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 Barrels and Fluting 
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Location: Lake Forest Park
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Real Name: Tom
When building a custom rifle choosing the appropriate barrel contour is as important as selecting the proper action and stock. Two common types of bolt-action rifles are for tactical and hunting purposes. Both will be very accurate, but each has a specific task to accomplish. For my hunting rifle chambered in .280 Remington I selected a Shilen #5 contour barrel with a 1:9 twist.
Winchester Model 70 caliber .280 Remington, with Shilen #5:
Image

First off the barrel contour number system will throw you a curve. Just like the calibers used in the firearms industry, there is no rhyme, reason, or standard associated with barrel contours. A Krieger #6, will not equal the weight, muzzle diameter, or profile as a Shilen, Douglas, or Pac-Nor #6. This is when some homework needs to be done by the soon-to-be custom-gun-owner. Typically a hunting rifle has a skinnier barrel, when it comes to magnum calibers it’s not a bad idea to go up a size to increase the weight, which will lower the felt recoil. But when hunting, if you are going to be hiking a lot a gun that is lighter is beneficial. Also, thin barrels are very difficult to dial in and the barrel must be as straight as possible to get the chamber parallel to the bore.
When building a tactical or competition gun selecting a heavier profile and heavier barrel is advantageous. The heavier barrel will add weight to the rifle and be easier to steady on a rest and resist movement when shooting. Also, a heavier barrel will reduce felt recoil and can aid in that follow up shot during competition.
Remington 700 in .308 Winchester, with Douglas MTU contour:
Image

When selecting barrels the issue of barrel fluting often comes up. Fluting accomplishes two notable tasks. The first enables the rifle to have a thick, heavy barrel, while reducing some weight; weight loss depends on the original thickness of the barrel. The second is plain and simple aesthetics, some guys like the way a fluted barrel looks. For simplicity sake I’m not going to discuss heat because I don’t have an infrared thermometer to conduct my own experiment and I’m not a mechanical engineer. One recommendation I will give regarding fluting a barrel is that I don’t recommend having a factory barrel fluting as it may stress relieve the barrel which can alter accuracy. If you want a fluted barrel either buy one fluted from the factory or when its time to re-barrel that rifle with an aftermarket tube, choose to flute the new barrel.
Barrel Fluting procedure:
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Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:10 pm
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nice Write up gives something to think about when upgrading to a better barrel from the stock set up.

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Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:28 pm
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Real Name: Tom
Thanks for the comment. I've been preparing one post per month. If you have any subjects of interest please let me know and I will add them to my list. Next subjects will be blueprinting an action and chambering a barrel.


Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:44 pm
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Great job Tom. Nice to see what we were talking about hit the page!

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Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:24 am
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Very cool, Tom! :YMAPPLAUSE:

As a non-gunsmith, I find it fascinating to see little tutorials like this. It's just enough to give me an idea of why you would flute a barrel, and the basics of how it's done. Very interesting and informative -- THANK YOU! cheers2

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Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:48 pm
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Do you do fluting?


Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:38 pm
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Echohill wrote:
Do you do fluting?


He does. He also builds some of the nicest bolt action rifles I have ever seen.

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Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:09 pm
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Very nice. I look forward to reading more on things I have no clue about and didn't realize until I read them.

Really cool.

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Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:51 pm
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