Shooting Groups With a Rifle that had a Tracer Burn up the Inside of the Barrel; How does it Group?

First Video (What Happened) –

Second Video (Initial Testing)-

Can a rifle shoot well after a tracer has gotten stuck and ignited inside the barrel? That is what we will be going over here.

Recently, I had done a post/video on a squib load that I had fired in my Savage 12FV .308 rifle using subsonic tracer rounds. That post went more in depth on the internal conditions of the barrel before and after the tracer was fired. I did numerous vigorous cleanings and did a pass with the borescope after each cleaning to get a visual of what was happening.

Unfortunately, none of the cleanings really seemed to remedy the issue we had caused in the first place. Although, the barrel sure had a nice polish on it by the time I was done!

So, with the barrel clearly being in worse shape than when we started, I decided to test fire a couple test rounds through it (cleaning and checking the bore afterwards). Now, I admittedly did so from a distance using a string and while hiding behind a very large thick tree just to be extra careful. Thankfully, that was an unnecessary precaution as there were no signs of danger (that I could see) from the inside or outside that would leave me concerned to fire it from the shoulder.

Therefore, that was the next step in the process. I had loaded some ammo for testing using some components I had laying around. I had loaded this stuff up long before I had the tracer incident, so I debated whether I even wanted to fire these in this gun at this point. Nonetheless, the show must go on.

So, the components used in the test you will see in a moment will be listed below for reference.

WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only.  They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours.  Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

Brass – PRVI Partisan (PPU) .308

Bullet – 155g Lapua Scenar

Powder – Accurate 2460 42.5g

Primer – CCI #200 Large Rifle Primer

Seating Depth – Loaded from 2.210” to 2.258” (measured from cartridge base to bullet Ogive)

10 loads with approximately 5 thousandths of an inch differentiation for each load fired. Longest load with about 10 thousandths jam.

The test I wanted to perform had nothing to do with altering powder charge. I simply wanted to tinker with the seating depth and see if it would have any noticeable effect on paper, which obviously now has been influenced by questionable internal barrel conditions. Although, the ammo had already been loaded for this rifle, so I might as well shoot the thing. Five-shot groups were used throughout the entire course of fire.

I set a paper target up at 100 yards and laid out all my gear for shooting, which mainly consists of a shooting mat and sandbag. I didn’t feel like setting up the chronograph because I honestly wasn’t expecting stellar results on paper, but I was certainly surprised with what came next.

The first several groups didn’t really impress me, but they showed that the barrel wasn’t completely ruined. At least the bullets weren’t keyholing. Group 6 and 7, though, they were something to take note of. Group 6 was visibly at or under and inch and group 7 was closer to a 3/4 inch five-shot group. This really peaked my interest, considering what I had done to the barrel just a week prior.

The rest of the shooting didn’t really produce anything noteworthy, but there were a couple of groups that warranted a post after the poor condition that tracer left the barrel in.

So, will a tracer squib load ruin a barrel’s accuracy? So far, I can’t say it has ruined anything yet. There were several groups on paper from this one test alone that left me very underwhelmed with the performance of the rifle pertaining to accuracy. However, factoring in the conditions of the barrel/bore after the tracer wriggled through there and the two groups that shot really well, leaves enough room to speculate that this rifle still might have a great chance to perform in the future. Not to mention, there are much more “match grade” components out there that could be used to give this barrel the best of chances, even though the words “match grade” get thrown around a little too much. The Lapua bullets certainly won’t be discounted here!

Further testing will be conducted with this rifle to see what kind of accuracy we can produce, but for now, we at least know that the barrel still has a fighting chance, and we’ll give it every opportunity to prove itself!

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