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Proof Research Carbon Fiber Barrel

If you want a lighter weight rifle, swapping out your all-steel barrel for a carbon fiber barrel is a great way to go. If you’re recoil conscious and don’t want to lighten-up your gun, a carbon fiber barrel is still an excellent option. You can have a light barrel and a heavier stock, bringing your rifle’s center of gravity closer to your body. Faster start. Faster stop.

If that sounds good, PROOF Research is your new best friend — especially if you’re a Savage bastard. The company now offers pre-fit carbon fiber barrels for Savage rifles. [Press release below.] Specifically those chambered in threaded in .223, .243, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×284 Ackley, 6.5×280 Ackley, 7mm REM MAG, .300 WIN MAG and .22-250.

Savage with PROOF Research carbon fiber barrel (courtesy

Go for it at But be prepared: the barrels run $846.99. Worth it?

Columbia Falls, MT (June 27, 2016)  PROOF Research ( announced today that they are offering pre-fit carbon fiber barrels for the Savage rifle, one of the most popular platforms for gun owners to customize. The pre-fit carbon fiber barrels from PROOF Research can be installed without the assistance of a gunsmith, although some special tools are required.

“By designing a carbon fiber barrel specifically for this platform, we’ve made it easy for Savage owners to extract every last bit of accuracy and handling performance from this iconic rifle,” stated Jason Lincoln, VP of Engineering and Product Development at PROOF Research. “Our barrels are up to 50% lighter than steel barrels of similar contour and cool 60% faster than stainless steel, resulting in virtually no point-of-impact shift during high-volume strings of fire. We believe there is no better choice for the custom gun builder who wants to build a precision long-range rifle.”

For the last several years PROOF Research has been proving that carbon fiber-wrapped barrels aren’t just a lightweight alternative to traditional steel barrels, but that they provide superior performance, including extreme accuracy, and unprecedented durability. By combining their unique manufacturing process with advanced technology composite materials and thermo-mechanical design principles, they’ve accomplished what others have failed to do in the past—match-grade carbon fiber barrels that weigh a fraction of traditional steel barrels while compromising nothing.

The pre-fit carbon fiber Savage barrels are currently being offered by Stocky’s ( and arrive threaded and chambered in a variety of calibers including 223, 243, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×284 Ackley 6.5×280 Ackley, 7mm REM MAG, 300 WIN MAG and 22-250.

About PROOF Research, Inc.
PROOF Research is a science-driven defense/aerospace company based in Northwest Montana committed to developing next-generation materials and composites to produce carbon fiber barrels and weapons systems that lighten warfighter load while increasing durability and effectiveness. PROOF Research’s goal is to make reduced weight, unsurpassed durability and match-grade accuracy a reality for all its customers.

Headquartered in Columbia Falls, Montana, PROOF Research maintains sales and manufacturing centers in Montana and Dayton, Ohio. For more information, please visit the company’s website at

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  1. One of the country’s best riflesmiths, told me to RUN from Proof barrels. Their glue breaks down quickly and they fall apart.

  2. Wow, 900 dollars for a barrel…. I can rebarrel my Savage .338WinMag in a sporter weight bbl for half that price and have lotsa $$$ left over to buy ammo, scopes, etc

    • This sort of thing is WAY out of my ballpark, both in terms of price and precision, not to mention the need for shifting the rifle’s center of gravity.

      But I suspect the market they are trying to reach already has all that other stuff – high-end rifle, high end scope, plenty of ammo. For the rest of us it’s just something to admire when we have the chance to see it in action. Maybe the shooter’s version of a trophy wife.

      • It appears to me that their target market is a) military operators, b) extreme hunters (eg, sheep, goat and the like to have to haul their butts up the sides of mountains).

  3. Question: Do carbon fiber barrels react like regular steal when viewed by X-ray? Could you have a magical gun undetectable by say TSA?

    • It’s got a thin steel barrel at the core, wrapped in carbon fiber. So yeah, it would still pop up.

      I know it was sarc but I get like addressing it anyways.

    • No, what you’re looking for is the Savage 7. It has a porcelain barrel made in Germany that doesn’t show up on TSA scanners and it costs more than what you make in a month. 😉

    • This steel core is a wonderful thing, carbon fiber it horrid at dealing with sliding friction, it doesn’t get along with other things sliding on it. It is phenomenal in regards to tensile strength. I assume that’s why they use the steel core. Best of Both Worlds

  4. Isn’t carbon fiber an insulator? And isn’t heat build up bad for a barrel? I get that it’s a bolt gun barrel, but surely the heat isn’t good for it.

    • I would have to imagine that this is a concept that is left to long range or scout rifles for the most part. If you plan on doing any type of sustained fire you are going to want something a little more substantial but for this application, carbon fiber makes sense. You get a lot of rigidity out of a material that is a fraction of the weight of steel. When hunting or taking one or two precision shots, having the weight be off the fore end of the rifle is going to help fatigue and make humping the rifle back and forth a whole lot less difficult.

    • Carbon fiber is (usually) an electrical insulator. For thermal conductivity, it’s not so bad compared to some other materials we find on guns. The numbers below are mostly from Wikipedia; units are watts / (meter * kelvin). Higher is more thermally conductive.

      Carbon fiber 21 – 180
      carbon steel 36 – 54
      stainless steel 16 – 25
      aluminum 50 – 110

      In the case of the metals, the thermal conductivity is highly dependent upon the alloy in question. In the case of carbon fiber, it depends upon the exact form of carbon (carbon nanotubes can have thermal conductivity over 3000), how the cloth is woven, how the cloth is layered, and the epoxy used as a binder.

      Also, if the carbon fiber barrel has a larger diameter than the steel barrel, all else equal it will run cooler because it has a larger surface area from which to dump heat into the air.

    • Depending upon the type of carbon fiber, it can conduct heat quite well. There’s broadly two types of carbon fiber: “Pitch” and PAN.

      Pitch carbon fiber can conduct heat rather well.

      PAN CF can achieve high Young’s modulus – perhaps higher than steel’s.

      PROOF doesn’t say which/what they’re using. They just toss around marketing buzzwords like “aerospace grade,” “match grade” and so on.

      They talk about “specific strength” and “specific stiffness”… which are nice to know, but… unless you’re an engineer, you probably don’t realize that these ratings are gamed a bit by the lower weight of carbon fiber. Balsa wood has a higher specific strength than steel when you’re using it with the grain. I don’t think we’re going to be making rifle barrels out of balsa wood any time soon.

      Marketing buzzwords really annoy me. Their web pages are positively littered with them. In gun buzzwords, “match grade” is one that really sets me off. “Match-grade accuracy…”

      Really? What sort of match? F-class? Benchrest? OK, now I’m listening. 3-gun? Pfft. You can use just about any barrel in a 3-gun match. “Match grade” is perhaps the second most abused term in the firearms industry today, the first being “tactical.”

      When a barrel manufacture talks about their barrels, I would much rather know whether their barrels are air-gaged, and to what level? Are they lapped? How was the rifling cut? What type of rifling is it? Are there two grooves, four grooves, six grooves? Do they offer 5R rifling?

      They do tell me one detail I like to know: What sort of steel do they use? 416R is just fine – it cuts nicely, with HSS or carbide tooling, and I don’t need to order carbide reamers to put in a chamber.

      • You and I may want to hear those details, but the general buying public merely wants to be reassured that they’re buying the latest and most operational accessory available. One reassures them with buzzwords.

        Right or wrong, they’re gonna use every meaningless (to the congnoscenti) marketing term about match-grade-championship-level-performance they can throw in. That’s who they’re selling to and it demonstrably works. You will buy or you won’t on facts, there’s no need, let alone desire, to ‘sell’ you.

        • They *love* to use ‘Mil-Spec’, a useless term considering *everything* the .mil buys has a military specification, including buckets and mops.

          It’s fun to tweak electronics sales-droids on that one. “Mil spec? Really? Got the component chain-of-custody docs here for me to inspect?”

  5. Not excited about it. First they brag about how it is great for rapid fire, then tell me I should use it for long range precision stuff ( which is not rapid fire.)

    Secondly, my guess is a rigid bull barrel is going to be so much better, accuracy wise, than a micro pencil barrel with some covering (any covering.)

  6. Ummm, no .308? Also, I’d like to get some independent assessments as to accuracy. Savage is known for making supremely accurate barrels at good prices. One of the main reasons I bought a Savage was for their barrel. I’d need to be convnced that the production runs of Proof barrels are as good as the production Savages.

    • If you are running 308, there isn’t much need for a longer than 20″ barrel. The listed calibers all get a nice sweet spot in 26″ and up. That’s 6″ more of weight savings. Think of it as weight saved per dollar spent on optimal barrel length. The 308 would be hard to justify.

  7. Hmmm.

    At the expense of these barrels, with the additional complications of holding the barrel in a lathe without damaging the carbon fiber (it can be done, it will just raise complexity and possibly require extra workholding fixtures), I’d raise my rates for barreling a rifle with one of these barrels to cover the possibility that I might have to replace a barrel if I ding the carbon fiber part of the barrel.

    Their barrels page doesn’t fill me with lots of warm fuzzies, tho. They don’t have a selection of twists. You get a choice of caliber, length, profile and… that’s about it.

    Given that all barrels shoot out, I can’t see that these will increase heat dissipation so much that they’d last 2X a normal 416R SS barrel – so your costs/shot will go up when using these barrels.

    Their drawings of the finished barrel profiles is such that the front piece of steel is only 0.800″ long. This means that if someone came to me, requesting that I thread such a barrel for a silencer, I’d have to figure out how to hold the barrel by the carbon fiber area in order to cut & thread the 0.800 long piece of steel on the end.

    I think I’d pass on that job.

    • If they claim the carbon barrel *damps* vibration, I just happen to have in my possession a foot-long carbon rod about 1/8 an inch in diameter.

      Drop it on a hard surface, it rings a clear tone just like metal.

      • Carbon fiber can be set up to damp vibration or ring like a bell. It is very difficult to make a generalization about CF, because there’s at least two broad families of CF, starting at the point where the CF chains are put together – as I said, the “pitch” family and the PAN family.

        From there, we get into all manner of issues with how large the fibers are, how they’re meshed together, what sort of glue (and using the term ‘glue’ is a huge simplification of what is going on) is used to hold the fibers together, etc.

        That’s why the marketing yammering on their website is disappointing to me. But then again, I’m an engineer, and engineers want details, the more arcane and obscurant, the better.

  8. Another gimmick in the very mature firearm industry.

    Let’s see. . . heat, different coefficients of expansion. . . . what could go wrong?

    • If by “mature” you mean living 60 years behind the state-of-the-shelf for every other industry of similar ilk, then yeah, it’s mature. Like your senile grandpa.

  9. Ill take a Bartlein, a Brux, a Krieger, or even a Criterion before Id buy one of these at price point. I dont care if my bolt action rifle is heavy. I shoot it from a bench, of if Im in the woods, from some kind of a supported position 90% of the time. I have a 26″ Criterion on my .308 Savage model 10, and 5 shots consistently touching at 100 yards is good enough for me for $300.

    I could see these being useful in something like PRS, where you have to move from position to position and shoot. But they are not supporting 260 Rem, 6.5X47, 6X47 or 6mm CM, all of which are arguably the best calibers for long range shooting other than 6.5 CM in the PRS game.

    If I was a huge 3 gun shooter, where speed is king, then I could see the lure of these barrels on a lightweight AR15.

    But a bunch of suckers will end up buying these because they can. Good for them. 🙂

  10. Forgive me for asking a stupid question. What is the difference between a 6.5-06AI and a 6.5-280ai, and why not just call it by its normal name?

    • In wildcat designations, the second part of the name (-06AI) is the parent cartridge.

      So you’re asking about the difference between the 6.5-06AI and the 6.5-280AI wildcats.

      Before I can answer your question, I need to explain what the “-06AI” and “-280AI” means.

      The “-06” and “-280” are the base cartridges, a .30-06 and .280 Remington, respectively. The “AI” suffix means that you’re not dealing with a standard .30-06 or .280 Remington case – you’re dealing with an “Ackley Improved” cartridge case.

      OK, now we go down the rabbit hole. “Ackley” refers to P.O. (“Parker Otto” – but no one who knew him called him “Parker” – to everyone who knew him, he was “P.O.”) Ackley, the famous gunsmith who was one of the most prodigious wildcatters of the mid-20th century. Ackley was also the man who helped start the country’s oldest gunsmithing school, Trinidad State Junior College’s gunsmithing program, in Trinidad, Colorado.

      Ackley’s ideas on wildcats were basically this:

      1. Use fire-forming of regular brass to increase case capacity by blow the shoulder angle forward to 40 degrees and maintain a good neck length.

      2. Keep the shoulder dimension close enough so that you can still use your half your existing chamber gages. A .30-06 no-go is an ’06AI “go” gage, because of how the trig works out on the 40 degree shoulder.

      OK, now to your question. There’s a substantial difference between the .30-06 and the .280 Remington, and then that difference carries over into the AI variants of these cartridges.

      The .280 Remington was developed from a .30-06 cartridge case. If you put a .280 Rem and .30-06 side-by-side, you’ll see that the shoulder has been moved forward, yielding a shorter case neck on the .280. This was done to increase the case capacity a little bit. The shorter neck means that you have issues in a .280 being able to seat very long, high-Bc bullets because they’ll have to be seated long into the throat.

      For both the -06AI and .280AI, the shoulders are blown forward to their 40 degree “Ackley” configuration. The .280 Remington AI is the most successful of all of PO’s improved cartridges, giving up to 200 fps improvement with the right selection of powder.

      So what’ the difference in a 6.5-06AI vs. 6.5-280AI? The neck length. Even tho the 280 Rem is derived from the ’06, the neck length issue is what differs between both cartridges, and in the 6.5 neck-down version, you’ll still have to be loading your high-Bc pills kinda long in the 280AI version.

      Here’s a collection of articles on PO Ackley’s wildcats, and some discussion of PO the man. The picture of PO and all his employees/students in the article in front of a storefront: that storefront is now the NAPA auto parts store in Trinidad, CO.

      The second photo of PO and students in his shop is his “second shop” in Trinidad, which is out CO Route 12, roughly across the street from the diner that’s on the south side of the road about three miles out of town.

      See the picture on p. 116 of the Gun Digest article on PO’s improved cartridges for a side-by-side of several of them. You can see the case neck difference on the .280 and .30-06 side-by-side.

      I hope I’ve answered your question.

      • That makes perfect sense. Thank you. I wonder if it would be worth having my 6.5-06AI reamed, I was already planning on having the chamber cut to the actual 40 degree angle that Ackley prescribed vs the 30 degree that was cut into my barrel in order to match my RCBS dies. Then again I don’t know if the paper or the deer are gonna know the difference.


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