Forcing Cone Finish


Dear Technoid,

I recently sent a set of barrels from an old Beretta 682 trap gun to Briley. I wanted longer forcing cones which is what I received. Problem is that the forcing cone area is now “dark” as compared to the rest of the barrel. To me this means they were not finished to the original shine that I expected.

A call to Briley was interesting. They claimed that the finish I was seeing was the best they could do and wouldn’t effect anything. They also stated that no one refinishes elongated forcing cones to the mirror finish of the rest of the barrel. Intuitively I believe this is B.S. but I am in no position to argue since they are the “experts”.

I recently purchased a brand new Beretta 682 combo for trap and imagine my surprise when I looked down the barrel and saw that the forcing cone area of these brand new barrels were also “dark”.

My question is- I want to send out these barrels to lengthen the forcing cones since I believe it is the only modification worth doing. The problem is where to send them. Am I being too anal retentive in expecting the forcing cones to be as smooth as the rest of the barrel? Especially since the factory leaves them rough. If not can you recommend a shop that will do the job and polish the area to my high standards?

I believe that Beretta has chrome plated barrels and it appears that they cut the forcing cones after they chrome the barrels, hence the rough appearing forcing cones. Could this be possible?

Any light you could shine on this matter would be much appreciated.

Thank you!
Jerry

Dear Jerry,

Welcome to the real world. Here’s the deal on forcing cones as I see it: Aftermarket lengthening of cones is harder than it looks. Anyone can ream them. It is the polishing that causes problems. Unless you have an extraordinary local gunsmith, this is a job for the people who specialize in it. While Briley has always done perfectly adequate skeet tube and backboring work for me, most people who have had them do cones feel that the work is adequate, but not stellar.

The problem with polishing cones is that the shorter they are, the harder it is to get the polishing stones in there correctly. The longer the cones are cut, the easier the polishing becomes.. That is why these shops should actually be charging you LESS for their longest length cones, not more. Krieghoff factory long cones have always been done right.

Actually, Beretta comes with pretty long cones right from the factory when compared to Browning. I don’t really think that lengthening them further does much. I forget whether it was Baker or Roster who felt that cones longer than 1-3/4″ gave no additional advantage. I think it was Baker. To me that is not true. The longer the cone, the easier to polish.

The bottom line on polishing cones is pretty simple. Do they pick up excess plastic and lead or not? That’s it. After that it is just cosmetics. Remember too, due to the angle of the cones compared to the chamber and the barrel, the cones are always going to look somewhat darker.

As to chrome lining of barrels: I have a couple of FNs with chromed barrels and all my Berettas are chromed inside. The factory forcing cones on all these guns are fully chromed. There would really be no purpose in cutting the cones after chroming. This IS done by some gun makers in the choke area though. By cutting the chokes after the chroming, the lack of chrome in the chokes makes later choke alteration easier. Parker Repros were among the makers who did this.

There it is: the long and the short of cones.

Best regards,

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

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1 Response to Forcing Cone Finish

  1. Bill E. says:

    Brownells sells a set of flex hones that I have used on many barrels. Using the semi coarse, followed by the fine grit flex hone will give you an extraordinarily smooth finish. I think they do a final polishing better than the typical stones but don’t have any evidence other than the appearance after use. They are a bit pricey but one set can be used for many barrels if stored properly. You can not damage anything in their use and just follow the simple instructions.

    I think it is the best way to make those dark forcing cones look their best. I would be surprised if the use of the flex hones would not brighten those forcing cones to look like the rest of the barrel.

    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/shotgun-tools/barrel-hones-accessories/shotgun-barrel-polishing-flex-hone–prod647.aspx

    https://www.brownells.com/UserDocs/Miscellaneous/Flexhone_Firearm_Information.pdf

    Like

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