Barrel Cryogenics

Dear omniscient clay crusher:

I have a stainless steel BT99 which seems to have gone sour on me after 2 years of reasonable performance. Fairly consistently, the gun and I break the first 8 or 9 trap targets in round when unexplained misses creep in; winter/summer; in league shooting, ATA, and practice. Hits are chippy, my perceived execution of the shots seem okay. I have abandoned this gun and taken up with a blued steel BT99 which I am shooting up to my ability with and get my share of smokeballs during trap rounds. I have done some point of aim experimentation with no definitive conclusions.

An old Shotgun Sports did an “infomercial” on cryogenic stress removal in shotgun barrels. They claim POI can vary 6 to 12 inches at 30 yards as a barrel heats up. This is a plausible explanation to my stainless BT99’s behavior.

My questions to you pundits are:

1. Have you any experience with POI change with barrel heat-up?

2. Is this Cryogenic treatment baloney? (I have heard indirectly that machine tools are sometimes treated this way.

3. Should I chance 60 bucks and send my barrel off to these guys or sell the gun and buy a nice set of golf clubs.

Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Dear John,

If the truth be known, I am only partially omniscient (seminiscient). Most of the time I can remember my own name and where I live so I am ahead of the game.

I just don’t know about this cryogenics stuff. I read the same article and have no doubts that what they said about treating tools and the like is true. Heat treating basically does the same thing, but to a different extent. I know that some rifle shooters like to deep freeze their barrels and claim longer life. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have too much to do with shotgun stuff. Like porting barrels, it works in theory, but probably doesn’t work enough in practice to make any difference.

If your stainless BT-99 has been working well for two years, why should it suddenly go sour? If heat warpage is a problem now, why wasn’t it a problem from the start? It just doesn’t make sense. It sounds more like a shifting stock, loose rib or fading trigger. Perhaps the barrel suffered some trauma (like when you wrapped it around the scorer’s stand when you missed the 100th bird from the 27 yard line).

$60 is only the price of dinner for 30 at McDonalds. Why not give it a try just to put your mind to rest. I don’t think that it will make any measurable difference, but if you have lost faith in the gun, consider this a $60 faith healing.

If you do get your barrel frozen, there’s a Junior Technoid Order of the Palm (third class) in it for you if you send us the before and after tests.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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