I just don't buy into cleaning a gun so much. I like to shoot way too much. My 22-250 will shoot the same 0.35-0.50" group after ten rounds as it does after 500. It's got a Hart barrel. My 223 is a factory SPS varmint. It's always been a solid 0.5 MOA gun. My 300 WM with a Hart barrel has over 2000 rounds through it and still likes the 208 Amax the same way it did after 100 rounds and it hasn't been cleaned that much either. Maybe every 3-400 rounds.
None of the above were broken in "properly" either. My 243 AI with a Krieger barrel was "broken in" with about five shots. It was still copper fouling but I didn't mess with it any more because I lost my patience. That was over 3000 rounds ago. The throat looks like crap but it still shoots great.
I guess my point is unless the benefits of barrel break in and high frequency cleanings are proven to dramatically increase accuracy and barrel life without so much surrounding controversy I won't do it. I don't think I'm leaving much accuracy on the table and even if a clean bore will turn my 1/2 MOA gun into a 1/4 MOA gun, its still minute of gopher, prairie dog or rock which still works for me.
These are just my experiences. Maybe I'm lucky. Again, I'd rather put an extra 200 rounds downrange to make sure I can shoot as good as the gun than clean my barrel. I'm just not a guy who enjoys shooting groups that much either. Maybe I'm alone in that way if thinking.
Below is a quote from Shawn Carlock and a link to the thread. He shot a .069" 3 shot group with a rilfe that hadn't been cleaned for over 200 rounds. If memory serves me well, I don't think he does break-in either.
I was out testing some rifles a few weeks ago and had to rezero my 260 Rem after loaning it out. I grabbed the rifle up and with 200+ rounds through it without cleaning fired this 3 shot group at 100 yards. This is officially my best 3 shot group at 100 yards. While I was pleased with this I was not suprised too much as this is the same rifle I had shot a .287" 3 shot group with at 300 yards with a few years ago and won the USPSA Precision Rifle Nationals with a while back.
I think every barrel is different and custom barrels will likely be better shooters clean or fouled. I know my experience with breaking in factory barrels has made them easier to clean and probably increased their accuracy string. Now Buckbrush and Shawn have rifles that shoot very well going a long time between cleanings. Unfortunately, that is simply not my experience. When my rifles get fouled to a point, the groups will open way up pretty quick. I'm talking like 3 MOA from 1/2 MOA. If I don't clean my rifle at a certain point, it will spray bullets all over. Sooo, break-in is a good thing for me and cleaning at certain intervals is a requirement if I want good accuracy.
Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 04-18-2011 at 12:01 AM.
Yeah, I'm sure it's copper fouling. These are rough factory barrels and even the break-in could only do so much for them. Although they are easier to clean then previously, they still foul quite a bit, and when it gets to a certain level they loose all accuracy very quick.
I don't think changing bullets will help, that being said, i just started working with the all copper Cutting Edge bullets and they seem to foul faster than before, but, at this point they shoot the best. When I get a couple of custom barrels and get them nitrided, I'm guessing this whole subject will change for me.
Lately my break in procedure changed from firing and cleaning to, first bore lapping with JB, then firing rifle few times, if heavy fouling occur polishing barrel more with KG-2 , this usually gets bore to mirror like surface, shoots great after...
All of the break in procedures yield one thing, get bore polished, it can be done by firing bullets through it or just polishing it with bore paste, the end result is smooth surface, where fouling want get stuck.