243 barrel life?

Discussion in '6PPC, 6-6.5x47, 6XC, 6 Rem, 243' started by Josh11, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. Josh11

    Josh11 Silver $$ Contributor

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    I am almost ready to send my PRS gun to the smith for a new tube. I am curious of the 243 Win. I know it is known to have poor barrel life, however, I have been hearing some tales of longer barrel life when using H1000 or RL 26. Does anyone have any experience with this? I am interested in 108-115 grain bullets.

    Thank you
     
  2. Rob01

    Rob01

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    The slower powders are supposed to give a little longer barrel life but I used H4350 in my first .243 I shot in matches and was at 1880 rounds when I sold it and it was still a 1/2 moa rifle. I was shooting 115 dtacs at 2995fps.

    One thing I did was run 2 Tubbs TMS rounds about every 300 rounds through it to keep the throat smooth. That was about every two matches for me. Seemed to work.
     
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  3. Rtheurer

    Rtheurer

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    I don't think I would lump Reloader 26 in with H1000 for longer barrel life. Simply stating that because a Powder is slower on the BURN RATE chart does nothing to tell about its actual Heat of Potential. This is how long Wives Tails begin and get spread like its the truth. Much Like the GI BRass that has some how trickled down from the 308 to the 223 in Case Capacity.
    Low Heat powders in that Burn Rate are H1000, N160, N165. Hot as Hell in that Burn rate are powders like N560, R26, R22, 50BMG. But they all have there place, sometimes you need that heat.
     
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  4. mgdietrich

    mgdietrich

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    I just pulled my 243, nothing but 105 Hybrids and around 3200fps using N160. 1500 rounds on it, just starting to get a little loose in X count and no need to start a new season when it wont make it through.

    Good round, feeds well, accurate, easy to load for.
     
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  5. ebb

    ebb

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    Slower powders don't give longer barrel life they give shorter barrel life. H1000 gives longer barrel life cause of it's low burn temp.
     
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  6. Hrsmn51

    Hrsmn51 Silver $$ Contributor

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    H1000 worked great for me but by the time I discovered its benefit I had toasted the barrel at approximately 1000 rounds running RL17. Switched to 6XC and looking back not sure why.
    H
     
  7. onelastshot

    onelastshot Gold $$ Contributor

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    I've found that RL17 is a great powder regarding velocities, it's too early yet to know what my barrel life is going to be. I'm shooting 168 grain 7mm bullets in my Ruger No. 1 in 7x57. I'm loading a couple grains above posted maximum charge weights so I don't expect a long barrel life. Found a great node at the high end of velocities which was a surprise, we'll see what the bore scope says after 500-600 rounds.

    I'm also shooting a 6mmAI which is essentially a twin to the 243AI; it's essentially a 243 on steroids. I'm also using 47.3 grains of RL17 which is a couple grains above posted maxes. Barrel life isn't going to be great.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  8. Hrsmn51

    Hrsmn51 Silver $$ Contributor

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    The gunsmith that built my rifles is running a 6mmAI with RL22 with good results but it is news 200 rounds at this point. 105's at close to 3200fps I don't remember exactly
    H
     
  9. markgrabowski

    markgrabowski

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    You gonna go with another 243 to replace it?
     
  10. mgunderson

    mgunderson sling shooter Silver $$ Contributor

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    1500 rounds for Morgen...... What's a little loose in the x's 15 or 16:D:D:D:D
     
  11. mgdietrich

    mgdietrich

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    Last match was a 200-10, no one has time for that.....
    Yes Mark- next 243 barrel is already on the action ready for breakin this weekend.

    Party Marty- 799 with a Palma gun??? Nice job at EC!
     
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  12. JBT

    JBT Gold $$ Contributor

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    But damn, N560 performs so well every time I've ever used it.
     
  13. K22

    K22

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    I've been shooting the 243 since the late 60's, in fact it was my first centerfire rifle. Since then I've owned at least a 1/2 dozen and used them for varmint / predator / and deer hunting for over 40+ years. I have reloaded and shot thousands of rounds through the 243 so I have some experience with the cartridge. While I'm not a target shooter per se, I do shoot a lot practicing in hunting positions at various ranges. It's a lot of fun and keeps me sharp.

    I think most of the criticism of the 243's barrel life comes from target shooters and maybe it's well founded. However my experience is from a hunting prespective and I've never found the 243 to an overly excessive "barrel burner" as many claim at least from a hunting prespective.

    Most of my shooting has been with 80 grain, 85 grain and 100 grain bullets driven at velocities ranging from 3,100 to 2,800 f/s. With the 85 grain and under bullets I've used IMR 4064, Varget, and IMR 4895 in the 35 to 37 grain range. For the 100 grain bullets I've used IMR 4350 in the 37 to 39 grain range. I also avoid rapid firing unless a hunting situation requires a quick followup shot which is rare.

    I have several 243's that I've put somewhere between 2,500 to 3000 rounds through and still the rifle was able to retain an 1 1/2 group at 100 yards. This is adequate for deer size game. My Rem 700 stainless has 3,714 round though it and with 38 grains of IMR 4350 and 100 grain Sierra Spitzers still holds an 1 1/2 moa.

    If you consider 1/2 to 3/4" moa as a minimum standard for a varmint rifle my records with my reloads (stated above 80 & 85 grain bullets) show about 2,000 to 2500 rounds of useful barrel life for this application. Of course this varies between rifles. My Rem Model 7 groups began enlarging at 2,600 rounds with an ocassional flyer. Barrel was replaced.

    I personally believe the 243 is a great cartridge, easy to load, mild recoil, flat trajectory, an abundant of factory rifles to choose from, can serve as a dual purpose rifle (varmint / deer) and is just a joy to shoot.
     
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  14. 6fatrat

    6fatrat Silver $$ Contributor

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    I started shooting 243 in a match rifle in the late 80's when Walt's 105 became available. The barrels would last apx. 2000 rds.
    In my prone rifle using 44.5 of H 4831 SC with 115 Bergers I am at 2219 rds and it still shoots well. I clean with Gold Medalion [ REM clean] and the throat isn't rough.
    Steve Bair
     
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  15. FrankG

    FrankG

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    First question that needs to be asked is.....What is your accuracy requirement? This will determine your barrel life more than anything else. A bench shooter or F class shooter will normally have a different accuracy requirement vs. a shooter using it for deer hunting etc...

    How the barrel is made, type of powder, type of bullets, type of shooting, how it's being cleaned and how often, rate of fire etc... all effect barrel life.

    If we do testing here in regards to steel and barrel life etc...we use .243win. because it is a barrel burner. Ammo makers are not fond of the round for the simple reason at approx. 1000 rounds they are replacing pressure test barrels. The wear is so heavy that it will start to get inconsistencies in pressures and velocities and if loading for Saami spec. ammo they have to hold a given pressure spec. and once they start to vary they pull the barrel.

    Later, Frank
    Bartlein Barrels
     
  16. Laurie

    Laurie

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    That's a very interesting / useful piece of information. Traditionally, 2,000 rounds is quoted for the cartridge with factory ammo in what we call 'deerstalking' in the UK, deerhunting to you, at Minute of Deer type precision levels. With more handloading and people making up very hot light bullet rounds, I'd always suspected that in many cases nowadays it would be much, much less.
     
  17. mikeinct

    mikeinct

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    I think Frank G said it all...You will find evidence of longevity of useful life of a 243 barrel using different powders & bullets all over the map..I've heard of barrels going bad from 600 hot fast shots in a prairie dog town...[My own first & best shooting 243W barrel went south at about 850 rds. using a very stiff load of IMR4064 & 88 Gr Berger flat base bullet]....some claim useful accurate life to over 2000 shots from a deer/varmint hunter...Your useful life will vary, depending on it's use, care, cleaning & feeding habits..You want to play hot, the life span shortens...That said the 243W is one of my favorites. I've switched from the 105 Berger Hybrid reg boattail, to the Tubbs 115 DTAC rebated Boattail...It may help extend life, still not sure..If you find two accuracy nodes with your barrel..Please use the lesser powder charge with whatever powder your rifle likes best...Good Luck & good shooting...PS I also use a 6mmBRX just to try to extend barrel life in competition...Mike in CT
     
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  18. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Gold $$ Contributor

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    3800 rounds.
     
  19. AckleymanII

    AckleymanII Gold $$ Contributor

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    243 Winchester barrel life....hummm.......

    Ok, how much freebore did you have when you got the gun, ie. how much was the Over All Length of the cartridge till you touch the lands...this is where the rubber meets the road.

    I have burned up a few, p. dog towns, coyote rifles, rock chucks, jack rabbits. Here is my experience, and I usually loaded at the top pressure accuracy node.

    With factory rifles, Rem and Rugers, the leade is at a "normal" length to use a guide of SAAMI length. So, using IMR 4064 and 80g Sierra's, the load was usually in the 41g area at 3400 fps, barrel life was in the 800-1200 range, depending on how many times I got the barrel really hot. 48g of Win 760 with a Sierra 60g Hp at 3800 was a tad easier on the barrel, and 44.5g of win 760 with a 70g Nosler was a LOT easier on the barrel than the 4064 load with the 80's. When accuracy got to 3/4", we screwed the barrels off or sooner if you had a barrel blank on hand at the time. Short bullets quit shooting accurately when they have to jump very far.

    For deer and hog hunting, IMR 4350 was our powder with 95g partitions, sst or 100g Hornady flat base if I could find any, about 41g of powder. Since these bullets are a lot longer, they extend the barrel life because the bullets can be seated near the lands or on the lands. I have heard from others that H1000 and N160 are much easier on barrels with heavy bullets, and this is where I would stay if I were only deer hunting with a 243.

    CIP, European made guns may have long leade when they are brand new, you just have to tune the load and adjust the Over all length to what the rifle likes. Long leade when new maybe part of the equation that may have a dramatic change in how long a barrel will last.

    ON your trips to the rifle range, shooting three shot groups instead of 5 will save barrel life as those 4th and 5 th shots really heat up the barrel.

    Poster, K22 has reduced his loads only a little from mine and has good luck with this approach, that should be noted as I only seem to shoot the loads at the node at the top end.

    ON my custom 243's, I had a reamer ground with zero freebore, shot the 60,70,80g bullets exceptionally well into very, very tiny groups. This approach of zero freebore in a new barrel gave me a lot longer barrel life, and I usually only shot ball powder(win 760). ON one Shilen 12T, 243 Win with zero freebore, I shot the load of 41g of IMR 4064 with a fed 210 with the 80g Sierra single blitz boat tail, and around 1500-1800 rounds that barrel had the rifling thinned if it for 10". I got that barrel pretty hot shooting Jack Rabbits, and got two seasons of coyote hunting out of it.

    The best load that I found for barrel life in a std 243 Winchester with zero freebore was 44.5g of Win 760 and a 70g bullet, super accurate.
     
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  20. K22

    K22

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    Most shooters I've seen at the range shoot several rounds one after another with little to no break between shots. In many cases the barrels become so hot you can't touch them.

    I've never shot this way mainly because I'm only interested in the cold barrel shot since this is the one that applies most of the time to a hunting situation. I wait until the barrel is cool to the touch before I shoot the next round and it's rare that I shoot more than 10 rounds in a range session when I practice. This method along with shooting relatively mild loads is perhaps the reason I've been able to acheive long barrel life in my 243's.

    I also clean my rifles after ever 30 rounds fired using a bore guide and carbon and cooper remover.

    I realize that competitive target shooters play a different game and maybe that's where the 243 has gotten a bad rap as a barrel burner. It's probably not the best choice for a strictly target rifle but for a hunting rifle used on the appropriate game animal I find nothing lacking in it.
     
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