The other day I was wanting to search out on the web some photo views of what the typical, average condition, Mauser bore might look like. I wanted some condition views of rifling that ranged from like new to sewer pipe rifling. However, most of the photos of milsurp bores seem to be gone from the archived or old forum posts. Most are also missing on a general search like “bore condition.” There does not seem to be a general guide with informative photos that provides a variety of bore conditions.
See: https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread ... light=bore
In addition, there appears to be a wide range in the definition/meanings/usage of barrel terms such as sewer pipe, minty, dark, pitted, dinged, strong, bright, polished, frosted, rounded, sharp, bulged, counterbored, mirror like, rusted and so many other terms used. Now, people will aways differ on how to inspect and judge a bore. So this is not a thesis on how to judge a bore. You can judge a bore as you see fit. As a general rule, I look for a cleaned rifle bore so I can see its condition with a bore light, not one that is left filthy, with the seller telling me it will clean up fine.
When inspecting a rifle’s bore, I first look for a clean bore that is somewhat bright (like a clean metal surface, but not overly polished & so shiny that I can not see rifling). On an old milsurp I look for the rifling that appears distinct —with somewhat sharp edges. In fact, I generally do not see such a described, like new barrel, condition on old military surplus rifles; hence, I wanted some pictures of what I should expect to see on an average condition military rifle. Most of the milsurps I find seem to have darker bores showing different stages of rounding to the sharp edges of the rifling. I wanted to find some views of the different kinds of rifling observed in WW I & WW II weapons. No guide seems to exist. The lack of information spurred me to research the few available references and glean photos from what I could find in an effort to add some collector data about military surplus rifle bores.
After an inspection of a rifle, I always think I have selected a winner with a great bore. But how can I be sure? I really never know how a rifle will shoot. Some that appear to have like new bores shoot a wide group, while other rifles with dark barrels and worn, rounded rifling shoot tight groups. In the end, the only real test is the range test. One must take the so called “good” rifle out to shoot. The real accuracy test is to take it to the range and place the rifle on a sled and fire it. I have found that some rifle bores that I initially judged somewhat poor, shoot very well.
Since I was doing my yearly oiling of my rifles, I decided to snap a few photographs of the barrel bores so I can post about 50 photos of their overall condition. This can serve as a BORE PHOTO GUIDE. Some rifles with specific bore conditions that I wish to illustrate, I do not own. Therefore as part of the background research, I searched for example photos to add to the discussion in Parts 1 & 2. I compiled screen shots of these better photos. These include examples of counter bores, cracked or bulged barrels, and poor crowns. For these, I had to rely on reference photos from other sources. On the other hand, most of my photos in Part 3 will be of specific rifles that I actually own and have fired. They shoot fine at 100 yards. If they do not, I will let the reader know. For each rifle, I shall provide one or two photographic views of their bore taken from the muzzle. This collection of photos will provide a start to a photographic bore guide. Over time others can always add some more photographs of bores/rifling from different rifles that they own. My photos are from examples I own that are in good to average condition, not wall hangers, not safe queens. My goal is to first provide some primary information in Parts 1 & 2 about what to look for when looking at barrel condition. Some research photos will provide specific examples showing a range in barrel/bore conditions. In Part 3 you will see a photographic record of specific rifles selected at random as I did my yearly oiling. Photos will show their bore condition as well as what their rifling looks like.
Gunsmiths or the experts can provide and argue to refine/correct the definitions of the many bore terms I use. I will provide a photo and define the conditions shown in the sample photos found in the first two sections. I hope others can add comments and better descriptive photos, especially if they have advanced cameras to provide clear photographs. My pictures will be taken with an old, Canon Power Shot SD 1000. Other pictures are screen shots from the web and I have provided the source if known.
PART 1 BACKGROUND SOURCES
First, let’s look into some back ground references. Here is a screen shot diagram of the basic nomenclature of a barrel and its source information.
photo B Nomenclature Back to Basics: Rifle Barrels, by David Campbell 15 May 2017, NRA American Rifleman
https://www.americanrifleman.org/articl ... e-barrels/
The next article, American Rifleman, Back to Basics: Rifling, by the same author, explains the basics of rifling and its purpose and influence on firearms. Mr Campbell outlines two basic types of rifling: conventional (found in most milsurps) and polygonal found in some pistols. Two examples of polygonal barrels are found in the Glock and CZ 83. In this post, I am mainly concerned with conventional rifling as found in military surplus rifles. I am providing one nice, clear example of a Glock bore photo obtained from the Glock Forum.
I have no photo of a CZ 83’s bore. Examples of Polygonal rifling can be seen in the listed references.
Here is a diagram from the above source showing the two basic barrel types:
photo C Polygonal rifling, even when new, looks like worn down rifling; like one has a worn out bore on a pistol, when in actuality it is a very good condition pistol barrel. Polygonal rifling exhibits a hexagonal looking interior with smooth rounded edges. There is less distinction between the lands and grooves. (Lands are the raised portions between the lower grooves inside the barrel)
American Rifleman, Back to basics: Rifling by David Campbell, 21 July 2017 NRA American Rifleman.
https://www.americanrifleman.org/articl ... s-rifling/
Barrel rifling is placed into the barrels of rifles or pistols to impart spin on the projectile. This following short article provides some information about conventional rifling:
A short history and description about rifling. By Firearms ID.com.
Conventional rifling has pronounced sharp edges to the land and grooves. It is most commonly found in surplus rifles. A definition of each major type is as follows:
The most common type of barrel rifling that you will find on most gun barrels is conventional rifling. This rifling features defined sharp lands and valleys. The bullet is slightly larger than the bore and is therefore forced into this shape producing marks on the bullet known as ‘rifling marks’.
These lands and valleys can vary in number, depth, shape, direction of twist (left or right) and twist rate, depending on manufacturer.
Polygonal barrel rifling has a much less defined set of lands and valleys, and is generally smoother in shape. This results in less resistance for the bullet when traveling down the barrel, higher bullet velocities and cleaner operation. The smoother bore deforms the bullet less than conventional rifling and supposedly leaves it more aerodynamically stable.
According to users, since the barrel rifling is still tight there is little to no difference in range or accuracy between the two. Although, polygonal rifling is reported to be easier to clean, as it’s less destructive to bullets and has less ‘corners’ for deposits to form.
Definition Source Abbysupply 2017
https://www.abbeysupply.com/blog/The_Di ... fling.html
Finally, more information can be found here: Barrels and Bullets Conventional Versus Polygonal Rifling by Cantrell 2010, Bearing Arms News.
see this link:
https://bearingarms.com/ccantrell/2010/ ... l-rifling/
PART 2 HOW TO INSPECT A BOLT ACTION CONVENTIONAL BORE
The purpose of this post is to act as a photographic guide (with all pictures posted through the forum with its 5 picture limit per post) showing the types and conditions of conventional bores observed on some commonly found milsurp rifles. THE BASICS are the same with pistols. However, I am not concerned with pistols. This discussion is primary about rifles. All of the later photos in Part 3 will show bore examples from military surplus rifles. For a general review of what attributes to consider when selecting a military surplus rifle, please review this post: Buying the first surplus rifle, what to look for.
http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewto ... 911#p17902
Gun boards inspecting a rifle reference:
https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread ... finn+mosin
First, I want to talk about how to look at a rifle’s bore.
There are a variety of ways to view a muzzle/bore at an indoor gun show with poor lighting or at an outside rummage sale with good light. It is rare to carry a bore scope to a gun show. Viewing a bore with a bore scope is best done at home on the work bench or at the gunsmith. Expensive bore scopes allow gunsmiths to examine the internal sections of a bore that are inaccessible or not viewable by the naked eye or other methods. They offer a clear view with the ability to see and identify imperfections like tiny pits, cracks and heat erosion.
So lacking a bore scope, most buyers will use one or two of the three poor boy methods to view the interior of a bore (you need a light to see what’s in the barrel): 1) a bore light (this is the best method), 2) pull the bolt and hold the barrel up to a bright light source, or 3) place a piece of white typing paper that acts as a reflector in front of the bolt and get the the best, nearby light source to shine up (light up) the bore.
The bore light comes in a variety of forms. I favor two types over a small pocket flashlight. I like the cartridge size Maglite called the “Solitaire.” This small LED Maglite works great because it can be placed on the follower like a cartridge within the magazine area or placed in the chamber so it will shine up the bore. The Solitaire has an adjustable beam that allows for a strong or diffuse glow. It is small and can rest on the follower with an open bolt still in the rifle. This tiny Maglite can also be set at an angle to lessen the light’s intensity or be utilized as a flash light to inspect other non bore-related details. Others prefer the Flex Bore light, a flashlight with a small cord that has a LED light on its end. This tiny light source can be inserted into the bore from either end. Both work well.
Hold up the Rifle
If you do not have or forgot your bore light, then you can remove the bolt from a bolt action rifle and point either end of the rifle toward a strong light source while looking up the bore or chamber to view its condition. The problem with this method is that the rifle can get heavy and you certainly do not want to drop it (this would certainly get the dealer’s attention), or smack someone in the head with an old milsurp!
Another safer method is to set the rifle’s butt on the ground, open the bolt while leaving it in the rifle, and then place a white piece of paper or handkerchief against the front face of the bolt covering the back portion of the receiver. While looking down the muzzle, turn the rifle toward the best light source possible so that light from the sun or room will shine onto the paper and reflect up the bore allowing you to view the bore’s condition- a poor mans bore light! Consequently, when utilizing any of these three methods to inspect the bore; if the bore is clean, not dark, has distinct edges to the lands & grooves, has visible rifling, it is usually a good average bore. You discovered a winner!