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Cleaning between groups?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by LivewireBlanco, Feb 1, 2013.

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  1. LivewireBlanco

    LivewireBlanco Member

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    I have 5 rounds of 5 different loads of 30-06 that I've worked up and I'm trying to find which is the most accurate. My question is when shooting these loads should I clean the barrel between each group or is 25 rounds not enough to make a significant difference? I do have a bore snake and at the least I could run it through a couple of times between groups. Thoughts?
     
  2. exdxgxe4life

    exdxgxe4life Member

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    I try to clean between my 5 shot groups. 25 rounds of dirty barrel probably doesn't effect accuracy as 5-10-15-20-25 rounds of increasingly warm barrel. I like to think that when I clean I'm also cooling the barrel, even if just a little.
     
  3. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Don't clean but allow the barrel to cool between shots.

    If you want you groups to make real sense then do the following;

    Set up 5 targets.
    Shoot shot 1 load 1 on target 1
    Shoot shot 2 load 1 on target 2
    Shoot shot 3 load 1 on target 3 etc. Then start the sequence for load 2.

    What this does is to remove the impact of groups on physical position barrel heat etc. e.g. assuning your barrel gradually heats and you are shooting on one target then your POI will also move impacting on the group. But if you shoot on 5 targets as described above then it make no difference as all the shot for each target will be at the same approximate temperature. My sequence is to shoot the 3 foulers then wait 2min. I then wait 2min between shots which I time and 10min between groups which I time.

    Between loads allow 10min of barrel cooling time. Please prepare 3 barrel fouling shots if you barrel is clean else it will impact on your first group.

    Do not worry about the point of impact at this point, this obviously is easily adjusted later. Generally in doing the above your load will be patently obvious from the groups.

    Have fun and hey would love to see the results. When you have some time google Dan Newberry's OCW method.

    Hope the above makes sense.
     
  4. LivewireBlanco

    LivewireBlanco Member

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    So 3 fouling shots before doing any grouping makes a big difference?
     
  5. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    You should see this (discount the first two targets they were something else);

    The groups start wide, close up and then go out again. From the targets shot the best group came from target 57 which was 22mm at 100m. This is the same as a 0.75" group at 100yds. The load shot at this target became my hunting load and still is.
     

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  6. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Yes it does as it clears the barrel of any cleaning solvent or oil residue. It also return the barrel to the condition that most the other rounds fired will see.

    Before I go hunting I will foul the barrel to ensure that my first round at an animal will print exactly where I want it.
     
  7. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    I only clean if I am shooting two different brands of bullets. Seems like when I switch between Sierra and Hornady that previous known good loads are off for a few shots.
     
  8. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    1. You don't need to clean between groups. If your barrel becomes so fouled in shooting 25 shots that it needs cleaning there is something wrong with the barrel. The exception would be the precision bench rest gun being competently shot.

    2. You don't need to clean between bullet or powder brands/types.

    3. Running a bore snake through a barrel or running a few patches through probably won't make any difference in accuracy. A deep cleaning in which ALL copper and carbon fouling is removed can cause accuracy to be worse for a few shots but in many barrels doesn't make a discernable difference. You have to know how your barrel acts.

    4. Don't leave oil in the barrel and then shoot without removing the oil with a solvent. If you do, the first shots will be high and wild and you could damage the barrel. If you must clean, use a solvent followed by dry patches.

    5. Some barrels need to cool between shots for optimal accuracy but that isn't always the case.
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I agree whole heartedly with Grumulkin. My bench gun was the only thing I ever cleaned between groups, and that was just an easy, keep it reasonably clean and consistent, cleaning. Not squeaky clean. Close though.
     
  10. LivewireBlanco

    LivewireBlanco Member

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    OK so here is what my plan is:

    Run my bore snake before I shoot to get the oil out.

    Fire 2-3 fouling shots.

    Let the barrel cool.

    Shoot a group slowly.

    Let cool and on to the next group.

    Sound like a plan?
     
  11. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Yes but for one thing.

    I would still not shoot 5 consecutive shots into one target, trust me on this one. It is counter intuitive and simply may not sound right but we are talking load development here and the method works.

    If you have not already please read http://optimalchargeweight.embarqspace.com/ . I am a bit of a fanboy as this method has been very kind to me and has allowed me develop loads with minmimal time and fuss. I can select a bullet of choice and in one visit to the range come back with a proven load, this saves a bunch of time and money.

    Enjoy
     
  12. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    I caught that you are loading 25 rounds total, with 5 shots of 5 diffferent loads. If that is correct, please make up more loads of each. One 5 shot group will not be enough data to tell if the load is better or if you just shot better. Shoot at least three groups of each different load. Measure and average. Clean your barrel. shoot a couple of foulers and shoot at least three more groups of the next load. Repeat. If you are increasing powder with each load, you will see your groups either increase or decrease as velocity goes up. This is common with velocity increments. If you are changing bullets or types of powders, anything can happen to your groups. Don't adjust your point of impact unless absolutely necessary. Pick any bullet and try any powder you want in increments and you will see this pattern again. This takes a while, take your time and you will reap the benefits of two things that will become readily apparent: 1-you will have a load that shoots the best out of your rifle and 2-you will be a better shot with it as you will know exactly how it performs. Good luck and keep your bore clean and cool.
     
  13. LivewireBlanco

    LivewireBlanco Member

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    Well I shoulda read that OCW thingy before going out to the range but the bug hit me and I went. Here are the results and I'm going to fine tune what I can, but so far I'm not liking my results.

    Remington brass, CCI LR primer, IMR 4064, OAL 3.220
    Wind was about 10-15 mph straight in my face. The numbers are the grain weight of shots fired. I only had 3, 50gr cartridges made up since I ran out of brass and that's the group I was most interested in. Only 4 shots at 48.5 as well. All were neck sized only except the 49gr group which was full length sized.
     

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  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    How good a benchrest shooter are you??

    Have you been able to shoot a tiny, round, 5-shot group with anything before??

    rc
     
  15. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    Reading the link the OCW (very interesting, going to try that tomorrow at the range):

    This reads different then what they have listed:
    Reading the instructions you should
    Shoot shot 1 load 1 on target 1
    Shoot shot 1 load 2 on target 2
    Shoot shot 1 load 3 on target 3
    etc. until you have fired on round of each load on it's respective targets.
    Then go back and shoot shot 2, then shot 3 of each load.
    Ensure you allow the barrel time to cool between each round.

    -Jenrick
     
  16. LivewireBlanco

    LivewireBlanco Member

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    Tiny groups with my AR, but I have yet to do that with this rifle. I will do more testing with 49.5 and 50 grains. They seem the most promising. The wind sucked too.
     
  17. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    When I bought a used a .264 win mag I cleaned the barrel to bare metal it shot like crap for 50 rounds then went to just under MOA. Haven't cleaned it since.
     
  18. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I had a match AR that I shot Service Rifle that was the same. I bought it from a guy who told me "not to clean it." Well I knew better of course and cleaned it out. It would keep it on the black at 200yds after that if I was lucky. After about about 20 rounds it started to improve, and by 40 it worked itself into a 10/x gun when I did my part.
     
  19. jjjitters

    jjjitters Member

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    My load development was to make sure I had a day to do it plus several other guns to play with while waiting for the barrel to cool. I would shoot 2 or 3 for foulers, then let cool for ten minute( even better if I shot the foulers in the ground at home before going).

    I just shot each 7 to 10 shots(I don't rely on 5) on one target but always kept the barrel at the same temp for each shot(I've even used a bucket of cold water and a rag to cool faster, don't leave the rag on the barrel when shooting ,harmonics change). That method has always been reliable for me, especially not relying on 5 shots, I couldn't count the times 5 shots looked good, but by 8 shots the scattering was more definite.

    I would clean after 2 -8 shot groups (depending on the barrel). Not a real aggressive cleaning but some copper solvent and a few scrubs ect.. then a couple dry patches and some foulers.
    The first shot just about always would be off, in every gun that I remember, sometimes only 1/2", but always off.
     
  20. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Hi Jenrick,

    thanks for correcting that. That was my bad, must have been a senior moment. Have used the method enough to have got that one right.
     
  21. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Hi LivewireBlanco,

    thanks for posting the targets. I don't know how experienced a hand loader you are but would you mind us discussing a couple of basic's.

    The most important things in hand loading for me are;
    - Never change more than one variable at a time. Get your components and stay with those until your own statistics prove otherwise. It would not be representative to have some neck sized and some full sized as part of the batch.
    - Have a scientific approach to the start load and subsequent intervals.
    - With load development shoot 3 shot groups, this allows for triangulation. When you have your load move to 5 shot groups for practice etc.
    - Your personal ability must be to be able to shoot better than MOA. If you are unable to do so you can never tell is the load is giving you the runaround or your own ability.

    Getting back to the targets. Vertical stringing can be due to a few things;
    - poor load
    - poor breathing control
    - faulty firing pin, either broken, faulty or weak spring.

    The problem you now have is that as you have not followed a strict load development routine so you proabably have no idea of what to do next so you are guessing at the next load. As stated previously this is when the exercise becomes both expensive and demoralising.

    Could you tell me what bullet you are loading please? From that I will make a suggestion as to what your load routine should be, if that is of interest to you.
     
  22. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Cleaning between groups, depends a lot on the barrel. Some barrels foul more than others. :)

    When I'm working up load data, I'll clean between groups but fire a fouling shot before starting my next group.

    When I'm done shooting for the day I'll clean the bore, and fire a fouling shot before taking the rifle home to put away. I won't put a bolt gun away with a freshly cleaned and oiled bore, unless I've been shooting corrosive ammo, or the rifle is going in to long term storage mode (then it gets a full coating of heavier oil, in and out).

    This is a personal preference thing. I prefer knowing my rifles are ready to fire the first shot on a cold bore, and have precision.

    AFTER I've worked up a good working load, I clean as often as the rifle needs it. On most, that's 60-80 rounds, any more than that and I've got a copper mess on my hands that becomes much harder to deal with.

    SOME of my rifles which are long on lifespan, need cleaned much more frequently or they'll start collecting copper fast. My old 300 Win Mag barrel, for instance, would turn a patch soaked in Sweet's solid blue, after just 3 shots. The throat erosion was bad enough by the end of it's life that it would foul up with copper really fast. The new replacement barrel, takes over 50 shots before I get any traces of blue on a Sweets patch.
     
  23. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    This is how my rifle shoots when I clean the barrel.
    I started with the center, then the top row left to right, then the bottom row left to right.

    At 25 shots I'm just getting settled in and at 150 shots after cleaning it still can shoot sub 1/2 MOA if I do my part. I clean the rifle maybe 2 times a year now and it's only because I can't stand it any longer.
    Once I clean it I hate myself for the first 20 shots or so.

    The rifle is a Savage 10BA in .308

    27-7-12-A.jpg
     
  24. Skyshot

    Skyshot Member

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    Is this a hunting load or just for targets. It's a matter of repetition for myself. When shooting a hunting load, I always shoot from a clean dry barrel, therefore when tuning an accurate hunting load, I shoot one round clean and dry the barrel and let cool down completely and then shoot another repeating the process. This can take a few hours to complete a test session. For target shooting ,depending on the time constraints of whatever the venue dictates, is what I try to achieve. For slow fire match, I may want to clean between shots or if there is a time constraint in a particular match I may want to shoot a fouling shot and only clean between groups. Several factors need to be thought out including how the particular rifle digests your loads as the barrel heats up. It's all about range time. I hope that you have all of the time you desire. It's funny how you can spend an entire day and still come away scratching your head.:confused:
     
  25. LivewireBlanco

    LivewireBlanco Member

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    This is a hunting load I'm developing. The bullet is a Hornady 165 gr Interlock SPBT. I don't know if the wind played a bigger factor in my shots as I had to wait for it to die down a few times. I want to try that 49.5 gr and 50 gr load again. I did take my AR and shot a new powder for that and got 5 nice shots in a square. I should've taken a pic of that group!
     
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