Frequently Asked Questions

Please submit your questions on the Contact Us page.

How do you properly "break-in" a new barrel?
What is Headspace?
What is a Powder Coat finish?
What is Parallax?
What is Color Case Hardening?
What is a Damascus Barrel and why are they dangerous?
Why are corrosive primers/ammunition bad?
Can I dry fire my rifle?

How do you properly "break-in" a new barrel?
Clean after each shot for the first 5 shots. Then clean after every third shot for the next 15 rounds. The remainder of the break-in is to clean every 5 shots for the next 50 shots. During this time, don't just shoot bullets down the barrel during this 50 shot procedure. This is a great time to begin load development. Zero the scope over the first 5 shots, and start shooting for accuracy with 5-shot groups for the next 50 shots.

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What is Headspace?
Simply put, headspace is the distance from the breech face to that part of the chamber which stops forward movement of the cartridge case. Insufficient headspace interferes with closing the gun because it leaves insufficient room for the cartridge. Excessive headspace permits the cartridge case to be unduly stretched or even separated by the gas pressure in firing. Both of these cases are dangerous due the possibility of serious injury during firing, if the gun will fire at all.

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What is a Powder Coat finish?
Powdered epoxy is sprayed onto the metal using an electrostatic process to ensure even coating. The coated part is then baked. During baking, the powder liquifies and sets up. The coating is relatively thick, very resistant to chips and dings, quite scratch resistant, and stands up well to solvents and cleaners.

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What is Parallax?
Parallax is the apparent shift in position of a viewed object attributable to the difference between two separate and distinct points of view. In a scope sight, parallax can cause an aiming error, or parallax error, when the target image is not formed in the same plane as the reticle. The condition may be detected by moving the aiming eye progressively away from the center of the ocular toward the edge of the lens without moving the scope. If the target and reticle shift position slightly relative to each other, parallax error exists and will cause a corresponding shift in the center of impact. The more the eye moves away from the scope's optical axis, the greater the parallax error. Parallax error does not occur when the aiming eye is well centered with respect to the ocular lens, even though the conditions for a potential error are present. With a fixed-focus scope sight that has been factory-set for optimum focus at a specific distance, the potential for parallax error exists whenever the targets are nearer or farther than the range for which the optics were regulated. In most cases, the amount of error will not be significant in the context of normal field shooting. Parallax error can be avoided satisfactorily by keeping the aiming eye reasonably well centered. High-power varmint and target scope sights have adjustable objectives that permit focusing the scope over a wide range of target distances. Focusing such scopes carefully assures the maximum image sharpness and also eliminates potential parallax error at the distance for which the scope is focused. With the scope focused properly, moving the eye off center will not cause a shift in the relative positions of reticle and target, and the center of the impact will not be affected by the shift in the eye position relative to the optical axis.

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What is Color Case Hardening?
Color Case Hardening is a process for the surface hardening of steel that results in a decorative mottled-color finish. This finish is attained by packing the component into a steel box together with a generous amount of charred bone and leather, then heating the entire unit to a temperature of approximately 1400 degrees F for two hours or more. Upon removal from the heating oven the part is quenched quickly in cool, soft water. This hardened "skin" or "case" varies in depth in the area of .005" to .007". This process results in a marbleized red-yellow-blue color and gives mild steel a very hard carbon-steel casing.

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What is a Damascus Barrel and why are they dangerous?
A damascus barrel is made by welding together two or more rods of twisted iron or steel and rolling them into a ribbon. This was then wrapped around a mandrel, hammered flat and made a continuous tube by welding all the edges together. A damascus barrel is one mass of welds from breech to muzzle. These barrels were made for blackpowder ammunition. Blackpowder ammunition produces lower pressures than even low-powered smokeless rounds, and blackpowder cartridges have a different pressure curve than smokeless. Even well-made damascus barreled guns are too light in the breech area, both barrels and actions. Damascus guns are best left over the fireplace.

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Why are corrosive primers/ammunition bad?
For non-mercuric corrosive primers, the primary corrosion culprit is potassium chlorate (KClO3). Potassium chlorate was used as an oxidizer, providing oxygen, to the primer compound reaction. When the reaction takes place, the oxygen is removed from the molecule leaving potassium chloride (KCl). Potassium chloride is a salt much like sodium chloride (common table salt). The potassium chloride reside left in a gun barrel absorbs water from the air and creates a corrosive film responsible for barrel rusting. Since potassium chloride is highly soluble in water, this is the reason why it is recommended that barrels be washed with hot water after shooting corrosive ammunition. It is also recommended that shooters wash their brass that contained corrosive primers in the same manner.

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Can I dry fire my rifle?
Due to different designs of firing pins and bolts, there isn't an easy answer. So rifles (and pistols) are designed so that dry firing will not damage the firing pin, firing pin hole, or bolt. On the other hand, some rifles are not designed that way. Consult the manufacturer or a certified gunsmith on your particular model of firearm. Under no circumstances should you dry fire any rimfire cartridge weapon.

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Tactical Arms Gunsmithing, Inc.
Huntsville, AL
256-651-6622

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