I’m getting lots of questions lately about the End of Days, and about which barrels I recommend, so let’s do the easy subject first. Yes, it’s coming. December 20, 2012, is the end. You don’t think all the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are coincidence, do you? Get your affairs in order.

Now about barrels. Among the top-flight companies, there is no “best” that I’ve been able to detect. In the past half-dozen years I’ve had barrels installed from Lilja (.22 RF and 6.5mm), Hart (.22 CF), and Pac-Nor (.458), and I’ve used Shilens and Schneiders and Jarretts, and they have been, without exception, sensational. They should be. By the time you get one installed by someone who does good work, the bill is around $700.

If you’re not quite nutty enough need one of these, I can also vouch for McGowen, Douglas, and E.R. Shaw, which will go roughly half as much. I’ve had loads of experience with Douglas; the worst Douglas I ever used shot OK, and the best would make you haul out the adult diapers.

A good barrel may not cure an evil-shooting rifle. I’ve found this out to my sorrow on several occasions. But if you have a gun that shoots good, a new barrel in the medium-price range will at least keep it at its present level of accuracy, and probably upgrade it a little. A $700 barrel will almost surely make it shoot a lot better, provided you can do your part.

A footnote: There is about a 3-month wait for most of the top-flight barrels because they’re made slowly and lots of people want them. Kenny Jarrett, who used to barrel only his own rifles, will now put a new tube on anything reasonable, and in a month. He did it for me in two weeks because I whined at him, and he cannot tolerate a whining Yankee. 803-471-3616.