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Thread: To Clean or Oil before deer hunt?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    To Clean or Oil before deer hunt?

    Me and a grandson are preparing to hunt deer in another week here in Missouri. He is using a 303 British in a No. 4 MK 1 using 30 grains of H-4895 under a Lyman 314299 at 200 grains gas checked and I am using an 1885 Browning in 45-70 shooting a 300 grain gas checked RCBS over 30 grains of H4198. My question is, what condition should the gun be in when making that first shot at a deer? Cleaned and oiled barrel? Cleaned and oil wiped out of the barrel before the hunt? Or barrel wiped out of oil and fired once to foul the barrel?

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    I would put a little oil on patch, the last thing when cleaning for storage and then a tight clean dry patch before shooting it. I don't want any amount of anything in my barrel when sending a boolit through it. Go shoot at the range now and just pay attension, a 5 or more shot group. Mark each shot (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) and see if the early one are out of the group. You will very likely want a shot or two down the cleaned tube before the hunt, the group should tell the story. Good luck on the deer hunting.
    Take a kid to the range, you'll both be glad you did.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Guess it depends on if they shoot different with any of your bore conditions.

    My guns are always dirty. I clean them, and it don't take long I shoot it again. I don't clean the bore thoroughly though. A patch with hoppes, a few strokes of the bronze brush, a dry patch, an oily patch, and a dry patch to finish. I don't clean every time I shoot. Maybe every 50-100 shots for 30-30 or 30-06.

    I run an oily patch and then a dry patch anytime I use the gun in moisture.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I clean my guns a couple times a year. I always take the clean gun to the range and out a bunch of rounds down it. Takes about 5 to 10 rounds to settle in.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    MD, there are many different opinions on what bore condition for hunting.

    I hunt with the lubed bore left from the last shot fired. The "Simple lube" I use leaves what looks like a wet bore to me and the first shot from my cold fouled barrels stay in the group and don't wonder. My choice of hunting firearm also stays outside during the season and don't so threw the sweating of temp changes. The rifle and ammo I intend to hunt with this year is currently outside in unheated storage right now. Your mileage may very depending on lube choices and options you have already made. This works for my hunting firearms and has for years.
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master



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    I like clean guns... I dont like TO CLEAN guns.

    But I start my season with a CLEAN GUN, thats had a couple “Fowling” shots.

    CW
    NRA Life member • REMEMBER, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE its being paid for in BLOOD.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    First -- happy for you vis your upcoming QUALITY time with grandson!!! Your query brought a chuckle to me, recalling years back when I (salmon & lake trout) fished Lake Ontario. Just about one-half of the "pro" fishers used anything and everything to get any/all traces of oil, petrol, and other possible deterrent scents from their dodgers and lures, while just about as many fishers would spray WD-40 on their tackle right before they set it out!
    Nowadays there are lots of "odor-eliminate" products for the school of hunters who believe odors do in fact keep Bambi away -- vis gun-cleaning and lub products, this may be germane... (???) That said, for ME, my care is only the firearm. I have the rifles cleaned, oiled, and sighted in before I head out in the woods, and as a final step I run a
    cigarette lighter fluid moistened patch through the barrel. Should I not fire any shots, upon return to camp I then run a moistened with Butch's oil patch through. I've done quite a few, albeit unscientific, "tests" through the years re accuracy shooting clean versus fouled barrels, and for ME, the clean, dry barrel ALWAYS did significantly better.
    BEST!
    geo

  8. #8
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Does the first shot from a clean cold bore hit where your aiming ? Or is it out of the normal group a certain amount ? Only your load and rifle can tell you that . Me I leave it the same as when I shot it last for hunting season is usually a day or three before. It will shoot to same POA for me and my rifle this way every barrel and bullet/load/ lube combo is different .
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    After my hunting rifle is sighted in, I do not clean it again until season is over. However I do not hunt in snow or rain so that might be a factor.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I pull a bore snake thru mine several times the week before hunt, if the bore shines it’s always good to go, but I shoot a lot to.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by remy3424 View Post
    I would put a little oil on patch, the last thing when cleaning for storage and then a tight clean dry patch before shooting it. I don't want any amount of anything in my barrel when sending a boolit through it. Go shoot at the range now and just pay attension, a 5 or more shot group. Mark each shot (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) and see if the early one are out of the group. You will very likely want a shot or two down the cleaned tube before the hunt, the group should tell the story. Good luck on the deer hunting.
    I had asked this question as well
    what I surmise is that leave it alone and
    clean it after the season is over
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
    Washington1331's Avatar
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    If you were hunting with black powder cartridge loads, normally the first shot from a cold clean bore can have a significant change in point of impact. For example my trapdoor will normally fire the first shot from a cold clean bore about 5-6" from the normal point of impact with a fouled bore.

    In my experience, I've not noticed an appreciable difference with the first shot from a freshly cleaned barrel using smokeless powder.

    My preference with smokeless is to clean the gun prior to sighting in/confirm zero. Sight in, and then unless I am hunting in the rain, or the gun gets really grubby from environmentals, I don't touch what ain't broken.
    NRA-Life Member
    Dabbler in Holy Black and Heathen Smokeless

    "There are very few situations in life that cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives."

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Clean gun with a fouling shot to test the zero. I do oil the exterior to protect from our Central NYS winter weather.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    If you want to clean it, put a couple of rounds through it before hunting.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Try a very light coating of bullet lube ( what your using on the bullets) to protect the bore and metal. by very light, push a lubed patch thru the bore then 2-3 clean dry patches to distribute and smooth out. the 3rd patch will show very little lube on it. Then wipe down the outside metal with the first patch.
    I have found this helps the first round from clean cold barrel to be in the group and is a better protectant in the field than most oils.
    Bullets' lube ( wax, oils and some other things) is a very tenacious protectant hard to wipe off completely and the waxes and oils seal off the metal from moisture and air.
    I also stopped bring the forearm inside in the evening, leaving it in the truck or unheated back porch, this save the risk of heat change condensation causing issues. Keep the firearm temp even thru the season.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I suggest shooting it to find out what the results are on a clean barrel vs fouled barrel if you plan to shoot 200+ yards. Make sure your barrel is back to ambient temperature before each shot. My best accuracy has been attained with a fouled barrel. I have a 25-06 that shoots lights out after the first shot which is always 1-3"s high at 100 (with a clean barrel being at the top of this range) higher pressure I assume. It stays in the safe if I'm hunting areas that will present 300+ yard shots. I have other rifles that shoot very consistent from a cold fouled barrel. Shoot every time your able to when the conditions match what hunting season will be. You will learn exactly what your rifles like and dislike possibly. I wouldn't lose any sleep over bore condition. Dry patch and head for the timber if the bore is clean and oiled, if fouled your ready to enjoy time with your grandson. Good Luck!!!

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    My experience is that you have to try out your particular rifle to see what is best. In my rifles, I find that point of impact is different for the first two to three shots with an oiled bore, but then settles down after that.

    When I hunted in the Pacific Northwest where it rains almost every moment of the hunting season, the routine I found that works well for me is to run a dry patch followed by a lightly oiled patch through the bore after each hunting day - whether the rifle was fired or not - to protect from moisture damage. Then before heading out to hunt, I push a dry patch or two through and fire two magnum primed cases (no charge, just cases primed with magnum primers) before rolling a balloon onto the muzzle for extra protection.

    Sounds like a lot of bother, but I am confident that my first shot will go where the crosshairs are pointed!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    After I test fire my gun the barrel doesn’t get the barrel doesn’t get cleaned. I clean it before I go to the range get it sighted in and leave it alone until after season. Everyone of my guns are probably an inch and to an inch and a half off after I clean them if I don’t take a follower shot first. The closest I’ve come to same POA with the first shot is cleaning a barrel and then running a few patches Through it soaked with rubbing alcohol down to remove all the oil out but then you’re just asking for rust if you’re not gonna go shoot it the same day.


    I clean, shoot and check zero, put it away, and forget about it till season.

  19. #19
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    Me and a grandson are preparing to hunt deer in another week here in Missouri. He is using a 303 British in a No. 4 MK 1 using 30 grains of H-4895 under a Lyman 314299 at 200 grains gas checked and I am using an 1885 Browning in 45-70 shooting a 300 grain gas checked RCBS over 30 grains of H4198. My question is, what condition should the gun be in when making that first shot at a deer? Cleaned and oiled barrel? Cleaned and oil wiped out of the barrel before the hunt? Or barrel wiped out of oil and fired once to foul the barrel?
    The short answer is, it probably doesn't matter for hunting accuracy with iron sight rifle hunting distances.

    You want a long answer?
    While you've included lots of detailed info, you left one thing out...what type of Lube are you using and have you used it enough to know what condition the bore is left in, after firing? (known as CORE condition)

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...=1#post1955367

    Item # 8 from post 1349

    8. Must leave consistent bore fouling, i.e. satisfy Eutectic's Consistency Of Residuals Encountered (CORE) concept. This is key to hunting accuracy and multi-temp performance. My personal standard for this is two, ten-shot groups fired in succession starting from a clean barrel compared to two more, ten-shot successive groups fired from one day to a week later with NO BARREL CLEANING. A second requirement is to be able to maintain accuracy for at least 500 rounds between major cleanings. Some lube ingredients, in my experience, cannot do this. Alox 350 is one, we think due to calcium buildup in the bore. Lubes with too much Molybdenum disulphide can have the same disadvantage. It goes without saying that the lube formula, as a single factor, must not promote lead fouling of the bore.
    Conclusion:
    anything put in the bore (or cleaned out of the bore), so the bore is no longer in it's CORE condition, will likely effect POA. First shot from a cold barrel is a whole nuther thang, and is mostly effected by your lube and barrel temperature, if the bore is in it's CORE condition.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

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    For deer it doesn't matter, whatever smells they are use to they ignore. In farm country they feed right up to the diesel tractors. Now Coyote is a different story. We use to clean and fire in the rifle at before season and then wipe it down and keep it in a cloth case impregnated with juniper until the end of season. Maybe not the best for the gun but it was a tool to harvest coyotes and at $50 bucks or more a hide it was an expendable item. Although other than some finish wear the rifles are still shooting.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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