Rifle likes a dirty barrel?

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by Finn fan, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Finn fan

    Finn fan AH Member

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    I have worked with about 15 different rifles in a variety of calibers over the years but never had an experience like this fall. My pride and joy is an Interarms Mark X mannlicher stocked 7x 57. I picked it up used two years ago. Upon buying it I went the range with some PPU 139 grain ammo.

    The rifle cut 3/4 inch groups. I hunted the season with that gun and took a decent whitetail.

    During the off season I completely cleaned the bore for copper and powder fouling. Going back to the range the rifle was all over the place. I checked all the screws and nothing was loose. I went back to shooting and found the rifles accuracy return after about 20 rounds.

    I have always had to fire a fouling shot or two in a clean bore but never had one thar seemingly required a dirty bore to shoot well.


    Has anyone else experience this?
     

  2. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Each rifle has its own personality. 20 reds does seem a bit much. I have a Tika T-3 in a .300 wsm. It will shoot under 1/2 MOA for the first 10 reds after cleaning. Then accuracy drops quickly to around 2 MOA.... Yours is a bit unusual.... Bruce
     

  3. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    My Whitworth in 375 shoots fantastic, I hope I didn't screw everything up when cleaned and scrubbed the barrel that was a little copper fouled
     

  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    My favourite .270 did the same thing. Cleaned for Copper and then shot it.
    Shotguns had tighter groups.

    20 rounds later. All shots under a Nickel.

    I'll be leaving the copper in that rifle forever more.
     
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  5. Patrick R

    Patrick R AH Fanatic

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    my granddad always said to take two rounds and shoot the .303 clean...this might have been the 'real makoya', because we shot some many game with it in the past and never cleaned the bloody thing...the .303 is still in use today!
     
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  6. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog AH Veteran

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    Completely normal for most rifles.

    Never hunt with a totally clean bore. Even competition shooters are allowed a fouling shot of two before groups are recorded (except the bench shooters who clean after every shot, but this doesn't apply to hunting or tactical shooting)

    Most seasoned hunters have the following routine;
    1) Re-torque optics mounts and shoot rifle to sight in optics.
    2) Clean rifle completely, including copper fouling, then oil and store.
    3) Just before your hunt, run a couple dry patches down the barrel to remove any oil residue.
    4) Go to the range and fire a couple rounds to foul the barrel. Let the barrel completely cool, then fire a group to verify your zero. This is your cold bore POA/POI, leave the rifle alone at this point.
    5) Go hunt with that rifle and be confident that your rifle is dialed in.
    6) Some clean their rifle after the hunt, and others leave it as-is until hunting season is over.

    You NEED at least a couple of fouling shots before a hunt with ANY rifle (if consistent accuracy is important to you on a hunt). That cold/clean bore shot will always have a different POI than a fouled barrel. Some rifles shoot best for about the first 10-20 shots after fouling the bore, and other rifles shoot fantastic for hundreds of rounds after fouling the bore. My SCAR-17 will shoot about 1,000 rounds before accuracy drops. Lead bullets require less bore maintenance, and copper solids require more bore maintenance. Local deer season lasts a couple months where I live, and I never clean my rifle during that time. Unless you drop your rifle in the mud or it gets exposed to saltwater, I would leave it alone during an African hunt as well.

    Also, be sure to completely clean your bore anytime you switch bullets. If I have been shooting A-frames out of a rifle then switch to a TSX, the TSX groups will open up 200%. Basically, foul your barrel with the bullets that you intend to shoot.
     

  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    One of my M70's wants 6-7 shots when fully cleaned. 20 seems high, but your rifle is telling you what it likes. No sense in arguing with it.
     
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  8. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    It's normal, I wouldn't worry about it. If it was my safari rifle then I would find a gun that was consistent every day no matter what the condition. You never know when that dirty rifle that likes to shoot well will go bad.
     
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  9. thriller

    thriller AH Fanatic

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    I have a 308 win Kimber that I have shot for 10 years at the camp, I have cleaned the barrel exactly once. It holds 1/2 in groups at 100 yards and gets about 100 rounds a year through it. While this may not be the recommended treatment, if its not broke im not going to try to fix it either.
     
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  10. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Lots of people never clean their guns, I sure don't recommend it.
     

  11. thriller

    thriller AH Fanatic

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    I also have a 22 speedmaster that if you clean it, the gun will not cycle rounds easily for the fist 25-30 shots. once it gets dirty again it works fine. The rest of my guns I clean properly all the time but those 2 just seem to work better that way for whatever reason.
     

  12. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    My Rugers seem to be fine clean or dirty, which works great for a hunting season. I still clean them out of guilt.
     

  13. The Bongo

    The Bongo AH Member

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    Some very good advice here. One of my CZs needs 3 shots to group well, another shoots well clean or dirty. The 303 prefers a warm barrel, but is not fussed either way for hunting accuracy. The Tikka needs 6 shots from a good scrub; BUT what is clean?

    I put a dry patch through after shooting and say that I have cleaned my gun. I put an oiled patch through if it has been raining. To some, a clean is a full on scrub with brushes and bore solvent. It takes serious fouling to make me use those.
     

  14. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I usually fire a few rounds to warm up the barrel then run a patch with Frog Lube on it followed by a clean patch, after shooting I do the same before putting the rifle back in the case
     

  15. Code4

    Code4 AH Fanatic

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    As everyone has said, totally normal for some rifles. B-I-L had a Churchill in .243W which had never been cleaned, ever. It shot 95 Nosler BT's into very small groups.
     
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  16. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    COLD BARRELS... HOT / WARM BARRELS?? Most of my DG taken to date have ALL been with COLD barrels, purely because it is usually the FIRST shot fired for the day AND most likely also in the freezing cold early morning hours. I can practice how much I like on the range with warm barrels etc, but I cannot get away from the FIRST SHOT fact!! It WILL be cold!!
    During a hunt, I pull the barrels through with a snake bore cleaner, just to ensure that no wasps etc have laid claim to the barrel as their new residence. I never bore clean and oil during the hunt... unless specifically dropped in mud or whatever ( never happened yet).
    When back home, I clean all the barrels properly, lightly oil and put them away in the rifle safe. I also have absorbent moisture packs inside the rifle safe to prevent rust.
    As a point of interest, my FIRST 375 H & H that I bought second hand in Zambia years ago from a local black farmer had seen many days!!!! The barrel had not been cleaned since the rinderpest invasion, the stock was so full of oil that I had to leave it out in the blaring sun to get the oil to exude and then wipe it away. The lands were.... well, CHOKED with gunge and NO matter how I cleaned and tried I could never get them properly cleaned. THAT rifle has taken 80% of my DG and never failed me... accuracy OR feeding.
    When I bought my current gun shop, we have the sole agency for a product from Finland, FORREST BORE, that was designed for the military cannon bore cleaning. It is a foam product that you spray into the bore, leave for 20 minutes and then pull through. FANTASTIC stuff... this product got most of the gunge etc out of my 375 barrel... it still shoots on a nickel ( as you USA guys say!!). The rifle underwent a make over a couple of years ago... new BRNO stock, barrel and action blued ( there was nothing left of the original blueing. It seems that THIS particular rifle enjoyed being down and dirty?????
     

  17. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Veteran

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    No kidding.
     

  18. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    during a hunt i use a bore snake in the evenings only , after the hunt i give the rifle a clean .

    when packing for my next hunt i take the same rifle to the range and fire a 3 round group to foul the barrel .
     
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  19. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    Also, when arriving at the hunting camp, we ALWAYS fire off a few check shots to ensure the scope is still zeroed... I never clean the barrel after this session.
     
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  20. Finn fan

    Finn fan AH Member

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    Thanks for all the valuable feedback!

    I follow the bulk of the procedures highlighted here.

    I just really thought it was interesting that it took my rifle 20 rounds to settle down.

    That being said I had a great discussion with a retired gentleman at our gun-club who shoots everyday as a rule.

    He has a custom built 243 and is a long range shooter, which at our club is the 300 yard gong. He normally shoots a box of ammo per session. (Unless someone distracts him in a conversation!)

    Anyway his cleaning procedure is after every session he sends up one patch with solvent to take out the powder fouling and then dry patches until bore is dry. He follows with one oiled patch and calls it good. Next day at range he drys patches out oil.

    In his own word he only cleans for copper fouling," when the rifle tells him by opening up the groups". His experience is that that takes about 500 rounds!

    I know every rifle is different but I may never clean out copper fouling again on my Mark X!
     
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