If a bullet flies at 3000 fps, it will pass through a 24? (two-foot) barrel in 1/1500th of a second. If you have a useful barrel life of 3000 rounds, that would translate to just two seconds of actual bullet-in-barrel operating time.
Ah, but it’s not that simple. Your bullet starts at zero velocity and then accelerates as it passes through the bore, so the projectile’s average velocity is not the same as the 3000 fps muzzle velocity. So how long does a centerfire bullet (with 3000 fps MV) typically stay in the bore? The answer is about .002 seconds. This number was calculated by Varmint Al, who is a really smart engineer dude who worked at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, a government think tank that develops neutron bombs, fusion reactors and other simple stuff.[...]
Six seconds. That’s how long your barrel actually functions (in terms of bullet-in-barrel shot time) before it “goes south.” Yes, we know some barrels last longer than 3000 rounds. On the other hand, plenty of .243 Win and 6.5-284 barrels lose accuracy in 1500 rounds or less. If your barrel loses accuracy at the 1500-round mark, then it only worked for three seconds! Of course, if you are shooting a “long-lived” .308 Win that goes 5000 rounds before losing accuracy, then you get a whopping TEN seconds of barrel life. Anyway you look at it, a rifle barrel has very little longevity, when you consider actual firing time.
http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2010/11/gone-in-six-seconds-barrel-life/ via Say Uncle | Photo by Flickr user Zach Petersen used under Creative Commons license