I have never had a barrel cryo treated and so have no personal experience but, as you read in previous Technoid screeds, my inclination is to think that it is of little practical advantage to a shotgun shooter. Being a Luddite, I am not a big believer in most aftermarket “improvements”, such as including porting and backboring, either. I thought that you might like to read the following letter, especially since Abe agrees with me and uses even longer words.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
Disclaimer: The information following may ignite a Jihad at Shotgun Report. I don’t know if you’ll want to publish it, but I think you should know all the same.
You recently discussed Cryogenic Barrel Treatment in your updates. Cryo freezing has been touted as a panacea for just about everything – “Makes Harleys run more fuel-efficiently; makes brass instruments sound fuller; makes guitar strings last longer (no kidding!); makes pocketknives stay sharp longer; makes firearms more accurate, resistant to wear and rust, better looking, more deadly, etc., etc., etc.”
I’ve got a lot of friends who are all metallurgists. Lots of them are shooters. Do you know how many have cryo-treated barrels? None.
The science behind it does not support cryo-treatment as being the panacea that it’s touted as. I am 100% certain that it improves some alloys. But it does not improve ALL alloys (i.e. ALL steels). The bottom line is that cryo-treatment is supposed to remove the last little pockets of a material called Austenite from the steel.
Austenite pockets CAN weaken steels. However, the process for removing Austenite can vary GREATLY between types of steels, based upon their stoichiometric composition and forging history. Do you know the AISI-SAE classification number of your barrel’s steel? If you don’t know, how do the Cryo guys? How do they know which process is right for your barrel?
There are a large number of people who believe that cryo-freezing is the only thing that keeps their bullets on the target. There are also a large number of people who believe they can’t hit a clay pigeon unless the lettering on their shells lines up just right. Having faith in a process doesn’t make it work as advertized. The power of the mind is an amazing thing. If I paid $50 for an improvement to my gun, you can bet I’d get an improvement one way or another. But it could be a confidence game. If I have absolute confidence it worked, I will most likely shoot better.
I have yet to see a test by one of these cryo companies that makes an effort to remove any sort of a “Placebo” effect. Why do you think that is? I met one guy who bought a brand-new pistol and never even test-fired it for accuracy before getting it frozen. He just KNEW that it would be inaccurate unless he had it frozen. Last I heard he was shooting better with his cryo-treated gun than he had been with his old gun. But that’s ANECDOTAL evidence, not SCIENTIFIC.
I’m not saying that cryo-treatment is a fraud, but I am saying that I’ve never seen a one-step solution that improves EVERY property of EVERY alloy. It probably won’t destroy your barrel, but whether it’s worth $50 to find out if it helps is your call.