load development and cleaning

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by LEFTYM77, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. LEFTYM77

    LEFTYM77 Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2007
    I know this is probably a touchy subject as cleaning rigimines usually is but I can't seam to find the answers Im looking for using the search command. so here goes:
    what is everyones opinion on cleaning durring load development, do you clean between each different group of loads, then fire a few foulers then shoot 3-5 for groups clean and repeat, or just shoot until the groups start to open up? the testing would be done with the same kind of powder at different charges, same bullets, cases and seating depths, then depending on how things turn out other variables would be changed one at a time
  2. Blacktail

    Blacktail Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2006
    I posted something similiar and got both opinions. Clean after every 3-4 shot group. And others said shoot two foulers and start testing then clean after 20 or so. I know if using tsx better clean often. I too was hoping for a few more responses hopefully your thread fairs better than mine.

  3. Moman

    Moman Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    I always start with a fresh clean barrel. I have read that some guns will need one, two or even many more fouling shots to tighten groups, but most of mine will shoot one-hole groups with a clean barrel. These for the most part are off the shelf 700’s in various calibers. The only time I clean during shooting sessions is if I am in the process of a barrel break in. Other than that, I will focus mostly on keeping the barrel cool by not rushing things. I do try to keep the sessions down to 4 to 5 loads of 3 shot groups so that the barrel doesn’t get too hot or too fouled.

    I know in another post some of the members said that they shoot several rounds after cleaning just to foul the barrel a bit and that this gives them better accuracy. I have played with that idea a little during some recent load development, and the accuracy was the worst yet. I will now go back and try those loads again with a clean barrel so I can compare them. This is what works for me. You will get other opinions and I would encourage you to try them as well. A lot of this is figuring out what your gun likes as well.

    As for the fouling technique, I still have to play with it a little more with some trusted loads and see if it does help with group size. Trial and error for me, and I am never beyond learning something new.
  4. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2004
    You are wasting time cleaning every 4 or 5 shots during load d. Point blank benchrest shooters clean more frequently than anyone else on the planet and we typically only clean every 15 to 30 shots. Our guns will still shoot "zero" inch groups at 100 yards with this many rounds through them. My current two barrels have no noticeable loss in accuracy even after 40 shots. A typical hunting rifle will never ever know the difference in accuracy between shot strings of normal load development without cleaning for 15 to 30 rounds.

    As for fouler shots, I have seen the majority of guns shoot different POI's for the first shot or two. I always fire a fouler before I begin to work on my sighter target then the record target and I always hunt with a dirty or fouled barrel.

    Side note:
    I was out working on a particularly accurate hunting rifle this morning which shot the first two shots 1" left and .5" high for the first two shots on a clean barrel then the next five shots moved over to the center line and printed a tidy .478" group five shot group.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  5. Niles Coyote

    Niles Coyote Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2008
    My rifles dont group consistently until I have 3 to 5 shots down the bore, and I dont clean my bores until I notice a degrade in accuracy. That can be any where from 50 to several hundred. The only time I really clean them is where they are going to be stored for month or more.