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 be 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 #4 contour will be stiffer than a barrel of the same weight, such as a #3 contour. But a #4 contour that is not fluted will be stiffer than a #4 contour that has been fluted. It is a mass effect, the more mass around the bore of the barrel, the stiffer it will be.
McGowen Precision Barrels offers 3 different numbers of flutes. 5, 6 and 8 flutes. The fewer the number of flutes the wider the flutes will be. Most factory rifles, such as the Remington 700 will have 6 flutes. We also offer a Fluted Octagon. This is exactly what it sounds like. An octagon barrel has 8 sides. On a fluted octagon we will flute the center of each flat, 8 flutes. While this is not a traditional look for a rifle, it offers the customer an octagon barrel at a somewhat lighter weight. Remember that fluting will remove ounces, not pounds. An estimate of the weight removal is that if you order a #4 contour with fluting, it will weigh approximately the same as a #3 contour.