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Old January 14th, 2012, 03:30 PM
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Default Barrel fouling .204

This is my first .204 Ruger. Eventually I will start to reload.

I just sighted the gun in at 200 yds and only used 6 rounds. The 7th round I shot from 300 yards to see where it printed.

Shooting Hornady Varmint Express, 32 grain VMax, the accuracy was well beyond my expectations. That .204 is a flat, accurate shooter.

When I returned home I ran a brush and patches through the bore. Did those patches ever come out black. WOW ! ! !. I accuracy (well under red line) reload my .243 & .270 and I can go as high as 12 to 15 rounds before I see patches like the .204 was coughing up.

With 7 rounds the accuracy was great, but with that bore being really crapped up, the bullets just have to start walking at some point.

Any thoughts on my experience and the factory .204 ammo.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Barrel fouling .204

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Originally Posted by ImAfossil View Post
This is my first .204 Ruger. Eventually I will start to reload.

I just sighted the gun in at 200 yds and only used 6 rounds. The 7th round I shot from 300 yards to see where it printed.

Shooting Hornady Varmint Express, 32 grain VMax, the accuracy was well beyond my expectations. That .204 is a flat, accurate shooter.

When I returned home I ran a brush and patches through the bore. Did those patches ever come out black. WOW ! ! !. I accuracy (well under red line) reload my .243 & .270 and I can go as high as 12 to 15 rounds before I see patches like the .204 was coughing up.

With 7 rounds the accuracy was great, but with that bore being really crapped up, the bullets just have to start walking at some point.

Any thoughts on my experience and the factory .204 ammo.
fossil
One thing that you have to remember is that different powders look and foul differently. As you know, some powders burn at different temps, rates, and pressures than others. I'm sure all of this would effect the amount of carbon build up, and possibly even the color of the fouling. Lots of companies use blends of powders for their loads, and I have always heard that they do so on their .204. Maybe one of their powders in their blend fouls a bit more.

It also sounds like this is a new rifle. If that's the case, then I'd say that the barrel is just getting broke in, and it's going to foul a bit more than usual until it's broke in. There are quite a few threads on "barrel break in", and to lots of people it's pretty controversial. I personally don't believe that you have to follow a break in procedure to break a barrel in, it's just something that happens as you shoot rounds down the barrel. Whether or not you use a break in procedure can effect how easily the barrel cleans until it's broken in because it'll accumulate more fouling until it is broke in. What happens is there is small burrs in the throat area of the rifle from cutting the chamber. This is a very delicate and important area where the rifling starts, and so it's not a good idea to polish it to clean it up. So it takes some rounds to get the burrs out of the throat area, and off the rifling. Until this happens, the burrs will scrape off and trap bits of copper and carbon. The copper is so hot and under so much pressure that it almost turns into a plasma, and settles in the barrel. I'm sure you'll see a bit of copper streaks in the bore, and more carbon fouling. After it gets broken in, I bet you'll see a fairly drastic reduction in the fouling.

If you want my honest assessment, I think you're cleaning your barrel too much. Unless you're shooting BR competitions, there's just no reason to clean your barrel every 7, 12, or even 15 rounds. Having a clean barrel isn't necessarily what gives you good accuracy. Obviously having a load that your rifle likes, and that is consistent is important to accuracy. Consistency is what really gives you accuracy, and always cleaning your bore right after just a few shots will NOT give you more consistency. It'll only clean out the carbon fouling, and result in you having to foul the bore to get it to shoot consistent and so you don't have flyers. You see, carbon isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are slight imperfections, low spots, and differences in the lands, grooves, and surface of the bullet. The carbon fouling helps fill in these places, smooth them out, and seal them off so that gas isn't leaking around them. What you really want is the barrel to be fouled somewhat, so that when a bullet exits the barrel, it takes as much fouling with it as it leaves behind. THAT is what puts the finishing touches on your load and gives you consistent velocities, pressures, etc.

My .300 WSM will put 5 rounds in under .200" center to center at 100 yards. It'll do it consistently, and shoots groups even better than that, but it's safe to say it's good for 5 rounds inside of .200" center to center. It will maintain that accuracy for a long time. I can shoot HUNDREDS of rounds and it'll still shoot right around .250". I usually clean it as a matter of habit after about 200 rounds. I'm a long range shooter, and shoot 1,000 yards all the time. In that territory, consistency is king. Honestly, if you're not seeing a loss of accuracy, then just keep shooting it. If you're doing everything exactly the same, and it's with loads that you know shoot well, but you're not getting quite the accuracy you know you should get; THEN you should clean it. Excessive cleaning, and improper cleaning causes way more problems and losses in accuracy than having some copper fouling in the barrel. Screwing up the throat of the chamber, rifling, and crown of your rifle is much more detrimental to accuracy than a little carbon.

Either way, I'll chalk up the fouling to different powders than you're normally used to, and the barrel not yet being completely broke in. May I ask how many rounds you have down the barrel? The other thing I'd recommend is not to worry about the fouling too much and enjoy shooting the thing.
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Old January 14th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Barrel fouling .204

Fouled bores aren't always a bad thing either.

A couple of my rifles are more accurate dirty than they are clean. My H&R 24" .223Rem is one of them. It will tighten up after about 3-5 shots, and remain tight grouped until about 25-30 shots, then it starts to open up again.

Target and varmint shooters will keep a cleaning rod with them in the field to do a quick run-through of the bore when needed. Since they aren't stalking game the can have some of the necessities with them.

As Tomcat described above, a new rifle with have a relatively rough bore until broken in. Certain sequences of firing and cleaning will help clear up the bore. Until that bore is honed in the "rough" machine marks will hold more residue, which will reflect on your patches. Once the bore is broken in you will often find a cleaner bore when cleaning.

I personally polish my bores before hand manually, staying clear of the throat and chamber. I allow the firing to clear up the throat. It's not recommended unless you absolutely know what you're doing. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember, and haven't had a problem.
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Old January 15th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Default Good Stuff ! !

Knight and Tomcat have toned down my over reaction. To Tomcat---I sure will enjoy shooting the THING. It will be a fun piece.

Yes, I have only run 7 rounds through the gun. It all makes sense. All the 204 needs is a little work. I believe that the .204 with work and the right bullet and powder, can be a Chuck buster at 400 yards. The foot pounds of energy appear to be there and just delivering a good hit will be up to the shooter. Being just a tad older than dirt, I just do not remember the break in residue from new firearms. It has probably always been there.

When I Chuck hunt, I always go out to the field with a (stuck for a word) let's say with a 'dirty barrel'.

As for shooting long range we can shoot safetly (upstate PA) out to 1200 yards. We anchor 18 inch inflated balloons from 500 out to 1200 yards. With 2 spotters and 6 / 7 shooters, it makes for a fun Sunday afternoon. Thinking about it, I don't even consider cleaning the bore after 25 + rounds. My Parker Hale .270 is still a 3 shot one holer, at 100 yards, and after 40 years is still my favorite of three .270s that I currently own.

I shoot aginst mostly Maggies with my .270 and get my fair share of hits. The guys with the 7MMs & 300s can't figure ouy why. I can rap out quantity before my barrel starts to heat up. Typically I can launch 2 to 3X more 130s than my Magnum shooting friends. Quantity does not = Quality, but my buddies have not figured that out. I hope they don't read this reply.
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Last edited by ImAfossil; January 15th, 2012 at 02:34 PM.
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