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Mechanical Engineering
Chad Dixon


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First of all, hello and I'll thank anyone caring to review this ahead of time.

For starters:   I am not an engineer in any capacity.  I'm a machinist and business owner.  I build bolt action rifles for a living and have for close to 20 years.  Onto my question:


Can anyone provide me with a laymans definition of the term "harmonics" as it pertains to the behavior of a rifle barrel as it is subjected to the forces at play during the firing event?  I have researched this and I will confess that I end up devoting most of the time being redirected in a variety of directions as I attempt to educate myself on the vernacular being used so that I can attempt to comprehend the actual definition.

As part of work I speak with clients and this subject matter becomes a relevant topic often.  What I find is most are merely regurgitating information they've encountered online somewhere, however the meat and potatoes of actually understanding it is vague at best.

Before I put my own foot in my mouth, I'd like to know myself.

The context of what I'm asking applies when guys like me start altering the physical outside shape of a rifle barrel.  Be it either from contouring, Fluting, or adding a coating of some kind.   I can appreciate the influence this might have in terms of how the barrel ultimately behaves, but again being able to accurately define the term "harmonic" is what I'm after.

I hope this is enough information and thank you again for your time and consideration.


All the best,



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Harmonics typically related to vibration.

Something, say "A", will vibrate erratically under a certain condition. When "A" vibrate erratically, it will likely to fail due to excessive deformation.

This "certain condition" could be related to wind flow (for lighting pole), machine rotation (for a shaft) or other factors.

Let's say you design a lighting pole equipped with a small windmill on top, in location X. You want to design the whole system (i.e. design the pole) to avoid them having harmonics (excessive vibration) when it installed with local wind condition at location X. (difficult, wind always varied and difficult to predict)

You also want to design the pole to avoid them having harmonics with the windmill operational rotation. (Easier to predict)

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