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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, I'll cave.

I have to admit, I do not know how to inspect the bore of a weapon. To me, it all looks the same - spirals coming out toward the light. Is there something in particular I am looking for, or a certain way to do it? This whole time I thought I was on top of things, but as of right now I am really out of ideas. I look at it but see nothing. Is there something I am looking for?
 

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It's tough to describe. The best thing to do is look at as many different ones as you can. Check out some new-production rifles to see what new bores look like.

With a little practice you can see the deepness of the rifling, the sharpness of the edges of the lands, and learn to discern crud/soot from pitting.

One trick I've found is to consciously focus my eye at a certain section of bore rather than trying to look at it as a 2-dimensional image.
 

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Insert cartridge into the muzzle, bullet first, the projectile should enter the barrel until the end of bullet ogive.

If the bullet stops at the end of bullet ogive, good crown.

If the bullet goes deeper then the end of bullet ogive, bad crown.

If the crown has been moved back (counter bored barrel), you might as well slug the barrel because "bullet test" is not an adequate instrument in this case.
 

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You should bring a cleaning rod and patches with you to clean the barrel prior to inspection.
You need to have some light in the bore to inspect if properly. Wedging a white piece of paper into the action can help, position the paper such that reflected light bounces into the bore. Inspect bore from muzzle.
You want to assess the integrity of the rifling. It should look bright, sharp, and whole in a sound, clean rifle.
If you see oxidized metal, pitting, discontinuity in the rifling lands, then you have a neglected or worn barrel. You won't inspect very many surplus rifle barrels before you see examples of neglect.
Rifles improperly cleaned by carelessly placed cleaning rods have uneven wear at the muzzle. An accurate rifle needs a clean, crisp crown, not an oblong, unsymmetric crown.
Similarly, inspect the rifle from the chamber if possible, and as before, reflect light into the barrel by pointing the rifle at a light source or by reflecting light into the barrel with white paper.
Many gunshops will loan you an electric bore light.
Some tools are readily available to inspect US service rifles, and can quantify the muzzle erosion and throat erosion of a rifle.
If you want a shooter, pass on any rifle with a pitted, worn, asymmetric or discontinuously rifled barrel.
 

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I always carry a "boresnake" and a bore light in the trunk of my car.:) I've never been denied the use of the boresnake when looking for milurps.
 

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Once you've seen a few "frosted" or "rounded land" rifles, you will begin to appreciate a mirror bore with razor sharp lands.
The "bullet test" can be misleading unless you carry your own "know" olgive rounds with you.
I've seen vendors show proof of a "good crown" with an 8mm round in a .30 bore at shows...
Most collectors have a less than pristeen bore lurking in the collection somewhere, see if you can find somebody who will let you look at several rifles in the same setting so you can make head to head comparisons.
 

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Imagine if you will if theoretically you took a barrel and gut the barrel perfectley in half. On the end of the barrel you would expect to see the rifling perfectly, not a round hole but a hole with protrusions sticking out. This is what you would look for in a perfect muzzle crown at the very outlet of the muzzle even if there was a dished appearance past the this hole with protrusions of rifling, it determines the last spot the projectile touches before it leaves the barrel, some wear is sometimes acceptable, it came from cleaning rod wear.
Now there is the throat, there are many styles of how the rifling starts, all I can say here is that if it is worn well past where the tip of a bullet will start to contact than that is how you gauge throat erosion, but nine times out of ten it is the muzzle that is damaged, seems cleaning from the muzzle with steel rod or steel link chain has been real popular with armies up to recently.
 

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Just to add to the good advice given already

I bring a flex neck LED flashlite to put light down the bore to inspect it, they run under ten bucks at most shows and they help in looking at dates and marks on the exterior of the rifle in the poor lighting of most shows. Secondly, I have my own magic bullet that has a file mark on it. My best shooting rifle was used to seat this bullet to gain the mark spot. Now if the bullet goes below that mark in any rifle I am looking at: it will no doubt shoot less accurately than my best rifle and I pass on it. If the bullet rides higher in the muzzle and the mark is visible then its a tighter bore and better shape bore and really worth buying...if the rest of the rifle passes inspection.

I can use the magic bullet and test a whole rack of weapons at a show and immediately screen out the loose muzzle weapons quickly and focus on the one or two that merit further inspection. Of course, if barrels are counter bored, this bullet sinks way deep and tells you little of the real accuracy of the rifle. I avoid counter bore rifles but that is just a bias. Many do shoot well but I cannot tell that before I buy so I just avoid the drama/ mystery/ discovery learning with them.

This approach is for accuracy and not for marks that some collectors want. I was standing next to Charlie on this forum at a table when he found a unique Finn Mosin that was a Soviet Capture. He mentioned it to me but I had already discarded that weapon as its muzzle was far more worn than I would want due to using that bullet test. I mention this as the objective of screening rifles for purchase is individual and depends on what you are seeking. For me the bore condition is far more important than a collectors mark elsewhere on the rifle. I am a shooter who collects, not a collector that sometimes shoots. If that unique (and it was exterior nice and unique Finn marked with that Postulous word..spelt that wrong) marked rifle had had a tight bore , it would have been mine a few minutes before Charlie arrived but it failed the screen for bore condition for me. Did not bother Charlie as he was looking for a collector piece and he certainly got a nice one.

I would be glad to send you a bullet marked for your use. Every rifle that has passed the test with this bullet shoots 1/2 inch at 100 yds if I do my part. If you want a bullet for use: Let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I bring a flex neck LED flashlite to put light down the bore to inspect it, they run under ten bucks at most shows and they help in looking at dates and marks on the exterior of the rifle in the poor lighting of most shows. Secondly, I have my own magic bullet that has a file mark on it. My best shooting rifle was used to seat this bullet to gain the mark spot. Now if the bullet goes below that mark in any rifle I am looking at: it will no doubt shoot less accurately than my best rifle and I pass on it. If the bullet rides higher in the muzzle and the mark is visible then its a tighter bore and better shape bore and really worth buying...if the rest of the rifle passes inspection.

I can use the magic bullet and test a whole rack of weapons at a show and immediately screen out the loose muzzle weapons quickly and focus on the one or two that merit further inspection. Of course, if barrels are counter bored, this bullet sinks way deep and tells you little of the real accuracy of the rifle. I avoid counter bore rifles but that is just a bias. Many do shoot well but I cannot tell that before I buy so I just avoid the drama/ mystery/ discovery learning with them.

This approach is for accuracy and not for marks that some collectors want. I was standing next to Charlie on this forum at a table when he found a unique Finn Mosin that was a Soviet Capture. He mentioned it to me but I had already discarded that weapon as its muzzle was far more worn than I would want due to using that bullet test. I mention this as the objective of screening rifles for purchase is individual and depends on what you are seeking. For me the bore condition is far more important than a collectors mark elsewhere on the rifle. I am a shooter who collects, not a collector that sometimes shoots. If that unique (and it was exterior nice and unique Finn marked with that Postulous word..spelt that wrong) marked rifle had had a tight bore , it would have been mine a few minutes before Charlie arrived but it failed the screen for bore condition for me. Did not bother Charlie as he was looking for a collector piece and he certainly got a nice one.

I would be glad to send you a bullet marked for your use. Every rifle that has passed the test with this bullet shoots 1/2 inch at 100 yds if I do my part. If you want a bullet for use: Let me know.
I'd be delighted for one of those, Mil! Thank you very much!
 

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............is to pull the bolt and lift the rifle muzzle towards the overhead light and look through from the chamber end.
Dale
Important. Too many folks only inspect the muzzle end. Throat erosion, especially on hot rounds, will destroy accuracy. Worst I ever saw was at an estate auction that included a collection of Weatherbys, all Wby magnums, whose owner had a rifle range in his back yard and reloaded. The breech end of the bore looked funny, and a closer examination with a bore light showed that in front of the chambers all of them were nice, bright, and looked MELTED. Because they were so nice and shiny they went for top dollar!
 

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Gentlemen, Thank you for all of your rich information. I have learned a great deal being a member on this board, and today is no exception.
bf <//><
 

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Here are a few old pics which I hope to help you a little. Dunno about the rest of the guys but I'd classify the bores like this:

Bore 1: corrosion rate 0 & (no wear, lands with sharp edges, intact crown)
Bore 2: corrosion rate 2 & (minor wear, lands with relatively sharp edges, intact crown)
Bore 3: corrosion rate 3 & (wear, slightly rounded lands, somewhat worn crown)
Bore 4: corrosion rate 3 & (severe wear, lands completely rounded, badly worn muzzle with almost no crown)
Bore 5: corrosion rate 4 & (notable wear, rounded lands, worn muzzle, distension in front of the front sight)


Here "0" means new bore and "4" is bore with bad pitting. This method follows a manual called Kivääri 91, rakenne, hoito ja käsittely (Rifle 91, structure, maintenance and handling) published by the Ministry of Defence (Finnish) in 1926. The book qualifies rates of corrosion as a scale from 1 to 4 and goes like this:

1. Incipient. Visible dark spots without niches
2. Little. Small niches visible
3. Sizeable. Same as grade 2. but with larger, distinctive niches
4. Severe. Large corroded pits with clearly visible edges









 

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Those are great photos! Thanks.
How about making them a sticky? It seems that the numerical ratings used by the Finns is a composite of both corrosion and erosion, judging by the "1" rating on the arsenal tag of one of my 44 SAKO's.
 

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Antti, your bore pictures are wonderful, as always. Thanks.
 

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Sometimes words don't quite describe something visual. Great picts!

Edit: don't forget to look for a dark "ring". That could be a bulged barrel caused by shooting with an obstruction in the barrel.
 

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Edit: don't forget to look for a dark "ring". That could be a bulged barrel caused buy shooting with an obstruction in the barrel.
Sometimes it's not a complete ring. There's one in the last pic, 12 o'clock near the muzzle.
 
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