Ruger Precision Rifle with Proof Barrel
It’s hard to boil down what I did into a 3 to 5 minute video. I shot a lot, more than once. In fact I made two trips to the range to film this because it was so hard to express the results in a short video. Needless to say, I easily went through a case of 308, and a case of 260REM Prime ammo documenting this article.
Since going to the Proof Research factory I have read a lot about their barrels, very little of it matching my own personal experiences. I currently own 3 Proof Research Barrels including my newest on the Ruger Precision Rifle.
Right out of the gate I started off running this rifle hard. Immediately after zeroing I started doing long, hot, strings of fire. The idea, to see what it can do, and find out where the limits are.
Ruger Precision Rifle
Magpul PRS Stock
LRI Bolt Shroud
Proof Research 20” 308 Carbon Fiber Barrel
Nightforce ATACR 5-25x F1
There is a ton of anecdotal information out there. There is even more bad information from guys who claim to “know” Carbon Fiber simply because they used CF brakes on a car or motorcycle. In other cases they might have used it much in the same way guys make Kydex Holsters. Having spent several days at both Proof Research and Christensen Arms going behind the scenes, I will tell you the two are not the same. The biggest misconception involves the heating and cooling of the barrel, or in short, how the barrel will react to the heat.
Both Proof Research and Christensen Arms have an AeroSpace division. I toured the Christensen Arms plant where they make all sort of carbon fiber components for a host of aircraft including the Space X program. Proof Research has their AeroSpace division in Ohio, so while I was not able to see their AeroSpace plant, I did receive a 4 hour presentation by one of their PH.Ds who detailed their applications in things like Satellites and Aircraft. The Proof Research application in this area specifically revolved around heat from both aircraft engines and from the sun in space. Suffice to say, they know heat and how Carbon Fiber reacts to it.
Without getting into the weeds, there is a bit of secret sauce with each of them. They are different in that Proof uses a Rifle Cut Barrel vs the Button pulled Christensen Arms. They also wrap the barrel different. So how you attack this problem is multi-faceted, there is no single answer, clearly. Lastly, the Resin is a big part of the secret sauce. Each is unique to the company utilizing it. They give you very little details on the resin, as each has a proprietary formula designed for them. It’s mainly with the resin when we are talking Gen 2 vs Gen 3 Proof Barrels.
For me, it was simple, use barrel just like anyone out there would, while at the same time, push it harder than your typical string of fire.
Being a Match Director with the Sniper’s Hide Cup for many years as well as being a Competitor in several recent PRS Events. I know where the limits are, as well as what the cadence should be. A moving target is typically 10 rounds per stage with a 90 second par time. However you can increase that to 20 round in about 3 minutes. By running 60 rounds in quick order I was able to get the barrel heated up around 180 degrees during more than one sitting.
Heat is a killer when it comes to rifle barrels. We know this, which is why guys dislike long, fast, strings of fire. So, trying to determine where the limit was for the Proof Barrels or to see if they “Wandered” as many have noted was important. Do the barrels actually walk under stress ?
The temperature both days I tested this was over 90 degrees out. The Barrels just sitting out in the sun were over 110 degrees. So it wasn’t very hard to heat them up. The question was, does the barrel wander or do you get too much mirage before hand making it impossible to remain accurate ?
Mirage, Mirage, Mirage
This was easy, the barrels performed flawlessly, both at distance and on paper. I never saw the barrel walk or wander on target. The heating was consistent through the entire barrel as the CF moved the heat uniformly across the entire barrel vs cooking it from the chamber out. In fact the chamber area under the scope averaged about 5 degrees cooler than at the muzzle near the suppressor. The suppressor during this test reached temperatures over 350 degrees. You have a much bigger issue with that collecting heat than the barrel. In fact if you watch the video, the barrel was quickly cooling even in the summer heat while I talking. They easily dropped 10 degrees just measuring. The suppressor held the heat much longer and the temperatures were much higher than the Proof Research Barrel. So you have to take into account the use of the suppressor on the exposed barrel test. The Ruger Precision Rifle with no suppressor, and with the handguard blocking the mirage was much easier to shoot harder. In other words I never ran into the heavy mirage issue like I did on the 260REM rifle. Exposed barrel vs protected barrel. This is one of the things we see with the Cadex Competition Stock, the handguard does not vent above, they block the holes you find near the top. A built in mirage band.
Under the conditions encounter the mirage became noticeable and detrimental to accuracy around 165 to 175 degrees. Even using a 16x scope, the mirage was the deciding factor. Under normal shooting, even unloading a 10 round magazine as fast as possible, the mirage was fine. It was around the 55 round mark that the mirage became unbearable. Between 20 and 40 rounds of quick shooting, the mirage was no worst than a summer day. These temps are far below the suppressor temperatures.
Nobody is gonna shoot 40 rounds as fast as possible, and pushing it to the 60 round mark was a complete waste of ammo.
Shooting 2 full 10 round magazines was not problem, then taking them time to reload them, allowed enough cooling to reset the temperature to a moderate level.
Mirage accounted for the loss of accuracy, not the barrel. Hell, if you look at any winning F Class shooter out there with their 55x scopes they use a mirage band after shooting only 20 rounds of slow fired ammunition. So clearly this is something you can notice even with a steel barrel.
I filmed everything, boiling it down to less than 10 minutes was hard. Initially my optimal demonstration was around 15 minutes but that is far too long to sit through.
So, next time someone says the Proof Barrel doesn’t work, ask them if that was first, second or third party information ? Because I know a lot of very good shooters using Proof Barrels, and they have all reported excellent results that go beyond your typical Facebook post from a guy who thinks they are too expensive to try.
Bottom line, my Ruger Precision Rifle with Proof Research Barrel is a hammer. The rifle is superbly accurate, it’s consistent at distance, and acts like a custom barrel should. It’s easily an upgrade over the factory barrel and balances the rifle out nicely. So if you want to save a few pounds, experience first class results downrange don’t worry about what the Facebook experts tell you, Carbon Fiber barrels work.
In fact I have a Hardy Carbon Fiber Barrel for my Tikka Project Rifle…. stay tuned.null