Re: Best way to test loads?
I don't think anyone has answered your question yet. The correct answer is probably "clean and cold," but I believe it depends on how you will use the rifle. For instance, if you will be doing long sessions of prairie dog shooting with the barrel dirty and hot, then that's how you should test. For target shooting at extreme ranges, you probably want the barrel clean. I am mostly a deer hunter, so it's the first shot that counts and that will be done with a cold barrel. Frequent cleaning at the range seems like a waste of time to me and I haven't seen any significant difference in accuracy at normal ranges, so I don't do it. A cold, dirty barrel is my standard. When I clean the barrel between shooting sessions, I always fire a fouling shot before I start any accuracy testing. I go hunting with a dirty barrel that I have run a dry patch through to remove the big crud, hoping to simulate the conditions under which it was tested at the range. Other shooters will have a different rationale and I would expect to hear from them here also.