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Still viable, or just a holdover from black powder? Years ago when I used to shoot black powder cartridge rifles. The fouling shot was pretty well understood to make following shots more consistent as far as accuracy is concerned.

Now occasionally you will still see it referenced even for modern smokeless powder rifles. I am not really sure how much stock I take on this. Any comments?
 

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I like to test fire all serious weapons before use. More for function than accuracy, but I have heard from other long rang shooters that they do that also. I know a few Snipers who never wanted an freshly cleaned rifle. I am not too sure if any science is gonna convince any of you “clean gun all the time” folks. I like a little carbon in the action and barrel. I won’t change either, set in my ways.

Funny thing is, the one exception is, When I hunt with a muzzle loader, I do want a clean gun. Mostly for scent control, but also for sure ignition.
 

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For rifles with smokeless, I'm also in the 'leave the barrel alone' camp - at least as much as possible. The detriments of too much/frequent/overzealous cleaning outweigh any potential benefit, at least in my experience.
 

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I always use foulers after a thorough cleaning. It does make a difference IMO and experience. First couple of rounds in clean barrel are always off. I then leave it be for so many rounds until copper removal time...
 

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Think it does (help accuracy) or think it doesn't (help accuracy) either way you're right.

I have many very accurate rifles. Shot groups with a clean bore first shot and dirty. Never had the first shot go astray that wasn't my fault.
 

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At longer ranges some rifles/barrels throw a cold bore shot to a different POI vs a warm barrel.

Once you know that your barrel will put a cold bore shot 4-5 inches low at 600 yards, it is easy to deal with.
 

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I thought guns were supposed to be "dirty"!

Maybe once a year all my guns will be clean at the same time! My guns are well cared for and well maintained but likely will see 300 or more cycles before cleaning. I always cleaned and inspected prior to matches that most likely involved a little practice ahead of time.

Smiles,
 

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At longer ranges some rifles/barrels throw a cold bore shot to a different POI vs a warm barrel.
That's been my experience... it's not so much to do with fouling as it is whether the barrel is warm or not. I find the same issue with handguns as well.
 

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That's been my experience... it's not so much to do with fouling as it is whether the barrel is warm or not. I find the same issue with handguns as well.
exactly right. Hot vs cold is not the same as clean vs dirty.

I had a Colt Agent (aluminum frame) a while back that at 10 yards first six shots were right at point of aim. Next six would be stringing down and right, and all subsequent shots would cluster 8" low and 3" right until it cooled off. Drove me crazy. Its long gone, I believe the aluminum frame had some sort of stress that allowed warpage as it warmed.

Ive tested a few rifle barrels in hot and cold temp swings. There is something to Cryo treatment, and barrel profile. Lightweight barrels with no treatment exhibited the worst point of impact shifts. I have not experienced any measurable POI shift with a heavy profile and cryod's barrel.
 

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if the gun is sighted in for a clean barrel, it don't matter. MOST rifles yes MOST with a bore of .223 or higher can go for several boxes of ammunition before you MIGHT see any change in regards to impact.

rimfire well you can see it change shot to shot with some barrels.

all I know with my rifles, the only thing that affects point of aim versus point of impact is what bullet I use, and is the bayonet off or on
 

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1. Cold clean.
2. Cold dirty.
3. Warm dirty.

A hunter or sniper or PRS had better know where that first cold barrel shot goes and if it matters clean or dirty.

A target shooter gets sighters, so he is shooting warm and fouled.
 

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The reason for keeping clean guns is to promote reliability at the time the gun might be needed, as with military weapons. One fouling shot after cleaning wouldn't hurt anything but for most of us it is not possible unless we cleaned the gun at the range. I always clean after shooting and when I check in on the zero, its always good. However, I only have access to 100 yards, so the difference doesn't really show up in that range considering its not a high-accuracy set-up in the first place. For combat shooting its pretty good with the 4X ACOG.
 

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Good replies here.

Unless groups are beginning to spread due to too much copper "fouling" I like to keep it in the barrel. When cleaning, I only swab with oil to get the powder out. If stored for some time, I'll only dry patch out the lube from the inside of the barrel. In this case cold shot clean is the same as cold dirty, at least in my case with fairly basic hunting rifles out to 400yrds.

A fouling shot to swab out the lube from last cleaning could help if one didn't dry patch through it.

A new barrel or one thoroughly cleaned of copper, takes more than a handful of shots before copper equilibrium produces the tightest groups again. Maybe this wouldnt be necessary with the highest end barrels with no micro fissures for the copper to help out with, IDK.

My rifles are nothing "special" designed for hunting, but they work darned well for me, starting out clean/new near or better than 1 MOA and then down 1/2 that when properly copper-fouled.
 
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