Re: Consequences of not cleaning a rifle?
I've got rifles that will truly tell you when it's time to clean. Others seem to just keep shooting. Ultimately, what we all want is a rifle that will send the bullet where we want it clean or fouled. I look at it from both perspectives:
If it still shoots, why mess with it? No need to clean. On the other hand, shooting a rifle until it looks like a combo of black and copper piping can be a real pain to clean when the time comes.
My Hart bbl shoots really well b/w shot #6-7 through about 35-40, then goes to pot with known accuracy loads.
On the other hand, I have a Shilen bbl that could probably go 200 or more rounds w/o cleaning but I'm just not going to do that. I have this thing about clean barrels right now and I've had to work very hard on some that were let go (not mine) for years with hundreds of rounds that just wouldn't shoot anything well. I don't want to go through that with my rifles.
There's also something about shooting to the point where the fouling gets hardened and glazed to the bore where it may be almost impossible to clean. This is a result of shooting lots of rounds w/o cleaning. I guess if it doesn't affect accuracy, then don't worry about it.
Doug Shilen stated to me a few years ago that he's got a tube that looks like a copper pipe but still shoots 1/2 MOA. (He gets free barrel replacements though).