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Old November 8, 2012, 09:31 PM   #1
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Do you clean barrel between each group when trying different loads ?

Im curious as to how you guys do when trying different brands/weight of ammo to find out which your gun likes.

Ive got about 10 different factory loads to try and see which one my gun prefers. Ive got a day off and I will more than likely be trying all of them at the same range session.

I will be letting the barrel cool between each brands 3 shot group.
Would you suggest cleaning the barrel between groups and firing one shot then the 3 shot group, or would you not clean the barrel at all while going thru them?
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:39 PM   #2
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Depends on the gun... at what point, from absolutely clean, does the gun start to group well, and at what point without cleaning, does the gun's groups start to open up, if at all, that you can tell?

In other words... using the same ammo, if 3-4 shots from a clean barrel and the gun settles down to group constantly... then after say, 60 shots it starts to show signs of the groups opening up... then your working range is maybe 5 shots to settle in and maybe 50-55 shots before cleaning again.

If you don't know this... then maybe you'll get to find out with the testing.

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Old November 8, 2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Right or wrong, personally I would. I wouldn't worry about any kind of a deep cleaning but one or two solvent soaked patches followed up with two or three dry patches should be adequated enough. At least then you have a somewhat "even" playing field to narrow down your choices. Sounds like a lot of fun...enjoy!
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:45 PM   #4
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Creeper brings up a very valid point.
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:50 PM   #5
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Different powders will group differently. You don't necessarily need to clean in between but you'll need 3 or 4 shots for the groups to settle when you switch powders/ammo. Might be cheaper to clean instead, but you'd still need a couple shots for groups to settle.
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Old November 8, 2012, 10:40 PM   #6
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Im kinda new to this uber accurate shooting . I would think it depends on What kind of accuracy you are expecting and or going for . Now for me if im checking what ammo works best in one of my ARs , 10/22 , model 60 and all Im using is the cheeper factory stuff . I don't care to clean anything or to really keep detailed notes on the ammo . I can pretty much tell whats working best just by looking at the targets .

Now If I'm checking to see what works in one of my bolt guns and Im using high dollar stuff and expecting most of the ammo to be sub MOA . I may clean the barrel with a bore snake shoot a couple fouling shots and then shoot a few 5 shot groups . Keeping detailed notes of POA to POI as will as exact group size .

I guess my point is if you using cheeper ammo and just looking for the best general ammo . I would not sweat the small stuff . If your looking to see what's going to be uber accurate it will take a litte more time and effort .
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Old November 9, 2012, 06:19 AM   #7
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I don't.

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Old November 9, 2012, 10:18 AM   #8
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at what point, from absolutely clean, does the gun start to group well, and at what point without cleaning, does the gun's groups start to open up, if at all, that you can tell?
New gun so I havent gotten to that point yet.
I have always with a new gun done a 3 or 5 shot group for each different type of off the shelf ammo I could find. Usually its 10-12 different types I try and due to time constraints and trying to let the barrel cool down between shots usually I only shoot 4 different types per range session. So 12-20 rds max.

I had never even thought of cleaning between different types until a conversation the other day with a fellow range shooter who I was watching going thru the same process but he cleaned between brands..... He said that the barrel should be cleaned between different brands to get the true results.
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Old November 9, 2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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I think you should clean the rifle, shoot two groups with what you hope will be your favorite ammo and see if there is any noticeable difference between groups. Then go from there. I realize you're trying to do this on the cheap and not burn up your ammo before you get a good idea of the results.

If you are talking 22 rimfire, you will need to shoot about 10 rounds to season the barrel when you switch brands and shoot 5-shot groups. This kind of testing is very common with 22's.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:06 PM   #10
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Figured someone would have already chimed in with this suggestion: rather than shooting a group, then moving onto a different ammo and shooting another group, you could shoot them all incrementally.

set one target for each ammo type (I use a 4' x 4' plywood board to set multiple targets).... fire a couple of rounds to get the barrel fouled and warm so that barrel heat can be more or less constant across the range of loads. Then fire one round per type at each target, then go back and shoot round #2 into each respective target, then repeat the process until you have your groups to whatever number you like (I like 5 shot groups, statistically significant but not excessive. some say 7-shot groups are best)

the beauty of this system is that it puts each ammo type on a level playing field, provided you do your part and keep the barrel at a more or less constant temp by allowing it to cool between shots. EVERY ammo type experiences +/- the same degree of fouling throughout the process.

two downsides are keeping the ammo/targets straight, and as mentioned before, it's tough to know when groups are opening up due to barrel fouling and not due to its inherent accuracy in YOUR rifle.
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Old November 9, 2012, 07:31 PM   #11
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Back when I used to go to a public shooting range, I'd have 15 rounds of each load (all carefully labeled and identified). I'd shoot two 5 round groups, then clean the rifle and shoot 3 foulers. That way I always felt like I was starting from the same exact place with each load. That approach also gives the barrel time to cool down and by the same amount. And like someone else said, I never did the extreme deep cleaning. I just used Shooter's Choice till I got a relatively clean patch.

Now that I have my own range and my loading gear is 40 feet away, I do 3 round groups (cleaning at regular intervals) until I find a load that looks promising. Then I'll switch to two 5 shot groups to see if the load is as good as I had hoped. The barrel cools while I'm cleaning and while I'm working up new loads.
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