243 win barrel life and what to expect

Discussion in '6PPC, 6-6.5x47, 6XC, 6 Rem, 243' started by BobLeeSwagger223, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. BobLeeSwagger223

    BobLeeSwagger223

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    I shoot 223's alot right now and am looking to step it up in caliber. After looking and shooting all the options I think 243 win is the caliber I am going to go with. The only concern I have is how many comments here and elsewhere I have heard about barrel life being short.

    Most people seem to be saying 1300 to 1800 rounds before the barrel is "shot out". When these guys are saying shot out are they saying won't hit a paper plate at 100 yards or just won't shoot quarter moa? I know all rifles are different just wondering what experiences you all have had. I completely get the rebarrel aspect but I am just wondering what to expect. I am planning on shooting out to 600 yards and will probably use a gameking in either 85 or 100gr. incase I want to use it on game.

    Thank you in advance for the help!
     
  2. fdshuster

    fdshuster Site $$ Contributor

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    Bob: I burned out a couple of 243 Win. chambered barels. A Douglas chrome moly and a Shilen stainless, both could not meet my minimum acceptable standards of m.o.a. with 5 shots, off the bench, at 100 yds. I started to notice uncalled flyers around 800 rds., and it got progressively worse along with much more copper fouling. Saved the Shilen & when I got my borescope saw how ugly it was in the throat/ a lot of firecracking with even small holes where small chunks of steel were ripped out. Standard load was always the 75 gr. Sierra HP with 37 grs. of IMR 3031, not a max load by any means, and all firing was slow, single load. That's when I went to the 6BR & never looked back. The 6BR's more than meet my needs. 243 is an excellent cartridge if you need it for the distances. I did not. ;)
     
  3. AdamJ

    AdamJ

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    I have 2 243 1-8 twist rigs both have over 1k logged rds through each one. Just the other day the aluminum chassis one shot a 3 shot group in the 0s@100yds and a 7/16" 5 shot group at 200yds, all off a bipod and bean bag. That one is a brux and the other is even more accurate 1.25-1.5"@400yds is the norm with it, it wears a LW pre-fit. When I built my first one the betting was about 1600-1800 rds before accuracy fall-off, most people are saying 2-2500 rds now at SH. I run a 105 berger vld hunting bullet over 4831sc in both rifles and it is wicked what it will do to pop. control deer out to 700 yds. Just the other evening at dusk I took down 3 brown goats at 498,575ish, and 500yds in about 15 sec. 243 is a great cartridge offering mild recoil, real good accuracy, drift at 1k is half as much as a 308/175gr and higher energy on target then the 308 at 1k. Roll with savages and barrel swaps can be done in 15 minutes, thats what I did. Still waiting for the need to swap barrels. I have always heard that douglas barrels tend to wear out fast anyway so I always avoided them.
     
  4. BobLeeSwagger223

    BobLeeSwagger223

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    Thank you both for your replies! I am not going custom on this rifle, I have been looking at a Rem 700 VLS. I am wondering if a Rem barrel would be toast faster than a custom barrel would be.

    I know I could always have it rebarreled but I don't want to be considering not shooting the rifle and leaving it in the safe just beacuse of the barrel life.
     
  5. fdshuster

    fdshuster Site $$ Contributor

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    Bob: I always considered barrels to be a replaceable part of the rifle, get a new one (Krieger, Bartlein, etc.), use it, enjoy it, learn from it, and when it's done, replace with another. Everytime I replace a barrel with a new one, it's like getting a whole new rifle. Just an added cost, like primers, bullets, powder & brass. My problem with any factory barrel is that you never know what you'll get. Could be excellent ( for a factory), good, fair or just plain junk, a crap shoot. I posted earlier that someone from a major rifle maker, here in the USA, was quoted as saying that it costs his company approx. $15 to make a barrel. Does anyone really believe they are guaranteed a good one for $15? Copper fouling & unexplained flyers are the common complaints. Barrel life compared to a custom? I've never seen a controlled comparison done between the two, so who knows? For me it has been very frustrating to fire 20 rounds (with a factory barrel), and spend several hours digging the copper out of the bore/ not what I call fun. And when it will not hold moa with 5 shots ( my standard for a general purpose rifle/ competition benchrest has a much more demanding requirement), I have no interest in it. One of the old time writers said "Only accurate rifles are interesting". ;)
     
  6. WNYMark

    WNYMark

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    Just a thought.....Teledyne tech barrel systems will definitely get your barrel to last and last.......Shoot all day with no heat, and heat is one major factor in the barrel degrading in accuracy...
     
  7. Trapper243

    Trapper243

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    Barrel life is something I have always worried about also, and I shoot a 243 win. Nosler 95 grn ballistic tips at around 2850. My main target is coyote, pig, with an occasional deer, or other animal. The majority of my shooting is one shot at a time. Then it is back to hunting and the barrel has time to cool. I might clean ever 75 rounds but often let it go much longer than that. My Target stings are short and are shot after cleaning times. 3 shots at 100 to check for group, then I back up, and dial my scope up to its 300 yard Zero,then 400 then 500, then 600. 1 shot per yardage and if everything goes where it is suppose to I end up with a decent multi yardage group.The barrel having time to cool between every shot. This is a factory rifle in a McMillan Stock , Timney trigger, leupold scope. It shoots good for what I do but was never great. Round count is almost 2000. Group size was around .4 and is now running around .65. I would imagine a group growth of .25 would be the end of a target barrels life even if it started out shooting .1s. This rifle replaced a 22-250 . The 22-250 was treated similarly. When it quit shooting groups had grown to .9s and then it got erratic. I don't use this gun for squirrels, and I will probably get a new barrel when the groups up to .8 or .9 because of my past experience with the 22-250.
     
  8. long40shot

    long40shot Site $$ Contributor

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    Hello Bob,

    I have a Rem VLS, when I first got it she was a tack driver. She stayed that way for I would guess the first 1500-2000 rounds, 1/2 MOA or better that is. However, after a couple times of over heating the barrel when I was shootin some p-dogs, things went down hill. So don't be afraid of the VLS, money well spent in my eyes. Last friday I dropped mine off at GA Precision to get re-barreled.

    -matt
     
  9. Julien

    Julien

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    The 243's I have had went about 1500 rounds before loosing accuracy one stoped shooting within 20 rounds I got a few flyers and they got worst , a 1/4 moa gun was shooting an inch and bigger in about 20 rounds.
    The other just tapered off gradually over 4 or 500 rounds.

    Some guys are claiming slow burning powders will give the barrel a longer life.
     
  10. normmatzen

    normmatzen Site $$ Contributor

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    My 243 WIN bench rest gun has 2000 shots down the tube and still shoots better than me (not a big deal!).

    From the git-go, I have used H1000 powder behind the 105/107 gr long range bullets at moderate MV to maintain barrel life.

    I am planning for a replacement barrel now, but I think with careful choice of powder and backing off from the max loads will save barrels.
     
  11. CPorter

    CPorter Site $$ Contributor

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    My Rem VLS barrel lasted a little over 2500 rounds before it started shooting mostly .5 MOA groups and larger. I have a stainless Lilja on it now that has 2300 on it and it is still looking good in the borescope and shooting 3/8 MOA.
     
  12. paulT

    paulT

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    AdamJ, Have you tried vit n160 or n560 with your 105g vld loads, what velocity are you running your 105 vlds, i have 2 243 interchangeable barrels, 1 has a 1 in 10 twist which shoots the 95g vld and 75g v-max real well with n160 the other has a 1 in 8 twist and i am still trying to fine tune my 105 vld load with n560.
     
  13. abishai

    abishai

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    I got 2900ish out of mine. To be fair , the cleaning at the end of life is much harder, and much more frequent. towards the end I could go no more than 40 rounds between cleaning. When they go, they go fast. One week I was knocking spotters out of the x ring and the next I could barely hold the 8 ring. Also consider trying the 105 amax. It is reputed to be a good hunting as well as target boolit.
     
  14. AdamJ

    AdamJ

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    PaulT, no I have not tried any viht powders in these rifles or any other for that matter. Where I am at viht is hard to come by without ordering it in and paying 25.00 hazmat. So far I have gotten along with hodgdon extreme in every thing I shoot except a 6br 1-14 twist and it digs Re10x. 28" LW barrel likes 43.0 h4831sc and ave.s 3005 fps and SD in the 5-7fps range. The 26" brux likes 43.5 gr H4831SC and ave.s 2998 fps and SD 4.35fps. Not super hot compared to George G's 115 dtac 243 load (3150ish), but super flat shooting/ wind bucking when compared to 308/175 gr loads. I used a 308 for long range 10+ yrs before I went to the 243 and never looked back. First one shot so good I built a second to save wear and tear on the barrel of the first one. Alot of guys shoot 4350, but I went with 4831sc as someone over at SH said that slower powder might help barrel life. Been running these 243 for a couple years and have no regrets. 105 amax were horrible in both my 243s, 1 or 2fliers in every group. switched to berger hunting VLD (original vld design) jammed .020" and rock on. Still have some amax that I thought about trying in my 6br 1-8 twist but I think I will leave them mothballed and try some 108 berger bt and 105 horn BTHP. This barrel did not like the bergers 105vld at any OAL and 107smk were just so-so.
     
  15. Gunner75

    Gunner75

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    .243 barrel life is determined by the barrel. Use good barrels, and the life will be greater.

    I have 3 rifles, all set up for the following load, all run 8 twist Bartlien barrels. (I have had excellent luck with other bbl manufactures as well, but have settled in on Bartlien barrels)

    42gr H4350, 115gr BN DTAC, 3,012fps

    #1 rifle=2800 rounds, shot great but pulled barrel and rechambered for 6 Crusader. Fireformed 500 pc of brass and accuracy still was good. Good enough to win a couple Varmint Silhouette shoots.
    #2 rifle=1200 rounds, shoots great (Just beat my own match record with this rifle last weekend)
    #3 rifle=2300 rounds, may have to set the barrel back on this one as it seems to be slightly opening up but it still shoots.

    I ran a couple SPS Varmints in .243 with 105's and loaded them pretty solid. They each had over 1500 rounds with 105's and close to 300 rounds each with 87gr V Max bullets.
     
  16. mw0248

    mw0248 Site $$ Contributor

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    I am shooting a Browning X-bolt (stainless); I had a 700 BDL that I shot the barrel out of at about 1700 rnds, using factory 80 gr. ammo;

    I started re-loading, and did much research on powder charge for this cal.

    My 80 gr. factory loads were at 3000+ fps and were very hot loads;

    after much reloading and shooting, I found the holy grail for my Browning;

    Went to 100 gr. Hornady BTSP, with 36.2 gr. of IMR4064;

    My velocity dropped to 2970, and with the slower burn rate of IMR4064,
    for the heavier bullet, I still have more energy at range (200-300yds), than the 80 gr. bullets;

    and I wont shoot my barrel out;

    Bottom line is, shoot a bit heavier bullet with a slower powder, which gives you more energy, less drift, and extended barrel life;
     
  17. Paul129

    Paul129

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    Exactly! Just out of curiosity what kind of barrel are you using? I need to swap out my stock barrel soon and am looking for a good recommendation.
     
  18. CPorter

    CPorter Site $$ Contributor

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    So far the stainless Lilja I have is showing real good life. I have a Lothar Walther waiting but Bartlein, Krieger, Shillen and others have good reputations.
     
  19. K22

    K22

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    I purchased my Model 700 Remington in November 1996 and to date have 3,429 rounds though it. It has a stainless barrel and I clean it after every 30 rounds with Shooter's Choice using a bore guide and Dewey coated rod.

    Last week I shot a three shot group (off the bench) that measured .342". I'm not a target shooter but I shoot a lot, practicing and hunting. Each year I keep thinking this will be the year the barrel goes "haywire" but so far so good.

    I don't know why my barrel has lasted this long; maybe because I don't shoot maximum loads or use fast burning powders. My favorite loads are : 40 grain - IMR 4350 - 85 grain Sierra BTHP; 38 grains - IMR4350 - 100 grain Sierra Pro Hunter; 40 grains -IMR 4350 - 90 grain Nosler BT. The latter is extremely accurate out of my rifle. I use Federal 210 match primers for all loads.
     

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