Beginnings with 22 LR

This is not a discussion of benchrest shooting ... It is a thread begun by a first time .22LR rifle buyer
No kidding, as OP clearly says "Beginnings with 22LR" and not "How to produce single hole groups at 50 yards".

And BTW, for those who want to discuss producing tiny groups with "match" ammunition and plaster endless "match" target groups from "match" rifles, there is "Competition Shooting" subcategory -

For beginner/average 22LR shooters who cannot afford $100/500 bricks of "match" ammunition, such things may be irrelevant. But they may be interested in producing sub 1" groups at 50 yards with "affordable" ammunition using their factory barrels.

This "Bang for the buck" is more likely their style -
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I wipe down the exterior and clean crud from inside the action after every range trip. Cleaning the barrel should be done very rarely, especially with a 22. Unless it has gotten wet from hunting in the rain. Even my centerfire rifles don't get the barrel cleaned very often. Once a year or about every 200 rounds whichever comes 1st. A 22 barrel can go YEARS before it needs to be cleaned. And if you aren't very careful you can do more damage cleaning it than just leaving it alone

Any rifle shoots more accurately with a fouled barrel. Clean it and you see accuracy and POI change until you shoot it for a while. It may only need 3-5 shots to get accuracy back, or 20 shots. If you clean the barrel after every range trip, you'll have to shoot it for a while before you can trust the zero and get optimum accuracy the next time out.

I won't hunt with one of my big game rifles after cleaning the barrel until I can get it to the range to foul the barrel and affirm zero. There is no telling where the 1st shot from a clean barrel is going to hit.

Nice choice in a 22. There may be more accurate 22's, but I've not shot one yet and don't think my skills are good enough to matter anyway. 5 shots @ 50 yards with mine.

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Excellent advice....

It's been over 50 years since I shot my last .22 rimfire match for the USAF Academy Rifle Team. That said, we did well , shooting Anschutz's thumbhole stock/palm rest offering of the late '60's & suited up in 10X all leather coats. "Iron" sights were required and we used Redfield's on the Winchester 52's in use on the 2nd squad, and the front runners had Anschutz's version on the the big thumbholes. Receiver peeps, with aperture fronts sized to the bullseye at the required distances.

We shot against the ISU indoor target, 3-position, where it took a clean target in prone and kneeling to be at all competitive. Note that the ISU target of those years had a 10 ring the size of one of the periods in this post and that the 8 ring was ~ the size of a .22 LR bullet. Matches were decided in the standing off hand course of fire. I placed 5th in the last regionals my senior year with a score of 295 IIRC.

Anschutz's factory rep.'s advice at the time, regarding match rifle mx, was to keep the bolt face scrubbed as well as the barrel face but not to clean the bore until season's end. This we did and noted that it took ~50 rounds to restore precleaning accuracy, when the new season began.

That was over half a century ago, and times change, but I would be surprised if modern, good quality ammunition mandated cleaning after every match. For one thing the cost would be prohibitive if seasoning was done with match ammunition, as it should be. As a personal note, I follow my college days cleaning regimen....wipe down the exterior, and keep the bolt and barrel faces clean. YMMv, Rod
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There’s no harm in disagreeing on the matter, but there are reasons beyond rust. Reliability should be on everyone’s mind IMO. Sure it’s just a .22 but for me it’s a day in the woods that I’ve been anticipating which is one of just a handful each year. Why ruin it with an equipment failure?

As for accuracy I would challenge the notion that silica, carbon, wax, and lead fouling improves things. And in the case of rust, well moisture is present each time a rifle is fired and so it stands to reason that some of that moisture will be trapped. If you never clean you’ll never know, and if you do clean you should of course protect all surfaces after with a bit of oil, same as any mechanical device.

This is what lead looks like when it’s built up enough to fill the barrel’s grooves.
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From a 10/22, progressive patches until clean.
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Rust free yes, but not damage free. Debris did not enhance performance.
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Yes I bought this bike for $40, and someone bought it from me for $200. Why the original owner spent $500 to mistreat it is anyone’s guess.
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This is an interesting post. My first reaction is that if your bore is leading, something is wrong - either with the ammunition or with the gun. If that was my situation, I certainly would clean the gun - but I'd also work on figuring out the underlying problem!

As for the chainrings... Interestingly enough, some people do wax their drivetrains. This is kind of a PITA, so is pretty rare these day, but once it is done, no cleaning at all is necessary until the wax falls off and needs to be renewed. Cleaning is, in fact, counterproductive, as it simply strips all the wax off, which then needs to be replaced. The analogy is obvious, of course, but shooters have the advantage of not even needing to do anything to maintain the wax in their bores. Imagine if you could just ride your bike and the chain would take care of itself...
if your bore is leading, something is wrong
I agree.

I have shot over 45,000 rounds of various lead/CPRN/CPHP in 47 brands/weights/lots in several 10/22s, Take Down, Collector #3, T/CR22 and through KSA bull barrel and no leading in none of them.

10/22 and KSA "microgroove" rifling without leading -

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I'm relatively new to the art of .22 LR accuracy., but since I shoot NRL & PRS .22 LR matches, I don't need the kind of accuracy folks like @Slamfire need.

Thank goodness, because that is an expensive hobby, worse than mine anyway. My limited experience makes it look like to me that changing ammo can
take a bit to settle down. Since I haven't cleaned a barrel yet, I can't say about that, and when I do, it's going to be wet patch of Bore Tech's C4 or Rimfire
Blend, then a dry patch, then wet patch the chamber, let it sit, bore mop the chamber clean and clean the bolt well. Unless groups go south that's all I'll do.