Revisiting Gain Twist, Part One

What’s old is new again! An updated look at gain twist rifling.

by Joe Carlos

Some shooters are under the impression that gain twist barrels (sometimes called “progressive rifling”) are a recent invention. They have been around longer than many of us are aware. One of the most famous barrel makers of all times was Harry Pope and he was making gain twists back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Writings from the period say that his gain twist barrels were unsurpassed for accuracy. How much of that tack driving ability was due to the gain twist configuration versus good tooling and a sound work ethic, no one can say.

Given the period in history that Pope was making his gain twist barrels, it is likely they were used a lot for shooting lead bullets. The popularity of gain twist barrels has been like a roller coaster ever since. As jacketed bullets became more popular, there may have been some confusion as to whether gain twist barrels would work with them. Even to this day, I still hear some people questioning if gain twist is just for lead bullets.

Today, gain twist barrels are available for muzzle loaders employing lead projectiles but you can also purchase them for several brands of pistols which will shoot either lead or jacketed bullets and there are US and Canadians firms making gain twist rifle barrels for jacketed bullets.

Read more in our November 2013 issue. Back issues are available.

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