Vortakt Barrel Works is a Wisconsin based barrel manufacturing company that is entirely focused on the barrel making process. The company provides both complete barrels in virtually any caliber from .17 all the way up to .50 and lengths of up to 30 inches. The company uses an interesting automated barrel blank production method to achieve consistency and quality results for their barrel making process.
Vortakt Barrel Works and Automated Barrel Blank Manufacturing
Vortakt Barrel Works uses a mostly automated process to produce their barrel blanks which involve CNC machines, gun drilling machines, robots, and highly trained professionals. Together all of these factors have both modernized and streamlined the barrel-making process which allows for consistent results as well as high output volume. Since Vortakt services both the domestic and international market, this integration of robotics, and automation have helped them keep a high standard as well as high output capabilities.
There has been a long-held assumption passed through the firearm industry that the manufacturing process of rifle and pistol barrels is “Black Magic.” While the various elements required to produce a top-quality barrel may require specialized machines, quality tooling, and select lubricant recipes, the truth of the matter is that it’s far from a secretive dark art. It’s simply leveraging manufacturing technology and maintaining good engineering practices to consistently hold the prescribed tolerances in as efficient a manner as possible
The automated process of Vortakt starts with materials selection. Vortakt makes use of hand-picked stock from six or seven unique mills to source their barrel material so that they can keep tight controls on the quality of raw stock. Once the stock arrives, the cutting is done using lathe cutoff tools to cut pieces to within a few thousands of an inch. After the cutting, the gun drilling, reaming and rifling, and stress relieving are all done using a combination of robotics, CNC machines, and ball screw driven CNC rifling machines.
Once all these steps are taking the finished barrel blanks are complete and ready for machining in a turning center to customer specifications and it is there that Vortakt has taken the process a step further and begun to automate the finished barrel production process. I found this combination of technology, automation, and robotics quite interesting and I hope that more manufacturers start to move in this direction. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for hand-crafted firearms but I believe that most of us are looking for consistency when it comes to our life-saving equipment and Vortakt has begun taking steps to eliminate variables in one of the core components of a firearm.