How hot is too hot?

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How hot is too hot?

Post by 2freeq » 09 Sep 2018, 8:27 am

I've been told not to let my rifle get too hot at the range. How hot is too hot? can hold my hand on the barrel for 1 second? 2 seconds? 3 seconds? Smoking hot?

I put 70 rounds through my Howa .223 at the range on Friday but i didn't let it get hotter than it being uncomfortable to hold. Is that too hot?

On a side note i think i need something else to shoot whilst the .223 cools down between groups. Considering doing my Cat H license and getting a Ruger SR22 or similar.
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by Stix » 09 Sep 2018, 9:04 am

I think "too hot" is in the eye of the individual mate.

I look at it this way--steel erosion in your barrel is directly proportionate to the temp...so i limit my groups down to 3 with sporter weight barrels now.

I find just 3 shot groups in winter & i can shoot another group in as little as 10 mins, whereas if i fire a fourth, i have to wait 20 mins for the barrel to cool back down to the same temp.

I know a guy who has no comprehention of this & he would slways pump 100+ rounds through his 223 in 45 mins, often shooting 40 shot strings in rapid time...to the point of having a mirage off his barrel on a cold winters day :unknown: my estimate is he got around 1000 inch grouping rounds out of his new stainless barrel.

& yes, i more often than not have 2 or 3 rifles on the bench...
For some rifles i have a seperate lot of brass for & do relevant testing to load them with trailboss & cheap projectiles--burns much cooler so you can pump many more rounds out without excessive heat, & still get to shoot (only thing is with less recoil).
I use these in between groups with an alternative rifle while waiting for barrel to cool. :thumbsup:

So i guess it depends how long you want the barrel to last...if you want max life out of it, only shoot single shots on a cold bore...if you dont care, blast away hard & fast.
Or go by gut feel & monitor the round count & see how long your baby lives... :thumbsup:

I seem to remember the Master Marksman recently sharing that he polishes the throat of his pipes every couple hundred rounds to close up the pores & prolong life/try minimise erosion--but best he details that theory as ive yet to do that due to my lack of bore scope.

This is just my opinion & regime of late, but hopefully more experienced guys can ring in here...particularly those with bore scopes who monitor their barrels with regularity.

Hope thats of use to you... :drinks:
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by bladeracer » 09 Sep 2018, 9:18 am

Measure the lands regularly and monitor the throat erosion. The harder you run the rifle the faster the throat will burn out.
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by bladeracer » 09 Sep 2018, 9:19 am

2freeq wrote:I've been told not to let my rifle get too hot at the range. How hot is too hot? can hold my hand on the barrel for 1 second? 2 seconds? 3 seconds? Smoking hot?

I put 70 rounds through my Howa .223 at the range on Friday but i didn't let it get hotter than it being uncomfortable to hold. Is that too hot?

On a side note i think i need something else to shoot whilst the .223 cools down between groups. Considering doing my Cat H license and getting a Ruger SR22 or similar.


Are you allowed to shoot a pistol on a rifle range?
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by JimTom » 09 Sep 2018, 9:20 am

Mate like Stix I generally shoot 3 round groups, occasionally 5. I will normally shoot no more than 2 x 3 round groups before switching to another rifle.
I don’t know the exact science and I am sure there are a lot of variables in the equation however I listen to the old blokes who told me about excessive barrel wear and erosion if you pump a lot of rounds down in quick succession.
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by 2freeq » 09 Sep 2018, 9:22 am

Thanks for the reply mate,

I didn't let mine cool down completely but more maintained a heat range between "meh thats cool enough" and "hmmm its pretty warm"

As you can tell i use all the technical jargon and precise measurements.

Think i'll go find a cheap .22 and use that to allow the .223 to cool more. I would like the .223 to last awhile.
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by 2freeq » 09 Sep 2018, 9:24 am

bladeracer wrote:Are you allowed to shoot a pistol on a rifle range?



At St Marys Indoor Range which is where i mainly go you can.
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by in2anity » 09 Sep 2018, 10:48 am

If you’re plinking/practicing volumes (at fixed distances), there’s no point in driving a modern laser beam - perhaps you could load her down a bit to save your throat (and reduce heat)? Trail Boss is perfect for this application. But if your not into reloading, ye olde 22lr shooting target ammo will effectively last a lifetime. Just a thought.
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by trekin » 09 Sep 2018, 10:59 am

Wouldn't that be a luxury in a military comp. 10 round rapid or 10 round snap detail and you soom relise why military rifles have a top handguard! And some of those old girls are doing 60 - 100 rounds every Sat/Sun week in, week out.
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by Ziad » 09 Sep 2018, 1:13 pm

Well little river is a ceasefire every 30. Minutes, well after the ppl update their targets it's like 15 to 20 min shooting then a brake. I shot 4 or 5 not very quick nor very slow and then fizzle around then shoot some more. Checking the barrel if it's warm to touch I'll take a break. By warm you can still hold it without wincing
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by tom604 » 09 Sep 2018, 2:33 pm

when im shooting goats my barrel gets way too hot to touch but i only do that a few times a year and it will open your groups up a bit but not by that much(an extra moa?) i have tried to see how much by shooting ten quick shots out of my 223 then sending another ten down range as quickly as possible and apart from 4 or so flyers they all landed in a 2 1/2 inch group. if i remember correctly a 223 barrel will last about 7,000 rounds(maybe less :unknown: ) before its burnt out, not saying that it wont burn out quicker if you rapid fire just that a barrel has a limited life anyway. i try and shoot five shot groups when im testing loads as it gives a truer average group,three is the minimum number for an average,,five shots makes it harder to get small groups for some reason :problem: :unknown:
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by marksman » 09 Sep 2018, 5:21 pm

if you are testing or sighting you want no heat at all
I was out yesterday with a bloke who was sighting his 30-06 savage, after 3 shoots the groups opened up so he did 3 shot and cool for half an hour till sighted
I was shooting a heavy barrel dasher so I was doing 10 shots and cool half an hour, my barrel was only just warm with no change in group size
your barrels tell you how much is to hot :thumbsup: when hunting with this rifle I dont stop, rabbits come out rabbits die :drinks:
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by bigpete » 09 Sep 2018, 5:51 pm

FB_IMG_1536403221562.jpg
I'd say this is pretty damn hot
FB_IMG_1536403221562.jpg (102.51 KiB) Viewed 1139 times
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by Gaznazdiak » 09 Sep 2018, 6:20 pm

bigpete wrote:
FB_IMG_1536403221562.jpg


Camels do have lovely feet, don't they :lol: :lol:
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by 2freeq » 09 Sep 2018, 6:32 pm

Gaznazdiak wrote:
bigpete wrote:
FB_IMG_1536403221562.jpg


Camels do have lovely feet, don't they :lol: :lol:



Golden comment :lol: :lol: :lol: :clap:
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by JimTom » 09 Sep 2018, 9:10 pm

Nice bwahahahaha
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by bigrich » 10 Sep 2018, 7:57 am

JimTom wrote:Mate like Stix I generally shoot 3 round groups, occasionally 5. I will normally shoot no more than 2 x 3 round groups before switching to another rifle.
I don’t know the exact science and I am sure there are a lot of variables in the equation however I listen to the old blokes who told me about excessive barrel wear and erosion if you pump a lot of rounds down in quick succession.


+1. I follow the same theory as stix and JT. After a couple of groups , I switch rifles.I take a 22lr and blast away for fun. Trying to get good grouping at 100 with a breeze is challenging. I only run lead projectile in my 22lr but
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Re: How hot is too hot?

Post by Gwion » 11 Sep 2018, 7:27 pm

Barrel weight has nothing to do with how quickly a barrels throat & bore heats up and this
is what will effect barrel degradation. Rate of fire and amount of powder burning is what determines the rate at which the barrel will heat up. Barrel weight will effect two thing, though:
1/ a sporter weight barrel will be more effected by a wandering point of impact due to barrel heat but will cool down faster due to a higher surface area:mass ratio. As such, you can fire fewer rounds in quick succession before point of impact is effected but the barrel will cool more readily and so avoid over heating the throat and bore.
2/ a varmint or target weight barrel will be less effected by wandering point of impact due to thermal changes in the metallurgy due to the structural stiffness of a heavier cylinder but the internal heat will dissipate more slowly due to higher mass and less surface area and so it will be potentially easier to damage because you won't realise just how hot it is getting internally and be tempted to keep punching rounds through it.

Other things to consider are that the detrimental effects of heat on your barrel are only as problematic as your intended use and that three round groups are statistically close to useless when testing ammo for target work.
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