Now you can stop contemplating on whether to get your barrel fluted or not. Because you’ll get your answers here! Find out if these benefits of barrel fluting are worth the trouble (and money).
You might know this already, but barrel fluting is the process of trimming off parts of the barrel to create grooves along its surface. You can get it done for a barrel you already have, but it’s most often selected as an option for a new gun.
Benefits of Barrel Fluting
Some would say that the only benefit of barrel fluting is better aesthetics. And yeah, a fluted barrel looks cooler, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
The main benefit of barrel fluting is reduced weight. The amount of reduced weight depends on how deep and wide the grooves are. Deeper and wider grooves equal a lighter barrel. There’s a limit to how deep you can go, though, because you need to keep the barrel thickness within a safe value and maintain rigidity.
If you prefer a lighter gun, then this is the way to go. Although it may be a disadvantage when shooting powerful ammo considering heft is a common trait of precision rifle builds.
Rigidity / Accuracy
Despite claims that a fluted barrel is more rigid than a smooth one, by laws of science, this is debatable. First, simply removing steel from a barrel does not make it more rigid. Since you’ll be removing parts of your barrel, it becomes less rigid, not the other way around.
But, there is something to the idea that the heat created when milling out the grooves in the barrel serves to temper the remaining material and hardens it. That’s possible but seems unlikely to have the same degree of effect on the material as the original machining would. That would be especially true for a cold hammer-forged barrel.
Fluted barrels are better at heat dissipation compared to smooth barrels with similar profiles because the latter have less surface area, and a larger surface area cools down faster.
When Should You Get Your Barrel Fluted?
Think long and hard if you really want a fluted barrel as it also comes with minor drawbacks. It may be lighter and cools down faster, but it is a bit more troublesome to clean as the grooves tend to collect grime and dirt.
If you’re doing a lot of hiking on hunts out west, the weight reduction can be pretty incredible. Is it better than the new carbon fiber barrels on the market now? No. But, it doesn’t cost $800 either!
The cost of getting your barrel fluted is no joke compared to a standard barrel though. The charges for barrel fluting range from $100 to $135 for straight fluting. Shaw Barrels offer helical fluting, which, according to them, is “30% more rigid than straight fluting”. The price of helical fluting starts at $165.
If your main objective is cosmetics, then, by all means, go ahead and get a fluted barrel! It really looks awesome, after all. Just make sure your barrel is fluted by a professional as poor-quality fluting WILL compromise your rifle’s performance and possibly its safety.