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From: Gale McMillan <" gale">
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Alternative materials for barrels
Date: 30 Mar 1997 13:44:21 -0500

Charles Winters wrote:
# Russ Evans wrote:
# #
# # Here's a question for those really knowledgeable about barrel
# # manufacturing.
# # Why steel? Certainly there are metals that are stronger and/or lighter than
# # steel that are available to manufacturers. Wouldn't a barrel made from a
# # harder metal be stiffer than a steel barrel and therefore be more accurate?
# # Wouldn't a barrel made from a harder metal have a longer useful life?
# # Just curious...
# Dear Russ:  Harder isn't better in gunmaking.  For barrels, we need a
# compromise of hardness, toughness, heat resistance, corrosion resistance
# and machinability.  The finest material known to earthlings for this
# purpose is 4340 chrome-moly steel. Someday something better will be
# developed, but for the last 30 or 40 years (I'm a little fuzzy on the
# dates) top grade, chrome-moly steel (commonly referred to as blue steel)
# is just about it.
# So called stainless (CRES) steels have some peculiar
# advantages/disadvantages and are arguably a better compromise for
# barrels only. BTW, not all cres numbers have iron or nickel in them,
# something that defies common usage of the word steel.  Check it out,
# some "stainless steels" will not attract a magnet. - CW

There are barrels that are made from different materials than steel.  As
an example the Vulcan barrels are made from columbium (not sure of the
spelling) to resist erosion from the high rate of fire.  The thing about
rifle barrel is cost must be a large factor in the selection of
material.  We are paying about $3.50 per lb. for 416R which makes a
barrel blank cost $35 to start.  This is about the limit in what can be
paid without pricing yourself out of the market.  To be quite frank the
steel used today is pretty good both in life and performance.  It will
give the average shooter years of performance at a level better than he
can perform.  Only the competitor could really benefit from a longer
lasting barrel.  Most good bench rest shooters shoot upwards of 10,000
rounds per year and that is 4 or 5 barrels life.  With the exception of
some varmint hunters.  Dave Talley of Wyoming will shoot a barrel out
every two weeks during prairie dog season.

Gale McMillan

From: Gale McMillan <" gale">
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Titanium rounds?
Date: 5 Dec 1996 23:17:28 -0500

Bev Clark/Steve Gallacci wrote:

# #I wonder how rough it would be on a barrel.  Would a chrome-lined barrel
# #even handle something like that -- without problems?
# I'd suspect that naked Ti might spall going down a barrel, but bon't know
# that for a fact. having a driving band or fitting it to a sabot would be
# an idea worth considering.
# But the key point I've got to ask is WHY? Other than for the novelty, Ti
# is a pretty poor bullet material. Yes, it is fairly hard, but it is also
# fairly light, giving it a next to useless sectional density. Even using
# regular steel would give better general ballistics.

I fail to see any advantage in this projectile but can relate a story
that might give a little light on what could be expected. 

 A few years ago when the light rifle craz started I built a complete
rifle out of titanium.  It was chambered for 308.  I had to use a steel
bolt to bring the rifle up to 5lbs.  We tested it for accuracy tith 10
rounds which was OK and then I borescoped the barrel and found that most
of the rifling and some of the bore was missing for the first 8 inches. 
We tried another 10 rounds and an other 8 inches shed the rifling. 
Titanium is the worst metal I know of to guald.  The barrel was gualding
to the bullet jacket and was ripping it out with every round. You could
picture a titanium bullet gualding to the steel rifling and doing the
same thing.

 Gale McMillan

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