Benelli Factory Tour Video – Cryogenically Treated Barrels

Benelli is a relatively new firearm manufacturer, especially in European terms, having been established in 1967. It’s grown to be a respected force in the shotgun business, and especially since becoming part of the Beretta Group, it’s adopted many new technologies. The level of automation is incredibly high – for example, production of the new Vinci shotgun, from processing of raw materials to final packaging, is entirely done by robots and machines.

One of the technologies that Benelli has wholeheartedly embraced is cryogenic barrel treatment. Using their 1 million frames per second high speed camera, they have determined that cryogenic barrel treatment has definite benefits to the end user. Mauro of Benelli explains more.

Benelli Cryogenic Barrel Treatment

A few minor corrections to the video – several other firearms manufacturers, such as Lewis Machine & Tool, use cryogenically treated barrels. Also, the distinction between seconds and milliseconds was lost in translation – the Benelli high speed camera is capable of taking 1 million FPS.



Andrew Tuohy

Andrew Tuohy was a Navy Corpsman with the 5th Marine Regiment. He makes a living by producing written and visual content within the firearm industry, and he also teaches carbine courses. He prefers elegant weapons for a more civilized age, and regularly posts at Vuurwapen Blog.


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  • subase

    I presume that the pellets being more evenly distributed means the barrel shows less random flex and is more consistent?

  • DaveR

    Anyone care to speculate why cryotreatment should affect the shape of the pellet cloud?

    I can’t think of any plausible explanation.

  • SidViscous

    Ummm is it really capable of a million frames per second. So far as I am aware there is only one camera capable of 1 million frames per second and it wouldn’t really be used in that kind of application. Mainly because that videos is nowhere near a million frames per second, few thousand at best, and the million frame per second cameras are much different in their use, and very very high cost.

    I can’t think of any firearms firm doing million frames per second, and there are many many firms, and camera manufacturers doing that work always at lower frame rates.

    Those cameras are a few tens of thousands per camera, the million frame per second camera are much more exspensive, closer to a million bucks. Not that Benneli can’t afford it, it’s just not usually used in that kind of situation.

  • Andrew (European Correspondent)

    “SidViscous,” yes, it is a 1 million FPS camera.

  • Andrew (European Correspondent)

    DaveR, the extent of what we were told is what you see in the video, sorry. They told us that they could see a difference in the patterns on high speed video, but did not give a further explanation.

  • subase

    I think cryo treatment is only done on hammer forged barrels to increase accuracy, and makeup for the enormous stresses the steel is put under.

  • Kyle Huff

    Mille, pronounced meelay, is Italian for thousand.

  • Mark

    There are a couple of companies selling cameras in the million fps range. Since you can use a piece of paper (much cheaper, though less re-usable) to look at the pellet distribution over the x and y axes I assume that the value of using a camera is seeing the distribution over the z axis.

    The only reason I can see why cryo-tempering would help in this context is that fewer small imperfections might arise on the inside of the barrel as it is stressed. This could add different amount of friction to the pellets as they touch the (less uniform) sides of the barrel, giving them less uniform speed and spin as they exit the barrel. While careful tuning of chokes could counteract this by constraining the pattern in the x and y dimensions, you’d need to actually tune the interior ballistics of the pellets as they traverse the barrel to alter the z axis distribution.

  • SidViscous

    Working in the industry I would be very interested to know which camera does 1 Million fps and color, as I do not know of one.

    Regardless as I say, that video was shot no faster than about 10K or so. at a Million frames per second it wouldn’t cover but a fraction of the ejection cycle of a shotgun.

  • phoxx

    Cryo proponents are never short of claims about the ‘improvements’ brought on by this treatment. The supporting evidence is usually rather thin.

    One of the main claims is increased wear resistance. IF true, I suppose this could have some effect on the shot pattern – the barrel interacting less with the projectiles or some such….

    In quenched and tempered products the cryo treatment is often useful, metallurgically significant and demonstrable. In this situation cryo treatment ensures that the martensite transformation reaction is completed and arrested. I don’t think that shotgun barrels are Q&T as it’s not needed and would likely introduce straightness issues.

    The above is one old metallurgist’s $0.02 worth.

  • Mark

    Why would they need color shots for this application? And, if you really really need color why not just buy 3 black and white cameras and put filters on the lenses? I assume that a million frame per second camera is digitally triggered so synchronization shouldn’t be that much of a problem.

  • SidViscous

    well you can get 3 cameras, but each will have a different view, so your images won’t look great, or even good.

    But what you describe, in one camera, is exactly what they do for color cameras. use filters and get 3 colors that way by merging the images.

    But it is not done on million fps cameras because the problem with high speed video, even at the lower frame rates, is light gathering ability. If your gathering light for only one, one millionth of a second per frame you get two orders of magnitude less photons than if you were collecting at 10,000 frames per second, so your images would be too dark to see anything. They want all the light they can get, so besides no filters, they use the biggest pixels they can get on the sensors as well, even then they need to use huge amounts of light, and still get images that don’t have a lot of contrast.

    That’s the other way I can tell the video isn’t done at a million fps is that it is very bright (besides being color) with a good amount of contrast. That’s besides the point that there is nothing in the video happening at a rate that suggest a million fps. I’ve done plenty of high speed of firearms operating (both shot them and analyzed them) and million fps is far too fast. You wouldn’t get anything useful. (100,000 frames at a million fps is still only a 10th of a second, and most million fps can’t do 10,000 frames much less 100,000).

    Yes triggering can be done a variety of ways, it is an issue, but a solvable one, just have to figure out the best way to trigger. With firearms actions a hand switch is usually more than sufficient. Just use 100% pre-trigger frames (high speed video cameras use a circular buffer).

  • Andrew (European Correspondent)

    “SidViscous”

    The camera they have is capable of 1 million FPS – I didn’t say that that video was taken at 1 million FPS. It would take quite some time to watch the ~100ms of a weapon cycling at 1 million FPS. I would also assume that they have more than one camera.

    If you’ve done high speed video, you know that cameras in this range do not generally have one set speed, but can be adjusted for various frame rates.

    When we went to Beretta (Beretta Group owns Benelli), they told us that they had a 250k FPS camera. It did not surprise me that, in the spirit of competition that exists between the two companies, Benelli outdid them with a “better” camera.

  • Kyle Huff

    http://www.photron.com/index.php?cmd=product_general&product_id=7&product_name=FASTCAM+SA5&home=1
    This is nominally a 7500 fps camera that claims to do limited resolution at 1 million fps.

  • “The level of automation is incredibly high – for example, production of the new Vinci shotgun, from processing of raw materials to final packaging, is entirely done by robots and machines.”
    Some companies proudly claim “everything is done by robots here” while others claim – just as proudly – “everything here is done by human hands” 😀