Barrel wear

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Dennis

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
117
Hello,

Assuming barrels are in good condition I've heard that a .243 is will cause a barrel to wear out faster than a 30-30. Why is that?

I will be the first to admit I am not very knowledgeable of ballistics so I'm looking for a basic explanation. I'm guessing pressure or velocity or heat or some combination thereof, but how does one caliber wear out a barrel faster than another caliber?

Thanks,
Dennis
 

hadjii

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
36
A 243 is a faster round than the 30-30, which means more heat in the throat area. That is a bad thing. Heat kills. The 30-30, which is slower and doesn't generate so much heat will shoot more consistent longer by virtue of less throat wear over the same amount of shooting. However, you'd still have to shoot the 243 an awful lot on a hot days alot to wear the throat enough to see the difference.
 

desertrat

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Messages
225
hadjii":2la6i2xe said:
A 243 is a faster round than the 30-30, which means more heat in the throat area. That is a bad thing. Heat kills. The 30-30, which is slower and doesn't generate so much heat will shoot more consistent longer by virtue of less throat wear over the same amount of shooting. However, you'd still have to shoot the 243 an awful lot on a hot days alot to wear the throat enough to see the difference.

+1
 

mcknight77

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Messages
657
Heat and friction are the killers. This is exacerbated by cartridges that burn a lot of powder and try to push it down a small bore. It is also a big problem in cartridges that don't have the big powder/small bore issue but are fired fast enough to get them too hot, for example in a machine-gun. You can burn the barrel out on a .243Win by shooting too much, too fast on a hot day. You can also burn out a .308Win (7.62Nato) with sustained fire in a machine-gun (M60 for example).

On a 99 degree day, shoot a .243Win once every 20 seconds for an hour and you'll damage the barrel. That's only 180 rounds.

The same can be said for machine-gun barrels. I've put 1500 rounds of sustained fire through an M-60 and burnt the barrel out.

The military went to ball powders and graphite powder coatings to try to lessen the bore erosion.
 

Sig685

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
177
It actually is heat and pressure that cause the damage and this damage is centered around the throat of the barrel. This is the area just in front of the chamber, where the rifling begins. This is the are where maximum pressure and heat is encountered and this combination will mangle the beginning of the rifle. This occurs faster with overbore calibers, defined as cartridges with a big powder capacity and a small bore to shoot it through.

As the rifling gets eaten up, the chambered bullet as further to travel to start engraving in the rifling and thus accuracy is degraded. Savvy shooters (handloaders) will measure this space and will seat their bullets futher out as the degeneration progresses. This also has the effect of changing the working pressure of the cartridge, but you can account for that also, by adding a few tenths of a grain of powder.

The .243 is an overbore cartridge, because it uses the powder charge of a .308 to push out a 6mm bullet. The .308 is not considered an overbore cartridge and neither is a .223 or a 30-06. Other good examples of an overbore cartridge are a .220 Swift, a 6.5-284 and the Weatherby cartridges.

How you use your rifle is another issue, for a .243 I don't think this applies to you.

Here's what to look forward to with your .243. If you are able to consistently produce those 1/2 MOA groups that we read about on the Internet every time you shoot, these groups will slowly start growing at about 1000 rounds or more. The rifle will still shoot well, just be less precise. After about 3000 rounds, it may begin to have serious problems keeping 3 rounds under 1 to 1.5MOA or more. That's a lot of shooting.

A .223 starting with the same capabilities will easily go 2500 to 3000 rounds before it starts degrading.

A .308 should go over 4000 rounds easy before any degradation starts.

A 6.5-284 will lose it by 1000 rounds.

These are all loose figures and there will be tons of examples where people exceeded those values, or never even got close.

If you want to ruin the barrel even faster, just clean it a lot.
 

Dennis

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
117
A big thank you to all that have replied here! Excellent information.

Cheers,
Dennis
 

rifleman51

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 27, 2010
Messages
29
The above posts are correct, but the one thing not mentioned is that incorrect cleaning has ruined many, many barrels. Listen to what the others have said about the .243 and make sure you clean it correctly and your .243 should last a long time.

Best Regards, John K
 

TexasFats

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
46
I'll just mention a few more things that impact barrel wear. One is the type of steel used in the barrel. In the 1930's, the softer steels meant that something like a .220 Swift would wear out in as few as 1000 rounds. Now, they last a bit longer. Also, the problem of overbore capacity was mentioned, though not by that name. The .264 Winchester Magnum was a perfect example of that. Again, as few a 1000 rounds and it was time to change barrels. Also, somebody mentioned cleaning. Probably more barrels have been ruined by improper cleaning (too little, too much, too abrasive, too strenuous, too strong a solvent, etc.) than by being shot out. Just remember, heat is the enemy of your barrel. Pressure, you can only control by handloading to a milder than factory load. Heat, you can minimize by not firing too fast, with too little time between shots to allow the barrel to cool.

By the way, by the time you have fired 3000 factory rounds through a rifle, you have, at today's prices, probably spent over $3,000 on ammo. Compared to that, the cost of a new barrel, while substantial, is still quite a bit less.
 

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