In fact, the ability to use cartridges with non-jacketed lead bullets may be the greatest practical benefit of conventionally rifled barrels. If ammo is scarce and you can only buy or barter for cartridges with lead bullets, or you?re a reloader who uses lead bullets to keep costs down, conventional rifling is an asset. Also, conventionally rifled barrels made of stainless steel, or that have been chemically hardened or plated with hard chrome, will have good usable barrel life.
Nevertheless, cold-hammer forged barrels with polygonal rifling are more durable, stronger, easier to clean, and retain their accuracy much longer than any other barrel. And, in a pinch, you can even shoot lead bullets through them, just not too many between cleanings. But since most cartridges for target and self-defense have jacketed bullets, this "limitation" of polygonal rifling is mostly theoretical. And the problem can be avoided entirely by purchasing a conventionally-rifled replacement barrel.
For someone whose practice regimen is an occasional trip to the range, the type of rifling doesn?t matter since they will never shoot enough rounds to affect the accuracy of their weapon. But, for those who practice frequently, or who plan to compete in practical shooting matches such as IDPA or IPSC, a hammer-forged barrel with polygonal rifling will last longer with less maintenance.
Note from the Editor:
Thanks to the United States Concealed Carry Association for this important article. To stay informed about concealed carry please click here for their free newsletter The Armed American.
This is where we can talk about our guns. I'd particularly like to see reviews and range reports of your guns, especially if it is a model that others may not be familiar with.
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