The author builds the ultimate custom Glock with a Bar-Sto Match Target barrel. Improved accuracy and spent cases that can be reloaded are among some of the benefits.
In my initial Glock 40 MOS review, I found the big 10mm with 6-inch barrel to be the cat’s meow and ultimate hand cannon for hunting. Now, to finish the project and make it a true custom Glock, I added a Bar-Sto Match Target barrel.
Bar-Sto Precision Machine, of Sturgis, South Dakota, needs no introduction to long-time shooters. Irv Stone III and crew have been producing some of the top-ranking competition handgun barrels for years.
I first learned of the concern while editing Custom Gunsmithing for Self-Defense Firearms by gunsmith Steve Sieberts. In the book, Sieberts sang the praises of the Bar-Sto line of match-grade barrels for the Glock.
“I purchased my Glock in the late 1980s, and I’ve had quite a bit of fun with it in USPSA, IDPA, and many informal practical matches,” wrote Sieberts. “Since that time, I’ve added a few items to it to enhance the pistol and make it more personal and ‘shootable,’ a word which means different things to different people. In my case, one of the first items I added was the superb Bar-Sto stainless match-grade barrel. Being an old Bullseye competitor with the Army Marksmanship Unit, I view accuracy as the Holy Grail, and the match barrel from Bar-Sto is the best there is.”
Bar-Sto offers two 6-inch Glock barrels for the big G40 — a “Semi-Fit” and a “Match Target.” The Semi-Fit version fits most Glocks but may require some careful filing by a gunsmith. The Match Target, however, requires a complete custom fit to your pistol. I simply sent my G40 to Bar-Sto and they completed the job.
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In a former life I was a CNC machinist/tool & die maker, so my comments on the quality of this machined part are made with that context in mind. The stainless steel barrel I received from Bar-Sto could have passed any inspection by even the most anal-retentive of QC managers. It is simply a stunning piece of machining in every way.
The fit locks up like a bank vault with the slide. The finish appears to be precision ground (though I think it was just a remarkable job of hand polishing). The muzzle is target crown cut to promote accuracy and protect the rifling. And the feed ramp is polished to a mirror finish.
Stock Glock Barrel vs. Aftermarket Glock Barrel
The Match Target barrel’s chamber is tighter and deeper than the stock Glock tube. The Bar-Sto chamber mics at .426 inch to the OEM barrel’s .430 inch — or .004 inch tighter. The custom Glock barrel’s chamber is .852 inch deep compared to the Glock OEM’s at .846, or .006 deeper.
The tighter chamber means less brass expansion, which allows you to reload spent brass because it won’t work harden after just a couple of cycles. It also prevents so-called “Glock bulge,” where the rear portion of the unsupported case in the stock chamber expands.
The deeper chamber of the Bar-Sto means more support for the case — something I’ll take all I can get in a high-pressure cartridge like the 10mm. In addition, the depth to which the feed ramp is cut is shallower in the Bar-Sto, thus the chamber fully supports the cartridge.
I’ve already mentioned the fit of the Bar-Sto Match Target barrel to the G40’s slide. There is simply no slop, no wiggle, no monkey business. This is a key aspect of improved semi-auto accuracy and there’s no way to achieve it other than painstaking expert-level handwork with a file … and the patience of a saint.
The real question is, how did the Bar-Sto perform? First, there is a healthy debate in the shooting community about whether hardcast bullets can/should be fired from a stock Glock barrel. No one questions the Bar-Sto’s ability to do it: that peace of mind is a big checkmark in the pro column.
When I tested the stock barrel, two standout loads were the Federal 180-grain Trophy Bonded JSP, and the solid-copper Underwood 150-grain Xtreme Hunter. The Underwood load bested the Federal load in that initial test, but with the Bar-Sto on tap those ranks swapped — group size with the Federal load shrunk, while the Underwood load opened up a bit (at least at 25 yards). Federal took top honors in accuracy.
Here’s a look at the numbers post-Bar-Sto upgrade: Accuracy (precision, actually) with the Federal 180-grain Trophy Bonded JSP improved from a 25-yard average of 1.50 inches with the stock barrel to 1.17 inches from the Match Target barrel, or a 22 percent accuracy increase. The Underwood load went from a 1.24-inch 25-yard average with the OEM barrel to a 1.82-inch average group at 25 yards.
|LOAD||VELOCITY (fps)||ENERGY (ft-lbs)||25-YARD GROUP AVG.|
|BEST 25-YARD GROUP (in.)||BEST 50-YARD GROUP (in.)|
|Federal Hydra Shok 180-gr. JHP||1,030||424||1.27||1.15||—|
|Federal 180-gr. Trophy Bonded JSP||1,338||716||1.17||.89||1.27|
|Underwood 150-gr. Xtreme Hunter||1,425||676||1.82|
|DoubleTap 200-gr. Hardcast||1,300||751||1.62||1.43||3.88|
However, the Underwood’s best 50-yard group improved, from 3.95 inches with the stock barrel to 2.13 inches from the Bar-Sto Match Target. Most likely, more shooting would need to be done to iron out variance in the data set.
When it comes to clobbering a charging grizzly in the backcountry, the ideal load will be a 200-grain hardcast, likely a reload. Based on the performance of the Federal load shot from the Bar-Sto — 1.27 inches at 50 yards — I have no doubt that I’ll be able to match that group size or better it with a carefully handloaded hardcast bullet.
The Bar-Sto barrel improved long-range accuracy, reduced brass expansion to allow for reloading of cases and afforded the chance to shoot hardcast bullets. If you’re planning a custom Glock project, give Irv Stone III and crew at Bar-Sto Precision a call. Of all the aftermarket Glock parts you can add to your G40 or other custom Glock, be sure a Bar-Sto barrel is among them.
Visit barsto.com or call 605-720-4000 to learn more.