Douglas Barrels... how good are they?

breamfisherbreamfisher Senior MemberPosts: 13,167 Senior Member
Just wondering. Browsing the interwebs, it seems Douglas barrel blanks are used on the Army Squad Designated Marksman rifles and Mk 12 Special Purpose rifles. However, I really can't remember folks here on this forum reccomending Douglas for any sort of rifle builds. Lilja and Kreiger usually get the nod (and they're used on other military marksman rifles,) but hardly ever, if ever, Douglas.

Am I remembering wrong, is there something I'm missing, or something else?
Overkill is underrated.
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Replies

  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,100 Senior Member
    They are a good barrel.
    All of the ones I have shoot very well.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,950 Senior Member
    I've heard more than a few folks complain about their inconsistent QC. I've only ever dealt with one though(bought it for my dad) He's been pleased with it on his 308.
    Personally, I'd rank them better than a factory barrel, but not quite to the level of a Lilja, Kreiger et al.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,167 Senior Member
    Well, poking around some more, it seems that the SEALs developed their own rifle because they weren't satisfied with the Mk 12 SPR. Can't find the reason why, could be too heavy for the job or have some undesired features? Or maybe poor accuracy? I don't know.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    Knitepoet beat me to it, and he's entirely correct and perhaps even a little too gracious.

    There are many barrel companies out there, ranging from mom&pop shops to full-blown factories. You also have a similar range of quality in their offerings.

    Some gunmaking companies have acquired equipment to make their own barrels using the hammer-forging technique. One company that comes to mind to illustrate that is Ruger. They used to acquire barrels from Douglas and other similar outfits and the quality was inconsistent, to put it charitably. Once they started hammer-forging their barrels, the quality and consistency of their barrels improved. That hammer-forging equipment is expensive, but once you have it, it makes very good barrels, very quickly. So in this example, I dispute Knitepoet's assertion that Douglas makes barrels that are better than factory. Or at least, it's not every factory.

    I do not know how Douglas rifles their barrels, but since they do not talk about hammer-forging (and you would expect them to say so if they did) and they do not mention cut-rifling (and again, they would probably say so if they did,) my guess is they button rifle their barrels. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, since other companies use button rifling to great success, but Douglas is just not know or recognized as a premier barrelmaker. When you want to find out which are the topnotch barrelmakers, you turn to the competition shooters and see what they use. There are many different makers represented they, but Douglas along with Lothar-Walter are noticeably absent from the line and that should be a sign.

    We can discuss rifling techniques, pros and cons, but at the end of the day, you want to be sure you will get a great barrel. Products from Douglas and Lothar Walther are hit-n-miss; you get what you get. They can produce great barrels and they also produce noodles; you are never sure. On the other hand, if you buy a Krieger or similar, you KNOW it will be a great barrel.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    Well, poking around some more, it seems that the SEALs developed their own rifle because they weren't satisfied with the Mk 12 SPR. Can't find the reason why, could be too heavy for the job or have some undesired features? Or maybe poor accuracy? I don't know.

    I have no clue why the SEALs developed their own rifles and if it was due to their dissatisfaction with the barrels. I am not now, never was, and never wanted to be a SEAL; I'm just a competitor who only needs the very best in accuracy from my barrels (rifles and ammo, etc.) My application is much more critical; if I have a bad shot, I will lose points which cannot be made up. A SEAL can simply take another shot from their automatic weapons.

    :rotflmao:
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,919 Senior Member
    Douglas used to be the premier American barrel maker. But in the last 20-30 years have fallen from grace. I don't know if they've changed ownership or what, but they aren't what they used to be. But then again, when they USED TO BE, they didn't have near as much competition, so they probably looked better. Back not that many years ago, only serious bench shooters and competitors needed or demanded really good barrels. Remember, it wasn't that long ago that a 1.5 inch group was thought to be great. Now that range of accuracy is mediocre at best. Shaw is a run of the mill barrel and it leaves Douglas in the dirt. Shilen makes decent barrels but their main line product is NOT looked on as the Holy Grail, by anymeans. But Douglas doesn't even get on the bus with them. I know they have some talented people working for Douglas, but they need to get with the program and improve their operation and QC.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,740 Senior Member
    I have about a 30 year old Douglas barrel chambered in .35 Whelen. It shoots well, but I probably wouldn't consider another one. The reason for this one is that it was a gift from my friend who built the rifle for me. Wasn't about to turn that down.

    A fine hunting barrel, it's proven to be.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,550 Senior Member
    Like any company, there are levels and you get to pay for them. Most people don't pay for a Douglas Air gauge so they are getting a std bbl. Kreiger also makes Criterion, less bucks and not as fine a bbl.

    A Douglas bbl isnt a Hart or Lilja and you wont pay the rates for it either. How many people shoot well enough to justify a top of the line bbl or will ever use the additional accuracy that it will deliver?

    My hunting sporter wears a Air gauge and it has been doing its job for close to 30 years now.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,919 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    I have about a 30 year of Douglas barrel chambered in .35 Whelen.

    Like I said in my post above, 30 years ago, Douglas was America's Premier Barrel. But the Competition has gotten stiffer. Also, I will agree as Varmintist said, there are different levels of all brands of barrels. I've heard that Douglas Supreme is still doing it well.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    Some people also buy a Suburban with a squared-off body called a "Hummer" and pay big bucks for the privilege of feeling superior to the peasants. A lot of the difference in perception is just the brag factor of buying the name. I doubt that 90%+ of the guns the pricey barrels are installed on go to shooters who can benefit from the extra manufacturing processes to get the premium performance. They can brag about it on an internet forum where the vast majority of their readers could care less, though!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,919 Senior Member
    Actually, I have three different brands of aftermarket barrels. I have a 25 year old E.R. Shaw on my .280 Remington on a Mauser action that shoots great for a hunter. I have two Shilen Match barrels on two of my recent builds, the .257 Bob AI and the newest, the 9.3x62 built on a Ruger 77 Tang Safety model. And I have one Krieger barrel that I like on my .250 Savage. Now that rifle shoots! But they all have better than acceptable accuracy.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,919 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Some people also buy a Suburban with a squared-off body called a "Hummer" and pay big bucks for the privilege of feeling superior to the peasants. A lot of the difference in perception is just the brag factor of buying the name. I doubt that 90%+ of the guns the pricey barrels are installed on go to shooters who can benefit from the extra manufacturing processes to get the premium performance. They can brag about it on an internet forum where the vast majority of their readers could care less, though!
    Jerry

    In actuality, any of these aftermarket barrels probably stands a good chance of being superior to a factory barrel. You can buy a Savage 110 in 30-06 made on Monday and the same basic rifle made on Wednesday, and they may shoot like they're two different brands and models. One may shoot a 1 MOA group right out of the box and the other may shoot 2 inches. I would always say on average an aftermarket barrel will be more consistent. Why? Because they're not making 10,000 of them a day. Shaw, Douglas, Shilen, Krieger, all of them have higher barrel standards than factory gun makers do. But can most of us take advantage of this extra care? To be truthful I can't say that. I will say my Shilens and my Krieger are pretty consistent, I can pretty well shoot MOA with em on most days, but they can't make up for my eyes and my caffeine induced tremors and allow me to shoot 1/2 MOA or less :rotflmao::rotflmao::rotflmao:
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    Like any company, there are levels and you get to pay for them. Most people don't pay for a Douglas Air gauge so they are getting a std bbl. Kreiger also makes Criterion, less bucks and not as fine a bbl.

    A Douglas bbl isnt a Hart or Lilja and you wont pay the rates for it either. How many people shoot well enough to justify a top of the line bbl or will ever use the additional accuracy that it will deliver?

    My hunting sporter wears a Air gauge and it has been doing its job for close to 30 years now.


    Nope. While Criterion was started by folks at Krieger (notice the spelling), they are two completely separate companies.

    Criterion barrels are button rifled and Krieger barrels are cut-rifled.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,740 Senior Member
    Douglas Barrels.

    Good enough for hogs.

    WhelenFTX.jpg

    Good enough for moose.

    securedownload-1.jpg

    Probably not a bench rifle barrel.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,075 Senior Member
    I've used them on most of my customs. Got no complaints. I like the barrel contours.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,311 Senior Member
    I am not a competitive shooter, but I've read that hammer forged barrels rank no 3 in desirabilty. No 1 being cut rifling, not 2 being button cut, and three being hammer forged.

    Also, the SEALs spr 12 has a douglas barrel.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,167 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »

    Also, the SEALs spr 12 has a douglas barrel.
    Hmmm. I hadn't read that.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    I'm not all that up to speed on this subject, but what Gene L says rings true with what I know and believe based on my experiences.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,167 Senior Member
    If I had the inclination, I have a Foxfire book that describes and shows HOW to cut rifle your own muzzleloader barrel.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    You'll find that in Vol 5, bream. My friend, Hershel House covers it pretty well.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,167 Senior Member
    I know, I have volumes 1 through 12.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    I have a Foxfire book that describes and shows HOW to cut rifle your own muzzleloader barrel.

    Before the recent computer crash I had pictures of that type of machine set up at last year's Contemporary Longrifle Association show in Lexington KY. It's really a pretty simple machine with a wooden spiral working through a push/pull system, running a single-point cutter through a barrel blank. Once a single groove is cut to the desired depth, the cutter is moved to a different position and another groove is cut.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,167 Senior Member
    Yessir, that's the picture they have. Were I to find the time, I'd think that would be a neat project to do. But, I don't have the time.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,509 Senior Member
    SPR = SPECIAL PURPOSE RECEIVER...

    IT was not a stand alone weapon system until later and there are few differ mods out there. The Rangers and Navy Special Warfare community use one, and Greenie beenie guys use another. and I think there is another one out there for the D boys...

    This weapon started as an upper that would shoot a 77 grain round and then evolved into a full blown weapon system.

    Close to 30 different firearm and firearm accessory manufactures have part of this weapon...

    And yes the Barrel is douglas with a special contour. I don't know why, but douglas got the barrel contract for several weapons in the start of the war...and this was a period when Shooter's choice meant SHOOTER's CHOICE!! So Douglas has to be doing something right....

    I have held two of them, I have seen a few shot, but I have never gotten to shoot one myself...ugghhh
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    On the other hand the only Douglas barrel I ever owned is now a tomato stake; it was on a Ruger M77V and was replaced by a Broughton. Now that rifle can SHOOT.

    As for the desirability ranking that Gene talked about, there is a little more to it than that.

    It depends on what use you will make of the barrel.

    If you are a competitor (high precision stuff) and you need the best possible precision from your rifle AND ammo, you can spec out a barrel to your exact specifications and have it rifled in one of two ways: single point cut or button. With either of these methods, you can get the exact rifling you want. A match barrel is then lapped after the rifling operation, to bring it to the exact bore size while providing for the smoothest finish possible. I have cut-rifled and button-rifled lapped match barrels and I can tell you that done properly, there is no difference. However, that said, when I built my current F-TR rifle from the ground up, I selected a Krieger cut-rifled barrel and its next barrel will be the same.

    Competitors (F-class or benchrest) do not usually select hammer-forged barrels, because you cannot get these barrels to your exact specification unless the manufacturer has the mandrel for your twist rate. I also do not think they can lap these barrels, unless of course they use an undersize mandrel.

    For a hunting, military, even a "sniper" rifle, I would first go to a hammer-forged barrel.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,167 Senior Member
    I know that Kreiger can make special bore and groove diameters, do other cut rifled makers offer the same options?

    Also, Pegasus, did you order a .300/.308 or did you go somewhat tighter to get more velocity?
    Overkill is underrated.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    I believe many do. I selected a straight .300/.308 but in a 32 inch barrel. This keeps the pressure in check and allows the hefty charge of Varget to push the bullet another few inches. Since the only gun handling I do consists of loading the rifle onto my cart and taking off the cart to place on the position, I'm happy with the longer length. I'm even considering ordering the next barrel in 34 inches.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,167 Senior Member
    Okay, thanks on both counts of info. I knew you had a long barrel. I guess we all have our compensation methods...
    Overkill is underrated.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    Just like with a camera lens, it's not the length of the barrel that counts, it's how you use it.

    But in mind, having the barrel do the work preserves case life and my shoulder.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,311 Senior Member
    SPR = SPECIAL PURPOSE RECEIVER...

    I thought it stood for Special Purpose Rifle.

    Hammer forging was used in Germany prior to and during WW II. It's a quick way of rifling a gun barrel, although expensive to set up. Every American manufacturer except Savage uses it now, so I've read. Savage button rifles their barrels, and I think this adds to their accuracy.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
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