This is a question that can’t be answered without knowing some specific data. Barrel life depends on how many you will shoot, which bullets are used (some are ‘harder’ than others), if you are shooting with maximum or near maximum loads (pressure), if you are so patient to cool off the barrel after some three or four rounds, etc.
I did a lot of shooting with my SAKO and wore out two barrels, one stainless Shilen and one steelmolybdenum factory barrel. With both I shot about 5000 rounds and the OAL became too long, I found a throatwear of about .12”, that is 3 mm in metric and I could not reload to the ‘sweet spot’ any more. I think there is not much difference between stainless or other barrels, fouling will be the same, and so is cleaning.
In general you can shoot with your barrel till accuracy takes off. With a little bit of throatwear you can make your rounds a bit longer, but that comes to an end (case and magazine lenght). If you hesitate about your accuracy, evaluate it over sandbags, 5 x 5 shots, no wind, and compare with the results of the groups (with the same bullet) after you broke in the barrel with some 100 rounds.
Nice day, Jan.
Too many variable to predict a barrel life for any particular gun. Besides that, I suspect that most of the folks who say they have worn out a barrel could have gotten several more years use out of it by simply re-crowning.
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