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FAQ
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FAQ

Should I "cryo" my barrel?

I want a chamber that I don't see on your list. Does that mean you can't make it?

What do you mean by "Throat to a dummy cartridge"?

What do "turned" and "unturned" mean?

What kind of finishes does Shilen offer for barrels and actions?

What is a pre-threaded and chambered blank?

What is the difference in a "wildcat" and an "improved" chamber?

What about "fluting" a barrel?

Can I use Moly coated bullets to break-in my barrel?

How should I break-in my new Shilen barrel?

How do I clean my new Shilen barrel?

How clean is clean?

I am interested in one of your DGA actions but I don't see them listed in your information.
Are they still available?


Does Shilen build complete rifles?

Does Shilen offer stock work?

Will Shilen re-chamber my existing barrel to another cartridge?

Does Shilen make custom contours?

Do I need an FFL to order directly from Shilen?

What is "air-gauging"?

What is "button-rifling"?

Can Shilen make me re-loading dies from the same reamer used to make my barrel?


Should I "cryo" my barrel?
If you have heard that the cryogenic treatment stress relieves steel, this is false. We have measured the residual stress in 4140 and 416 steel with a process called x-ray diffraction.  After much R&D, we have not been able to measure any changes in molecular stress after cryo treatment.  For this reason we do not endorse the cryogenic process, but we can safely say that it is not detrimental to the barrel either.
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I want a chamber that I don't see on your list. Does that mean you can't make it?
Not necessarily. Every day someone "re-invents the wheel" and puts some grandiose name on a cartridge that has been in existence for years. A good, current example of this is the 260 Remington. We've offered a 6.5x308 Win. for many years, but it took Jim Carmichael and Remington working together to complete the development and popularize the chamber. We offered a 7 mm x 8 mm Rem. Mag. long before Layne Simpson named it a 7 mm STW. Be that as it may, it is a fairly simple task to make varying necks on different cartridges and turn them into something different. If you don't see a chambering that you want in our data sheets, pick up the phone and give us a call or E-mail us at comments@shilen.com. Chances are very good that we can provide it for you.
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What do you mean by "Throat to a dummy cartridge"?
Factory rifles are made with throats long enough to accept the largest bullet that is offered in factory ammunition for that chambering. So if the throat is long enough to accept a 200 grain bullet and you only want to use 150 grain bullets, then the throat is so deep you can't get the bullets close to the lands and keep them in the case. What this amounts to is the factory reamed out a couple of hundred thousandths (or more) of lands and grooves in the throat, which shortens the accurate life of the barrel by as much as 50%. All bullets and throats have a "preferred" stand-off or "jump" distance from ogive of the bullet to the lands. Handloaders "tune" their ammunition by experimenting with this distance. Generally speaking, all calibers tend to shoot better when close tot he lands. Weatherby rifles come with about 3/8ths of an inch of "free-bore" in them to help compensate for the high pressure the factory ammunition develops. If you intend to shoot factory ammunition in your rifle, then stay with a factory length throat as shortening the throat will probably show little or no increase in accuracy and may even prove detrimental. In fact, in Weatherby cartridges, this free-bore is necessary to avoid pressure problems when using factory ammunition. However, if you intend to hand load for your Weatherby cartridge for better accuracy, then throating to a dummy round is the ticket. When you send us dummy rounds to throat to you are, in effect, asking us to make the chamber to fit your ammunition instead of you being required to make your ammunition to fit the factory chamber. Make sure that your dummies will fit into the magazine of the rifle. If you aren't sure what to do. Don't be embarrassed. Just pick up the phone, call us, and we'll help you get it straight.
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What do "turned" and "unturned" mean?
Turned, profiled, and contoured all mean the same thing. These terms all indicate that a barrel blank has been turned down on a lathe to a rifle barrel configuration or contour. We make most of our barrel from 1.250" diameter steel. Before the blank has been profiled, it is referred to as an "unturned" blank. Only gunsmiths who have tapering attachments for their lathes and prefer to turn their own contours use unturned blanks. If you are wanting to order a blank for your gunsmith to install and the gunsmith does not have the equipment to contour the barrel, then the turned blank is what you are looking for.
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What kind of finishes does Shilen offer for barrels and actions?
STAINLESS STEEL BARRELS-- In Stainless barrels your finish options are "left in the white" which means a bright polished finish, "glass peening" provides you with a non reflective "matte" finish, or "teflon coating" with black teflon to more closely resemble a typical matte finish blued steel appearance. CHROME MOLY STEEL BARRELS-- When re-barreling a rifle with a Chrome Moly Match Grade or Lone Star Grade barrel, the barrel must at some point be either blued or teflon coated to prevent rusting. We offer two blued finishes for chrome moly steel barrels. The blued options are polished and blued or glass peened and blued. The polished and blued finish is done by polishing the barrel with 180, 240, 320, and 400 grit sanding belts, finishing with a Scotch BriteTM polishing pad, and then bluing. A "glass peened and blued" finish is accomplished by first polishing the barrel with a 180 then a 240 grit polishing belt. The next step is to "peen" the surface by spraying it with fine glass beads under high pressure to dimple the surface texture to reduce the surface refection. Finally, it is blued. Action finishes are done in basically the same manner. Barrel finishes and action finishes are priced separately. To glass peen and blue the barrel and action will cost $60.00 for the barrel and $60.00 for the action, for a total of $120.00. STAINLESS STEEL ACTIONS-- Finishes available for stainless steel actions are Polished (In the White), Glass Peened (Matte), or Black Teflon Coated. CHROME MOLY STEEL ACTIONS-- Finishes available for chrome moly actions are Polished and Blued, Glass Peened and Blued, Black Teflon Coated, or Electroless Nickel Plating. The Black Teflon Coating and Electroless Nickel Plating are only available in Matte finish. NOTE: Actions have been made from various types of steel over the years. Some actions have parts such as trigger guards and floor plates that are made of non-blueable materials. In cases such as these, our only option is to coat the non-blueable part(s) in Black Teflon. Some action materials will not Polish and Blue without turning to a red or purple tint due to their inherent metallurgical properties. In these cases, many times they can be glass peened and blued. This is an unavoidable situation, and many times we cannot forecast the results of polishing and bluing an action. We just have to try them and see. If your action will not accept a polished blue finish, we will first contact you and inform you of the problem prior to glass peening and bluing the action.
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What is a pre-threaded and chambered blank?
We offer blanks that have been finish chambered, threaded for the appropriate action, polished, and crowned at the customer's requested length. The installing gunsmith needs only to modify the shank length of the barrel for the proper headspacing to be complete and no finish chambering is required. We offer these barrels in many different "wildcats" and "improved" chamberings to allow a gunsmith to be able to fill a customer's order without having to purchase a reamer they may never use again.
NOTE: Brownell's, Inc. in Montezuma, Iowa handles our "short chambered" blanks. These type blanks are only available through Brownell's and require the installing gunsmith to finish the chamber. In order to install one of these short chambered barrels, the gunsmith must have the appropriate reamer to finish the chambering. Once finish chambered, these blanks must be polished to complete the installation.
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What is the difference in a "wildcat" and an "improved" chamber?
A "wildcat" is a cartridge that has to be made from an existing brass by shortening or modifying the existing brass just to be able to fit it into the chamber. An "improved" chamber is one where the improved brass is made by simply firing the cartridge in an improved chamber and allowing the brass to form itself to the chamber. Firing a 220 Swift cartridge in a 220 Swift Improved chamber will give you a fire-formed piece of 220 Swift Improved brass. Some refer to this as "blowing out" the brass. Once formed, the case now has less body taper, more defined shoulders and an increased powder capacity.
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What about "fluting" a barrel?
Fluting is a service we neither offer nor recommend. If you have a Shilen barrel fluted, the warranty is void. Fluting a barrel can induce unrecoverable stresses that will encourage warping when heated and can also swell the bore dimensions, causing loose spots in the bore. A solid (un-fluted) barrel is more rigid than a fluted barrel of equal diameter. A fluted barrel is more rigid than a solid barrel of equal weight. All rifle barrels flex when fired. Accuracy requires that they simply flex the same and return the same each time they are fired, hence the requirement for a pillar bedded action and free floating barrel. The unrecoverable stresses that fluting can induce will cause the barrel to flex differently or not return from the flexing without cooling down a major amount. This is usually longer than a shooter has to wait for the next shot. The claim of the flutes helping to wick heat away faster is true, but the benefit of the flutes is not recognizable in this regard until the barrel is already too hot.
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Can I use Moly coated bullets to break-in my barrel?
Some bullet and barrel makers say that the best way to break in a barrel that is to be used with moly bullets is to break it in with moly coated bullets. Others say to use uncoated bullets to break the barrel in, then start using coated bullets. We hear from a tremendous amount of top-notch shooters and gunsmiths and they all have their own opinions on this subject (as you already know). In compiling this wealth of information, we have come to this conclusion: There is no BEST way. Some barrels seem to break-in very quickly with coated bullets. Some seem to take longer. We've had shooters tell us that if a barrel didn't seem to want to really "come-in" with coated bullets, a few uncoated bullets down the barrel actually helped the initial break-in. Then they went back to the coated bullets with good results. Our recommendation is to load and tune the rifle with jacketed, uncoated bullets. Then try the moly coated ones.
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How should I break-in my new Shilen barrel?
Break-in procedures are as diverse as cleaning techniques. Shilen, Inc. introduced a break-in procedure mostly because customers seemed to think that we should have one. By and large, we don't think breaking-in a new barrel is a big deal. All our stainless steel barrels have been hand lapped as part of their production, as well as any chrome moly barrel we install. Hand lapping a barrel polishes the interior of the barrel and eliminates sharp edges or burrs that could cause jacket deformity. This, in fact, is what you are doing when you break-in a new barrel through firing and cleaning.
Here is our standard recommendation: Clean after each shot for the first 5 shots. The remainder of the break-in is to clean every 5 shots for the next 50 shots. During this time, don't just shoot bullets down the barrel during this 50 shot procedure. This is a great time to begin load development. Zero the scope over the first 5 shots, and start shooting for accuracy with 5-shot groups for the next 50 shots. Same thing applies to fire forming cases for improved or wildcat cartridges. Just firing rounds down a barrel to form brass without any regard to their accuracy is a mistake. It is a waste of time and barrel life.
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How do I clean my new Shilen barrel?
As with break-in and using coated bullets, you will find many diverse opinions on this subject.
EQUIPMENT: Cleaning Rods: Use a good quality coated cleaning rod with a rotating handle. The rotating handle allows the brush or patch to follow the lands and grooves. A non rotating handle forces the brush bristles to jump over the lands and grooves instead of following them.
BRUSHES: Use a good brass or bronze brush with a looped end. Do not use a brush with a sharp, pointed end.
SOLVENTS:
Every shooting product manufacturer has their own miracle solvent, and most do the job as advertised.
BORE GUIDES: Highly recommended!
PATCHES: Flannel or cotton patches work the best. Either trim or fold your patch to insure that it will fit snugly into the bore, but not so tightly you have to force it. Forcing a patch causes the rod to flex inside the bore of the rifle. If you are using a coated rod, this usually won't hurt anything, but the uncoated stainless steel rods that some shooters use can batter against the inside of the bore and damage rifling.
PROCEDURE: Once again, many different procedures abound. All accomplish basically the same thing. Here's ours: With the bore guide and the brass brush on the cleaning rod, apply the solvent to the brush by dipping it in the bottle or squirting a few drops on the brush. Slide the bore guide up over the brush and insert the bore guide into the chamber with a twisting motion. Push the brush through the barrel until it comes out the end of the muzzle. Now pull the brush back into the chamber guide. This is one "cycle". Make one cycle for each bullet fired, then apply more solvent to the brush and repeat this procedure. Now, fold or cut the patch for a snug, not tight, fit. Push the the first patch all the way through the bore and out the muzzle. As you draw the rod back, the patch should fall off. Put on another patch and push it towards the muzzle until you can feel it touch your finger placed over the muzzle. Then draw the patch back to the chamber and push it once more out the end of the muzzle so that it drops off. Repeat this with one more patch and you are finished. If you are through shooting for the day, lightly wet a patch with a light viscosity machine oil to prevent or retard rust. Push this patch through the bore. Let it drop out the muzzle, and you are done.
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How clean is clean?
We get this question many times and have a great deal of difficulty helping some customers understand that a rifle barrel does not have to be spotless to shoot great. Many times more harm than good is done in trying to get it that way. Picture a car's fender. If the fender has a small dent in it, then professional application of body putty fills the dent. When painted over, the dent becomes unnoticeable, and the surface of the fender is smooth and consistent. The same thing happens in a rifle barrel on a microscopic level. Removing this small trace of copper puts you right back to square one. The next bullet that crosses that area will, again, leave a small trace of copper. Similar to patching a pothole. All successful benchrest shooters shoot one or more "fouler" shots down the barrel before going to the record target. This is not to warm up the barrel. They are resurfacing it on the inside. Benchrest shooters clean between relays to get the powder fowling out, not the copper. However, since copper usually comes out with the powder, they know that it must be replaced to get "back in the groove". I've had shooters tell me they "cleaned their rifle for 3 hours to get all the copper out of it." Their next statement is almost invariably that they had to shoot 4-5 rounds through it just to get it back to "shooting" again. This tells me that in order for the rifle to shoot well again, they had to replace the copper they worked so diligently to remove. I have a 7x08 Improved that shoots the same 1/2" MOA after 15 minutes of cleaning or 3 hours of scrubbing and de-coppering. Personally, I prefer shooting to cleaning. The gist of this is to set a regular cleaning regimen and stay with it. If the accuracy of the rifle is acceptable with a 15 min. cleaning, why clean longer? I would much rather have people admiring the groups I shot than marveling at how clean my barrel looks on the inside.
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I am interested in one of your DGA actions but I don't see them listed in your information.
Are they still available?

No, we discontinued our actions in 1990.
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Does Shilen build complete rifles?
Yes. In March of 2010 Shilen came out with the DGR and DGV actions and customers can purchase anywhere from just the action, to the barreled action to the complete rifle.
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Does Shilen offer stock work?
Yes, but not as an in-house service. We subcontract the stock work.
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Will Shilen re-chamber my existing barrel to another cartridge?
No. We will only install a new barrel in the preferred cartridge chambering.
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Does Shilen make custom contours?
No. The contours described on our contours dimension sheet are the only ones available.
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Do I need an FFL to order directly from Shilen?
No. Since there is no change of gun ownership involved, an FFL is not required. We do offer dealer discounts to FFL holders, but an FFL is not a requirement to do business with us. We cannot, however, forward the rifle or barreled action to any other recipient such as stock makers, deep freeze processors, etc. We will only return the rifle or barreled action to the original shipper.
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What is "air-gauging"?
Air gauging is the method used to determine the fluctuations of land and groove heights in the interior of the barrel by using a constant flow of air through a probe. The gauge is adjusted to a given mean using a true, determined sizer head. The probe is then inserted into the barrel. The operator watches the fluctuations from the mean as the probe is moved through the bore. Our air gauges are accurate to 50 millionths of one inch.
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What is "button-rifling"?
Button rifling is done by pulling a solid carbide forming die (referred to as a button) through the drilled and reamed barrel bore. The button forces the steel into the lands and grooves without cutting steel from the inside of the bore. The pressure exerted by the button re-positions the steel.
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Can Shilen make me re-loading dies from the same reamer used to make my barrel?
No. Re-loading dies require undersized tooling.
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