No, not using a barrel to break-in to your house or car when you’ve lost your keys – using bullets and cleaning to make a new barrel better.

Contentious?  Yes.  Worth talking about?  You betcha.

The theory is that barrels, even match barrels from well-known makers, have minor imperfections in the bore as a result of tool chatter, inclusions, and so on, and that these can be smoothed out with break-in.

The result is supposed to be less copper fouling, making the barrel easier to clean and more likely to retain its accuracy for long strings of fire.

It works for me – on a good custom barrel, I find that cleaning is markedly easier after a break-in.  If you disagree, don’t do it.

Here’s one way to do break-in:

  1. clean (always clean the barrel on a new gun to remove manufacturing junk)
  2. shoot once, clean.
  3. shoot twice, clean.
  4. shoot thrice, clean.
  5. shoot four times, clean
  6. shoot five time, clean
  7. Now shoot a group, clean.
  8. You’re done.  Going forward, clean every ten-fifteen shots when possible.

You should find that this makes cleaning, especially copper removal, easier.  As mentioned, there is some controversy over break-in – but I find this works, and so does my award-winning benchrest-shooting father.

There are others break-in methods and also strong opinions that break-in is a waste of time and money – I’m not interested in an argument.  Try another way if you want, it should accomplish the same thing.  Or don’t do it at all – it’s your gun – just don’t yell at the rest of us.


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