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Old March 19, 2017, 09:27   #1
hueyville
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Alternative Gun Barrel Material

Have acquired two books recently that have been very interesting. First is available to buy off Amazon for $18.95 or download for free from dot mil website. I chose the free download. Application of Nonconventional Materials to Guns and Gun Tubes: Report of The Committee on Application of Nonmetallic Materials to Guns and Gun Tubes By National Research Council (U.S.). This document is dated 1986 and has a lot of good information and soon as get through next book in stack will start digging for later research which is likely hopped over gun barrels to rail guns and lasers which are above my pay grade. BTW, was announced on news the other day that Lockheed Martin had delivered it's first functional field ground to air laser weapon for use against aircraft and missiles. (Wonder if they will loan me one for the front lawn?)

What I found most interesting is the two best ways in this report for folks without DARPA funds and resources the two best methods to extend barrel life are chrome plating and melonite/deep salt bath treatment. Since melonite was not as common then as now, they leaned toward chrome but personally prefer melonite as can be applied to match grade barrels without affecting accuracy as with chrome have to size bore in manner to allow for chrome build up which is never 100% consistent from unit to unit or even from one end of a bore to the other. Report indicated that melting point of "gun steel" was just 1,450 celcius. Bore is damaged irreparably long before that temperature is reached. It discusses the use of ceramics and alumina alloys that far exceed the melting temperature of steel but mostly as liners contained by steel sleeves and that they should be replaceable. Won't repost the report but they boiled it down to two materials that showed the most promise as liners or coatings, one with a 2,050 celcius melting point, the other vaporize at 3,000 celcius. The ability to push a barrel to almost double the heat current conventional barrels can take is interesting. Report also discusses using carbon to wrap steel tubes to reduce weight and allow quicker cooling which we can currently purchase from several vendors if willing to pay for it.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...5A2AB9WJx05ohQ

The next book which just started is titled Maritime Sniper Manual: Precision Fire From Seaborne Platforms and has some information have not seen before and some seen but not explained as well. Who knows when one may have to shoot from a unsteady position and even if not on a boat, lots of things explained could be used if had to shoot from a vehicle or even on your next deer hunt if in a tree stand being blown around by a strong wind and that buck of a lifetime is near the ragged edge of your range in good conditions. Whether shooting from an unsteady perch, shooting at an unsteady/moving target or both at the same time it's worth the read at Ebook price. Just thought would pass my latest reads along for the gun geeks who like to read stuff that may educate them some in the process.
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Old March 19, 2017, 10:27   #2
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Breaking News from Hueyville.......

You definitely come up with some of the more interesting topics on the forum.
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Old March 19, 2017, 15:48   #3
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Not arguing with you, Huey. But how does wrapping a skinny metal tube with a thick layer of insulation aid cooling? Keeps your handguard cool, but thats evidence that the heat is not transferring out of the barrel sleeve. Or does carbon fiber transfer heat better than steel?
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Old March 19, 2017, 16:12   #4
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Graphitic carbon is actually a conductor of heat, so you could conceivably use it to act as a cooling jacket. The Winchester 59 used something similar - thin steel tube surrounded by graphite/carbon fiber jacket, but for weight reduction. There are probably some very interesting exotic metals out there that 'could" make better barrels. We make a cobalt chrome alloy for bushing/bearing applications that did not wear out in trials against standard beryllium copper bushings. It may make a long life barrel material, but it is virtually un-machineable even for simple bushings. Boring and rifling it would be a som-bitch
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Old March 19, 2017, 16:48   #5
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Id like to see a calorimeter test of two barrels: medium weight steel barrel, and a carbon fiber wrapped barrel with enough layers to make it same stiffness as the all-steel barrel. Would want a calorimeter that captures heat transferred off the OD of each barrel. All-steel barrel and the sleeved barrel must be the same material.

Read a test where author's scientific methods were somewhat suspect. He did at least measure throat erosion, and the wrapped barrel was a little better, but without controlling the barrel materials for the samples it doesnt confirm that the improvement was due to the wrap. Maybe the sleeve is CHF and other is not?

Also read interesting article that metal heat transfer is by free electrons, where CF is by vibration of the lattice structure. Went on to say that conduction along the fiber can be quite good, but less so across the grain. The way barrels are wrapped it seems like heat has to travel a hella long way along a fiber to make to free air.

You know that cool sensation when you pick up a room temp piece of steel? That's heat transfer. When I pick up carbon fiber torque tubes they dont feel cool to the touch. My mind isnt closed on the matter but I am still very skeptical because my experience handling carbon fiber doesnt make me think its a good heat conductor.
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Old March 19, 2017, 17:45   #6
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Long Post Warning

Carbon fiber doesn't hold the heat, radiates through. Am not a metalurgist nor a engineer but like to read technical data and try to pull out the parts that fall into my Level of education and understanding.

Quote:
At PROOF Research we’re proving carbon fiber-wrapped rifle barrels aren’t just a lightweight alternative to traditional steel rifle barrels, but that they provide superior performance, including extreme accuracy, unprecedented durability and increased barrel life. By combining our unique manufacturing process with advanced technology composite materials and thermo-mechanical design principles, we’ve accomplished what others have failed to do in the past—match-grade carbon fiber rifle barrels that weigh a fraction of traditional steel rifle barrels while compromising nothing. They’re not just lighter—they’re better.

Our patented manufacturing process begins with full-profile, match-grade 416R stainless steel barrel blanks that are made in our firearms division. These blanks are then turned down to a significantly reduced profile greatly reducing weight. This reduced contour barrel is then wrapped with high-strength, aerospace-grade carbon fiber impregnated with a proprietary*matrix resin developed by our advanced*composites*division, PROOF Research ACD.

The aerospace-grade carbon fiber we use has a specific strength up to 30 times that*of stainless steel and a specific stiffness up to*7 times greater than steel. But strength and stiffness are only part of the equation. Heat conductivity and thermal expansion are also of paramount importance when developing a match-grade carbon fiber barrel. Our helical wrapping pattern favors the longitudinal thermal diffusivity of the carbon fibers (along the length of the barrel) allowing them to more efficiently dissipate heat emanating from the barrel*rather than insulating it.
Heard of users claimimg less than 1/4 MOA out of Proof Research barrels and Carbon Six guarantees 1/2 MOA out of their carbon wrap barrels. Have too many high end customs already to be real motivated to jump into another $5,000 custom turnbolt without glass. All in a top tier rifle will crack a $10,000 bill. Carbon Six barrels start at $625 and Proof Research barrels start at $940. Christiansen Arms sells complete rifles with carbon wrap barrels in the $2,000 to $5,000 range before any "custom" customer add ons, mounts and glass. Same with Gunwerks, their Carbon X starts at $6,500 and SpectTR at $6,950 for base model and climbs toward $10,000 according to options before drop glass on top. Claim a functional range of 1,200 yards. Add a few custom touches, proper mount and Nightforce ATACR F17-35 56 mm at $3,500 and a $10,000 bill leaves you short a couple grand. They have a steel barrel muzzle loader with 500 yard range and steel barreled bolt action with 1,765 yard range.

These folk seem to be staying busy, their lead times are months to a year based on customer wishes and seen test targets with ragged one hole groups at 100 and 200 yards posted commonly. A friend just sold Nightforce a piece of property nearby to demo their products to select customers. Needed a facility with high end lodge type accommodations, ~100 acres totally fenced around property line (and not a little fence) plus flat long area for a rifle range. Wanted it close to interstate so could commute back and forth from Hartsfield International. He is working to get us a visit next time they can accommodate some non dot gov or dot mil types. It's these companies that spring to mind when hear about 1.5 mile confirmed sniper kills. Don't think it's getting done with off the rack equipment and still has to be carried. If these are civilian models no telling what dot mil actually has in the shadows. I like knowing what the "in crowd" is up to and read about their techniques.

Been so long since have had my big toys out afraid to sit down next to a more modern build and realize technology has left my big rifles eating dust. Right now a guy has one of same smiths builds on consignment at LGS and after six months been zero interest when people see price tag of usedan bolt action. Add that spine sugeon said am forbid to shoot them anymore due to neck and major recoil. Have three that builder said were world record potential rifles at time with a real shooter behind them. Am not that dedicated guy who can spend the time necessary to learn how to read all the different crosswinds between bench and target, recognize vaious mirage, other atmospheric issues and know how to dope shot based on conditions at 250, 500, 750 and 1,000 plus control all bodily functions to break five or ten consistent shots. Have to shoot long almost every day to do that.

Kind of like my Lippard NCO 1911's. Purchased his 400 yard version and his big dog custom used to set the 600 and 1,000 yard records for a 5" 1911 in 45 acp. Even with his custom front sight hash marks and other custom work past 250 yards can't hit a 4'×8' sheet of plywood consistently anymore. Karl was landing hits at 1,000 in 25 mph gusting crosswinds and next day when set 600 yard record wind was gusting 35 plus mph. Went through a phase during 90's and early post Y2K years whenever read about some freak setting a crazy record found out what gun was used and ordered one up. Life won't allow that anymore and discovered I didn't have the dedication to master that type of shooting. Still like to read and play armchair warrior. Least can admit equipment exceeds my ability to operate. Wife has given me a $7,000 budget for a rifle plus funds from anything willing to sell for additional funding. (Cancer relapse at least got me some sympathy plus if it kills me she is set, even if spent too much money on a gun) Thinking more along the lines of belt fed that can spray and pray instead of something precise can't make proper use of if BATF doesnt sit on paper work till after death certificate is signed.
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Old March 19, 2017, 19:37   #7
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Yeah,

I saw the Laser (HEL MD) at Ft Sill while it was still in development it was only 10 kw and blowing mortars out of the sky and burning control surfaces off of UAV's.

At 60 kw it detonates artillery, rockets, and burns through UAVs. It supposed to be 100kw before fielding. With a good radar for acquisition it can cover dozens of squares miles.

http://www.boeing.com/features/2014/...-10-13-14.page

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Old March 20, 2017, 16:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByronF View Post
Id like to see a calorimeter test of two barrels: medium weight steel barrel, and a carbon fiber wrapped barrel with enough layers to make it same stiffness as the all-steel barrel. Would want a calorimeter that captures heat transferred off the OD of each barrel. All-steel barrel and the sleeved barrel must be the same material.

Read a test where author's scientific methods were somewhat suspect. He did at least measure throat erosion, and the wrapped barrel was a little better, but without controlling the barrel materials for the samples it doesnt confirm that the improvement was due to the wrap. Maybe the sleeve is CHF and other is not?

Also read interesting article that metal heat transfer is by free electrons, where CF is by vibration of the lattice structure. Went on to say that conduction along the fiber can be quite good, but less so across the grain. The way barrels are wrapped it seems like heat has to travel a hella long way along a fiber to make to free air.

You know that cool sensation when you pick up a room temp piece of steel? That's heat transfer. When I pick up carbon fiber torque tubes they dont feel cool to the touch. My mind isnt closed on the matter but I am still very skeptical because my experience handling carbon fiber doesnt make me think its a good heat conductor.
Good insight about the steel bar feeling cool. Most folks don't have a clue about temperature and heat transfer. It isn't that complicated but it never gets taught outside engineering school.

Carbon fiber composite is mostly polymer, which is a crappy conductor. However carbon nanotubes and graphene have the highest thermal conductivity ever measured last I heard. They also have the best heat resistance and highest tensile strength of any material. But it's very difficult to make anything out of those materials.
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Old March 20, 2017, 19:41   #9
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The Army has recently been evaluating DLC (Diamond Like Coating) coating for 25mm bores in an attempt to extend usable barrel life beyond what chrome plating offers. Results were less than stellar, mostly because of the current application method. It leaves an uneven deposit in the bore, so dimensional control - and hence accuracy -is definitely lacking. I asked if they had considered salt bath nitriding and got a deer-in-the-headlights look, so I'm guessing it at least wasn't discussed for this particular project.

The Army has also fairly recently adopted Inconcel mortar tubes for the weight reduction they provide. The USMC opted to stay with conventional steel tubes, although I'm not certain of their reason(s).

I would expect that gun tubes will be increasingly manufactured of, and lined with, more exotic materials in the future - for military applications. The cost is just too high currently for sporting applications.
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Old Yesterday, 11:51   #10
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Seems a lot cheaper to just make the barrels easily interchangeable and cheap.

$5k rifle?!?!?

Even at the end of the world I can't picture taking a shot that would require such a thing.
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Old Yesterday, 16:06   #11
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Read military doc about what I think were carbon fiber wrapped tank barrels. Shaved 250 lb off the barrel that could be applied elsewhere I suppose.
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Old Yesterday, 18:57   #12
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ByronF,

250lbs on a Main Battle Tank is nothing. All current US Abrams weigh over 70 tons. Now 250lbs on a Stryker MGS, over 20 tons, may make a little difference but probably not much.

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