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Thread: Winter shooting, eliminating the cold bore shot factor.

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    Member billy jack's Avatar
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    Default Winter shooting, eliminating the cold bore shot factor.

    I'm working up some long range hunting loads for my 30-06 and 300 WSM. My question is when you are shooting for groups, do you count the first round (cold bore shot) in your group, or do you just shoot one thru the barrel to eliminate the cold bore factor then shoor 3-5 rounds for grouping or do you count the first shot. I usually only shoot 5 rds then let the barrel cool to the touch before shooting again. I've been going out in anywhere from -5 to 15 above zero shooting and testing loads out. My groups are ok, but more fiddling with powder, jump and bullet weight is needed. What's your take on this?
    It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I would say if you will be hunting in -5 to 15 then that first one is the one that matters most and carry on . . . your not going to take a worm up shot when hunting like a BR shooter does.

    If you are gonna be hunting in considerably hotter weather than you are testing in your tests are wasted IMO and your cold weather ammo could even be badly over pressure in say 70f. For inside say 300 yards you can fiddle it, guess it and make it work, but beyond that range you need to be testing that first shot from a dead-cold bore in similar temps to your hunting temps.
    Andy
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    I did all my load testing for my first long range gun project in the winter. I had three loads worked up that shot well enough I thought. Come summer, they were not the same and I had to re-adjust powder charges and COL. The cold changes everything, not just the barrel. The powder, primer, brass, stock, and yes even the barrel after a few warm ups. I still shoot in the winter, but try and do my load testing at around 20 degrees or better. It is very common to shoot close to freezing in the fall, so I think that temperature range is close to real shooting scenarios. I also try to use powders that do well with temperature changes. I still shoot when it is colder, but don't do my load testing. I shoot for practice and fun then.

    On a side note, cooling off the barrel does not take too long after a shot string. I notice my barrel heats up after 3 or 4 shots in the summer. I can usually shoot 5 in the winter and it only takes a few minutes to cool to the touch.

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    Billy Jack
    Your cold bore shot is just that the cold bore shot and you should remember where it lands with similar conditions. Your bullet path will change every 10 to 15 degree so as previously stated if you are dialed in at -5 degrees to 10 above and then go out to shot or hunt and the conditions are 45 degree POA to POI will be different.

    Cold bore is always important because when your hunting that barrel is always cold for that first shot.
    While shooting for group I always have my students shoot a three rd group and let barrel cool a touch before the next three rd group. Basic hunting rifles have a lighter barrel than target rifles so the barrel will heat up faster than on a heavey barrel long range shooter.

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Not a handloader so no comment really other than I believe the fouling shots, cold shots, or whatever term used for "fliers" are the terms used really for "FLINCHERS"! I have never had any fliers on any rifle I have owned or shot.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrstabout View Post
    Not a handloader so no comment really other than I believe the fouling shots, cold shots, or whatever term used for "fliers" are the terms used really for "FLINCHERS"! I have never had any fliers on any rifle I have owned or shot.
    That is definitely one of the things that cause flyers but thatís different than what we are talking about here. Among other things as steel heats it expands, thicker spots expand differently than thin spots bending your barrel and as it heats it will be shooting to a slightly different place than it did cold.
    Andy
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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrstabout View Post
    Not a handloader so no comment really other than I believe the fouling shots, cold shots, or whatever term used for "fliers" are the terms used really for "FLINCHERS"! I have never had any fliers on any rifle I have owned or shot.
    On several occasions I have had the first round out of a cold clean barrel hit off target, flier as you may. It has repeated the same poi on different occasions with the same cold clean barrel. This has only happened with one rifle. It just hates being clean I found. For this reason I always sight in and then clean the barrel then shoot one shot to dirty it up a little. But it will do the same if it gets too dirty. It shoots high and to the right. When clean it shoots low and to the right, everytime!
    All of our guns have quirks and you seem to find them when testing ammo. Once you find them and know what to expect it is not a issue.

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    at sniper competition and in real life cold bore shot placement is pretty important.....for my rifles both remington & kimber .308's, a dry patch is all that is needed. a shooters log is the best way to track individual rifles and ammunition variables, that way the memory factor is omitted.

    it should be noted: bore lapping my rifles has helped them to be consistant for over 55 shots, perhaps this would benefit yours as well.
    happy trails.
    jh

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    as you have most likely already surmised from the knowledgable comments here, "cold bore" shots are not only of utmost importance but very commonly "errant" too - tests have shown that full contact, non pressure bedding "can" help cure this - M Forbes (NULA) is well known for producing hunting lightweights that will not only put the cold bore shots in the "pack" but his rifles commonly shoot varied bullet weights to the same (or very close) POA - there can be great variances from one load to another in that respect as well - I have found that Hodgdon "extreme" powders help alot - and you "long range hunters" might take heed ! "optimal" conditions notwithstanding, shooting at an animal at 1000+ yards in a different thermal environment than you tested your loads could wind up with a not so great outcome on that back slappin' shot .........

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