carbon fiber barrels
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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Hey guys, another new guy here. A while back I saw one of these carbon fiber hunting rifles on TV. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with these rifles. They are made by Christensen Arms. The stocks are carbon fiber (no biggie) but so are the barrels! As far as I can tell, they take a standard barrel, turn it down on a lathe, then wrap it back up in CF to whatever contour they want.
    I've seen on other forums that people have sent in their barrels to have Christensen give it their treatment. Besides obvious weight reduction, the CF wrapped barrels apparently don't change shape at all with heat, so the POI doesn't move after the barrel warms up. Every consecutive shot hits the same place as the first.

    What do you guys think?

    I have no affiliation with Christensen arms. ;)
    If I have a pile of black bricks, and an arm so fast I can throw them in rapid succession, does that make them \"assault bricks\"?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Southern illinois
    There is also some advantages with harmonics as well. I know exactly what show your talking about and they are based upon the ruger 10/22 from what ive read they are serious tac drivers
    Invictus \"My head is bloody, but unbowed\"

  3. #3
    Senior Member Winxp_Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    I think that POI will still be effected because there is still a barrel that is heating up not matter what you do. Only difference I can say there might be is the fact that thinner metal cools off faster than a BB but a BB takes more shots to heat up. Its a give or take situation.

    For a 22lr rifle I can see most not being a issue being not much goes on with a 22lr. Now as to increase accuracy I would say that is BS because all rifles if tuned right and with the right person shooting can do just fine. Hell I can shoot .5moa 5 shot groups all day with my factory SPS Tac.

    Then you have CB over steel barrel being stiffer that I say would be a myth and here is a reall well put response from a forum member FiftyDirver from

    " I have fitted alot of carbon fiber barrels to custom rifles and have learned a few FACTS from my actual hands on testing. This is what I know:

    If you take two barrels, for example, two #4 contour barrels, one carbon wrapped, one all steel, the all steel barrel will be dramatically stiffer. Also, the weight reduction on the wrapped barrel will not be much at all.

    If you take two barrels, for example, 1.200" straight cylinder barrels,one carbon wrapped, one all steel, the all steel barrel will STILL be stiffer then the carbon wrapped barrel but in the comparision between these two large diameter barrels, the carbon wrapped barrel WILL BE much lighter in this application.

    I know this because have taken barrels, chucked them up in the lathe by the shank just as they would be supported by the receiver, then hung 10 lb weights off the muzzle end and measured the flex in the barrels for comparision. In every case, all steel barrels had less flex then the carbon wrapped barrels.

    Its true that carbon is stiffer then steel for a given WEIGHT. That is what gets left out of the advertisments. Let me explain further. If you take two rods that are 30" in lenght, both weighing 5 lbs. One all steel, the other all carbon fiber. The carbon fiber rod will be several TIMES larger in diameter then the all steel barrel and yes it will be slightly stiffer as well. Unfortunately, its not practical to wrap that amount of carbon fiber around a barrel sleeve. As such, the strength increase advertisment is simply FALSE in a rifle barrel application.

    Now onto barrel weight.

    AS mentioned, if your comparing two rifles with large contour barrels, the carbon fiber barrels will be DRAMATICALLY lighter but their barrels will not be stiffer.

    IF your comparing sporterweight barrel contours, You can build an all steel barreled rifle that is only marginally heavier then any carbon fiber barreled rifle so application is critical to get the advantage out of these barrels.

    Now lets talk about barrel life.

    Yes its been proven that carbon fiber barrels cool faster then all steel barrels. It has also been proven that the barrel sleeves used in carbon fiber barrels also heat up faster!!!! So its a bit of give and take here. I would say for a high volumne varmint rifle you could see some benefit in barrel life but in my testing, even with large capacity, hyper performance long range rifles, the barrel life advantage is less then 15%.

    Considering that a good quality carbon fiber barrel will cost easily twice what an all steel barrel will cost, in my opinion, its not worth it, especially for a big game rifle that will be fired much more deliberately with low volume shooting.

    I have tested a couple ABS carbon wrapped barrels in my 338 Allen Magnum and put them through some torture tests along with two all steel barrels, one from Lilja and one from Krieger. The ABS barrels both used Rock barrel sleeves. The test was to fire five, 10 shot strings. Shooting was done by shooting 10 shots as fast as possible. Let the barrel cool to the point I could just hold my hand on the barrel, repeat with 10 more rapid fire shots and continue to repeat until 50 rounds were down the barrel.

    I did this with all four barrels, two ABS, one Lilja, one Krieger. After the test all barrels were pulled, cleaned and inspected for throat erosion and heat cracking. In the end, The ABS barrels had roughly 8 thou less throat erosion(throat length) then the Lilja barrels but they were identical, within +/- 1 thou of the Krieger. Heat cracking appeared to be nearly identical in all barrels.

    From this torture test it was clear that if you mistreated ANY barrel with a chambering like this, you would not be saved by a very high dollar barrel which is advertised to offer dramatically longer barrel accuracy life. Just not the trueth.

    I have also tested a couple rifles shooting them as they should be, this time both were in 7mm Allen Magnum. One was a Lilja 1-9 4 groove, #8 contour, 30" fluted barrel, the other an ABS 30" 1-8.7, 5 groove, similiar contour to a #8 with Rock sleeve.

    Both rifles were shot and cleaned regularly, never more then three shot strings. Noticable accuracy drop off started at around 850 rounds with the Lilja, around 925 rounds with the ABS so yes, the ABS offers longer accuracy life but this is I am sure simply due to the different hardness of steel used in the cut rifled barrel compared to the much softer steel used in the button pulled Lilja.

    Still, 75 more rounds for over twice the cost of the barrel was not worth it in my opinion.

    I believe the ABS barrels are the very best barrels out there for a carbon wrapped barrel. They do shoot very well, in some applications they do offer significant rifle weight reduction but if used in the wrong application, they really do not offer much over an all steel barrel.

    Just my findings. "

    Hope this helps you in your search a little.
    shoot to kill not wound !

    Firearm Pimp

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  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    south east GA
    when browning came out with a stalker version 300 win mag with the carbon wrapped barrell i was on fire to get one. ( thankfully never did)
    the concept is great- a long range LIGHT WEIGHT rifle you can pack long distances and still make an ethical longrange kill..... GREAT!
    but then i realized that in all my yrs of longrange competition nobody has ever used one. even the engineers with deep pockets.
    will they shoot well enough to hunt with. yes. are they light ?yes.but they dont have the harmonics or barrell life a quality stainless barrell has. winxp sums it up about as good as you can. they arent worth the money. ole steve on "steves outdoor adventure" gets paid to use it on his show. so if you want to hunt with it ,it would be ok at best but you'd be better off to save the money ,rebarrell with a proven quality barrell and put the extra you save into optics ,a jewell trigger ,a stock or in the bank to go towards a hunt somewhere. but if you just gotta have one let us know how it works for ya.
    ...kill em all !!!!

  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Wow, its kind of hard to argue with a gold mine of info like that Winxp... and i am no expert. I'm an engineer and just thought it was a neat idea. Plus I kinda have a hard-on for anything carbon fiber :P I would buy CF flower pots if I could.

    I was just wondering if anyone here had tried CF barrels on a build. I read a guy's 700 build on his blog a while back (cant find it now) and it seemed like he go some favorable results. But who knows, maybe he was getting paid by the company too.
    If I have a pile of black bricks, and an arm so fast I can throw them in rapid succession, does that make them \"assault bricks\"?


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