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Old November 20, 2017, 08:13 PM   #1
Tom68
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Dirty bores and wandering POI

Okay, I know this subject has been covered a thousand times but bear with me.

I have a Savage Model 10 Target with an HS Precision stock--a package deal. It shoots much better than I do--I once shot a 5 shot 0.254" group (pic attached---everybody says it didn't happen with no pictures). Too bad that was with factory Hornady Match instead of my own handloads. I now probably have a thousand rounds down the barrel, and I have yet to determine where the "clean me now" point is.

it seems to me that the only true way of determining this is to shoot only one ammo on multiple trips without cleaning, and noting when groups start opening up....canceling out as many other factors as possible. Eyesight is now for me an issue...being near 50 I have found that focus becomes much more difficult after about 40 shots. I've now learned to keep test load set sizes limited for that very reason. Of course weather factors are part of the equation.

Last few outings have been in the 50-60 range. Start with a clean cold barrel, shoot about 10-15 to warm up and dirty the barrel, then begin load test protocols (I shoot round-robin style, one from each test load set before moving on to second shot of each charge weight). I have noted a preponderance of "second" and "third" shots impacting to the right of the "first" shot, indicating that the barrel hadn't become sufficiently fouled. I do carefully meter out time between shots to keep the barrel at a relatively constant temperature.


So I think I know how to find what I'm looking for... but it's frustrating! All barrels are different. I read of folks who go hundreds of rounds before cleaning their bore, and others who clean much more frequently. I'm not a competitor, but I enjoy trying to dial up ideal loads for this gun, but I really need to take the initiative to stop what i'm doing and learn my barrel before I continue on.

I'm sure the precision shooters on this board can school me on this.
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Old November 21, 2017, 12:02 PM   #2
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Well I won't claim to be a precision shooter, but it sounds like we are pretty close to a pattern (eyes, I am older and my shooting is for enjoyment, grrrrrr)

Like you I have shot a few killer .250 groups and then the next week with the same load and close temps, I can barley shoot 5/8. hmmmm.

As near as I can figure out most of it is me, some weekends I am in a grove and others not so much. The professionals have figured out how to stay in the grove (or fake it really good)

The bench rest shooters tend to clean a lot, so I follow that pattern.

I realized that not only do I not particularly like cleaning, I don't like trying to figure out if I need to clean a gun or reload more before I go shooting.

What I can tell you is that if I clean, I don't need to do any fouling shots at least for my skill level.

So what I do is clean at the range (granted I try to shoot all day). I shoot 3 to 4 guns and when I am done I clean them. I may shoot a bit more, If not very many I leave as is but usually I clean again.

What I will tell you is that what most think of as clean is not. I got a Lyman boroscope (got a great deal on it and highly recommended) as I wanted to see what I had in the grove and lands.

Its turned out to be a major asset in knowing if my cleaning is working.

The following stuff not only works but is non toxic and low or no odor (happy wife, I miss my Hoppes but I have a bottle to sniff as needed)

Finding out it was not I then did a lot of research. I won't claim this is the end all to be all, but using Carbon Killer 2000 on a nylon brush and putting on it with an eye dropper, I can clean a gun in about 5 total cycles.

I put the drops on the nylon brush before it goes in (holds the stuff good) then soak it good when its out the end, run it back and forth 3 times, repeat about 3 times, then soak it good an pull it out, dry patch on a jag. First one is gooey, about the 4th or 5th one of those cycles and its clean.

Any given gun maybe gets 50 to 100 rounds though it. I have yet to see changes that were not me related in how it shot for my skill level.

I have retuned old cruddy mil surplus barrel to like new condition with the CK2000

Also recommended by the same buy was Bore Tech Eliminator. Its a combo cleaner but more oriented to copper. I seldom use it but I do on older guns that have been shot a lot.

Sometimes you have layers of copper and carbon.
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Old November 21, 2017, 12:28 PM   #3
603Country
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RC20 said it very well, and I go about it the same way and with mostly the same cleaning products. I shoot each rifle till accuracy falls off, which has to be determined by shooting a rifle enough to know when accuracy degrades. These days, i’ll Use Shooter’s Choice or CK2000 to remove carbon, and I leave the copper alone. The exception is my old 220Swift, which will copper up after a good bit of shooting, and then i’ll Use Boretech Eliminator. That stuff will get out the copper you thought you already got out.

There are an awful lot of wildly divergent opinions on when and how a barrel needs to be cleaned, and how many rounds can be shot before cleaning. My own thinking on it has changed over the years. I used to clean much more often.
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Old November 21, 2017, 03:19 PM   #4
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Most all rifles will shoot to a different POI when clean. Most of the time the difference isn't enough to be of concern to hunters. But can make a difference for benchrest shooters trying to shoot tiny groups. Even though I'm primarily a hunter who enjoys casual target shooting I don't like to hunt with a perfectly clean barrel.

My yearly routine goes something like this. After hunting season ends here in January I spend a lot of time practicing and experimenting with different loads through the winter and early spring when there are few people at the range. I have several rifles, so the round counts may not be extremely high on any individual rifle. I may wait until summer to give them all a thorough cleaning. If I note accuracy dropping off I may do so sooner.

During the summer when it is hot, and the range is more crowded I shoot less, but still get out a few times a month. I clean them all prior to hunting season, then take each rifle out to the range for a final check of zero and to put 10-12 rounds through each rifle that I may hunt with that year to fowl the barrels.

During the season which runs from October to January here I don't clean the barrel unless it gets wet from hunting in the rain. If I do clean the barrel I feel better if I can get it to the range for a few fowling shots and will often use a different rifle until I have time to make that happen.

Every rifle barrel is different, some get dirty enough to cause accuracy to drop off after only a few rounds. Others can go 200-300 rounds. Savage uses a different method to cut the rifling in their barrels than other manufacturers. A lot of folks think this is why they have a reputation for excellent accuracy. It also leaves them rougher than other rifles and they also have a reputation for needing to be cleaned more often. And harder to get them clean.
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Old November 21, 2017, 07:05 PM   #5
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When I was hunting it got cleared after the season, didn't get shot until sight in confirmation next year.

Sometimes 3 shots, maybe 6 or 8. Left it that way until season over.

As for bench rest, as I put upwards of 100 rounds through any given gun (not all each session) it gets cleaned.

Only time I don't' if its a session cut short, 10 rounds and something not working.

Otherwise I clean them anyway, easier than trying to remember how many rounds, when it needs to be cleaned.

I suspect I am not consistent enough to see a change but most days I can shoot 5/8 or under. Not sure how much under you have to be able to shoot to see the difference.

I may change my mind if I get more consistent and can see changes.

Things are always under review.
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Old November 22, 2017, 09:08 AM   #6
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I always hunt with a dirty bore as I am apt to engage multiple targets in one or more stalks during the course of the night. So I really can't start of with a clean bore and expect my shots to be where I want them later in the evening.

I usually go 100-200 rounds between bore cleanings and then have to shoot several rounds to sufficiently foul the gun anew to be close to my fouled zero.

As long as everything stays within about 0.75-1.5" at 100 yards, I am happy.
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Old November 23, 2017, 10:28 AM   #7
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I'm like many others in that I leave my bore fouled on hunting guns for the duration of the season. The gun in question is my target gun though, so I'm going to determine the number at which accuracy falls off. Yesterday I bought 200 bullets and I'm gonna load them all identically, and start with a clean bore and shoot groups of five until I see measurable change. I expect it to take more than one session with my tired old eyes!

I'll use the leftover rounds for barrel-warming shots when I resume load development.
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Old November 24, 2017, 12:42 PM   #8
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As I shot more my eyes have done better. I can do an 7 hour shooting day without issue now
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Old November 24, 2017, 05:36 PM   #9
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hmmmm?

I've done just enough mid and long range shooting to prove what a novice I really was. Then the cost got high for components,and I felt I had to choose between hunting, and match shooting, so I dropped the F-TR matches. I'm not world class by any means, but I shot with guys who were.

Those fellows were meticulous about cleaning their rifles at the end of the day, and a days shooting could be 3 strings of 15-20, say 75-80 rds depending on how many sighters they took. Next day, sighting shots fouled the bore, and away we went on another days worth of shooting. I can't imagine those fellows running 150-200 rds through their rifles (nearly two weekend matches back to back) and not cleaning.

In addition to fouling, the other enemy at play is heat. A hotter barrel erodes faster, reducing barrel life. And increased dispersion may not always be the result of fouling, it could indicate a bedding problem as the rifle/barrel heats.

Heck, on match strings, 15-20 rds with sighters, , one issue to deal with is mirage.....from your own rifle barrel! At more than about 10x (and many guys were shooting 3x that amount of magnification) your scope picks up the heat waves generated by your barrel.....that in a 20-25 rd string over 15-20 minutes. We all had mirage guards on our barrels, a length of elastic or other material stretched horizontaly from the muzzle to the scope bases, to deal with it. A 200 rd string (??!!??) , ....with high X power, I am certain mirage is effecting your sight picture shot to shot.
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Old November 24, 2017, 07:14 PM   #10
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Other than I don't do fouling shots pretty much my MO.

I have yet to see a difference in a fouling shot at my level.

I don't plan on matches unless its an occasional fun thing.
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Old November 25, 2017, 08:46 AM   #11
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I once ran my Model 12FSSV way too long without cleaning it. To see how many shots it took to get it to start opening up groups. The rifle is a .223 Remington. It was into the hundreds. The thing is it was a major chore to clean the copper fouling out. It took 4 days of patch soaked in solvent. Brush, followed soaked patch. Letting it soak with solvent. Wash rinse repeat. After that I just decided I would give a cleaning at the end of my range sessions.

A quick patch with some wonderful smelling No.9. Then a few passes with a brush. Then patches with No.9 until clean. A lightly oiled patch. Then dry patches until they come out clean and dry. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Before I leave the range I put 3 shots out of it. Clean cold bore shots out of this rifle tend to be high and right by 2 inches at 100 yards. If it were a deer rifle I would not worry. The thing is at rare times it is a varmint rifle that is used on predators around livestock so I want shots to be at POI to avoid a miss, and hitting the wrong animal.
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Old November 26, 2017, 09:26 AM   #12
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Good commentary, Bama, and 10-4 on the heat issue. I'm pretty careful about that by spacing out shots by several minutes: if I can't grab the barrel comfortably then I'm shooting too rapidly. The rifle has a heavy barrel but I wouldn't think it to be immune from the effects of heat, and I'm wondering if bedding may help. One gunsmith told me that may be necessary if it won't tighten up, but hopefully not as it would be expensive.

I simply am trying to establish that range of shots in the bore that accuracy is maximized, so that I can somewhat eliminate that as a factor in comparing load data groups. I THINK I'm going to see that the groups tighten after about 20 shots from a clean bore, and starts to open up around 110. My hypothesis is just that, thus the reason for this experiment.
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Old November 26, 2017, 12:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
it seems to me that the only true way of determining this is to shoot only one ammo on multiple trips without cleaning, and noting when groups start opening up....
I don't believe that's required.
If you shoot multiple types of ammo, you should be able to determine what to expect in terms of accuracy, and point of impact shift from whatever you've zero'd at.

IOW, if you've got several hundred rounds of mixed ammo down the tube, whatever you're shooting (presuming it's "known" what to expect, and it's not a new type) should deliver as expected.

From a clean "baseline"- all copper stripped, all powder removed- you determine point of impact after some number of foulers to lay down a baseline of copper. With match barrels this should be no more than a handful, it can be a dozen or more with factory barrels depending on the quality of the chamber/leade. I find that with match barrels it doesn't affect me much when I clean within several hundred rounds. I often don't wait for accuracy to drop off, as that can mean a bit of a wasted trip. I use Wipe-Out, strip all the copper and powder at the same time. A handful of "foulers" and I'm gtg.

For whatever ammo you're shooting, if it's not delivering- suspect fouling. It's easily confirmed if all types are opening up.

You mentioned a single group in the 1's, which was an aberration.
What is the average of groups shot during the day, with the most accurate ammo you have?
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Old November 26, 2017, 08:45 PM   #14
Don Fischer
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When I shoot a rifle, first thing when I get home is to clean the rifle. Like to leave a bit of copper fouling in the barrel. Seem's to spare me a fouling shot next time out.
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Old November 26, 2017, 09:03 PM   #15
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I can’t sleep if there’s a dirty gun in the house. I clean after every use, even if it’s one shot. I’ll also bore snake during a match.

I know break-in procedures on a rifle are controversial, and I’m in the camp that it doesn’t improve percision, but on the rifles where I’ve done an extensive break-in I find they clean up (clean, clean) much easier than on rifles that weren’t broken in.
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Old November 27, 2017, 05:13 PM   #16
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Tobnpr: "What is the average of groups shot during the day, with the most accurate ammo you have?"

Actually it's hard to say... I spend more time developing loads than developing a baseline expectation! But with Federal GMM 168gr I can expect under an inch at 200 yards. I have gotten that with several handload mixes as well, but I really haven't had this particular rifle long enough to have gone through a large number of combinations. Trying new components has provided a pretty good bit of entertainment so far, though. I'm continuing to look for that serendipity of routine 0.5" groups at 200. I think the rifle is capable...but i'm another question altogether.
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