Hot barrel?

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J. Yuma

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I'm starting to wonder. Last couple of trips to the range, I start pretty good, then not so hot...maybe too hot?
yesterday's first two, brought target in to check after two shots, then last 60, also first 6 (three in the red at 75')
Do I shoot waay too fast, 60-66 rounds in 40-45 minutes (that includes setting up target)?
I went SA to slow down...maybe I just get tired?

Accuracy with a hot barrel. (from the AI ROBOT at BRAVE, I don't "google")

When it comes to firearms, accuracy is crucial for effective shooting. However, many shooters are concerned about the impact of a hot barrel on their rifle's accuracy. In this answer, we'll explore the effects of a hot barrel on accuracy and provide some valuable insights.

What Happens When a Barrel Heats Up?

When a barrel heats up, it expands, which can cause several issues that affect accuracy. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Barrel expansion: As the barrel heats up, its internal diameter increases, which can lead to a decrease in accuracy. This is because the bullet may not fit as snugly in the barrel, resulting in a loss of precision.
  • Gas leakage: Heat can cause the barrel to expand, allowing some of the propellant gases to escape around the bullet. This can reduce the bullet's velocity and accuracy.
  • Bullet expansion: A hot barrel can also cause the bullet to expand, which can lead to a looser fit in the barrel. This can result in a decrease in accuracy.
How Much Does a Hot Barrel Affect Accuracy?

The impact of a hot barrel on accuracy can vary depending on several factors, including the type of rifle, the type of ammunition used, and the shooting conditions. However, here are some general guidelines:

  • Moderate heat: A moderate increase in barrel temperature (around 100°F to 150°F or 38°C to 66°C) may not significantly affect accuracy. The bullet may still maintain its velocity and trajectory.
  • High heat: A significantly hotter barrel (above 200°F or 93°C) can lead to a noticeable decrease in accuracy. The bullet may lose velocity and accuracy due to gas leakage and barrel expansion.
  • Extreme heat: In extreme cases, a barrel temperature above 300°F (149°C) can result in a significant loss of accuracy. The bullet may not even exit the barrel properly, leading to a complete loss of accuracy.
Tips for Maintaining Accuracy with a Hot Barrel

To minimize the impact of a hot barrel on accuracy, follow these tips:

  • Wait between shots: Allow the barrel to cool down between shots to prevent excessive heat buildup.
  • Use a slower rate of fire: Reduce the rate of fire to give the barrel time to cool down between shots.
  • Use a barrel-cooling device: Consider using a barrel-cooling device, such as a barrel shroud or a cooling sleeve, to help reduce the barrel temperature.
  • Choose the right ammunition: Select ammunition that is designed for high-temperature shooting, such as match-grade ammunition.
Conclusion

In conclusion, a hot barrel can affect accuracy, but the extent of the impact depends on several factors. By understanding the effects of heat on your barrel and taking steps to manage the temperature, you can maintain accuracy and improve your shooting performance. Remember to wait between shots, use a slower rate of fire, and consider using a barrel-cooling device to keep your barrel at an optimal temperature.
 

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contender

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Knowing there can be a bit of a difference in a hot barrel vs a cold barrel,, what I do depends upon what my purposes are.

Example;
If I'm planning to hunt with a particular handgun,, I mark the chamber I want to start with with a small dot using a sharpie. (Unless it's a Contender barrel.) I try & shoot on a very cold day,, after letting the gun sit out in the cold a bit. I fire one round. Put the gun down,, check my shot,, and let the gun get very cold again. (Often,, I shoot something else with a different purpose in mind or do something else between shots. It can take be a few hours to shoot a cylinder full, or a test group of 5-6 rounds from a Contender.
I mark each impact on a target, so I know exactly which round was fired when & such.

That is more like a serious fall winter hunting scenario,, and I know what my gun is doing. But I also start over, and fire a single shot from a cold barrel, and then shoot a second shot to simulate a "follow-up" shot.
This allows me to see what,, if any difference there is in the cold vs hot.

HOWEVER,, if you look at IHMSA shooters,, who engage steel targets out to 200 meters,, with handguns,, they don't have the luxury of completely waiting between shots to get a fully cold barrel.

So,, my shooting,, with my ammo, and my results have shown that IN GENERAL,, not a huge difference in serious accuracy. In fact,, I tend to feel that the "loose nut behind the trigger" can have more of an affect than extremely fast shooting in a handgun. But it never hurts to wait a bit to allow a gun to cool down a bit. Extremely hot metal can suffer fatigue & wear quicker.
 

J. Yuma

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Thanks for that, I appreciate the tutorials.

It seems like I've been a bit more accurate at the start of a range session. I've put as many as 4 "in the red" at the beginning of a range day. Then I go a little askew.

I've often shot as many as 72 rounds through the SBH in 40 minutes, and the last rounds seem most erratic. It dawned on me that maybe I was shooting too fast?

I'm trying to slow down, and I think I'm going to bring less ammo, maybe 42 rounds (7x6=42) or more guns.

On Tuesday I shot the first two rounds in the SRH, (picture), and brought the target in to check. I was pretty glad to see where I hit. Finished with a few more good shots, but not enough.

Yesterday I took my Heritage .22 to the range, began the session by shooting at 30' and (finally) figured out the sights, (had to aim to the right) and shot SLOWLY, often taking a break.

Put the target out to 75', aimed about two inches right, and on my last 5 shots (I like to load five in the Heritage) and hit 4 in the red. (see yellow marks)

There's no doubt that the "trigger man" needs a better protocol, 😳but I'm learning. 🧐
 

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RC44Mag

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Yeah that's pretty fast and on hot days cool downs obviously take much longer. I always bring multiple arms when going to range and rotate the often, especially when I bring other shooters with me using my guns. Cleaning them when home is tedious but it is what it is and I just get it done.
 

J. Yuma

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I think you hit the nail on the head.
When I first started shooting, I would bring 2 or 3 guns.
CLEANING THEM was the PITA.

So I started bringing one gun, and between 60 and 70+ rounds, always hand loaded .44 magnum.

Too big, too fast?
 
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  • Bullet expansion: A hot barrel can also cause the bullet to expand, which can lead to a looser fit in the barrel. This can result in a decrease in accuracy.


I don't agree with this. If a bullet "expands" in the barrel it's not going to get "looser". Stupid AI.
 

J. Yuma

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I didn't notice that part, I certainly can't understand what ol' Rosie meant by that.

BUT: I've done enough motorcycle/automotive stuff to know that a hot bore and a cold plug = loose fit

I recently (4 years ago?) installed a starter ring gear on a Ford flathead flywheel. Heated the gear 400+ degrees, chilled the flywheel in the beer fridge, and it dropped on, and so far has stayed on, no fasteners, just good old interference fit...amazing.

Read enough about throats, slugging barrels, the difference between a .429 bullet and a .430 bullet etc., to think that maybe a cold bullet + warm barrel = not on target?

Anyway, everything I've posted on this site is mostly because I'm (in my mind anyway) still a "new shooter."
I probably shouldn't be playing with SBH's and SRH's yet 😵‍💫...that ship has sailed.
Overthinking is one of my favorite past times.

Forgive me for my ignorance, it is only surpassed by my wonder, and enthusiasm.
 

Dan in MI

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I have way too much experience with this. As Contender mentioned IHMSA shooters don't have the luxury of time.

I had a very early KS411N (Stainless Bull BBL 44 SBH) Early enough that I expected a tapered BBL not the new bull. It arrived in the fall. I shot really well that fall. 35-38 at every match and I shot every weekend. This was before a 40 had ever been shot in Revolver. Come Spring I am shooting very well still. In the Summer my scores start dropping and i notice my ram settings were changing at every match. Come the state match (80 round) in late summer I was adding a click of elevation every target or two. Very frustrating. As the temps cooled I started shooting well again. Now none of my other guns had changes in scoring except minor increases.

Spring rolls around again and my hopes for states climb. Then Summer hits and the same thing happens. My spotter starts to notice he can see the bullet corkscrew on its way to the rams, sometimes he can pick it up at turkeys. (that was cool to see but disconcerting) I take my gun to a friend that is a well known smith. The bore diameters range from .430, .4305, with one at .431. I now try the alcohol trick to keep the bbl cool. It helps on 40 round matches some, but on 80's I am hosed. At the last States I shot that gun, by the 5th ram of 20, it was 2 clicks up every target.

I sold that gun and bought another. My scores immediately stabilized at 35-38 all that year. I never did get a 40, but that was my fault, but not because of my shooting. My 3rd year I decided to concentrate on Standing class only and just didn't shoot any other classes. Achieved S-INT in BB and SB and shot that way for another 20 years.

So to sum it up, YES heat can really affect your shooting. It also depends on the bore and bullet specs you have when the bbl is cool.
 

J. Yuma

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Informative and interesting, so much so that I'm gonna definitely make an effort to let these guns cool.

My cleaning regimen has gotten better, as in; less tedious, maybe I'll just bring both guns and alternate them.

I bought the SRH to save wear on the SBH, maybe instead of 60 rounds through one I'll just shoot 30 through each, maybe even less.

I'm traveling next week so I won't be shooting, but i'm looking forward to my next "experience."
 

contender

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Dan's info is very similar to my method of using very cold stuff to simulate actual hunting conditions. Many of us who shoot a lot do know that summer heat & winter cold has an affect upon how a gun performs. But it's usually more noticeable when shooting much longer distances. He mentioned changing the sights a few clicks as it got in the heat of summer.

Another thought to consider.

Hot ammo. I'm not talking about handloads to the max,, I'm talking about letting your ammo sit in a hot car, or on the dashboard or whatever prior to shooting. It too can have an affect on accuracy. But again,, more noticeable at longer distances.
 

J. Yuma

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All my shooting is 75', indoors.

But the rate is too fast, even though my lack of accuracy is probably just me.
The sight picture, the type of grip, the different powders, etc., all probably factor in, but lack of skill/experience is right at the top of the list.

Just bought a Lee Perfect Powder measure. Loaded about 60 rounds, all were weighed after the throw. 9.5-9.6 grains of WIN 244. The darn bullets were off, supposed to be 240 grain WC, cast, one was 250!
It's a jungle out there.
 

Johnnu2

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IMHO, simple fatigue (yes, even when young) does have a significant effect.
I won an informal shooting contest awhile back; up against some real/semi-competitive shooters.
After the match, while collecting my $75 "prize", one of the young range officers said that he noticed that I rested the muzzle of my revolver on the bench after each shot (for just about 3 seconds). I told him that I was just resting my (one good) eye.
p.s. I was shooting a totally un-modified/out-of-the-box, Ruger SS Bisley in 45Colt with a 5 1/2" bbl.... stock trigger pull. I was amazed.
J.
 

contender

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"All my shooting is 75', indoors."

I'm assuming you mean 75 feet,,not 75 yards.

I load a lot of ammo & the only time I weigh each charge is when I'm being lazy & letting my auto-powder dispenser weigh each one as it dispenses them. On my handguns,, I weigh them when I'm setting my powder thrower,, and check the weight about every 10th-15th charge. I also use a Dillon 650 progressive for a LOT of my handgun stuff. Competition stuff, so it needs to be good.
Cast bullets,, I make my own. I do weigh all of them initially,, and segregate them into batches that are 1.0 grns apart. (125.0 to 125.9 as an example.) Any that are way out of spec,, I toss into the re-cast bin. Many casters do not feel even my methods are necessary. But a variation of 10.0 grns is a bit much to most of them, and should be re-cast.

When I start shooting for accuracy checking,, I start at 25 yds,, (75 ft.) I then move to 50 yds,, followed by 100 yds. Distance can & will point out all kinds of things when imparted into the equation. But I also handgun hunt & know my ranges can be "out there" as compared to paper punching for fun.
 

J. Yuma

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IMHO, simple fatigue (yes, even when young) does have a significant effect.
I won an informal shooting contest awhile back; up against some real/semi-competitive shooters.
After the match, while collecting my $75 "prize", one of the young range officers said that he noticed that I rested the muzzle of my revolver on the bench after each shot (for just about 3 seconds). I told him that I was just resting my (one good) eye.
p.s. I was shooting a totally un-modified/out-of-the-box, Ruger SS Bisley in 45Colt with a 5 1/2" bbl.... stock trigger pull.
Shooting lots of bullets, especially with powder like H110, sometimes I feel like I banged my head!
I gotta slow down, no doubt.
 

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