AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

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AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby commander faschisto » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:40 pm

For those who don't like waiting for your barrel to cool down to ambient temp before the next shot at the range bench, Caldwell now makes an AR-15 barrel cooler:

http://www.bigsupplyshop.com/Caldwell-A ... 63432.html
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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby Hoot » Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:34 am

That's a neat design and hopefully a lot quieter than my solution. I bought a 12V, small canister, car vacuum. It comes with a lengthy hose and pulls a lot of air, albeit noisily. Since I was not using it as a vacuum cleaner, I put a 12V UPS sized gel cell down in the canister and wired it back out through a couple of screw terminals to the power cord. In the summer, in between shots, I slide the hose over the muzzle and it pulls cooler air in through the open action, down the bore and out. Takes about 40-60 seconds to do the job, but it was not designed for quietness. If shooters are setting on either side of me and using amplified hearing protection cans, they have a hard time conversing over the jet engine. It draws enough current that I turn it off as soon as the barrel is down to skin temp.

I paid something like $12.99 on Amazon for the vac and used my son-in-law's Prime account to get it shipped for free. The gel cell was scrounged from some decommissioned UPS, so the investment was low. Don't get me wrong. It's a cheap Chicom product and I don't know how long it'll last. Another reason to turn it off as soon as its done. Not to mention, not running the gel cell down too quickly.

If that Caldwell unit is not too loud, it might be a good alternative. I didn't notice the noise spec for it. Most fans and blowers come with a noise spec. Given its size, I'm guessing it turns high RPMs and that usually equates to a screamer. Hopefully that's not the case.

I have more CPU and GPU coolers than you can shake a stick at. Wish I had thought of it. Another variable is the clearance between it and the table top when bench shooting. Hopefully the plastic holds up where the cut out for the mag retainer latches into it, cause you're going to be putting it in and taking it out frequently if you single load your rounds when testing.

Eagerly await some reviews.

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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby commander faschisto » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:33 pm

I made up one too, from an air mattress inflator and spare 12v car battery...has same problem with jet noise...and weight. Just ordered one of these Caldwell units...will review here in the near future.
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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby Cutright » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:41 pm

I just read an article on this in the latest issue of "RifleShooter" and the author uses a funnel and water to cool it. Then three dry patches and a fouling shot. How often do you need to cool the barrel on a mid-60's day? Have you tested how much the group opens when shooting a "hot" barrel?
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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby Hoot » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:32 pm

I'm more interested in my barrel being a similar temp from shot to shot. What that temp is, is probably subject to debate, but I try to keep it warm but not hot to the touch. Its easy to reach up and touch it. The last range session began at 60 deg. It didn't take long to get up to warm to touch. Time spent recording velocity, POI AZ/EL, fishing the spent case out of my catcher, micro-dotting it, measuring ad recording CHG and placing it back where it came from in my ammo tray was sufficient to keep the temp from climbing too fast. It's more of finding a routine. When it's 80 and up, then the screaming hose monster comes with me.

Hot barrel related issues not necessarily in order of importance:

1)Pores in bore open up allowing contaminants to get a better hold.
2)Copper builds up faster (possibly due to #1)
3) Ouch! :o
4) If not cryogenically stress relieved, hot barrel may stray from true. A playing card thickness = 2 inches at 100 yds.
5) Mirage
6) As the round sits in a hot barrel, heat soaks through the thermally conductive brass into the powder, changing its characteristics.
7) Ouch again dammit! :evil:

Probably more but that's what comes to mind quickly.

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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby commander faschisto » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:37 pm

Usually have to artificially cool things down...60 degrees is the overnight low in these parts. The main thing I notice as a barrel heats up (target range conditions) is vertical stringing. Its just a nuisance when sighting in, when I'm trying to duplicate unfired carry conditions for field use later. On a cool/cold day forced air is really not all that neccessary if you want to wait a few minutes between shots. I just don't like a five-shot string taking half an hour to finish....
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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby Cutright » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:44 pm

Thanks Hoot that makes sense. I too have a air mattress pump I may have to try. The article says that the water method is the best (like the old machine guns), and bringing a water cooler to the range might have dual purpose on a hot summer day!
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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby Cutright » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:49 pm

With the .450 shooting so good, the loads that you tested in this site, all the tips that you guys have given me, and now this, you guys are taking away all my excuses for shooting poorly!! The only thing left is ME!
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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby commander faschisto » Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:57 pm

Alrighty, then...the Caldwell barrel blower arrived today. Charged it up, turned it on, and was very pleasantly surprised to note that it is really quiet, even though it puts out a serious stream of air from the discharge port! It uses a small squirrel-cage impeller, rather than the axial/centrifugal impellers in the ones some of us have cobbled together...this one makes very little noise at all. Inserts and removes very easily from the magwell on my 450b. Plastic casing is fairly heavy gauge stuff, and I don't think durability will be an issue in regard to multiple insertions/removals in regard to the mag release cutout. Has an automatic cutoff wall-wart charger which works reasonably quickly. The blower has now been running the better part of three hours, and is still going strong. Overall I'd have to say that Caldwell has come up with a winner with this unit! Me happy. :)

EDIT: Forgot to mention that it also has a bright blue LED in the air duct, pointing up towards the chamber....no idea what that's supposed to do, but its there.
EDIT: Also has automatic low-battery shut off. Mine quits at exactly 3 hours running.
Last edited by commander faschisto on Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AR-15 barrel cooler from Caldwell

Postby Hoot » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:01 am

commander faschisto wrote:Alrighty, then...the Caldwell barrel blower arrived today. Charged it up, turned it on, and was very pleasantly surprised to note that it is really quiet, even though it puts out a serious stream of air from the discharge port! It uses a small squirrel-cage impeller, rather than the axial/centrifugal impellers in the ones some of us have cobbled together...this one makes very little noise at all. Inserts and removes very easily from the magwell on my 450b. Plastic casing is fairly heavy gauge stuff, and I don't think durability will be an issue in regard to multiple insertions/removals in regard to the mag release cutout. Has an automatic cutoff wall-wart charger which works reasonably quickly. The blower has now been running the better part of three hours, and is still going strong. Overall I'd have to say that Caldwell has come up with a winner with this unit! Me happy. :)

EDIT: Forgot to mention that it also has a bright blue LED in the air duct, pointing up towards the chamber....no idea what that's supposed to do, but its there.


The screaming car vac Formerly known as my Barrel Cooler is nervous about it's future.

Thanks for leading the enlightenment Commander. Image

PS: LEDs don't use much power. It you're wearing high attenuation hearing protection, nothing like a visual cue.

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