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Rustywreck 03-19-2007 09:19 PM

243 barrel life
I read in an article that the lifespan of a barrel in 243 caliber is around 1,500 shots.

Does this sound right? 1,500 shots sound like a very short life for a barrel

gd357 03-19-2007 11:35 PM

That sounds quite a bit low, but it depends on how the barrel was treated (proper break-in, load pressures, etc.). I'd say that probably points more towards the abuse the barrel took rather than average life span for a barrel in that caliber. Most "standard" rounds should be good for 5000+ rounds, often significantly more. JMHO


skeet 03-19-2007 11:39 PM

That really sounds low. I shot more than 4000 rounds through a 25-06 I had at one time. Started to loose it's best accuracy at about 3700 but even after 4000 it would shoot in an inch and a quarter fairly consistently..if I zigged at the right time:D

Oh and I really loaded that thing up there most of the time. I just didn't shoot a lot of rounds through it in a short period of time.

Jack 03-20-2007 12:34 AM

Properly cared for, and never overheated, I would say 4-5000 rounds.
I should say, barrel life is a rather inexact figure..for one thing, barrel life before what? It won't shoot 1/4 inch groups? Or before it won't shoot 1.5 inch groups?
Also, how you treat the barrel is a HUGE factor. If you were to fire 100 rounds, just as fast as you could load and shoot them, I would estimate your barrel life at 100 rounds. :D

skb2706 03-21-2007 01:17 PM

I look at barrel life like I look at tire life.

You won't ever have any fun with either one if you constantly worry about how long they last.

A set of tires for the average car cost about what a new barrel cost on any given alittle. What fun would it be to have a new Boss Mustang and the first question you have before driving it ......"how long will the tires last on this thing"

Bill Poole 03-25-2007 12:29 AM

serious high power rifle competitors fire thousands of rounds per year. "standard" (powder to bore diameter ratio) chamberings like .223 and .308 last ~5000 rounds.

I have heard that "overbored" chamberings like most of the magnums last much much less, more like 1000 rounds. And that 243, even tho it does not have a belt fits into that category because there is a lot of powder volume for that tiny bore. I have heard the ~1000 round barrel life comment for the .243.

however, I have never owned a match rifle in any of those chamberings, so I have no personal experience with barrel life. 6mm BR is very popular and there are some other 6mm match rounds (6X or 6x47?) recently becoming popular. I don't ever recall seeing a NRA high power competitor with a .243 or magnum.

For a hunting rifle... does it matter?


scalerman 03-25-2007 03:57 AM

So this begs the question- How does one care for the barrel of his rifle in order to maximize barrel life?

Riposte1 03-25-2007 08:00 AM

It depends on how you shoot it and how you clean it but it sounds way low to me. I have a .264 Win Mag which is supposed to eat barrels and probably have 5,000 rounds or more through it


gumpokc 03-25-2007 09:50 PM

Agreed, it's all how you use it.

But lets not forget, alot of younger/more inexperienced shooters get the .243/6mm/blah blah, check the reloading manuals and loaderup hot, then bust 20 rounds through it as fast as they can.

that is what will kill a barrel qucik. hot loads and fast shooting of hot loads.

let her cool between shots a little, sure take a few quick ones if needed, just dont give it a steady diet of hot and fast.

My savage 110 has roughly 3k through it, is 15 years old and still shoots better than I can. It's had some rather hot loads through it at times, and some fast shooting, but never both at once.
Nor either one for extended periods.

Rustywreck 03-25-2007 10:23 PM

It's good to hear that some are getting better life out of their barrels.
Again, I don't know a great deal about centerfire rifles (archery and trad. ML's are more my style).
I've pretty much made my selection: Savage model 12 varmint low profile .243. I've asked my local dealer to find one for me. Apparently they are hard to find - she checked several distributers and hasn't found one yet.

denton 03-25-2007 11:04 PM

Browning published some data a few years ago, showing the degradation of accuracy in a 22-250 vs. number of rounds fired. There was a very sharp degradation after only 750 rounds.

Their point was that their special chrome lined version went twice as long, 1,500 rounds.

I suspect that the 243 in general lasts longer than that. I also suspect that shooting 100 grain bullets at 2950 fps produces much longer barrel life than 70 grain bullets at 3550.

Including installation, a really nice new barrel is $400 and an inexpensive barrel is around $175. As the man said, live a little.

Riposte1 03-26-2007 07:31 AM


I dont have any reference on that except just general experience but I suspect you are right.

I do know that the .220 Swift and the .264 were pariahs in the gun press durng the 60's for being "barrel burners". I have both (one made in 1958 and one made around 1968) and both still shoot well today - but neither are my most often shot rifles. I hasten to point out that I have always been satisfied with .5 to .75 MOA groups in either varmint or long range rifles. A benchrester might think both of them are degraded to the point that they need replacing but I have not noticed any change in them because my ammo is probably far from "perfect".

On another note, the Marines, I was told in class recently, have done a little work on how M4s are shot (they are a late convert to the carbine vs the longer M16 with heavier barrel). Shot the way the military normally shoots - pretty slow and 40-60 rounds per training day - the barrels will last around 50,000 rounds (I take it "last" means function and not exceed the around 3 MOA standard - that does not mean some of us would not replace it as "toast"). However shot the way some folks train (500 to 1,000 rounds a day with session in which 90, well 84, rounds fired in a minute) then the barrels only last 3,000 rounds by their standards.

Big difference!


Jack 03-26-2007 10:50 AM

The Swift and the 264 sure did get a reputation as 'barrel burners' back in Thee Olden Days.
I've always suspected that at least part of the culprit was not the cartridges, but the cleaning practices back in those days.
But, I suppose, that's another thread.....

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