Mcgowen Barrel Reviews

Redbeard88

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I was wondering what you guys have experienced with Mcgowen barrels.

I bought a 7 SAUM from them. My load development with 162’s resulted in 3-shot groups that were over 2”.

I tried 184’s and ended up with 3 shot groups that were barely under an inch.

I had expected better performance from a “custom” barrel. However, my expectations may be unrealistic.

I would like to hear some others guys experiences lately, because I am debating about ordering another barrel from them.
 

eoperator

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No experience with McGowen. Might want to try deeper seating depth, 162s in my 280ai like .09-.110 jump.
 

gumbl3

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It's been a minute, but I bought a 6.5x284 pre-fit that shot well under an inch once I got the right recipe.
 

Tullis94

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I wouldn't be happy with that. I don't know what your expecation is but it should shoot better than that. I have done load development on 1 mcgowen and 1 carbon six which is a mcgowen blank. Both in the last year. 1 was a 7 saum. They both shoot 5 shot groups in the 5/8 area or less which is about as good as I can realistically shoot. They also shot about everything I tried under 1 inch.
 

AM_Hunter

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Bought a Mcgowen custom barrel for my .300 WM a few years back when I didnt know much about anything with custom rifles (still dont). Havent shot it much but it shoots like a dream when I do. Consistently hitting steel at 900 yards with factory ammo. With the break and heavy bull barrel it kicks like a .223 too.
 
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Redbeard88

Redbeard88

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I actually sold the 7 SAUM barrel due to a lack of components. That being said, after doing load development I definitely wasn’t happy. It’s sounds like you guys have had good experiences. So maybe they are worth another shot.
 

ResearchinStuff

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take a look at what the pros use for prs, or what the top gunsmiths/custom builders in the country are spinning up, and you'll find zero mention of mcgowen.

IMO, they're a replacement barrel, like a pacnor, not a custom barrel like a bartlien, kreiger, lilja, etc.
 

Wrench

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take a look at what the pros use for prs, or what the top gunsmiths/custom builders in the country are spinning up, and you'll find zero mention of mcgowen.

IMO, they're a replacement barrel, like a pacnor, not a custom barrel like a bartlien, kreiger, lilja, etc.
That's not completely accurate. I bought a bunch from a well known smith because he bought a huge pile. Neither of us have had duds to my knowledge. I've only had one dud barrel so far....and it was one of the most famous for "the best"....it can happen.
 

HandgunHTR

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I have a McGowen 260 barrel on a Rem 700 right now and have had 2 on XP-100s in the past. I have yet to find a load the 260 doesn't like. That being said, I am not looking for BR accuracy, but everything from 120s to 143s have shot below or just over 1".
The XPs also shot great. One was a 7BR that I only shot 145 grain RCBS cast bullets in for silhouettes and it got me my first unlimited Big Bore 40 and kept me there for as long as I shot it. The other barrel was a 7X47 that shot 120 grain BTs into tiny little groups.

Overall, for a button-rifled barrel, I would say they are near the top. If you want to spend the money on a cut-rifled, hand-lapped barrel, be my guest. I have a few of those too and they shoot quite well.

Honestly, it comes down to how much money you want to invest in your next project. The results may not be significant enough for you, but they may be.
 

Tullis94

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All barrels brands will have duds. Whether it is the barrel or the smiths fault. The last 2 cut rifling barrels I've dealt with were from a very well known maufacture. Both were less accurate than many "replacement barrels" I have used.
 

Wapiti1

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I wouldn't judge any barrel with less than 100 rounds through it.

I've put 6 McGowen barrels on rifles and they have all been good shooters. Or at least as expected. Not all of these were precision firearms. They are one of the easiest companies to deal with when it comes to custom contours.

I'll not wade into the debate on best barrel makers. McGowen makes a quality product on the whole, IMO.

Jeremy
 

AkMtnRunner

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McGowen recommends a break in procedure on their barrels. Did you do one?
 
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Redbeard88

Redbeard88

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I have heard so much conflicting information on Barrel break in I don’t even worry about it. The other factory guns I have all shoot great and I have never done a break in.

From what I am hearing from you guys I will probably give Mcgowen another shot.
 

MuleyFever

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Break in has been widely debunked in my opinion. Way to may people just shooting and having great success to prove any correlation between accuracy and following break in. Same goes for cleaning.

I just got a McGowen and its taken a few trips to find the sweet spot for my particular bullet powder but I dont have any complaints.
 

Wapiti1

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I have heard so much conflicting information on Barrel break in I don’t even worry about it. The other factory guns I have all shoot great and I have never done a break in.

From what I am hearing from you guys I will probably give Mcgowen another shot.
Barrel break in isn't what people think most of the time. They think there is some regimen of cleaning, etc that one must adhere to for the first X number of rounds. Break in happens whether you clean it or not. It's just the process of the burrs from chambering being removed from the throat. Might take a few rounds, might take 50.

That is why I said to shoot 100 and evaluate then.

Jeremy
 

AkMtnRunner

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The reason that I suggested breaking in the barrel is from two sources. First, there’s a theory out there that the way the barrel was rifled determines if break in helps. Buttoned rifles, like McGowen, is one of these. Today there are several good cold hammer forged rifles out there like Tikka and Ruger that shoot very well for their relatively low price, which don’t need break in according to this theory, and propagating the opinion that break in is a waste. I came across this info on Joseph von Benedikt’s podcast from March 11, 2021. https://open.spotify.com/show/1o8I0vZkNgYXZBlr84ZcYl?si=LV2iv-L6T7WeP_AeEe1l0A

Second, McGowen recommends a break in. I’ve learned to trust the manufacturer of these types of precision tools.
 
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gbflyer

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I’ve got one. It shoots well considering I chambered it myself. They cannot follow directions when you order a barrel. In my case the fluting didn’t end as specified, in others they blow the contour dimensions. The service after sale was dismal. I won’t order another one but I certainly cannot say that it’s a bad shooter.
 

kevlar88

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I ordered a prefit from them last year for a x-bolt in 300 win mag with a 9" twist. It screwed right on and head spaced perfectly. Took a few tries to find the seating depth that the 212 eld-x wanted but it's now under MOA off of a bench and bags.
 

BigSky

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I have had nothing but exceptional service from McGowen and nothing but exceptional performance from their barrels. It's only a sample of 4 or 5; but, that's been my experience.
 
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