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Old February 21, 2014, 05:14 PM   #1
603Country
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I guess the bore was fouled a bit

Today was such a nice day here in central Texas that I dragged out the 260 (Tikka) to check the sights. Needed a reason to shoot, though not much of a reason. Yup, target holes right where they should be and a nice round group of maybe 3/4 inch. Hmmm, what next. Went and got the Ruger Hawkeye (223) and decided to check the sights on that one also. Geez, bullet holes all over the paper. Shot a bit more, thinking maybe the problem was me, as it often is, but I was shooting groups of maybe 2 inches or so. That's not good. Thought about it a bit and realized that it had been 50 or 75 rounds since I cleaned the bore last. So I cleaned it. Very dirty and had some copper, though not too terribly much. I used 3 different cleaners and each one seemed to remove some grime that the last one had missed. Then used a brass brush and finished up with Shooter's Choice and things were looking pretty clean. Ran some dry patches through it. Then one fouling shot. Let it cool for a bit. Then ran 3 bullets into one ragged hole, with the hole being right where it should be. Whew!

I've been listening to the guys that were saying that they'll run a couple hundred rounds through their rifle and accuracy holds up. Hmmmm. Baloney. I'm going back to cleaning a bit more often.
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Old February 21, 2014, 05:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
I've been listening to the guys that were saying that they'll run a couple hundred rounds through their rifle and accuracy holds up. Hmmmm. Baloney.
"It happened to me" syndrome.

If it happened to me, once, it must apply to all people under all circumstances at all times.

The same sort of thing is what leads folks who were told that they survived a car accident because they WEREN'T wearing a seat belt to never wear one again.

I put 80 rounds through my .204, in a single session of fire-forming, prior to which I do not recall the last time it had been cleaned, proceeded to hunt and target shoot with it the rest of that season and the following 2 seasons without cleaning it and it continued to shoot 1/2" or better at 100 until last year when I finally cleaned it just because I figured it had been awhile and I'd try that "Copper solvent" stuff that my gun had never seen before.

The stuff is supposed to turn blue when it removes copper. It didn't turn blue. The gun still shot 1/2" or better after I cleaned it.

I therefore conclude that since my gun shoots very well with or without cleaning, every one who says theirs does not must be full of bologna. Hm, no that doesn't make sense either.
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Old February 21, 2014, 05:52 PM   #3
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I already knew that my 220 Swift wouldn't go through too many rounds before accuracy fell off. The 260 has a custom barrel and doesn't seem to foul too badly, but it's too early to tell when it needs to be cleaned. And with the 223 I had been sailing along for quite a while shooting good and not having cleaned it. It seems that when accuracy fell off it fell off fast.

I do believe that I don't have and have never had a rifle that will hold accuracy (when not cleaned) through a couple hundred rounds of ammo. Maybe some folks do, but forgive me for being a bit leary of those claims. It does seem that every rifle is a bit different, and there are very few things in life and in shooting that ALWAYS apply, so I can't put limits on what is and isn't possible.

I wonder what percentage of the forum members really know how many rounds can go through their rifle bores before accuracy falls off.
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Old February 21, 2014, 07:44 PM   #4
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I can't tell you how many rounds my guns will go without cleaning but I have NEVER seen one that's as bad as some I've seen claimed on this forum. I mean, accuracy falling off after 10 rounds or less? I've seen that claim more than once.

There was a time when I shot my .204 15-20 rounds average a week during the summer and have gone at least 3 summers without cleaning it, including that 80 round fire-forming session.

I know the gun was cleaned in April of 2010 and not again until the end of last summer. Prior to 2010, I shot at most 2-3, 20 round boxes of ammo a year. Since 2010, I've burned the better part of 3, 100 round boxes of Hornady 32gr V-max without cleaning it until last summer.
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Old February 21, 2014, 08:27 PM   #5
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I was always skeptical as to how bad a fouled bore will affect accuracy. I clean my guns every time they get home from the range. Last time I went to the range, I sighted in, then practiced different positions. Sitting, kneeling, standing 10 shots each, all with some cheap old NATO junk (FMN 80-83), them got out a box of norma match and sat down at the bench. My first group was everywhere! So bad, I thought something was loose, couldn't keep 5 within 4in. Checked all the screws, nothing. Pulled the bolt and flipped the gun up to inspect the muzzle/crown and I saw black crusty nastiness all around the muzzle I could actually flake off with my finger (instantly staining it black). Needless to I won't shot any more of that. But I cleaned it (foaming cleaner and nylon brushing 2x, then wet patch-dry patch with Butch's bore shine 12x, then bore snake with CLP). Went out this afternoon, and put 5 under 3/4inch right off the bat.

Obviously this is an extreme example because the cheap lousy ammo (my fault) fouled my bore like crazy; with decent ammo it takes much, much longer to see a drop off in accuracy. I've routinely gone to the range and shot 80+ rounds with no noticeable difference in accuracy.
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Old February 21, 2014, 08:37 PM   #6
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It is infrequent that I shoot many rounds in any one session. Load testing or sight-in, mostly.

It's just reflex habit that after a half-dozen to twenty or so rounds that I run a patch down the barrel: First, a couple of passes with some WD40 sprayed onto the patch, and then another patch with some RemOil.

In my '06, I finally saw some degradation in group size after 3,000 rounds. Copper cleaner fixed that. Same deal at about 1,000 rounds for my .243.

So far, same old small groups, and no rust. Good enough to suit me.
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Old February 21, 2014, 09:50 PM   #7
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This is another one of those things that goes both ways ( barrel break in). I think I shoot more than most here. I run about 300 to 400 rounds a weekend all through the summer. I am in the cleaning every 50 rounds group. Not that I have seen my accuracy dip,but just because that is what I was shown growing up. I don't think I could be one to do the test as I am OCD on some of this stuff.
I think I go through more patches in a month than some do in years.
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Old February 21, 2014, 10:20 PM   #8
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I clean after every firing. I never know when I will get back out and I don't want guns sitting in my safe for an extended period of time if they are dirty.
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Old February 22, 2014, 09:11 PM   #9
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Not cleaning after every session?? Putting away a dirty rifle?? HERESY!!!! or so I learned 60 or so years ago.... This is certainly an informative thread for me....please keep the comments coming....
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Old February 22, 2014, 11:02 PM   #10
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Sun don't set on a dirty gun, nope,nadda, never
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Old February 22, 2014, 11:50 PM   #11
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I used to clean my guns every time I shot them, even if it was a couple shots. Then I learned the truth, that the fouling is not harmful. Now, I clean when (if) accuracy degrades or when I think "Holy smokes... when WAS the last time?

I still keep the outside and moving parts clean and lubed as appropriate. The bore, it's really not an issue. Cleaning your guns every time you shoot them is a waste of money and your life.
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Old February 23, 2014, 08:07 AM   #12
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I dont think cleanin my rifles is a waste of anything. As a matter of fact I pull unfire rifles out of cabinet every six months and scrub em..
Dependability is the first reason, second I want to handle my rifles alot..

At the dange yesterday I took a twenty round testbload that showed plenty of promise and fired all but one, my cousin brought two riflss and we spent a couple hours working with his scopes and such. At the last minute I asked him if he would like to shoot my rifle, as he hadnt before, I explained that I had sighted it in 3"high at 100 si he then readied and shot... The shot was from a fouled barrel cold bore and it was perfectly centered and 3" high at 100. Me likey..
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Old February 23, 2014, 09:09 AM   #13
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I clean with the old Hoppes #9 for when I get home from the range or a hunt. Just to make sure there is not powder fouling.

Lesson I learned after shooting black powder revolvers!!!

Wait much longer before I go after any copper fouling.

Any wood stock gets wiped down with some oil, synthetic stock and barrels get wiped down with some spray silicone on a rag.
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Old February 23, 2014, 09:35 AM   #14
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For me, it's not really about the fouling, as such, and any effect on accuracy. My concern is that I don't have to worry about rust. Powder residue in a barrel is hygroscopic.
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Old February 23, 2014, 09:40 AM   #15
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I was taught that if you shoot a gun you clean it and if you handle one you wipe it down. Now these people who taught me this were from the corrisive primer era so maybe that had something to do with it, I don't honestly know. I do know I've always cleaned my firearms after shooting them and since it has not shown to me that it hurts them I'll most likely continue.
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Old February 24, 2014, 08:30 AM   #16
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Every rifle is different.

Some tighten up groups with a fouled bore. Some open up groups with a fouled bore.

Some will put a clean cold bore shot in the center of a the group that will follow, others will be repeatedly low and left (or some other correction).

You just don't know until you find out for yourself which is as good an excuse to go shooting as any.

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Old February 24, 2014, 05:07 PM   #17
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I'll continue to clean mine after every range visit and before putting back in the safe just because they're mine and I want too.
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Old February 24, 2014, 05:48 PM   #18
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I clean my bore every 4th or 5th time out weather they need them or not

that said... you want to talk fouled bore... my buddies & I used to get together on weekends ( several years ago ) & shoot dueling trees with 22 auto hand guns of various ages.... the trees were mine, as was the range, so often I shot with one group on Saturday, & another on Sunday, & would normally clean during the week, sometime after... I usually shot copper washed Federal bulk packs, but one day, the local store was out, & I'd shot a lot that month, & funds were low, so I bought 4 bricks of Remington Thunderbolts... I didn't know it at the time, but it was a set up for disaster... Saturday came, & I shot 600-700 rounds, Sunday came, & somewhere over 500 rounds, I started missing... the more I shot, the next couple 100 rounds the gun went to heck, & I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn...

went to clean the gun up, on Sunday, & found I had so much lead in the bore, that I got a 22 caliber bore brush hopelessly stuck in the barrel... I took it too my buddy ( retired gun smith ) who was able to use his bench vice to press the brush out, after a liberal soaking with Kroil... along with the brush, along came about 3 bullets worth of lead the brush chased out of the bore...

from that day on, I swore off Thunderbolts... though it was just as likely the bore was fouled with copper, before I started shooting lead...

anyway, to this day, I always like to run a wet patch of Kroil down the bore, followed by a dry patch, before I go out & shoot... I find just a couple patches down the bore, & some rifles I can't tell you how many rounds have been down the barrel since it had a brush in it...
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Old February 24, 2014, 06:15 PM   #19
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We used to not clean our varmint rifles during the season, but clean after it was over. One year, around 1968, I forgot to clean my .22-250 bore. It was stored leaning against a metal sanitary vent stack in a walk-in closet.

When I checked it the next spring, the bore was so rusted, I could barely see through it, much less run a rod through.

After much soaking with bore cleaner, etc., it finally would take a rod, and after copious cleaning, was found very pitted. It still shot well, but I sold it and got another.

This was in Maine where the stack probably condensed moisture on it's surface, but summers here are quite moist, so the bore surely started to rust then.

Bottom line...clean centerfire bores within a few days of shooting them, preferably the same day they're shot.
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Old February 25, 2014, 09:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Picher View Post
We used to not clean our varmint rifles during the season, but clean after it was over. One year, around 1968, I forgot to clean my .22-250 bore. It was stored leaning against a metal sanitary vent stack in a walk-in closet.



When I checked it the next spring, the bore was so rusted, I could barely see through it, much less run a rod through.



After much soaking with bore cleaner, etc., it finally would take a rod, and after copious cleaning, was found very pitted. It still shot well, but I sold it and got another.



This was in Maine where the stack probably condensed moisture on it's surface, but summers here are quite moist, so the bore surely started to rust then.



Bottom line...clean centerfire bores within a few days of shooting them, preferably the same day they're shot.

Summers here tend to be high 80s to upper 90s with humidity levels of 75% and up. I've never seen the slightest evidence of rust in a cleaned or dirty bore.

As far as smokeless residue being hygroscopic, I see little or no evidence that it is and some evidence that it's actually PREVENTS rust.
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Old February 25, 2014, 11:43 AM   #21
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I can't speak for every situation regarding bore rust, but I can use my Dad's 270 as an example. To say that he was not into cleaning his rifle is an understatement. He might, on a very rare occasion, wipe down the outer metal, but in all the years he had the Ruger Ultralight, he NEVER cleaned the bore. As for how long that was, call it more than 15 years and less than 25 years. Every couple of years, I'd clean the bore for him, but if I didn't do it nobody did. When he passed on, I decided to give that poor old bore a good cleaning and there was no rust and no pitting at all. And it grouped like a champion.

His inattention to bore health did cause his old Marlin 336C in 30/30 to finally need a barrel replacement decades prior to his having the Ruger. Right or wrong, I put that down to the microgroove rifling, which is rather shallow.
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Old February 25, 2014, 11:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by 603Country
...decades prior...
Corrosive primers?
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Old February 25, 2014, 12:34 PM   #23
603Country
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No Brian, I doubt it was corrosive primers. I had a 35 in a 336T and my brother had a 30/30 in 336C and we never 'shot' the barrel out. We cleaned our barrels every now and then. Still, I never really understood why Dad's rifle barrel gave it up, but it surely did, and I just mark it up to years of use and mud and rain and no cleaning (and shallow rifling).
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Old March 14, 2014, 04:16 PM   #24
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I run a mop to get all the powder out of the bore and a little clp until accuracy begins to degrade. On almost all of my rifles they seem to shoot better with some copper fouling in the bore. I believe that the copper fills in the imperfections of the rifling.

The only two rifles I have ever needed to cleen the copper out of it was not until I had fired several hundred rounds.

I think that the quality of the bore makes a very big difference on how fouling effects accuracy.
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Old March 16, 2014, 01:04 AM   #25
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One of my most accurate rifles is a model 700 in 270 Win. I can regularly "clover leaf" the first 3 or 4 rounds at 200 yards. After this, the group will open up to about 1 MOA and maintain there.

After the rifle is cleaned, then I can get extreme accuracy for the first 3 or 4 rounds again. I discovered this on accident because I clean after every session.
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