, the 5-groove and the 2-groove, where did you order them from?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2020 at 3:27am

[/QUOTE]
Thanks for sharing that experience, Britrifles Thumbs Up
The .303 barrels, the 5-groove and the 2-groove, where did you order them from?
 
[/QUOTE]

I got these barrels from Sarco. $125.00.  They were advertised as “excellent” like new condition.  The first one I bought was a 5 groove and it showed very little wear, gaged at .3025.  I was so impressed I got another.  It was not in good shape, pitted badly, quite worn.  I called them and they sent me another barrel free of charge.  The third was a 2 groove, bore looked good, .3040. 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Canuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2020 at 10:22am
I have a few of each of these 2-5 groove barrels and several barreled actions with excellent bores. The time to buy these was many years ago when they were around. In my experience shooting .303 I have found the rifling hasn't worn down much on my regular shooters. But some of those rifles see maybe 20-40 rounds a year if that. The collector rifles less than that. I may not have helped any answering the OP question, just relaying my experiences.
Castles made of sand slip into the sea.....eventually
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 20 2020 at 6:45pm
The throat advancement on my 69L Mk 1/3 is a bit alarming after 5000+ rounds. When I checked it with a Hornady OAL gage, I found the bullet exits the case before it contacts the lands of the rifling.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how much free bore it had when it was new.  I do know it had not been fired before I got it (except the test firing done at Fultons when the barrel was installed).  

When I install the new criterion barrel, I’m going to track throat advancement and bore diameter and try and keep a record of the number of rounds fired.  


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