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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did a search but couldn't find anything, sorry if I'm repeating another thread. I know on my Sako's, it was very beneficial to do a break in technique on the barrel, one shot, clean for the first 10 to 15 shots, and so on... Is it a must to do this type of break in on a Marlin lever action? If so, how should I go about it? Thanks in advance.
 

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Your question will get a lot of the "experts" up in arms. It came up on an AR site a few years ago and I think someone would have been hurt if they had a enough bandwidth to send a fist or round over the internet. :)

PLEASE NOTE I AM NO LONGER A COMPETIVE SHOOTER AND THERE IS A REASON. EVEN IF THERE IS SOME BENIFIT TO BE HAD IN THE COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT I DOUBT IT IS WORTH THE TROUBLE OR WILL EVEN BE NOTIED IN A HUNTING BARREL. ESPECIALLY BIG SLOW MOVING BULLETS. Even IF I believed the whole process to be worthwhile there is no reason to do it on most of the rounds Marlins are chambered for, unless you are going to try to hit golfballs at 300 yards.

I have read all about how this is meant to remove copper fouling until the barrel is properly carboned up and then the copper fouling becomes less of a problem. That has never been my experience. I have never done it even when "required".

MY OPINION - Its not a MUST DO for any HUNTING gun even your Sako. If a barrel is so danity that it needs to be treated like that to shoot well, then forget it. I am not sure where it came from but I wonder if some guy sat arround and dreamed up this whole thing believing no one would be stupid enough to do it so the manufacturer could say you didn't break the barrrel in properly if it doesn't shoot to your expectations. :)

Unless you are a very serious high powered rifle bench shooter you are probably not going to know the difference and even then you won't on a large precentage of the barrels. I have four tack drivers that all came with instructions to break them in that manner. My 6.8 SPC barrel went on and I sighted in the scope with 5 rounds, the last three 1/2 MOA. 60 rounds later I pulled a bore snake through it and put it up for the season. And I only did that because I had it out in the rain. This year probably only fired 10-15 rounds through it but the last 4 were at 4 different DR pepper cans at 350 yards. 4 for 4 and I have yet to clean it again. 15 years a go I had a 22 rf rebarreled with a 1" bull the smith told me I "HAD" to do all that or the barrel would never shoot prperly. It still shoots one holes at 50 yards even though I probably shot 1000 rounds through it before I cleaned it the first time, and probably even haven't run a bore snake through it in at least 2 years. Dirty little secret burnt powder protects the steel. That has been my experience with every barrel where this process was "required". Would they have shot better for more rounds if I hadn't done it. MAYBE, BUT I WOULD HAVE NEVER KNOWN THE DIFFERENCE. ALL 4 of these guns shoot in the 1/2 to 1 MOA range without the breakin in and are used as hunting rifles. So maybe sometime when I want to shoot a deers nuts off at 600 yards I will lament that I didn't break in my barrels properly.

My personal opinion is that we were taught to clean our guns by guys that shot corrosive primers and they learned from guys that shot black powder. My experience is that the action is more suseptible to fouling related problems than the bore with modern primers and powders. I generally pull a bore snake through my hunting guns at the end of season and right before I go to the range before it opens. I never sit down and run rag after rag through the barrel and do that until I get it spotlessly clean, There is abosolutely no research that even suggests that is required. To the contrary I find that all of my long range rifles shoot better with a fouled bore.

I have an M1 with a heavily pitted dark bore that shoots 1-1/4" groups at 100 yards with the military peep and my pitiful old eyes. After about 60 rounds you can spend hours and hours trying to remove all the copper fouling, but it still just keeps right on shooting those 1-1/4" groups. I bought it from a guy for $200 because he figured it had to have a new barrel to shoot up to his standards. I fired it when I first got it and it wouldn't hold a foot at one hundred yards. After I bedded the action, cleared the op rod, free floated the barrel and did the front handgaurd work I got quite a surprise. Most accurracy issues are not bore related. If I were going to compete with it I would rebarrel, but I still wouldn't follow the breakin procedure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, the last thing I want to do is get "anybody" up in arms. :p I was just wondering cause I'm a strong believer in cleaning a rifle from the breach out, and to take the lever, bolt and ejector out after every shot would be a pain in the rear to say the least.
 

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Thats some good advise right there! The first cleaning is to get that factory packing gunk out of the barrel then let it foul. It will shoot better as you go. If accuracy drops off after a while then run a copper brush or bore snake through it a couple times!
 

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And to think I had guilt feelings about not cleaning my firearms enough. Thanks guys for relieving those feelings!

Problem is now I have have guilt feelings about cleaning too much!
 

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Completing a break-in procedure on a factory rifle never seemed to make any beneficial difference to me. I've done many, always relying on the rational that "it couldn't hurt" and maybe it would help. Even the top barrel makers in the country seem to widely disagree on how to break-in a bbl or even if it should be done at all.

Cleaning a barrel is something entirely different. I'm with the shooters who clean their firearms regularly. Quick story - I wanted to return a Weatherby Mark V to the factory for accuracy problems. The technician asked me how often I cleaned the barrel and what method I used. I was surprised at his assumption that a fouled bore could be the cause. He later stated that about 90% of the rifles that are returned for accuracy problems only needed a thorough cleaning to restore accuracy. Most of the returned rifles had been cleaned, just not adequately. However, a Weatherby magnum rifle is not quite the same as a Marlin lever action which typically has a larger bore diameter and operates at much lower pressure. Either way - I keep them clean.
 

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Shoot it lots and clean it sparingly, LIGHTLY lube moving parts...The barrel will shoot fine with some practice. Most breaking in is just the shooter shooting more.
 

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What Eli said. I've done it both ways and never noticed any difference. I have even backed off copper brushes during normal cleaning procedure. Wipe with a few solvent soaked patches, when it comes out clean, Dry patch,oil patch,dry patch. Thats it. No brushing unless needed. My 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the great feedbacks guys! Did a good cleaning last night to get the factory crap out and lightly oiled. Now to go to the range an enjoy my Marlin!! I will still pass a bore snake every 20 to 25 shots and a good scrubing and oiling when I'm done at the range cause I'm kind of anal like that... :-[
 

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Canuck, I used to be like that too till I got older and wiser and started hanging around here. To each his own I say. Good shooting.
 

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http://www.accuracysystemsinc.com/Barrel_Break-In.php

This is the procedurue outlined by a custom barrel maker but I think I have to agree with gryhed. I don't think the problem with accuracy is usually the bore unless something is really wrong with it and then no amount of breakin is going to help. I used to shoot a lot of competition with a 39A and I would never run a brush of any kind through it. I would run a patch through it every now and then but other than that, I didn't do a lot to it and it seem to shot better and better as time went on. I don't think you are going to wear your barrel out by cleaning it too much but I don't think you are going to make it shoot any better with a lot of cleaning either. Just don't let it rust or get pitted and if it does get pitted, shoot a lot of lead bullets through it and let the pits fill up with lead. I seen that work many times.
 

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So what about some folks who polish the bores to a mirror shine. There have been comments about this in various posts. Any opinion on that?


GB45
 

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GEE you guys are no fun, bunch of level headed lever action nuts just eaten up with common since. :)

I posted that disertation on an AR forumn several years ago and you would have though I shot the Pope or something by even suggesting the breakin proceedures were out of line.
 

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well, I've never done a formal break in procedure on any of my rifles either. I have a 300 Weatherby that accuracy goes to pot if you don't thoroughly clean it after 20 shots or so, but I also have .22RFs that the groups don't start tightening up again after a cleaning until you've shot 10-20 rounds through them.

Now with something like a Weatherby cartridge gun, you can shoot it too many times in a row and over heat the barrel and damage it that way, but if you stop after about 3 rounds and let it cool, you should be fine.

I have a mid 1970's vintage Rem 788 in 6mm Rem that you really could shoot the nuts off a deer at 300 yds with that never had any sort of "break in" done.

Frankly, as far as how often a modern rifle needs to get cleaned goes is really more dependent on what sort of weather you had the gun out in and how the gun reacts to a fowled barrel.

I did recently witness someone at our range with a .17hmr bolt gun that complained that accuracy was going to pot with. He showed me some of the spent rounds that had the necks split. Eventually, he got a bullet stuck in his barrel. After I went home I got to thinking about it and suspect that he didn't clean that tiny bore enough and it over pressurized, killing accuracy until he finally got a bullet stuck.
 

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Back when Marlin was Marlin, I bought an 1895gs and after cleaning it and firing about 20 rounds someone told me that I should have cleaned between each shot and that my accuracy would be affected. I was worried to death that I had ruined a $650.00 gun. I called Marlin and the person that I talked to basically told me that what I had heard was just rumor or a better word is nonsense. She was right. This particular gun shoots better than I can shoot it. :)
 
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