To Clean or not to Clean

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by ramrod79, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. ramrod79

    ramrod79 Well-Known Member

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    Good Eve guys/gals I have a question about cleaning. I have been taught over the years that when you switch bullets you should clean your gun ,and when I change to different bullets I always clean my gun, but I have been out with a few guys now that take their guns ,and shoot cheap factory bullets to foul their barrel then they shoot their hand loads , is this correct ?? or should I be sticking with my old practice of cleaning when changing bullets. The reason for asking is that I had a box of Rem factory ammo that I had bought when my gun was built incase I could not find brass in a timely fashion , but I was able to find brass so I never did shoot the factory stuff, and I recently purchased new scope ,and had no hand loads so I burnt up a box of factory , just wondering if I should clean before I shoot my hand loads .
     
  2. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    I've shot as many as 4 different types of bullets through 1 rifle in the same range session. Never cleaning them inbetween. No issues for me.

    You'll know it when a barrel fouls. Shot's will be spattered all over the friggin place. Some of mine will splatter them up to 5-6" groups when they get copper-fouled really bad. LOL

    That's when I stop shooting that particular rifle for the day, then take it home and clean it when I leave the range.
     

  3. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking about bullets or load/powder?
     
  4. ramrod79

    ramrod79 Well-Known Member

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    I meant bullets / ammo , some guys use cheap factory stuff to foul up their barrel . The reason I ask is when I load test should I clean when switching bullets ( Hornady to Nosler ) or if I am ever at the range with a clean barrel rather than waste my good ready to hunt load is it ok to burn a box of factory then shoot my custom load or should I just start off with my hand loads ,and continue to clean every time I change my bullet or ammo selection.
     
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    There will always be many opinions on the amount of cleaning necessary so you can expect different replies.

    I am one of the clean freaks and believe in keeping a barrel clean when possible, all the time.

    For load development, I clean every time I change loads (Bullets, powder, cases, primers) to level the playing field. It shows any changes in performance that would otherwise be masked by fouling.

    Long ago I did a 50 shot test with different loads of known performance,without cleaning. after the first 8 to 10 shots they all grouped about the same and it was hard to tell any difference.

    I do have a few rifles that need a fouling shot to settle down and group like they should and be on
    for a cold bore shot. These rifles I clean, shoot a fouling shot , dry patch to remove powder residue
    and I am ready to go hunting. They will normally shoot there best up to 7 to 10 rounds before they start fouling and lose accuracy. NOTE: like most rifles/barrel that shoot good they will degrade down to a very decent group size and stay there for many more shots.

    Some people are happy with this accuracy level and rightly so If it is around 1/2 MOA, but once I know the best the rifle can do is under 1/10 MOA, it is hard to settle for less.

    I recommend that a shooter do a test with his best load. clean the rifle barrel to remove any fouling.
    then start shooting 5 shot groups @ 100 yards (This minimizes shooter error) and keep track of each shot and see the point there accuracy degrades and at what level it settles in.

    This way you will know if a fouling shot is necessary and at what round count the barrel starts fouling enough to effect accuracy beyond a level of accuracy you can live with.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  6. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    When I'm doing accuracy load development (vs pressure development) I clean when I switch bullets or powder just to rule out any possible question. If the bullets are of the same jacket material, then I don't bother.
     
  7. ramrod79

    ramrod79 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys for the replies I will keep to my age old tradition of cleaning when ever I switch bullets or ammunition , and your right it keeps you on an even playing field just one thing less to rule out , I am still amazed the guys that do LR shooting that foul their barrels with cheap factory ammo then go to hand loads .
     
  8. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean changing cartridge or bullets only?