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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

After waiting far too long, I finally got my new XCR-L out to the range for the first time. I made sure the gas was set to 4 like the instruction manual says, and fired a three round set at 50 yds. I couldn't really call it a grouping, because although I was on the paper, the rounds were all over the place. The logical assumption was that it was me, so I gave the rifle to someone who is a very good shot. Same thing. It had a "grouping" about the size of a pie plate. The spent casings were being ejected about 30-35 feet, and the mouth of the casing was bent to resemble a crescent moon. (Sorry, no pics.) I turned the gas down to 3 and then 2, and that really helped with the casing damage, but accuracy was still not good at all. At 100 yds, (with an EoTech & 3x magnifier) the best grouping was about 4-5 inches. I only put 50 rounds down range that night, so there is still a lot of breaking-in to do. My two questions are: 1) All other things being equal, will the rifle's inherent accuracy get better as it breaks in? and 2) Should I leave the gas setting on 4 for the break-in period and not worry about how far the casings are being thrown and/or what is happening to them. (If it helps with the problem solving at all, it is in 6.8 SPC)

On the plus side ... 3 of us shot the rifle that night and it left all 3 of us with big grins. What an incredibly fun gun to shoot! :D
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Hoag,

Just a few suggestions before you try again...

1. REALLY clean it thoroughly before you go back out there. The XCR can and will run dirty and can take a lot of abuse, but you want to break her in gently. Get all the carbon, brass chips, unburned powder and crud out. Be careful with the bore, but keep going until it is buckingham palace clean.

2. Actually use a torque wrench to tighten the barrel bolt back on, 200 inch-pounds, or 16.67 foot pounds. Apply a witness mark to bolt and lower with something like nail polish or mechanic's dye marker.

3. Check the alignment of the gas tube (holes down), regulator, and the piston, gas collar, spring and bolt. Other folks have gotten brand new rifles where things just weren't drilled or aligned correctly from the factory. Now that was years ago but anything mechanical can be made incorrectly, be meticulous, if something is wrong, it can be corrected but only you can spot a potential problem like that.

4. Check the buffer, that's the rubbery horseshoe on the front of the stock assembly. Running at "4" will beat this component up but if you want it to shoot well across a wide variety of ammunition types and barrel lengths, you've got to break it in at "4". You can always replace it and they aren't that expensive. Loctite your ejector screws too.

5. Lube it up thoroughly, preferable a few hours before you go loud. Any sort is fine, the manual suggests LSA but really anything is ok, CLP, rem-oil, SLP 2000, synthetic non-detergent motor oil, Just don't be stingy.

6. Shoot slowly. You can (and should) test every magazine you own but I would suggest letting the barrel cool inbetween shots. A few guys and gals on this forum do the Camp Perry-style barrel break-in routine; shoot one, then clean the bore and bolt after every shot for 5 shots, (5 cleanings) then shoot 5, clean, repeat for 50 shots (10 cleanings) then shoot 10 shots, clean, repeat for 100 shots (10 cleanings). That is how palma and bisley rifle owners treat match barrels, with some variations. The XCR doesn't have a match barrel but you won't do anything but help it be as accurate and long-lasting as possible by proceeding this way.

7. If you can, shoot at 50 meters instead of 100. Use a sandbag or bipod if you aren't well-practiced. At 50, a normal XCR should be capable of a 2 or 3 inch group with even the worst ammunition. Naturally if you have any Winchester white box or american-made brass-cased, non-corrosive ammunition this might help by removing one unknown variable from the problem. A 1/9 twist barrel will like 55, 62, 64, or 72 grain ammo best to stabilize but at 50 meters it won't matter much. Expect to mangle brass at this gas setting.

8. If it still shoots terribly, come back to the forum and we will all pitch in to help.
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Ghost-6 seems to have said it all.

My only addition is: listen to what the rifle is telling you. If you're flinging brass 30+ feet, turn the gas down. And I would double check that barrel tension.

Dented case mouths when on a high setting for break in does seem to be normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Buddy & Ghost, thanks. I did put some different ammo through it, but all good quality "factory loads". I put 20 rounds of 110gr Hornady BTHP, 20 rounds of 110 gr V-Max, & 10 rounds of Remington 110gr Open Tip Match.
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Right, all good choices on loads. So we can rule out craptackular ammunition (and wild variations in gas pressure and muzzle velocity) as the source of poor groups. Pick whichever you have the most of and just shoot that one type next time you go. Big name commercial match loads are usually very consistent, much better than surplus, and nearly as good as handloads.

After some inspecting and maintaining, get back out there and let the hot lead fly! 6.8mm has excellent accuracy potential and unless something is really broken or installed incorrectly, your rifle should tighten up and start performing admirably. The general concensus has been that because it has a lot of reciprocating mass sliding back and forth, the XCR isn't quite as accurate as a direct-gas impingement rifle like an M4 or M16. But because it is made better, has a more flexible gas system, thicker barrel, and much-improved trigger, it can out-shoot most other piston-type rifles like AKs or Galils. Because it is a little company, Robinson makes some rifles better than others. But a good break-in is KEY. Pretend its a Ferrari, enjoy, but be cautious and follow the manual until the break-in interval is complete.

Keep going! And check to make sure your sights are nice and tight. I use regular M16A2 sights and I routinely have to tighten the Allen bolts back down after a few hundred rounds. If those things start coming loose you WILL be all over the page, even if you shoot like Carlos Hathcock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Back at the range tonight. Swapped out the EoTech for an Aimpoint PRO. Much better on the accuracy side of things, and the cases seem to be less damaged. (I still don't think I would want to reload with them.) Thanks for your help in sorting this out. Now the big problem is that I don't get to shoot it as much as I'd like. (When I go to the range the other people look at it and go "Cool! Can I try it?") Its a great feeling to be the "kid with the coolest toys on the playground", so I let them. After tonight, 3 people were talking about getting their own XCR.
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Happy to help. LOTS of us have needed a hand getting the XCR to perform at its best. When she's all broken in, put the paper out at 500 meters and see how it prints. 6.8mm is still supersonic at that distance, see what happens. I'm not a superb marksman by any measure, but at 500m with an Elcan DR 1.5x-6x and a rock creek bipod, I can stay on the "echo" target. Enjoy the luv.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

As expected, shooting it at "4" for the break-in did in fact beat the crap out of the buffer. It self destructed at the range tonight. I didn't notice till after I was done shooting and was cleaning the XCR that the buffer was nothing more than a couple of loose pieces of rubber. So, where can I order a new buffer? Is this something that I could pick up where I bought my XCR, or would Kermit or Naval Beaver would have it, or would I have to order it from RA? Can the gun be used without it?
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Busy with vacation but get me your info and i can get you a price with shipping on saturday. Think i have a few in stock.
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Not sure what Kermit or NavalBeaver are asking for buffers price-wise. I keep 4 spares, including 1 inside the pistol grip (Magpul MOE). Don't shoot it without one! And while you've got it broken down, look for dents, dints or scratches at the rear of the receiver and on the tail-end of the bolt and spring guide. Its probably fine, I did the same thing when I broke mine in with 5.56 parts in, but inspection for unusual wear is a good habit to form now and stick to.
Also, check your ejector screws, if you are still breaking it in, torque those guys down tight (they seat into helicoils) and paint a witness mark to see if they start backing out. They should have been red-loctited at the factory but check for yourself.
Did the accuracy improve? Are the brass still denting or deforming the same way? 200 rounds might be just right for break-in but some rifles need more. The manual says your rifle is "good" after gas setting "2" pitches the brass 8-10 feet from the rifle, but you may need more break-in time to get there. Groups should have tightened up by now too, how do they look?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Once again thanks for your advice. OK one item at a time.

Naval Beaver: I was able to track some down through a Canadian Distributor. This means that I won't have to pay duty, or worry about them being held at the border. I am going to be in Florida in a couple weeks, so I figured I get them while I am in the US, but for now, I found a "local" source. Thanks though, I appreciate you stepping up.

Ghost: I ordered 3, and as per your advice, I think I will keep a spare in the hand grip. I definitely will not shoot without one. I did not see any obvious damage, but in the last magazine, I had two FTFs (using 110 Gr Hornady V-Max). The rounds were ejected, examined, and then fired without incident. To piggy back on what Buddy Chryst said earlier, if I listened to what the rifle was telling me, this might have been the first clue that something might not be totally right. (These were the only 2 FTFs I have had after 180 rounds.) I am still breaking the rifle in, so I am still shooting it with the gas on 4 (180 rounds, so I hope to be able to lower the gas setting next time I can go to the range). As for the brass denting, that seems to have stopped after about 100 rounds, I think it could have been directly related to the tight fit of everything before the break-in really started. It is still "launching" the brass about 10-15 feet in the air and about 20 feet from the rifle. In some cases, the brass is clearing the fence on the range. The accuracy seems to have gotten better. I haven't gotten to the "big" range since the first night, and it is hard to tell on a 25 yard range on base, but I am getting groupings a little bigger than the size of a quarter @ 25 yards, so at 50 or 100, they will all be on the paper which is a LOT better than what I was getting the first night. You mentioned to make sure the ejector screws are tight. At the risk of sounding really dumb (which I am), specifically, which springs are you referring to?

BTW, one of the things I really like about this forum is the willingness of those with experience to help out us new guys. Nobody around here shoots an XCR, so it is nice to have someplace to turn to for advice from someone familiar with the gun.
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Remember, the break-in is an estimate. If I were you, I'd turn the gas down. If you're throwing brass 20 feet or more and destroyed a buffer, the rifle is telling you it's overgassed.

The break in is to prevent malfunctions from happening when you start off as parts wear against each other a bit. Some rifles need it, some don't. Some might have an issue that break in won't resolve.

In my completely non-expert opinion, switch to setting two and see how it shoots. If its still slinging brass quite a distance, go to one. If rounds are only going a few feet, bump back up to three. If its just right, you got your sweet spot.
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

I'm going to defer to BuddyChryst, he has been at this racket longer than I have. Try it his way and see if that does the trick. You may be done breaking it in already.

Regarding the ejector, it is the metal origami piece bolted inside the right side of the upper receiver. There are 2 light-colored bolts, 5/32s if memory serves but I may be mistaken. Those 2 bolts hold the ejector inside the receiver with just enough clearance so it doesn't rub the bolt as it reciprocates, but close enough that it ejects the spent round as it is extracted from the chamber out the ejection port. These are nearly always treated with red loctite at the factory during assembly, but checking that they're snugged down tight and hitting each one with a witness mark is a good step to make right now while the rifle is still new. Some very early XCRs had bolts come loose from the helicoils but that has not been a common complaint in a rather long time. That said, anything can be manufactured imperfectly, so take a look. I happen to like white nail polish as a witness marker, paint a narrow strip over the bolt onto the receiver inside surface and you'll be able to tell at a glance if anything is coming loose.
 

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Re: Break-in issues (Accuracy & casing damage)

Ghost-6, I really like your witness mark idea. I do it all the time as an electrician terminating lugs on bus bars, but for some reason never thought to do it to my rifle. Good call!
 

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Hi all, I know this is a very old thread but I just recently bought an XCR-L and shot it for the first time the other day. I had the gas set on 5 and then turned it down to 4 and put about 50 rounds through it at 50 yards with both 55 and 62 grain.

All shell casings were ejecting out about 20-30 feet, with a dent on one side at the mouth/neck area looking like a crescent moon. Is this normal? Should I worry about this potential issue damaging my rifle? I just want to make sure I get it checked out or resolved before pumping anymore rounds through it. Any help is much appreciated as this is my first rifle!

Thank you!
 

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Hi all, I know this is a very old thread but I just recently bought an XCR-L and shot it for the first time the other day. I had the gas set on 5 and then turned it down to 4 and put about 50 rounds through it at 50 yards with both 55 and 62 grain.

All shell casings were ejecting out about 20-30 feet, with a dent on one side at the mouth/neck area looking like a crescent moon. Is this normal? Should I worry about this potential issue damaging my rifle? I just want to make sure I get it checked out or resolved before pumping anymore rounds through it. Any help is much appreciated as this is my first rifle!

Thank you!
Over gassed....SeanK is the expert, hopefully he'll be along shortly....providing the first 2 numbers of your serial number may help, the gas systems have gone through a few generations now. We know there was definitely a qc issue in the past (with respect to port sizing). If you can measure the size of your ports, I can link you to his post on the correct sizes.

*Edit, In case I don't check back fast enough, here's the post with the gas port info https://www.xcrforum.com/forum/15-field/12188-xcr-factory-custom-port-specs.html
 

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Over gassed....SeanK is the expert, hopefully he'll be along shortly....providing the first 2 numbers of your serial number may help, the gas systems have gone through a few generations now. We know there was definitely a qc issue in the past (with respect to port sizing). If you can measure the size of your ports, I can link you to his post on the correct sizes.

*Edit, In case I don't check back fast enough, here's the post with the gas port info https://www.xcrforum.com/forum/15-field/12188-xcr-factory-custom-port-specs.html
I think he's squared away in one of his other posts about the case damage...........
 
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Thanks for the info guys. The first 2 numbers in my serial number are 11. Not sure if this helps diagnosis but next time I shoot I plan to try shooting gas level 3 all the way down to 1 and see how it looks and report back. I was shooting accurate the last time but it was just showing those dented casings at the mouth.
 

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Thanks for the info guys. The first 2 numbers in my serial number are 11. Not sure if this helps diagnosis but next time I shoot I plan to try shooting gas level 3 all the way down to 1 and see how it looks and report back. I was shooting accurate the last time but it was just showing those dented casings at the mouth.
That's an OG XCR with, what I'm assuming is, a 1100 S/N and not an 11,000#. It's probably just overgassed. Does it have a Type 1 block? I don't remember where your other thread's at or if you mentioned the gas block type.
 

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Hi Sean, it actually is an 11,000 serial number. I've attached a picture of the gas block..looks like a Type 3 based on research done. Wood Air gun Trigger Machine gun Shotgun
 
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