Aftermarket bore finishing
Related to the previous post on the topic of factory bore finishes, I'd like to examine the matter of aftermarket finishing.
Some of this conversation will assume a working knowledge of previous discussions and testing on barrels.
In short, Punkworks' testing seems to have shown that barrel bore finish doesn't matter so much unless the bore is particularly nasty, such as the Tribal they used that had finish variations and overspray in the bore.
At first glance this seems to suggest only what they have concluded. But closer consideration suggests something else. If most of the bores they tested have a vaguely similar finish, then of course there shouldn't be much variation until you get a barrel with much poorer finish.
But the simple fact that the finish made a difference in that case tells us that bore finish does make a difference, presumably in every case. It's just that with a relatively homogenous pool of finishes, the differences will not be pronounced, and will therefore appear to be nonexistent.
But what about a superfinished bore?
Whatever else may be said, there can be no detriment to a highly refined bore, and there may well be some benefits, simply by virtue of removing as many lumps, bumps, and undesirable barrel/paint interactions as possible.
In the previous thread, there was a notation of some of the barrels brought to you by some of the fine MCB folk here, and the high quality of the bore finish in those barrels.
Presumably these barrels are desirable not simply because MCB folk put them out (I haven't sold a single one of my unsanded balsa wood barrels to date :( :rolleyes:). Rather, they are desirable owing to some difference, whether real or perceived, in performance.
We've also got some threads on the matter of using high grade flex hones to improve bores.
I'm skeptical about every aspect of this whole question, but the lack of any real testing here bugs me. We cannot say that, because no data exists, the phenomenon does not exist. That is logically fallacious. Moreover, the low end of the spectrum has been demonstrated in the performance of the infamous Tribal barrel. Which means there ought to be another end of the spectrum.
So why not test standard factory barrels (including good aftermarket barrels) against identical barrels that have had their bores highly refined?
We might even control for loss of material and the increase in bore size that might accompany it.
But I'm talking about exceedingly fine polishing (as, e.g., the finest grade of jeweler's buffing compound for starters), which shouldn't do too much dimensionally.
Anyone ever done this, or thought about it?
Or general thoughts on the principle itself?
Start measuring paintballs with a caliper and record the variation in size. Now take into account that some are oblong in either direction. Then consider that the size of the paintballs can change throughout the day. Then consider all of the small variables involving the paintball gun and how many inconsistencies there are from shot to shot. Then consider the relative distance that paintball is played at.
I think at the most you could get a slight (5 - 10 FPS) boost in velocity.
I think your points are valid. But really, your still using paintballs. To get any noticeable benefits from a "super finished" bore, paint consistency and marker operational consistency would have to rise to extremely high levels of quality. That would cost money.
I support the testing and comparison of barrels, don't get me wrong. Its all very interesting to read about. But we all use regular paint. Its almost like were trying to manufacture barrels for real guns!
I just think that paint and marker companies will need to raise the bar if we want to see a variation in results.
Ah... Out come the naysayers. I wish these people had better contributions to offer the community than just telling actual contributors that they're wasting their time.
The idea makes sense to me if a poorly finished barrel functions poorly and a finished barrel functions better taking it to its natural conclusion a super finely finished barrel should be better. I haven't heard of any company putting that much effort into their barrel bores but anyone that has been playing for any length of time will agree that a Lapco is finished and shoots much nicer than a stock A5 barrel (my personal benchmark for awful barrels) so either it is all marketing or we've all seen at least some difference. I'm not mechanically inclined and even if I had all the tools and materials I'd probably end up with a pile of burning metal flakes but I'd love to see the results if anybody had the materials and time to put into this little experiment.
My old skool Dye Stainless automag barrels are both literally mirror finished on the inside and flawless, to the human eye anyway. I literally can't see how they could be any smoother, or how being even fractionally smoother would improve any performance when shooting something as inconsistent as a paintball.
However, if you've got the skills, tools, and the will to do it then go for it! I don't want to be the guy on the sidelines telling Wilbur & Orville that "this probably won't work, so just don't try it."
My thing with barrels is that after shooting a couple hundred balls, no matter how smooth the barrel finish, it tends to get that thin coating of oily residue from the paintballs themselves as they travel down the barrel. That residue has to create friction and hurt performance to some small degree, and I would think it render any fractional performance improvement in barrel finish that you seek almost moot.
Furious lotus barrels advertised an extremely high finish... Sub 1 micron, when I had talked to their rep.
The oil adherence is a good mention. I remember theorizing on the potential to actually increasing friction by increasing the surface finish.
I actually have taken brass freak inserts where the internal finish was not to my liking and polished them using jeweler's rouge until they were nearly mirror smooth.
The finest grade of jeweler's compound I think is close to toothpaste and would take forever to do anything with (in the opinion of a jeweler friend that I actually asked).
Also note that it seems that the paintball version of smooth is many times "not really smooth", as anyone who's ever bought used paintball equipment should be able to attest to. So one guy's "smooth" is another guy's "WTF?"
Unfortunately, lacking a proper test facility, I don't have any data. Too bad too. I have all the procedures and stuff worked out.
I have had this scenario in mind for several years. Some anno guys I have used do not seal off the inside bore of the barrel when stripped and annoed. I had a barrel tip done for my Shaft 4 and it was left raw, unfinished inside. I have had several other barrels come back after anno like this also. I believe Ive only had one anno guy that didnt ruin the inside finish. I have no definitive testing with any recordable results but I can tell you with 100% certainty that the Shaft 4 barrel with a stripped bore tip does not shoot the same as the polished bore tip. I have 2 tips, one good and one I consider bad, that I interchanged with the same back and used the same paint just to see if there was a difference. I believe the more polished tip shoot more consistent over my chrono and possibly a little more consistent for shooting straight. I really dont consider straight shots a factor since ball size plays into that. I guess what I always really wanted to know in all of this , is it possible to get a barrel redone after anno to get the high polish back?
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