During World War II, the U.S. government created the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a paramilitary intelligence unit that conducted missions across Europe.
The OSS was the precursor to the CIA, and the first director of the OSS was William Donovan.
Donovan became a legend as a war hero during World War I, and he is the only person to receive all four of the nation’s highest awards:
The Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal.
While serving in World War I, Donovan and his men ran a three-mile-long obstacle course wearing full packs.
They climbed over walls, under barbed wire, and through streams.
In the end, many of the men collapsed, but Donovan remained standing.
He asked his men what was wrong with them. He told them, “I haven’t lost my breath.”
A soldier shouted, “We are not as wild as you are, Bill.” From then on Donovan was known as Wild Bill.
In 1944, the OSS developed a new pistol for spies.
The pistol was called the High Standard HDM, which was based on the High Standard HD .22-caliber pistol.
The barrel of the gun had 48 ports and Wild Bill enclosed the barrel in a suppressor shroud. Using subsonic .22 ammo with the gun made it perfect for a spy.
Before using the pistol, Wild Bill wanted to gain approval from the president himself, so he arranged a meeting with FDR at the White House.
While FDR was working in the Oval Office, Bill walked in without being noticed.
He placed a sandbag in the office and fired 10 rounds from the High Standard HDM pistol.
He then walked over to FDR and explained to him what he had done without anyone noticing.
FDR was so impressed with the spy pistol that he kept the gun for himself, and it’s on display at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY.
Around 2,500 versions of pistols were made. But it’s estimated that only about 10 still exist in the U.S.
The key to the High Standard HDM pistol was the unique barrel.
The barrel is one of the most important parts of a firearm, and can make or break whether a firearm is good or not.
And this is one of the reasons that it’s important to break in a new barrel.
So, whether you just got a new gun, or replaced the barrel on an old one, there are things you can do to properly break in the barrel.
Why do you need to break in your barrel?
When you get a new gun barrel it may have some imperfections, which could be very tiny, and you likely won’t notice them.
There is no way to prevent this during the manufacturing process – microscopic nicks and holes in the metal, from the machining of the barrel.
They aren’t visible when you look down the barrel, but a break-in process should help fix these imperfections.
Which guns do I need to break in?
A new barrel should be broken in on any gun.
But it’s ten times more important to break in the barrel of the sniper rifle versus, say, a pistol.
You are expecting to make precise shots with the rifle and the slightest nick could change your shot.
But regardless of the gun you’re breaking in, the process can tighten up groups. These are commonly referred to as break-in shots.
A gun (such as a Glock) that is mass-produced is less likely to have imperfections compared to more custom made, one-off weapons.
The mass-produced firearms have the manufacturing process figured out, but there will still likely be mistakes and imperfections from manufacturing.
So, no matter which gun or barrel you get, it’s not a bad idea to break in the barrel.
How to break in a new barrel:
The process to break in a new barrel does take time.
First, buy ammo that is recommended by the gun manufacturer.
When ready, fire one round from the gun. After firing the single round, run a swab down the barrel. Then use a brush to clean out the barrel of any metal.
Then, use two or three patches soaked in bore cleaner and put them through the barrel. After that, push clean dry patches through the barrel until they come out clean.
Then fire another round and do the cleaning process again. I would do this for about 20 rounds.
After firing 20 shots give the entire gun a good cleaning.
You want to let the barrel cool down between each round, so depending on the temperatures, this could be a long process.
Sure, barrel break-ins take time. But when you get a new gun you want to make sure it’s accurate.
No manufacturing process is perfect, but if you buy a quality gun, these steps can help you remove nicks or imperfections and tighten up the accuracy.
Again, this is definitely not as important if you have a Glock or other pistol, and it’s a lot more important with a custom long gun.