I will try to make a long story short but here is my problem. I have five Sako / Tikka rifles and each one has to have two fouling shots before maintaining point of impact. All are sub MOA after the fouling shots but this past hunting season I missed an easy shot at 200 yards. Easy being out of a large box stand with a solid rest and a still shot. The day before I got caught in the rain and the rifle got thoroughly soaked so I dried it off, wiped the outside with an oily rag, removed and oiled the bolt and let it drain over night being careful not to get oil down the bore. Went to the range the next day and it was dead on after another fouling shot. A couple of days later the same thing happened but went to the range before hunting with the exact same results. Has anyone else experienced this problem and if so what if any was the solution. Right now I am thinking about selling two or three and replacing them with a custom rifle. The reason is I have a guided elk hunt scheduled for me and my son next year and I don't want to run into this problem. The rifle I was going to elk hunt with is a 270wsm Tecomate. Wondering do I stick with the 270wsm or go larger but I want to use it on deer also. Do not want to spend 4 to 5 grand on a rifle I will only use once in a while. Was thinking 270wsm with the 165gr Matrix bullets.
If I understand you correctly, when you shoot the rifle with a cold barrel it takes two shots before it will shoot where you set your point of impact from the previous shooting session. I had an AR-15 that drove me crazy doing that. 1.5"-2.0" high left every time. Checked and rechecked everything. Tried different ammunition. Did everything I knew to do but nothing helped. Finally I replaced the scope I had been using with another and guess what....it was the scope all along. That scope was put on a bolt action rifle and it began to do the same thing the AR was doing.
If you have checked all the usual stuff, base screws, ring screws, stock bolts, barrel free floated etc. etc. then I would change scopes and see what happens. Another thing is do not clean between each shooting session unless the rifle is so dirty your accuracy begins to fall off.
Might try WD-40 after the rain next time....displaces moisture big time! Better than oil.
Unfortunately it is not a scope problem. I have 5 different rifles which do the same thing but some not as bad as the one that got wet this year. All require 2 fouling shots. One thing I have said many times, if I knew then what I know now I would have less but all custom. I have more than than 5, just 5 Sako/Tikka. The worst one being a Sako 85 finn lite in 270 which started this post. The first 2 shots will be 6 inches high then dead on. As I said, all are sub MOA after the two fouling shots. It does not matter if the shots are 1 minute, hour, or days appart, same problem. It was never a big deal until I ran into the problem with the rain. I have been in the rain before but I guess I never got a shot right after and either the rifle had time to dry or it was not a far shot??? All the fouling shots have been at a 100 yard target. I had never shot more than 200 yards where I hunt until I started preparing for this elk hunt scheduled for next year. Had good results out to 500 yards and fair at 700 with my Tecomate 270wsm. But I would rather be more accurate and have the confidence that if I get caught in the rain I don't have to worry.
I think I just talked myself into a new rifle...
And I guess I will have to start reloading too.
Are you cleaning the bore every time before you take it out? If so, leave it alone!
Do your fouling shots in August and then don't clean them until January when your season is over. Don't keep cleaning it and hoping that your next shot might be on! Most rifles can take from 20 to 200 shots before their accuracy degrades enough to need a cleaning. I don't clean my rifles until I get bored in the middle of the winter and they're going to sit for 9 months. If the inside of the barrel gets wet then just run a clean patch or a Bore Snake through it to remove any moisture and be done with it.
If I'm wrong and you're not cleaning it and then fouling it every time then I'd consider bedding at least one of them to see if your condition improves.
I take 3 fouling shots at the beginning of each season with which ever rifle I plan to hunt with then leave them alone the rest of the season unless I get caught in a down pour as stated. I guess the difference in the past is I must have also cleaned the bore then took two shots before going out again. This past time I only died the rifle with paper towels then wiped down the outside of the rifle being careful not to get any oil down the bore. Maybe it was water that got into the barrel causing the problem. I will probably experiment when I can by taking a few of the rifles and some water and try to repeat the process and see what happens. May simulate a rain storm then shoot them without drying first to see what happens. Unfortunately, with my work schedule, it may be a while before I have that opportunity.
Maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to go custom. I love my Sakos but would like to improve my accuracy even more especially at long range. I know, I need to reload also. My wife has already told me go ahead and take one of the spare bedrooms as all of the kids are out of the house. I think she is tired of me spending hours on the computer looking at rifles and equipment. I'm only looking to get rid of 2 of them and maybe an old Ruger 243 target varmint.
There's an old adage thats states when there's a problem between a man and a gun the problem almost always lies with the man. Sounds to me like your seeing it for yourself, and you haven't admitted that you (the human in the system) is always the weak link.
If you do it as Dr. Vette stated there is no need for a fouling shot because you haven't fiddled with the barrel. Another thought that has occured to me: If you shoot you 2 foulers then shoot say a 3 shot group how much time does it take you to fire all 5 rounds? Have you ever tried shooting 1 shot every 10min no faster?
Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.