Over time, hunters who use rifles will discover that their favorite rifle starts to get old and not shoot as accurately and well as it once did. When this starts to happen, it is time to think about having another custom or used barrel installed on the gun. This is done by re-barreling the gun. Re-barreling is not inexpensive, but the costs can be brought down by working with a used rifle barrel. There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a used barrel for this task.
Grade of Used Rifle Barrels
Most barrels come with a slight curve in the long hole that is drilled through the barrel's length. This proves to be the case ninety percent of the time. The barrels are actually straightened mechanically before the final turning process. Barrels morph back to their original curved condition through excess heating of the barrel by the repeated process of rapid firing. When they cool down, they straighten back up. Barrel making companies put aside the best ten percent of their barrels that were drilled so precisely that they did no have to be straightened. These are labeled as premium grade. Finding such un-straightened, premium grade used rifle barrels is a good thing to look for with both heavy barreled guns and hunting rifles.
Air Gauge Grade of Used Rifle Barrels
Stainless Steel Used Rifle Barrels
Such used rifle barrels can also come made from stainless steel. High quality stainless steel should be type 416 stainless, specially heat treated in a process that significantly extends the life of the barrel used with higher velocity cartridges. Stainless steel barrels are especially helpful to have on such cartridges as 220 Swift and .17 Rem.
Re-bedding Process on the Used Rifle Barrel
Once a used rifle barrel has been obtained, it will have to be re-barreled in order to properly fit into the stock's old barrel channel. A person can do this themselves or pay a gun barreling company to do it for them. The front and rear of the receiver and first half inch of the barrel should be glass bed as part of the process. The rest of the barrel will be left to be free floating. Though there are other ways of re-barreling, this method works best for hunting rifles and their barrels.
Head Space on the Used Rifle Barrel
The head space proves to be the air gap between the base of the cartridge and the face of the bolt. Smaller gaps make for higher accuracy in shooting. While new guns that are factory barreled leave a significant gap to permit varying ammo tolerances, it is better to have the gap at as close to zero as possible. Used barrel threads stretch over time and repeated use and this makes for easier loading of rounds. A less than average head space gap is still better for those interested in more accurate shooting.
Re-bluing on the Used Rifle Barrel
Taking off the old barrel to replace it typically mars the receiver's bluing. A used barrel will have its own amount of bluing on it when it is obtained. Because of this, the whole gun should be re-blued when the re-barreling job is completed.