At Camp Atterbury this summer during the 2017 NRA National High Power Rifle Long Range Championships, I was able to observe first-hand the latest and greatest from Bartlein Barrels. The Jackson, WI-based barrel maker―well-known for barrel uniformity and bore finish that is second to none―sent lathe operator Brady Westling to be on hand at the event, selling the quality barrels for their best customers: precision long range rifle shooters.
Bartlein is owned and operated by shooters who have been in the business of barrel manufacturing for nearly 15 years, and in the firearms industry for 30 years. The company built their own state-of-the-art cut rifling machines, which can hold uniform twist rates to ten-thousandths level (four decimal places) accuracy.
Brady said: “Bartlein Barrels was started in 2005 by Tracy Bartlein. He had an idea for a different method to rifle barrels―single-point cut rifle barrels on a CNC rifler. They are made one groove at a time and it is all controlled by direct CNC input.”
Depending on contour, 6 mm and 6.5 mm, Medium Palmas, Palma blanks, and M24 sniper system barrels are high-demand Bartlein products. Brady added, “We mostly do bolt-action rifle barrels for the precision crowd.”
2017 NRA Long Range Rifle Champion John Whidden swears by Bartlein Barrels. “I won the big 2017 Berger SWN match in Phoenix, AZ, shooting two Bartleins. One is the Palma rifle, which I think is the best Palma gun I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some good ones. The second is a .243 and I missed a tie for the National Record by one X.”
Left: The 300-yard rapid fire team target during the Hearst Doubles Match at the 2017 National Matches, a 200-10X. Right: Hanne Brantner and Brady Westling, "The Right Twist 2". They placed 19th overall and fourth place civilian.
Brady is a service rifle competitor, and is Distinguished for both rifle and pistol. This year, he and his teammate Hanne Brantner shot a 585-22X at the Hearst Doubles Match, finishing in 19th place out of 304 teams, and additionally winning fourth place in the Civilian category. Brady’s service rifle (pictured at the top of this article) is a tricked-out AR-15 chambered in .223 Wylde, Gain Twist 1-8 to 1-7.7 20-inch Bartlein barrel, DCM Geissele trigger and Vortex PST 1-4x riflescope. Brady said, “Some of the best scores I have ever made have been with Bartlein barrels.”
The accolades for Bartlein Barrels don’t end there. Shooting Sports USA author and Camp Valor Outdoors Chief Operating Officer, retired Col. Denise Loring (U.S. Army Reserve) uses the company’s barrels. Loring was High Woman at last year’s National Trophy Individual Match―she was using a rifle equipped with Bartlein’s Gain Twist barrel.
With testimonials like that, it’s easy to see why there is such a high demand for these barrels. Just when you order, don’t expect to see your shipment arrive for a while―there’s currently a 6-8 month delivery time, depending on caliber. You have to wait for perfection.