Pre-Hunt cleaning/shooting ritual?

Huntnful

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Dec 16, 2020
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California
How does everyone prep their guns for the one shot that matters during a hunt? Looking for specifics. I'm talking, you may pack into a hunt and not shoot it for many days before finally getting an opportunity at 800 yards. What do you do before you leave for that hunt?

1. I'll remove carbon, squeeky clean.
2. Refoul barrel (maximum 5 shots)
3. Let barrel completely cool
4. Cold bore shot around 800 yards
5. Good impact at 800
6. Get home, one dry patch down the barrel
7. Shoot at some random location close to where the hunt is with one round around 800 yards
8. Put gun away
9. Arrive at hunt and strap gun to my pack and make the brutal hike in with full confidence in rifle


What do you do?
 

lancetkenyon

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Jun 3, 2013
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Arizona
Depends on round count. I don't clean until accuracy opens up. Could be 50, could be 500+ rounds depending on the rifle.

If I am within my round count range of good accuracy, I do nothing.

If I am close to my known max round count where accuracy drops off, I will clean and refoul.
 

Huntnful

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California
Depends on round count. I don't clean until accuracy opens up. Could be 50, could be 500+ rounds depending on the rifle.

If I am within my round count range of good accuracy, I do nothing.

If I am close to my known max round count where accuracy drops off, I will clean and refoul.
Very solid point! I’m normally near my fouling mark as well. Which is only about 30-40 rounds for my gun. I don’t think I would do this exact thing if I only had 5 previous rounds down the barrel.
Excellent points
 

2ndson

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OK
I have a bee smoker. I'll fill it with hickory chips and smoke all my clothes and gear and my hair and skin even. Then I just spray my boots down with scent killer and I always play the wind when I hunt which is the most important part and I see way to few hunters doing.
 

memtb

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Dec 30, 2013
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Winchester, Wy.
I have a bee smoker. I'll fill it with hickory chips and smoke all my clothes and gear and my hair and skin even. Then I just spray my boots down with scent killer and I always play the wind when I hunt which is the most important part and I see way to few hunters doing.

We do similar! If we are bear hunting over baits or hunting in fairly tight cover where sightings/shots will be close.... we scent our gear as well. We take plants indigenous to our hunt area, evergreen, sage brush, willows, ect., place our clothing with plant clippings into a garbage bag for a day or so!

For our usual hunt areas, wide open spaces, we don’t do anything special to our clothes! memtb
 

chindits

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Nov 2, 2015
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Did this thread just take a hard right turn or am I loosing my mind? I thought he was talking about rifle prep.

I clean my guns after shooting so if I have time I’ll send two rounds through the barrel and tape up the muzzle. If I don’t have time I’ll just tape up the muzzle and go. I’m usually out 5 days or less depending if I harvest. The gun stays that way except at night when I’m at my tent I’ll open the bolt to prevent any moisture from freezing things up.
 

emp1953

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Sep 29, 2013
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I am fortunate that I can shoot in my yard and have a 100yd range set up. Before a hunt I will clean with a brush wrapped with a patch saturated with Hoppes #9. I will replace the patch often and keep doing it until I have a clean patch, If I have evidence of copper buildup, a greenish tint on the patch, I will take a different track. I will every so lightly lube the barrel. Then out to my backyard range. ALL of my rifles like to be dirty to shoot well. So I put two of my hunting rounds through it, on target. It proves my zero is still good and dirties up the barrel. I do this with two rifles my .270win which is my primary rifle and a .243 which is my backup. Two shots guarantees me that subsequent shots will be within my bughole group. I'll also use a hard sided foam padded case to transport. I had a scope damaged once in a soft sided case, if not for my backup rifle that hunt would have been ruined. This regimen has served me well over many years. If the weather is going to be wet I usually put a finger cot, looks like a tiny condom for your finger, over the muzzle, I also carry muzzle down when shoulder slinging it.
 
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Pdyson

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Nov 25, 2013
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Brownwood Texas
Find out how your rifle behaves. Take it to the range and record your cold clean bore shot and cold fouled. Find out how many fouling shots needed for the gun to group a tight 3-shot group starting from a cold barrel. Then keep it that way. Unless you target shoot your hunting rifle you should be able to get through at least one hunting season without a barrel scrub.
 

emp1953

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Did this thread just take a hard right turn or am I loosing my mind? I thought he was talking about rifle prep.

I clean my guns after shooting so if I have time I’ll send two rounds through the barrel and tape up the muzzle. If I don’t have time I’ll just tape up the muzzle and go. I’m usually out 5 days or less depending if I harvest. The gun stays that way except at night when I’m at my tent I’ll open the bolt to prevent any moisture from freezing things up.
I had a freeze up event one season Didn't realize it was a freeze up until after I shot, luckily I only needed one shot, then no movement out of the bolt, I first thought "a serious malfunction with a reload" The scope fogged up and was ruined too, I had high see through rings and had to take an 80 yard shot with the iron sights. Got the deer. When the gun warmed up in the truck on the way back to camp it loosened up and functioned fine. It was a sleeting snowing windy morning not fit for man nor beast. I still go out in that kind weather.
 

brant89

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Jun 13, 2012
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Southern Michigan
I spend the months leading up to the hunt shooting single cold bore shots at my 400yd target (my personal range is only 400yd) once or twice a week and I never paint the old impacts. That way I can see over the course of a couple months where every shot landed and keep track of what I did wrong if one was errant. I clean the rifle a couple weeks before the trip and make sure there are at least 15 rounds down the tube to ensure proper fouling but no more than 50 rounds down the tube (accuracy drops off rapidly in this rifle somewhere around the 150 round mark). At the hunt area I verify my zero and drops as far as possible. I will also try to shoot my 22BR trainer rifle every other day to add trigger time without the expense of feeding my 300WM. I shoot farther whenever possible but it’s hard finding longer distances around here when the crops are still standing.
 

johnnyk

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Dec 24, 2001
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Potters Hill, NC
I use my rifles for LR target shooting year round so when hunting season rolls around I'm usually ready. By this time I've developed the load I plan on using and I'm familiar with what each rifle is doing. I always go with 300yds zeros, so depending on which rifle I'm shooting, the POI's will be from 2.75" to 3.25" at 100yds. I get this 100yd POI from my ballistic app. A week or maybe a day or two before the opener I'll shoot one round at 100yds to verify. During the season I try to shoot the rifle I'm using at least once a week. Through the years I've missed a couple of nice bucks because the scope somehow was off. A single bullet at a piece of paper 100yds away would have meant gravy instead of a haunting memory. Every hunter has a missed or lost deer (or two) stuck in his head forever!
As for cleaning, I was a 20-30 round and clean it guy for 30 years but owning, reloading for and shooting a 6mmBR Norma taught me a lesson about fouling and accuracy. Clean to remove carbon fouling and copper build-up, then use enough fouling shots, depending on the cartridge and barrel, to get your accuracy and precision back. Then shoot until precision worsens (groups get bigger), repeat the process. I do this for all my rifles now and I spend less time cleaning and more time shooting and reloading. Accuracy and precision have not suffered.
I will acknowledge that the precision threshold for each of my rifles is different. This is not only determined by the powder charge being burnt to the bore size but also by the barrel and type of bullet and powder used. After market/custom barrels are usually smoother than factory barrels and foul less. That goes for carbon and copper. Rough barrels strip more copper from the bullets and mono's are different than cup/core. Some folks say "XXX" powder is dirtier than others and while that might be true I haven't experimented with or noticed it enough to quantify this. My attention is on the barrels precision.
In my limited experience, overbore cartridges require more attention than more efficient cartridges. As with most things reloading/shooting, YMMV.
 

Chadp82

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May 3, 2020
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Colorado
Heres my for what it’s worth.

I clean the barrel before the 2nd to last trip. On the 2nd to last trip, I shoot 4-5 3 shot groups. If we are good, I leave it.

I then go dry patch. Then on the last trip, I give it 2-3 shots at 200. If we are good I leave it be. Never made it to not good here, so can’t say.

On the last trip I bring another rifle to shoot. I shoot a 3 shot group, then move to the hunting rifle, merely for the reason I am there and trigger time is important. That also tells me if it is a good or bad range day.

I take the 2nd rifle in the truck for the hunt as my backup. When you get 6-8 hours from home, you never know……
 

Recon$$

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May 24, 2011
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NEW MEXICO
Deep clean. Stretch her out with 15-20 shots. Confirm 100 yard zero on location. Do not clean it till an animals down or I learn I ain't as good at this game as I think.
 
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