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Thread: Cleaning during the testing phase

  1. #1
    Member Hughiam's Avatar
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    Default Cleaning during the testing phase

    Lets say you work up 10 loads of 5 rounds each(different powder, bullet etc). So you have 50 rounds total. You hit the range with a clean gun, fire one "fouling shot" and start shooting for accuracy(which round works best). How many shots do you fire before you do a good cleaning?

    Personally, Ive stuck with 5x5=25 time to clean. Not sure if this matters, but Im using Barnes X bullets so copper residue is my biggest concern.
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    Member Steven_JR's Avatar
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    I'm pretty new to reloading and have wondered this exact question, so I'm looking forward to hearing the responses from those who have more experience!

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    Seldom do I clean my rifle barrel during sessions of working up loads. I will start with a clean barrel, but other wise, I leave it fouled during the work up session. I have shot Barnes bullets for several years and they can be a real pain working up a good load. Have fun and keep good records of all of our loads.

  4. #4
    Member Hughiam's Avatar
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    I have a great one for .300 winny. Working up 7mm08 for my daughter and .375 for me. The 7mm, I can shoot all day, but don't really want to fire 50 out of the 375!
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    Depends on the gun. Some guns foul up easier than others depending on the barrel etc... I am kind of like you though. Sometime about 30 shots or so, I clean it and start over. I think I started that after noticing at around 25 shots my old 300 RUM groups would open up, even after several days of not shooting (not recoil sensitivity from 25 shots in a day). Since that was the worst fouling rifle I have ever had, I figure every other gun should be fine with that many shots. For my hunting rifles, 30 shots is a couple times to the range or more so I don't have to clean every time. I bet I don't have to clean so much, but it is my habit and I know the results, so it works for me.

  6. #6
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    I usually shoot no more than 24 rounds shooting 3 shot groups. Usually less. No particular reason except the wind starts picking up later in the morning and groups will be affected by wind and I want to keep things as consistent as possible during the testing phase.

    I start with a clean barrel and fire two foulers and let the barrel cool. Depending on the temperature, I let the barrel cool 10-20 minutes between each three shot group. I want the chamber and barrel cold to the touch for the next group. I'm interested in finding out how my gun shoots a three shot group from a cold barrel because that's what it will be like when I'm hunting. Shooting 3-4 groups back to back introduces a variable I'm not likely to encounter in the bush. I can't imagine shooting 9-12 times at a game animal. Well, at least I haven't had to yet.

    I've been shooting Barnes bullets exclusively since the late 1990s. Barnes recommends seating them 50 thousandths from the lands and only try a different seating depth(s) if you need to. I haven't had to try a different seating depth in three of three rifles. All three shot submoa.

    Some people do complain about Barnes bullets fouling their barrel. First off, I don't believe the newer TSX and TTSXs do. Their bearing surfaces are less than the original Xbullets. Even in the case of the original Xbullets, if they did, how many shots does it take before accuracy begins to drop off from your rifle? It's easy enough to test. Clean your rifle and using a load of known accuracy, start shooting til you see the groups open up.

    Let's say it takes 24 rounds before accuracy drops off. Clean your barrel, go to the range before hunting season, fire two foulers, then a three shot group to verify your zero and hunt confidently knowing you have 19 more rounds to fire before accuracy drops off. How many of those 19 rounds do you think you'll need to hunt any game in Alaska? Fouling problem solved! Well, kinda... ;-)

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bearcat View Post
    Seldom do I clean my rifle barrel during sessions of working up loads. I will start with a clean barrel, but other wise, I leave it fouled during the work up session.
    Much the same, but with a couple of additions. Once I find a couple of promising loads, I go home and clean the gun, then load more of those two.

    Back at the range, I'll shoot four 5-shot groups with each load, only cleaning when I finish one load and start the next. I pay attention to that first group and especially the first shot from the clean barrel, because I'm going to be shooting from a clean barrel when on a hunt.

    Once I pick the best load, it's back home for another thorough clean and session at the reloading bench.

    One last trip to the range, I fire "one shot" groups. Fire a single shot from a clean barrel, clean the barrel and fire another for a total of 5 shots. That tells me zackly where my shots are going to land from a clean barrel. And I've known several guns that would land their first shot from a clean barrel in quite a different spot than the rest of the shots from a fouled barrel. For the same reason I clean between shots when sighting in those particular rifles. I'm a heck of a lot more concerned about where a shot lands from a clean barrel than any shots that follow. My first shot on game is often the only shot, or at least the best shot that I'm going to get.

  8. #8
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    I have a tendency to clean between each new string. 2 reasons
    1. Like BrownBear I want to know what the first shot does vs the other 4 ( I usually always do 5 ) and
    2. It gives me something to do while the bbl cools off when I am serious about extreme accuracy....
    For most game taken under 150 - 200 yards it probably does not matter much, but if your one that likes precision it can give you an edge on those tough shots... IMO
    My son and I shot a lot of 400 yard stuff yesterday with 7 different big cal guns - rotated a diff gun after each string of three to keep them cool. I think a cool bbl is more important than a clean one most of the time...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  9. #9
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    I have done both, clean between each series, and fired 20 rounds without cleaning and I can say I have noticed little difference. Unlike BrownBear, I go to the field on a dirty barrel. I will be working up new loads for a new 7mm-08 rifle this weekend so I will pay more attention to it this time around.

    I also bring multiple rifles to let the barrel cool down between strings and believe that to be a good practice.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by peaceman View Post
    Unlike BrownBear, I go to the field on a dirty barrel.
    How do you dirty a barrel before going into the field?

  11. #11
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    I don't clean it after firing it...or i fire it when in the field before beginning the hunt.

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