Tikka .224 CAL/5.56mm Match Grade Barrel


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Here at Mountain Tactical Company, we take accuracy seriously.  Most of our staff shoot competitions and, like our customers, only find accurate rifles interesting.  Deciding on a barrel manufacturer to trust our reputation on was no small task.

We are in an amazing age of manufacturing.  It is difficult to make a bad barrel!  There are many top-notch barrel manufacturers in the US.  Being a Montana based company, our decision was biased towards a Montana barrel company.  With several to choose from, we tested each barrel maker for turn time, consistency, and customer service.  McGowen Precision Barrels rose to the top of the list and we are proud of the partnership our two companies have forged.

Tikka barrel profiles require a specific shank diameter for proper mating to the receiver ring.  Every Mountain Tactical Company barrel is custom contoured to match the unique geometry of the Tikka rifle.

Contouring is done on state-of-the-art CNC equipment.  Unlike most other companies that offer barrels only at certain lengths, our barrels are contoured to your requested finished length.  Therefore, if you order a Tikka CTR contour, the muzzle diameter will be .783” whether your finished length is 20” or 26”.  

Our barrels are polished unless otherwise specified.  This is not a lathe turned finish, but an actual polished finish.

All barrels are precision button rifled, stress relieved, and hand lapped to ensure consistency and ease of cleaning.  Prior to shipping, every barrel is air gauged to confirm measurement and consistency.

There are a lot of debates out there about how many lands/grooves make the most accurate barrel. We can say that without a doubt that we have yet to manufacture a barrel that isn’t inherently accurate.

Fluting refers to the removal of material from a cylindrical surface, usually creating grooves.

The main purpose of fluting is to remove weight, and to a lesser extent increase rigidity for a given total weight or increase surface area to make the barrels less susceptible to overheating for a given total weight. However, for a given diameter, a non-fluted barrel will be stiffer and able to absorb a larger amount of heat at the price of additional total weight. There is a lot of information, or misinformation on the web concerning fluting. One piece of misinformation is that a fluted barrel is stiffer than a non-fluted barrel. This is in error. A fluted barrel of, let’s say, a CTR Contour will be stiffer than a barrel of the same weight, such as a Lite Contour. But a CTR Contour that is not fluted will be stiffer than a CTR Contour that has been fluted. It is a mass effect, the more mass around the bore of the barrel, the stiffer it will be.

Break in Procedure

To obtain the best accuracy from your new McGowen Precision Barrel we recommend that it is properly broken in. The procedures outlined below are our recommendations and not “set-in-stone” procedures, we have found that there are a wide variety of break in procedures available out there and one may fit you better than others. To get the most out of your barrel and ensure that it won’t foul in the future please use these or your ideal break in procedures.

There are two types of fouling that will affect your accuracy, copper fouling which is caused by the jacket from your bullets being stripped off in the barrel and powder fouling. Typically, the first few rounds shot through your rifle will cause copper fouling. It is very important to prevent the fouling from building up in your barrel to remove this fouling after each shot. Powder fouling is normal with any rifle or pistol and is easy to remove.


  • We have found with experience that for you to get the best results out of your barrel you should clean after each shot for the first 10 rounds or until the copper fouling stops. With all our barrels being honed and hand-lapped we have found that fouling is minimal.
  • Always use a bore guide and a good, coated rod when cleaning.
  • Use good quality phosphor bronze brushes.
  • Use good quality cotton flannel patches.
  • Use a quality bore cleaner like Butches Bore Shine or Sweets to remove any copper. Copper residue will show up as blue with these cleaners.
  • Soak your cotton patch in your bore cleaner and swab through the barrel. Once the barrel has been completely coated let sit for 30 seconds and use your phosphor bronze brush dipped in the same solution and scrub your bore (about 10 to 20 strokes)
  • Afterwards, run a clean patch through your bore until it shows no signs of copper. You may have to repeat steps 5 through 7 until it is clean.
  • Use a good bore cleaner (not a copper remover) to clean the bore completely of the copper remover afterwards.
  • After you have cleaned after each shot you will be able to tell when your bore is no longer
    copper fouling. Once you have seen this you can move on to cleaning after every 3 to 5 shot group. This should be done for the next 40 rounds.
  • After which it is probably wise for you to check your barrel after each day of shooting or at least every 25 rounds.




-          Certified 416R Rifle Barrel Steel

-          Certified 4140 Rifle Barrel Steel


-          Lite .624” Muzzle

-          CTR/Continental .783” Muzzle

-          Varmint/Tactical .890” Muzzle


-          .0003” max   

Q & A (3)

Hello. I have a couple questions regarding a barrel from your company. I have a Tikka T3 Lite in .223. I'm interested in upgrading to a heavier barrel in .223. Will a barrel from your company fit easily onto my Tikka action? And will the barrel chambered in .224/5.56 shoot .223 ammo out of it. I looked on your website and didn't see a barrel offered in .223 unless I missed it. ( Phil V, 30/01/2018 )


Both the 5.56 x 45 and 223 bullets are .224 diameter so you would choose that for a barrel for either round.  You should not interchange the cartridges due to chamber pressure. The type of round you would fire is not on the barrel, but on the chambering that you have that barrel chambered in. Our barrels are unfinished blanks and need to be installed on your receiver by a competent gunsmith, who would chamber, crown and finish the barrel for you. They are not fitted or threaded for any rifle. 

As far as the chambering and use of cartridges, see the information below:

You can shoot 5.56 through your .223 chambered AR-15—but you may regret it.

Since 5.56mm Mil-Spec ammo is loaded hotter, it has higher chamber pressure. Built to SAAMI specs, not Mil-Spec, the .223 chamber is ever so slightly smaller than a 5.56 Mil-Spec chamber. So when you shoot 5.56 in a .223 chamber, the case cannot expand as much as it would in a 5.56 chamber.

Therefore, a couple of things happen with varying frequency. The most common is that you will blow primers; that means you will have the primer blow back into the receiver, which decreases reliability as it rattles around in your receiver or on top of your magazine.

You also will experience an increase in failures to eject the spent cases because the case has expanded so much from the hotter load in the smaller chamber, and you may not get the case out of the chamber without putting a rod down the barrel. Shooting Mil-Spec ammo through a .223 chamber also may crack your upper receiver; this is less common, but still happens, and is potentially dangerous to the shooter and nearby people.


Bottom line? It is safe to fire .223 Rem. cartridges in any safe gun chambered for 5.56x45 mm. But, it is not recommended and it is not safe to fire 5.56x45 mm cartridges in a firearm chambered for .223 Rem.

In fact, the 5.56x45 mm military cartridge fired in a .223 Rem. chamber is considered by SAAMI to be an unsafe ammunition combination and is listed in the “Unsafe Arms and Ammunition Combinations” section of the SAAMI Technical Correspondent’s Handbook. It states: “In firearms chambered for .223 Rem.—do not use 5.56x45 mm Military cartridges.”

There is no guarantee, however, that .223 Rem. ammunition will work in 5.56x45 mm rifles. Semi-automatic rifles chambered for 5.56x45 mm may not function with .223 Rem. ammunition because they are designed to cycle reliably with the higher pressure and heavier bullets of the 5.56x45 mm—particularly with short barrels. While problems are rare, they do not indicate that the ammunition or rifle are defective. Like some marriages, they are simply incompatible.

When shooting .223 Rem. cartridges in a firearm chambered for 5.56x45 mm, it’s likely that there will be a degradation in accuracy and muzzle velocity due to the more generous chamber dimensions. That’s not to say that a firearm chambered in 5.56x45 mm won’t be accurate with .223 Rem. loads, only that, on average, the .223 Rem. chambered firearms will be more accurate with .223 Rem. ammunition than rifles chambered for 5.56x45 mm firing .223 Rem.

Another issue is the twist rate of the rifling. The SAAMI specification for .223 Rem. is a 1:12-inch twist, and most non-AR-15-type rifles will use that rate. But, this is a cartridge that crosses a wide spectrum of uses, and as a result there is often a wide deviation from the 1:12-inch twist rate, particularly in the very popular AR-15-style guns. There are bullets available for the .223 Rem. that range in weight at least from 35 grains to 90 grains. With that wide of a spectrum, one twist rate is not going to be enough.

Firearms chambered for 5.56x45 mm often have a rifling twist rate of 1:7 inches to stabilize the long, sleek, heavy bullets used in long-range shooting. Any rifle with a 1:7-inch twist rate will work best with bullets heavier than 60 grains.

Hello. I had a few questions in regards to your barrels. Will you thread one for suppressor and do you do the chambering and barrel installs? Thank you very much.
Jase Harkins
( Jase Harkins, 02/01/2018 )

Hello Jase,

We are no longer doing gunsmithing work. The barrels that we sell are barrel blanks, and you would have to have a gunsmith do the threading, mounting and rechambering.

Also, they would thread for a suppressor, finish and crown the barrel. 

Thanks for the inquiry!

The MT Team

Hi Mountain Tactical,
I am looking at purchasing a stainless steel barrel, profiled similar to a T3 and chambered for 223Rem, but fitted to a Tikka LSA55 action [m595].I believe the thread forms are both 1"x16 tpi x 60deg
Do the prices quoted for Tikka barrels on your website include chambering and threading? Do you ship to Australia?I do experience in fitting and headspacing rifle barrels
Cheers Phil Pyke
( Phil Pyke, 03/08/2017 )

Hi Phil,

Well...for starters we cannot ship rifles or barrels internationally.

But we wish you the best of luck!

MT Team

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