Ask the manufacturer.
Ok, I've heard Century uses "the cheapest crap barrels they can get" because they want the most money for the least investment. Century built AKs and VZ2008s don't have chromelined barrels. I understand chromelined barrels have a longer service life. How about the many semi-auto rifles that never had chromed barrels, M1, FN-49, M1 carbine, G-43, SVT, AVT etc. I have heard, from people that know, that Century uses Green Mountain barrels which are made from standard 4140 steel. My question: are Century build barrels soft, cheap steel? Will they wear out in a few thousand rounds as some people say? Are they crap? I would like proof, show me they're soft, cheap and wear out fast. Where's the data? Is this an internet myth?
Ask the manufacturer.
Well some of my CAI guns are well past the thousand rd mark and look new inside and out. I'd say 4041 steel is 4041 steel and green mountain or others I've heard of making barrels are generally thought of as good makers of barrels. It's really the least of my worries.
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HHhhmmm - sounds like the old "Soft Spanish Steel" discussion!
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Do not own a Green Mountain AK barrel, but I do have several Green Mountain barrels on muzzleloaders and they have proven to be excellant and accurate.
I do know that a few traditional shooters are disgruntled because of their concentration on modern military rifle barrels, and have made complaints about the QC of their fit and finish. This may perhaps be some of where this internet chatter is originating.
"Soft steel" simply makes me laugh!
Sure the steel of some old weapons had problems when abused---Many where used 10x there life expectancy because of quanity and parts availabilty, plus using full power (.308) 51,000+/-psi loads in a weapon that was originally made for pre WWI 45,000psi loads...not the steel fault--simply misuse of the weapon in many cases......
Green Mountain barrel on the AK47 I have observed was pretty darn nice piece and the owner of the gun was quit impressed with the non-chrome lined barrel.
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well, ok, laugh at 'soft steel'......if you want. I have seen a tokarev handgun (m57) jamm on a spent case, and it DENTED the slide. The SPENT BRASS CASE dented it badly. Thats called SOFT STEEL. And I for one would not laugh at the idea of century using crap products to build their rifles. I think thats VERY plausible.
barrels are relatively soft, anyways.
I bought a Century WASr 10 recently (within the last couple of months) and mine has a chrome lined barrel! I've heard that at some point Century's WASR 10 imports won't have barrels attached so maybe there is merit to that argument regarding non-chrome lines barrels. But every one I looked at before buying the one I have had a chrome lined barrel.
I concur., barrels are soft in relative terms as their function is to endure heat cycles and flex and fairly high pressures. Have not heard many bad things regarding Century/Green Mountain barrels.
Many folks lump everything they hear ., eg., keyholing Tantal barrels.., to all other products and firerams assembled by Century.
I was in no way saying century manufactured tokarwev slides: I was simply illistrating the fact that 'soft' steel does in fact exhist, and has been used in firearms. So, its not as if its impossible to use steel in a gun that is not hard enough.
Here's some info from the manufacturer of some of the Tantal barrels, Green Mountain. The thread is 4 pages long and BM-ARM-DPMS-guns, general manager of Green Mountain Rifle Barrels replies in it beginning on page 2 with a lot of good info. With testing going on as we speak,(type), with a new chrome lined barrel for us CAI Tantal owners. Mine, an original non-chromed barrel has been problem free so far with probably 800 rounds thru it.
Soft steel generally would refer to non hardened steel which is really only necessary on parts that are subject to increased wear or impact. The old Browning High Powers generally were starting to show wear at 10,000 rounds or so as an example. According to a recent article I read, the american chrome is not as thick as some Warsaw Pact barrels due to enviromental concerns. That being said I would prefer a chrome barrel but it is not essential for me since most modern ammo is non-corrosive and the lands and grooves are sharper on a non-chromed barrel that should produce better accuracy. I'm just lazy and don't clean my guns as often as I should, hence my preference. Keyholeing is the only issue I have heard of with some Century ak-74 barrels perhaps due to barrel dimensions or incorrect twist rate for that bullet weight they are using. Green Mountain has a good reputation as far as I have heard. Hope this helps.
I wonder if bad barrels (keyholing) has become bad barrels (soft steel).
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well, my century '74 (Bulgarian AK-74 "M74") has the non-chrome barrel and shoots like a champ, very impressed with the barrel, not sure if its green mountain or not though
Barrels are not hardened or heat treated, except for some moderate heating for stress relief. The steels used, either conventional or stainless, are chosen for ductility and machinability, NOT HARDNESS.
If you don't believe this then try drilling or tapping a barrel. Then try a hardened part, like a bolt head.
My opinion is that the keyholing problem was the result of the poorly defined 5.45x39 cartridge and an early Century attempt to use 5.56x45 barrels instead of a slightly smaller bore barrel designed for the 5.54x39. The result was some 5.45x39 (the brands Century tested) worked in some of the rifles, some didn't.
And every time there's a quality control problem on some guns, or someone wants to countersell them, the "soft steel" story emerges yet again. As a quality control problem "softness" is limited to Helwans, a few wartime Spanish and Soviet guns, and some of the really cheap Spanish shotguns imported in the 60's and 70s, all may have quality control problems due to either the stress of wartime production under poor conditions or extreme financial problems.
And Green Mountain makes excellent barrels. Chrome isn't standard on rifles built to a high accuracy standard because its difficult to keep the bore lands and grooves to the required tolerances and because resistance to corrosion, a primary benefit, isn't an issue on target rifles or anything else shot with non-corrosive ammo and well cared for.
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The other part of the "Crappy barrels" conversation has to do with the fit-up of the original Com-Block "Kit" parts vs buying commercial parts....
Press fit tolerances are extraordinarily tight... Depending on the fit, you may only have 0.001" total stackup tolerance on parts before they just won't fit at all - either loose/sloppy or just won't assemble/too tight... but that stuff had already been worked out - as the "Kit" had already been a working gun....
The way they dealt with this in "Normal" manufacturing is to grade out parts - and on the AK's you see parts numbered 1 thru 4 or 5.... They would make the parts, QC them, and sort them into bins by size.... This is an indicator of dimensional fit - you match a 1 with a 1 and all is well..... Match a #1 barrel with a #4 trunnion and it wobbles loose....
Well... When they assembled those in the Arsenal/factory - they already selected all those parts properly on initial assembly.... Say your barrel has a #3 sight base, a #1 gas block, and a #4 trunnion.... and the next one down the line has a #1 trunnion, #2 gas block, and a #1 sight base....... No problem in at the Arsenal in Romania - they had boxes and boxes and boxes of all sizes.... You just pull another #4 trunnion out of the box and off you go....
But... What do you do when you are Green Mountain and you are selling a "Standard Spec" barrel to some fellow who has a Kit... and he has no idea what he has.... other than it's "Romanian" - and no way to match it up unless you custom grind the barrel to fit his kit bits...... so either make them all to Nominal - and end up with lots of folks grumbling about loose trunnions.... or you make them all to the Max oversize dimension - and have everyone grumbling about too tight, need to grind everything to fit......
Probably in Century's case - they sent a gazillion kits to an actual smith who mic'ed all the components and jig-ground the dimensions of each barrel to fit the kit dimensions or jig ground each and every sight base, barrel trunnion, and gas block to fit the barrels..... Unfortunately, your average garage kit builder just doesn't have the equipment to do much of that......
I have pieced together many AKM builds from various countries. Many from mixed parts (see the Khyber builds etc,). The mixed tolerances you mentiuon are true of euro/USSR parts production. But really it is no big deal even at a home build. Most components are within an interference press fit and the ocassional loose component may need to be knurled or a tight piece turned or burnished with emery paper. The barrel components tended to run in series as marked on the barrel as 2222 for FSB, GB and RSB and Trunnion journal. Allegedly why the removeable parts were serailized as they also hand fitted the rifles to some degree. Unlike a US made rifle which is built to universal tolerance and the parts are generally not numbered and are virtually universal for fit
Last edited by AKBLUE; 04-19-2011 at 09:17 PM.
Yep, you caught me. I thought the whole "another set of eyes" thing. I hear the soft barrel story on occasion and it bugs me. I just want some real data that Century uses "cheap, soft, junk barrels". I'll believe they use good barrels or bad barrels, just show me some proof. I can't find any specs on AK barrels, so I'm clueless. So far the Green Mountain barrels look good, even without chrome. I know they make fine muzzle loader barrels.
I've been a member here a lot longer than on MDS. Lot's-o smart guys here, and there, me not one of them.
Roshi, do you remember the story of chicken little?
I made that comment as an analogy of how we as a group seem to handle these things. not all of us mind you but a good part of the group goes in that direction when ever there is a problem.