Storm Lake Barrel Review - Pics and Measurements
Ladies, Gentlemen, and 10mm fans... I would have posted this sooner, but I had a busy day at work yesterday so I couldn't post up here. :whistling:
After waiting since mid-November (an agonizing wait I might add) this wonderful little box showed up on my doorstep:
Inside was a nicely packaged factory size replacement barrel for my G20:
I opted to have the barrel black-oxide coated, as I don't want something flashy (especially since this is going to pull full-time duty). The finish is nothing super special, but it seems plenty durable. There is a bit of uneven coloration about midway down the barrel, but I don't care since it's hidden by the slide. It has a tasteful caliber and model stamp on top of the barrel hood, with the model being a bit on the lightly struck side of things. Since it doesn't really show up much, I'm down with it.
Here it is side-by-side with the factory barrel. The finish is much shinier and even on the Glock piece. The Storm Lake barrel is much flatter and uneven finish. But again, I don't care about cosmetics.
What I do care about is chamber support (SL on the left, factory on the right)....
... and rifling.
I even went so far as to mic the chambers to see the difference.
0.006" - quite a difference!
My other observation was that since the feed ramp wasn't cut into the chamber as deeply as the factory barrel, it had feeding issues with all manner of cartidges. None that I had would feed successfully; all would end up with a "three-point" jam, with the bullet nose on the top inside of the chamber, case wall on the feed ramp-to-chamber edge, and case rim against the breech face. A simple slap on the magazine would chamber the round, but this was unacceptable IMHO. I noticed that after chambering, the brass would have a fairly sharp "cut" dug into the side of it from where it was hitting the feed ramp-to-chamber edge, which said to me this edge was too sharp and digging into the case wall causing the hangup.
I put a felt wheel on the dremel, applied a bit of jeweler's rouge, and polished this edge until the surface treatment began to get thin. Took about five minutes, and now it feeds much better (almost 100% hand cycling) without causing any measurable loss in case support. Basically just slightly rounded over the sharp transition edge.
I have yet to shoot it, but plan to by this weekend. I will update with range info when I do.
Until then, my initial impressions are as follows:
-Excellent case support
-tight chamber will extend brass life
-conventional rifling for shooting cast lead bullets
-rifling appears very crisp
-Mediocre black oxide finish
-Not 100% reliable out of the box, therfore not "drop-in" as advertised. If I wanted to hand fit the barrel, I would have bought a KKM.
-Cosmetics overall leave quite a bit lacking considering the $160 price tag.
-Shipping cost was outrageous. "Freight" was $17.00 for a box that tiny and light, PLUS it took forever to ship. Even though UPS had the shipping info on Dec 23rd, they didn't pick it up for 5 business days, and the package didn't arrive until 1/4/12. For that kind of money, it could have been sent 2 day Fedex instead of sitting at a UPS depot for 5 days not moving.
My impression overall so far is that it's going to be a fine barrel for what I want to do with it, but I don't know if I'd order another from Storm Lake. I was not "blown away" by the product at all. I think for my .40 conversion barrel I'll try a blind-marked LW barrel, and for the 6" hunting barrel I'll probably give KKM a try.
That "three point jam" you described is exactly what my LWD 10mm barrel is doing! And a slap on the mag usually chambers the round. Ive hesitated sending it in because Im afraid they'll ruin chamber support.
On the other hand, my LWD 10mm - .40sw conversion barrel has been perfect! The case support isnt really there, but thats never bothered me at all since the only round I ever intend to push very hard is the 10mm...
I hate reccommending a dremel for gunsmith work, but if you have one you might consider picking up some of the small felt polishing wheels and some of that dremel polishing compound to smooth out that transition edge. It didn't take much, and you can't even really see or measure the difference. I would say it is akin to using a pocket knife to cut into sandpaper... you don't want to change the shape of the blade, just take the edge off.
Thanks for the advice. Ive been telling myself I need to buy a dremel ever wince I got the barrel, just been putting it off I guess.
Don't worry, if you are any kind of handyman you will use the dremel all the time for other projects. Probably my first- or second- most used power tool.
My 10mm SL 4.48" also had some feed issues when I got it. Sent it back. They found the chambers was very tight. Polished it and I have had no problems since. Good chamber support even if it's tight.
I had the exact same problem with my StormLake for my G29. I was TOO TIGHT to feed rounds. So I polished it. It still has superior case support but the chamber has been polished a bit.
After about 50 rounds, she ran 100% with everything including lead wide nose and my reloads. So far 900 rounds without a problem.
For my second G29 I did buy a lonewolf; it runs 100% as well.
It's ported; I will be cutting the end off soon..LOL
Take care, Bob
As for my KKM barrel, I dropped it in my G29 and after well over a thousand rounds through it - not one malfunction whatsoever. It's got very good case support and so far is partially responsible for one deer killed (so far).
Same here on my KKM barrels for my G20SF and G29SF -- 100% right out of the box. Even my conversion barrels in .40 S&W and .357 Sig for the G29SF were 100%.
Could someone mic the chamber width and height on the KKM's? My Fusion is about .426-.428 and has been 100%. I'd like a barrel with this tight of chamber that's also 100% reliable. Having to file to fit is fine, but polishing should be unnecessary.
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