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When a Barrel Goes….

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britrifles View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 20 2021 at 2:13pm
I’ve held off as long as I could to pull the BSA barrel off of my No. 4 Mk 1/3 69L shooter.  This rifle has given me great service, I learned to shoot with this rifle, and won a number of CMP matches with it.  

But, today I lost out on a first place win at the Talladega 600 Regional Matches by 2 points.  I lost four points in prone slow fire, and I normally clean this stage fairly easily.  This is the third time I’ve had some shots go into the 9 ring in prone slow at a match this year.  

I really don’t know how many rounds down this barrel.  I do know that other than the test grouping done by Foulton’s, I’m the only one who has shot rounds thru this barrel; I’d estimate about 10,000.   The throat is about non-existent, the bullet doesn’t contact the rifling until it exits the case.

I have a few barrels to work with:, a lightly used Faz 5 groove, a new Criterion and a new Lothar Walther.  The new barrels are short chambered, I do have a chamber finish reamer. 

I’m thinking of starting with the slightly used Faz barrel and see how it shoots.  If it doesn’t, move on to one of the new barrels. 

I really hate to part ways with this BSA barrel, it has shot so well all these years….


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Canuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2021 at 5:11pm
Just like an old horse, it may be time to put it out to pasture. It gave you great service, be thankful for that. I would opt for the Faz barrel.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2021 at 1:05am
I would probably fit one of the new barrels, and set the headspace at minimum. Run it in carefully and away you go for another 10000 rounds, if you can find the ammo Wink.
If you go with the Fax barrel you may have more work if it's not tight enough on the chamber.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2021 at 6:37am
I pulled that used 5 groove barrel out, I thought it was a Faz replacement barrel, but it’s not.  I’m not sure where it was made.  It is stamped “BP” over the number “15064” on the chamber reinforce, perhaps a serial number of a rifle?  

Took some measurements of the existing BSA barrel on the rifle and the 5 groove spare (which I got from Sarco several years back):


               BSA         Spare
Bore       .3035+     .3020-
Throat    .330          .175

The throat dimensions were obtained with a Hornady OAL gage, and is the distance (inches) a .311 Sierra MatchKing bullet travels to contact the lands of the rifling.  The bullet exits the case mouth in the BSA barrel before contacting the rifling.  That’s a pretty long throat.  It has advanced by 0.27 inches since I started reloading for this rifle.  

Here is a few bore pics of the BSA barrel on the rifle now:

1. At the front end of the chamber.




2.  Approx 1 inch fwd of chamber.  Significant “Fire cracking” and shallow grooves.



Spare Barrel

1.  At front end of chamber



2. Approx 1 inch fwd of chamber, much sharper rifling edges and deeper grooves.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2021 at 9:44am
15064 could be a Maltby serial number but does not matter for what you intend to do with it. I would recommend using that barrel just by what you have shown us. You are going to shoot the rifle until you wear out the barrel again are you not? Use the Sarco take-off first before using one of the new ones. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2021 at 10:55am
Yes the rifling looks good. If you are happy I the chamber size; then give it a go. 
Let us know the results.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2021 at 4:14pm
I’ve gone back and fourth on this, and will decide once I trial fit the Sarco 5 groove spare and the new barrels to see what the breeching up angle looks like. 

The objective is to have a highly accurate shooter for CMP matches, and for that, I would guess that the Lothar barrel would be best.  I won’t be satisfied unless the barrel will consistently hold a 2 MOA 10 shot group in prone position.  I also see the logic of first using up the used barrel, and if it won’t shoot, I could always pull it off and move on to the Lothar or Criterion.  The Criterion is button rifling, I wouldn’t expect it to remain accurate for more than 5,000 rounds. 

I’m fortunate to at least have some choices. It will be a project for after Christmas.  

While I had the borescope out, I took a look at my Mk I/3 Savage, it has a Faz replacement 5 groove and there is no fire cracking at all in the throat, still see all the chamber reamer marks.  That barrel can’t have many rounds thru it, perhaps only those from the FTR/Mk 2 upgrade test firing done by Faz.

My other Long Branch, a very early Mk I (no star) upgraded to Mk 2, also with a Faz replacement 5 groove has more rounds thru it, perhaps 1,000 or more based on what the rifling lede looks like.








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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2021 at 5:14pm
sorry to hear it lost you the match , im certain you will get it sorted out tho , good luck on the next shoot 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2021 at 5:02am
I have to be is brutally honest with myself and make sure I’m not the cause of those shots into the 9 ring!  The first time I saw the trouble was at this years D-Day match.  I then had a few good matches, cleaning prone slow and prone rapid stages, then back to throwing shots in the 9 ring again. I shoot a monthly local match and the problem is cropping up more regularly now. 

My prone scores with my M1 are now better than the No. 4, and that is another indicator (to me) that it is likely the barrel.  I might try shooting it at 600 yds off the bench, that will magnify a barrel accuracy issue.  

That BSA barrel used to be incredibly smooth, it was ball burnished. It’s now really rough with all the fire cracking, the 35 round match fouls the barrel badly.  Feels very rough when pushing a patch thru it. 


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