Quality control started before the steel left the mills. Test certificates are issued and the steel is now tested and compared to specification.
Steel is cut to various lengths depending on the type of barrel being manufactured from 24″ Sako to 31½” target barrels.
Blanks are loaded into computer controlled electric fired stress relieving ovens and soaked in a controlled environment for a total heat up/cool down cycle of 21 hours. The program cycle is determined by the data from the test certificates.
Barrels are cleaned, faced and centred. Every piece of barrel steel is inspected and a decision made as to which end will be the muzzle and which the chamber. All work from here on starts from one end of the piece of steel.
Drilling and Reaming
Deep hole drilling is conducted on a Howe twin spindle machine using a single flute drill where the barrel spins and the drill remains stationary except for being fed forward at a feed rate of 2/10″ to 5/10″ of a thousandth of an inch per revolution while the barrel spins between 2000 and 6000 rpm dependent on calibre. High pressure cutting fluid is supplied to the drill at up to 1600 PSI 11,000 KpA
Drills from .161″ to 28 mm are used for barrel and action manufacture and some limited engineering work not associated with firearms, deep hole drilling being a speciality of T.S.E.
At this stage, the barrel blank is stress relieved again.
Reaming a few more thousandths of an inch from the inside of the barrel brings the final internal dimension to size. The barrel now is held stationery while the reamer is rotated and pulled through giving a mirror like finish. Pressure cutting oil, fed up the inside of the reamer, flushes out the swarf as the reamer does its job
The adage “cleanliness is next to Godliness” was drummed into me by my mother from when I was a child, but she never realised how true that was until you apply it to barrel machining. A barrel is cleaned and inspected by hand up to 16 times before the customer gets it.
Button Rifling the barrel is once again cleaned scrupulously and solvent dried. Then it is lubricated with a Teflon in suspension which goes in wet and is allowed to dry. A double button system is used in T.S.E. where the rifling section is some .011″ bigger than the reamed hole in the piece of steel and the following smoothing (or burnishing) section just touches the top of the lands after they are pushed up or deformed or swaged into the barrel.
A hydraulic ram pushes the button through the barrel, while the push rod is turned at the twist rate required.
Clean again, inspect Quality Assurance. Insert plugs and inert atmosphere.
Stress relieve again.
Clean again, inspect and saturate in rust preventative.
As much expense goes into the working conditions of the staff as with the equipment and tooling as the final products are only as good as the persons driving the machines. Their attitudes reflect the quality of our products.
The CNC not only does the job faster without an operator (except for loading and unloading) but is consistently more accurate on the sizing and less stress is created by the infinite ability to adjust speeds and feeds of the titanium cutter to match the steel and profiles being produced.
Inspection and Dispatch
Final inspection for straightness is conducted by eye using the light box principle of a century ago. The shadows are monitored while the barrel is slowly rotated.
They are produced from straight drilled holes and kept that way by skilled operators.
Stamping to match the orders and sizing of the barrel.
Linishing of exterior is conducted by hand and this finish cuts down the work needed by your gunsmith while fitting as only a touch-up is needed before blueing or final polishing.
By request or if the barrel is a stainless steel target Games Special, it can be then glass bead blasted to give a stippled anti-reflective finish.
Final inspection, packing and wrapping, ID tag and finally shipment.
Sporting Barrels, Calibres and Twist Rates
The TSE range of calibres, twist rates and off the shelf profiles are changing all the time. Calibres range from .17cal to .50 cal.
Custom Profiling to the customer’s drawing or old barrel or to a known profile (e.g. BSA, Remington, Ruger, SMLE, Longtom ect.) is achieved by (CNC) computer numerical profiling. This means that over 200 profiles are already recorded and may be matched to the customers existing barrel at a nominal charge. This simplifies the installation by the Gunsmith as no stock work is required to be carried out to relieve the barrel channel to maintain the full floating gap between the barrel and stock as the manufacturer intended it to be. All barrel blanks must have 25mm (1″) removed from the muzzle when being installed.
The full range is available in 4140 high tensile chrom-moly steel (blued) and 416 stainless steel . All barrels are made from steel which has been supplied from the mill in a stress relieved state and to a specification to match TSE’s developed criteria. In the process of manufacture a minium of (2) two more stress relieves are conducted inhouse using the latest in computer controlled, electric fired, stress relieving oven.
Custom design for the unusual request may be as long as 800mm (31 1/2 “) and a maximum diameter of 50mm (2″) in both steels. Don’t hesitate to ask for the seemingly impossible, TSE management enjoys the challenge…
He who has never made a mistake has never made anything.
Many things have been developed by persons who were not smart enough to realise that they were impossible.
Calibres and twist rates
All barrels are available in chrom-moly (blued) and stainless steel except 17 and 20 calibres which are stainless steel only.
Off the shelf barrels are 660 mm (26″) long.
Custom profiling and length up to 800mm (31″) are available upon request.
Every blank as supplied should have a minium of 25mm (1″) removed from the muzzle when fitting.
17 (stainless steel only)
8, 9, 10
20 (stainless steel only)
8.5, 10, 12
.22 Rimfire Match (221 groove dia)
7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14,16
most popular twist
243 (6 mm)
8, 10, 12, 14
for >105gr most popular twist for PPC
257 (25 cal)
8, 9, 11
270 (27 cal)
7, 9, 10
10, 12, 13, 14
7.62 mm Target Specs
8, 10, 12, 14, 17
most popular twist
9mm (356 Pistol/Revolver)
35 (357Pistol or Rifle)
10, 16, 24
7, 12, 18
16, 20, 36
Sold by the inch
Running In and Cleaning
Running In an New Barrel
All new barrels should be properly run-in. The procedure involves frequent cleaning for the first 50 shots or so and is accomplished as follows:
Clean the barrel thoroughly with Sweets, leaving it in the barrel for no more than 15 minutes, after each individual shot for the first 5 shots.
Clean the barrel thoroughly with Sweets, leaving it in the barrel for no more than 15 minutes, after firing 3-shot groups for 5 groups.
After patching out the Sweets, clean again after each group with a good powder solvent. Clean the barrel thoroughly with Sweets, leaving it in the barrel for no more than 15 minutes, after firing 5-shot groups for 5 groups.
After patching out the Sweets, clean again after each group with a good powder solvent.
If the barrel is cleaning easily and there is little or no fouling, proceed to clean at the end of every range. Powder fouling should be removed first with a good solvent, then copper fouling removed with Sweets, patching out after each solvent, then powder solvent should again be applied.
Due to the individuality of rifle barrels and those cleaning them, cleaning procedures can vary considerably. These cleaning procedures can be effective in most cases but it is difficult to measure this effectiveness.
Copper fouling can generally be seen as a copper wash at the muzzle and shown by chemical reaction with copper solvents (ie Sweets shows as a blue colour if copper is present). Powder fouling is a far more insidious problem in so far as it is hard to detect. Some barrels may tolerate far greater levels of fouling than others before accuracy is noticeably affected.
The major problem we have today is powder fouling. To ensure that it does not affect the rifle’s performance, the following cleaning instructions have been developed, once the barrel is properly run in.
At the end of every range and preferably while the barrel is hot, using any good powder solvent, pass a solvent patch once through the bore and clean out just prior to shooting the next range.
At the end of the day, pass a powder solvent patch through the bore and leave for at least 30 minutes. Dry the bore out, clean thoroughly with Sweets, leaving it in for no more than 15 minutes. Dry the bore, apply more powder solvent and leave overnight. Patch out the barrel until the patches come out clean. Make sure the chamber is clean and dry. Apply a light oil to a patch, pass it once up the bore and the rifle can then be stored.
To gain maximum effect, it is essential to apply the solvent while the barrel is hot and the fouling is soft.
Prior to any further shooting the bore is to be cleaned. The size of the patch must be such that it is firm in the bore.
Some evidence of copper fouling will nearly always be evident in a barrel and is normally only very minor. These traces of copper in a barrel have no effect on accuracy.
Copper fouling is best removed with Sweets, but it should only be used following removal of powder fouling with a powder solvent. Patch out again with powder solvent after removing the Sweets.