Do I Need To Break In My AR 15 Barrel?

Do you really need to break in your AR15 barrel especially for a new rifle? Some say to do it and others say it makes no major accuracy difference for CQB guns.

Think of this as teaching your barrel to shoot its best. Whether to break in a barrel depends on the barrel's manufacturing quality, the intended use of the firearm, and the shooter's preference for maintenance and performance.

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Main Reason To Break In A New Barrel

The main reason to break in an AR-15 barrel is to smooth out any small imperfections left from the manufacturing process, such as tiny nicks, burrs, and rough spots inside the bore (the rifled hole of the barrel).

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These imperfections can hurt the gun's accuracy and cause copper fouling, which is when bits of copper from the bullets build up in the barrel's grooves. This buildup can make the gun harder to clean and can further reduce accuracy over time.

Breaking in the barrel involves a series of shooting and cleaning cycles. By firing a few rounds and then thoroughly cleaning the bore, you gradually smooth out the rough spots. This is similar to polishing the inside of the barrel with the bullets and cleaning tools.

Simple AR15 Barrel Break In Process

First things first, start by shooting just one bullet, then give your barrel a good cleaning. You do this by wiping the inside of the barrel with a special cleaning cloth, making sure you move it the same way the bullet goes.

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If your gun has a stainless steel barrel, here's what you'll do:

  1. Begin with 5 to 10 rounds of shooting just one bullet, then clean each time.
  2. Next, shoot three bullets in a row, then clean.
  3. Finally, shoot five bullets without stopping, then clean again.

For a barrel made of Chrome Moly Vanadium (that's a tough kind of steel), it's a bit different:

  1. Start with 5 to 25 rounds of shooting one bullet and cleaning each time.
  2. Then, do two sets of shooting three bullets in a row, cleaning after each set.
  3. Wrap it up with shooting five bullets in a row, then give it one last clean.

AR15 Barrel Breaking Based On Applications

The need and effectiveness of barrel break-in are debated among gun owners and experts. Some believe it's essential for maximizing a gun's precision, especially for high-accuracy shooting activities like competitions or long-range shooting, where even tiny imperfections can affect the bullet's trajectory.

Others think the process has minimal impact, particularly on high-quality barrels that have been manufactured with greater care or have undergone processes like lead lapping to smooth the bore after rifling.

Wrap Up

Keep in mind, these steps are just a starting point. The exact number of times you'll need to do this depends on your gun, the bullets you use, and what feels right to you. Some folks might do more or fewer rounds based on their experience and what they're looking to get out of their gun.

It's super important to use the right tools and cleaners that are made just for guns when you're cleaning. And don't forget, even after you've finished getting your barrel ready, you should keep taking good care of it by cleaning it regularly.

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