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Why fouling shots?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by mugsie, Sep 12, 2007.

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  1. mugsie

    mugsie Member

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    Guess I fail to understand why a fouling shot. Do hunters take fouling shots prior to engaging a target? What about snipers? They crawl into place, wait for however long it takes and fire off a single round - on target. No fouling shots. Cold barrel, yet on target.

    I hear that "my gun needs several fouling shots before it settles down" or "the first couple of rounds are always off" talk but can't understand the rational. In a life or death situation (animal or man) most only get one shot and it had better be right on target. There's no opportunity to take fouling shots, so why bother? Sometimes I think this is all a bunch of hype.

    Whatda you people think? Enlighten me.:D
     
  2. ieszu

    ieszu Member

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    Trying to figure that out....
    The main reason for fouling shots is that a cold barrel and a hot barrel will never shoot the same. They have a different vibration coefficient. Also, if you are shooting for practice, as well as to sight in a weapon, and if you care not just about group size but where you are shooting (i.e. you car more about the fact that every shot is in the "X ring", than if your gun is shooting .65 MOA groups but they are all in the "7 ring") then how much crud has build up in your rifling lands becomes important, as accuracy is not just dependent on the gun, but also that the conditions must be repeatable....
     
  3. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Member

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    Also, the point of impact from a clean barrel will be different than a fouled one. In competition, you fire many rounds during the event. If you start out with a freshly cleaned barrel, the fouling shots create a uniform bore condition, so that all the following shots all experience nearly the same bore condition. I believe Snipers zero thier rifles from a clean, cold bore, because that is the condition the rifle is in, for almost all of its engagements.
     
  4. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Member

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    Most military and police snipers will pratice cold clean shots. Where the barrel is cold and clean to make sure if the need arises they can make that shot no matter what is going on.
     
  5. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    Somewhere on my pc at home there's a copy of a Holland & Holland ad from the '20s or '30s. It suggests taking a few shots with your double rifle before leaving camp because a clean barrel frequently throws the first shot.

    I've never hunted with a clean rifle barrel, always a fouled barrel. Okay, maybe when I was real little and turned loose in the squirrel woods with my
    .22 I'd have a clean gun, but they tried to get me to listen to good advice. Imagine that, I was a stubborn child.

    John
     
  6. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Member

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    The fouling shot also lets you know the gun works.

    AFS
     
  7. Jeff F

    Jeff F Member

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    Most every gun I've ever owned would shoot to a different POI when it was clean and cold. A couple of colt government models were the worst. The first 4 or 5 shots would 4 to 6 inches away from POA at 50 feet. Run a magazine down range first then try and they would punch out the X ring.
     
  8. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    In one issue of Rifle they tested the fouling shot with piezo pressure test equipment. The pressures didn't start being consistent until the barrel had a couple of shots thru it.
     
  9. Pat McCoy

    Pat McCoy Member

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    If you are looking for benchrest accuracy the fouling shots are important to get a consistent bore (get out any storage oil), but for hunting or self defense accuaracy a well built rifle should put all shots close enough to the same hole. Check your rifle with cold clean barrel, and with several shots through it warm and dirty. Shouldn't be more than about a minute difference. If there is you need to work on bedding the rifle. A minute at 300 yards is about 3" (not enough to miss your deer becasue of the gun).
     
  10. mugsie

    mugsie Member

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    Thanks guys - all the reasons make sense. Next time I go to the range, I'll make sure I fire a few fouling shots through the rifle first (actually, I do fire at least 4 - 5 fouling shots first before trying for group sizes). I just never understood exactly why this was required. I'm trying for smallest group sizes. Hitting a 5" target at 300 yards isn't a problem. Keeping the groups in the sub micron range is!:D

    Thanks again. Stay well and good shooting.....
     
  11. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    I can't speak to "most," but the trainers at Storm Mountain discouraged the cleaning of our barrels at all (brushing out the chamber was okay). They had thousands of rounds through their guns without cleaning the barrel. But we did practice "cold bore" shots every day. First shot in the morning and first shot after lunch was a "cold bore" shot for record. I learned that my 700 shoots about 3/4 of an inch low and left of POA at 100 yards. Very next shot pulls right in where the rifle regularly groups.

    Guess a healthy exercise would be to record CLEAN bore cold shots versus DIRTY bore cold shots to see if there is a difference there. There is certainly a difference between cold and warm bore shots. Point is, you want to know where that first shot is going to land relative to point of aim regardless. And that takes careful record keeping and lots of shots ... even if only one per day!

    mugsie, if you shoot a couple of fouling shots first thing at the range, you no longer have a cold bore. If you're serious about first shot accuracy, you need to clean your rifle at the range and fire a couple of fouling shots before you pack up and leave. Every time you go to the range, your first shot should be "for record." I have a specific target I like to use for that ... and it only gets one shot.
     
  12. Stump Water

    Stump Water Member

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    Beacuse, as has been said, clean bore shoots different than dirty bore. In your "one shot" (hunting) situation, since you need to know exactly where your rifle is going to shoot, it needs to be sighted in either clean-cold or dirty-cold. It has been my experience also that dirty-cold is more consistent. Hence the fouling shots before I get down to the business of "zeroing" the hunting rifle... because you can't get by with MOA variance in the whistle-pig pasture. And, yep, it takes a while.
     
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