November 2000

Barrel Comparison Test: To Flute Or Not To Flute

Does fluting high-performance rifle barrels make a difference in accuracy or heat dissipation? We conducted a before-and-after test on a .22-250 match-grade barrel to find out.

[IMGCAP(1)] We have always shied away from fluting barrels. As an old machinist told us many moons ago, the more you machine a piece of steel, the more chance you’ll generate problems. For instance, one problem barrel fluting can cause arises from dulling tools. The cutter gradually dulls as the flutes are milled, and they tend to generate a hard surface case in the bottom of the flutes. This is not a problem if these areas of hardness are the same. But the process tends to produce a variable hardness in the flute-groove bottom. As the flutes are cut, the cutter is gradually dulling, and the first groove is not as hard as the bottom of the last groove. This can cause stress in the barrel, an...

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