How to Break in a Barrel

The age old question, “Breaking in the New Barrel”. Opinions vary a lot here, and this is a very subjective topic as well. For the most part, the only thing you are breaking in, is the throat area of the barrel. The nicer the finish that the finish reamer or throating reamer leaves, the faster the throat will polish/break in. A rough throat can take longer to break in and also cause copper fouling. Some shooters think it’s the barrel has a problem but it could be from when it was chambered.

Shoot one round and clean for the first two rounds individually. Look to see what the barrel is telling you. If I’m getting little to no copper out of it, I sit down and shoot the gun. Say 4 – 5 round groups and then clean. If the barrel cleans easily and shoots well, we consider it done.

If the barrel shows some copper and or is taking a little longer to clean after the first two, shoot a group of 3 rounds and clean. Then a group of 5 and clean.

After you shoot the 3rd group and 5th group, watch how long it takes to clean. Also notice your group sizes. If the group sizes are good and the cleaning is getting easier or is staying the same, then shoot 4 – 5 round groups.

If fouling appears to be heavy and taking a while to clean, notice your group sizes. If groups sizes are good and not going sour, you don’t have a fouling problem. Some barrels will clean easier than others. Some barrels may take a little longer to break in. Remember that throat. Fouling can start all the way from here. We have noticed sometimes that even up to approximately 100 rounds, a barrel can show signs of a lot of copper, but it still shoots really well and then for no apparent reason, you will notice little to no copper and or it will start to clean easier.