Don’t Clean It

A few months ago I was helping a friend and customer make sure his rifle was sighted in for a South Texas hunt coming up. We shot two rounds at 100 yards the sight in was perfect at 1.5 inches high. We then shot 200 yards, the bullets hit the bulls-eye with 2 shots. Finally, we shot 300 yards using his custom turret, the bullets hit about ½ inch low but the wind had come up and was coming down the hill into our face. I said you’re ready for the hunt, you’re shooting great, the rifle and scope are working the way they should. Go have a great hunt. He replied I’m going home and cleaning the rifle.

These patches came out of the so-called clean barrel. The bullet will hit these particles and through it off.

Stop don’t clean the rifle!! Your rifle is ready, the barrel is fouled and you only shot six times. If you clean it your first and most important shot will not go where it is sighted in for. When you clean your rifle barrel little bits of cleaning patch will grab onto the riflings and stay in the barrel. Also, some cleaning solvent and oil will be left inside the barrel. These small particles will throw the first and sometimes the second shoot off as much as an inch at 100 yards. Another bigger problem is when oil or cleaning solvent get into the chamber and are left there, liquids don’t compress and I have seen guns locked up where you have to beat the bolt open just from having oil left in the chamber.

Now if the rifle had not been shooting well or the customer had too much coffee and it took 15 rounds to get the rifle sighted in then the best idea is to bring your cleaning equipment with you and clean the barrel real well and then shoot 2 fouling shots before you go home. If you didn’t bring your cleaning stuff with you then go home, clean the gun well, make sure to clean out the chamber with a cotton swab, and when you get to the hunting camp shoot your gun to check the sight in. I always like to shoot my gun when I get to where I’m going to hunt. I have seen guns get really beat up in travel. Airlines will crush gun cases, break scopes and even bend barrels. I had one customer when he got to Africa every screw on his rifle and scope were loose even though he had just checked them all and sighted his rifle in before he left. Some people just don’t like hunters and I’m sure some work for the airlines and UPS.