What’s a Lollipop? Manufacturing Semi-Finished Pistol Barrels

Vortakt’s Unique Approach to Supporting Pistol Manufacturers

From barrel blanks to finished barrels, OEM barrel suppliers like Vortakt can provide a comprehensive range of services to pistol manufacturers. That said, the most common pistol barrels requested are “Lollipops”, semi-finished barrels run through a streamlined production process.

Pistol Barrel Materials

Vortakt typically starts pistol barrel production with 416R stainless steel bar stock for most match-grade barrels, or 4150 CrMoV steel for more price conscious “duty grade” barrel designs. 416R stainless steel can be left in the white, while 4150 CrMoV steel is typically nitrided later in the production process.

Two major categories of pistol barrels Vortakt currently supports include modern striker-fired pistol designs (including a variety of aftermarket GLOCK style barrels) and classic semi-auto barrel designs (similar to the 1911). The only major difference between the two in the production of a lollipop is the outside diameter of the material (1.25” OD bar stock for most striker-fired models, and 1.75” OD bar stock for most 1911 or similar barrel models).

Pistol Barrel Blanks

To maximize efficiency in the button-rifling process, pistol barrels are typically sized and cut from a much longer stress relieved barrel blank, with each piece trued up to the bore. Rifling profiles vary based on the manufacturer’s specifications, but commonly incorporate ratchet-type rifling. 5R and 6R patterns are quite prevalent, but traditional rifling can also be accommodated.

Depending on the manufacturer’s preference, Vortakt can produce pistol barrels with either a left or right-handed twist, with the option of designing custom tooling for larger volume OEM contracts.

Machined Features

Vortakt machines all lollipop features in a single operation on “The Profiler” (cnc mill/turn) from a longer barrel blank. The biggest benefit to this single setup solution is precise concentricity of the bore-to-OD features. The ability to align on multiple datum points along the barrel allows for easy installation of additional accessories, including muzzle brakes, compensators, and suppressor adapters. 

Additional machined lollipop features include the crown, threading, fluting, porting, and other profiling work. This last element is important in the function of a pistol barrel because there is typically a tight fit between the slide and the feature (depending on the slide design). Tolerances of +/- .0004” on OD features can be held.

Finish Machining a Semi-Finished Pistol Barrel

Based on the natural design of a lollipop barrel, they can be arranged in a shipping container in a way that they can be picked up and gripped by robotic automation and autoloaded into a vertical machining center or 5-axis mill (with a collet chuck) for lug machining and chambering. Once these pistol barrels are fully machined, they’re typically bead blasted and prepared for nitriding.

To learn more about how Vortakt supports pistol barrel manufacturers, Contact Us or Request a Quote today!


OEM Promise

Vortakt Barrel Works provides OEM rifle and pistol barrel manufacturing services to top brands across the firearm industry. By effectively harnessing automation technology and adhering to engineering best practices, our team provides innovative partnership solutions based on your unique needs.

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