What makes a rifle a rifle? Simple, its rifling. Not to be flippant, but quite literally the spiral grooves running the length of the bore are the defining features of the firearm. And dang important ones at that. Perhaps few things so drastically affected (positively) firearm performance than the 16th-Century innovation.

Nowadays, given modern manufacturing processes, there are many ways to outfit a barrel with rifling. The above video showcases perhaps the most dramatic method — the cold hammer forge. Produced by Ruger, the clips shows the company’s massive hammer forge in action and glory, not to mention some other steps in the process of producing a rifle barrel. In this method, the rifling is pounded into the bore through the use of the hammers and a carbide mandrill, which has a negative of the rifling pattern.

Interestingly, the barrel stock is actually over bored before hitting the forge in anticipation of its diameter shrinking with each blow of a hammer. What happens to the inside of the barrel, however, isn’t the only enthralling aspect of the process. Equally intriguing, the barrel comes close to its final dimensions — length and diameter — with its trip through the powerful and violent machine.

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  1. I guess I am average Joe. I have 4 of the Ruger American centerfires. A 223, a couple 7mm-08’s long and short barreled and a 30-06. I am covered for just about any hunting I will ever do. I have never been and likely never will be able to buy a top dollar rifle, so stop dreaming. The accuracy is excellent in my Ruger’s. They look good. I purchased the tan colored adult stock from Ruger ( around $55.00 each) for two compacts I bought. They are fairly rugged and do what I need them to do. Most of all, they are in my budget range. I shot a monster 10 point whitetail last year and he didn’t complain. Glad I made the purchase.

  2. Hammer forged barrels (Hammer fudged) are a low cost cheap way of making barrels. Custom gunsmiths do not use this type of barrel for making extremely accurate target arms. The hammer forged barrels are noted for throwing shots as the barrel warms up because of all the stress on the barrel when it is made. Another problem with hammer forged barrels is that unless the mandrel is relatively new and in good shape you often get a very rough internally rifled barrel. I have seen some barrels made with old mandrels that were so rough they looked like they had corrosive ammo fired out of them which in tern causes rapid build up of accuracy destroying metal fouling. Do to cost the mandrel is often used way beyond its useful service life which produces an inferior grade barrel for extreme accuracy. For a hunting rifle blaster, the average Joe, whose skill level is low and whose ammo is usually not of match grade, this type of barrel will not make much of a difference one way or the other as it keeps the cost of the new gun low and Joe Public is happy as long as the price is low and the gun goes bang.