Shot count between cleaning

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Topshot, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Topshot

    Topshot Well-Known Member

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    I have a .308 winchester that I compete with in F-Class.

    The rifle has not been cleaned in about 350 rounds and it shot very well yesterday at 600 yards, with all points lost being due to the nut behind the butt not reading the wind correctly.

    Now this is a bit of an experiment that I have been doing to see just how many shots it takes with this rifle, before fouling effects accuracy.

    As every rifle is different, I was wondering how often you clean your rifle and how long with different calibres you can go before you notice a reduction in accuracy.
     
  2. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

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    I have found that there is no set rule with caliber or make rifles or barrels. Every barrel is different. I don't clean until accuracy starts to go south or unless I have been out in foul weather. I have seen barrels ruined quicker by too much improper cleaning than too much shooting. A good slick hand lapped barrel to start out with will go a loooooooog time before accuracy starts to fall off.
     

  3. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I agree with RT2506. I only clean my hunting rifles at the end of the season if periodic accuracy tests show no change. I do this because if they sit in the off season with copper in the barrel, it oxidizes. I have a friend that shoots competition with numerous first place wins. He shot a .25MOA 223 Savage that he never cleaned until he saw a loss in accuracy at over 3000 rounds. He then cleaned it but the accuracy never returned. I generally clean my competition rifles at 150 -200 rounds. Just habit, the would very likely go longer. I do make sure I do a proper break in on a new rifle or barrel.
    I never clean my 22 rim fires. When I have, it almost always took a box of ammo to get the accuracy back.
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Once a barrel is fouled they normally don't get any worse they just reach a level of accuracy that is eather exceptable or not.

    If you never clean it it will probably never get worse.

    I have never seen a barrel get better after 20+ rounds unless it was a very poor quality barrel
    and the fouling actually filled the imperfections until it reached an exceptable accuracy.

    I agree that you can over clean a barrel (Clean is clean no matter how much you brush and
    patch).

    Sometimes you have to shoot more rounds than the barrel likes before cleaning and have to live
    with some accuracy loss.

    The main problem with a fouled barrel is that it is very hard to predict point of impact(Calling
    the shot) and I believe and have found that if a barrel is as clean as possible, it is also predictable
    and if you can call the shot and trust the the call then conditions can be read easier and corrections
    can be made with confidence.

    Why buy a high end barrel that is near perfect dimensionally and with a non fouling finish and foul
    it to the point that it is no longer any of these things?

    This just my opinion and everyone has one, so shoot as much as you want to without cleaning
    and you will never find out the true potential of the rifle.

    When I first started working on guns I had lots of people ask me to look at there rifles because
    they would not shoot like 'they used to'. I did all of the things that is normal for accurizing but
    most of the time all the rifle needed was a good cleaning. Some took Hours to remove the
    copper fouling and required using very strong solvents.

    I received lots of kudos for the improvements in accuracy but had to tell them it was just very
    dirty and required a proper cleaning/maintenance.

    And in some instances had to show them how to properly clean there rifle and the tools to do it
    with. And the rifles never came back for the same treatment.

    When I was competing I found that the best shooters would not let you in on any of there secrets
    but I have heard them say" Just size the cases and load there is no reason to do any of that other
    crap. And dont worry about cleaning they shoot better left alone". but some of them were anal
    and did every thing possible to win. but these guys were there competition and they were not going
    to tell them any thing that would help.

    I once had a distinguished master tell me don't believe any thing you hear and only half of what
    you see.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  5. Topshot

    Topshot Well-Known Member

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    J E Custom,
    Thanks for some interesting comments.

    I have a hand lapped "Hart" Bull Barrel. With my first 10 shot group after cleaning accuracy is quite bad ( about 1.5 inch) and not good enough for serious competition. The first 6 or 8 shots are erratic.

    After that however the rifle tightens right up and can group 10 shots under 1/2 an inch with ease with some groups much smaller.

    This is something that I find hard to understand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    That is very unusual, and It sounds like the load you are using or the bedding.

    I work up all of my loads with a clean barrel and If the SDs are not good I abandon them after
    2 to 3 shots and clean for the next load to be tested.

    I once tried 10 different loads without cleaning and found little if any difference in SDs and
    group size. Then out of frustration I cleaned and shot 5 more of one of the previous loads
    and found them totally different than the first 5 fired in the fouled barrel. so now I clean before
    each new group is fired and the results are wide spread but I can home in on a good load quicker.

    Each barrel is different and have to be treated differently.

    There is something that is causing this and you just have to find it. Hart barrels are very good and it is unusual for them not to perform if everything is correct.

    You just have to attack them one at a time until you find the problem.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  7. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    A couple of questions:
    Are you using any kind of lube that is remainimg in the barrel?

    If you leave it dirty and go back the next day, does it still shoot accurately to the same point of impact?

    Is the barrel heated up when it starts to group, or are you letting it cool between shots? How is it grouping between a hot or cold barrel?
     
  8. guns_and_labs

    guns_and_labs Well-Known Member

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    For the Blaser 308 and the Remington 260, accuracy falls off after 150-200 shots, just a little bit, and then tightens right back up after a good cleaning. The 223 seems to go 500-750 rounds, and then I clean because I need a break, not the barrel.

    For the .264 WinMag and the .300 WinMag, I never let it get that far, as I like the predictability of a frequently cleaned barrel. They get cleaned after each range session, and then at the end of hunting season.

    Personally I have never seen a barrel damaged from cleaning too much, just from cleaning incorrectly - but I don't have nearly the experience as others on the board, so I'll assume they're right and that it's possible.
     
  9. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    I find that just neck sizing gives me better groups on a clean barrel than full length sized brass. The full length sized brass seems to shoot better after the first five shots out of a clean barrel. I clean between 75 and 100 rnds.

    Tank