Restoring MOA Accuracy To A Fouled Barrel

While setting up my new 28 Nosler, Browning X-Bolt rifle, it started shooting like a house of fire right out of the chute and then accuracy started to get increasingly degraded. Here is the process I used and how I found adding an extra step to my cleaning process restored my accuracy. 

After getting my new rifle I thoroughly cleaned the bore with a Bore Tech Eliminator and Kroil as I have with all my firearms in the past.

For my first outing to the range I had 10 rounds loaded up with H-1000 powder. The first shot was to verify the point of impact from bore sighting using the simple look down the bore technique. Then I had three different powder charges for three shots a piece. All three of these three shot groups shot sub MOA with one grouping at 3/8" at 100 yards. Awesome that was quick however I needed to shoot more to verify it would be consistently accurate.

Trip two to the range I shot two more three shot groups at 100 yards with the tightest load from the first trip to the range. The first group was just over an inch and the second was back under an inch at 7/8" and I shot a third three shot group at 300 yards that was five inches with a flier to the right. Not so good. Hmm...

My third trip I shot three, three shot groups again at 100 yards and all three groups were in the 1 1/2" to 2" range. Ahh!!! Opening up even more. This was when it clicked that I had to be having fouling problems. 

I tried my usual cleaning process of Kroil and Bore Tech Eliminator. And headed back to the range again this time to shoot a ladder test at 300 yards with different powder charges incrementally in 0.2 grains. On this trip I found a couple powder charge nodes with the best node being right where I had been loading my favorite load from the very first day. However the ladder wasn't as tight as I would have like it to be and the theme of fliers going to the right was continuing. Ahh!!!

Ok, I was convinced that there was an issue with the barrel fouling rapidly and discussed the issue with my engineer friend. He recommended JB Bore paste. As I learned, sometimes a new rifle bore needs a little polishing with a mild abrasive to smooth out any imperfections that persist from the factory. I have heard of this working awesome on barrels in the past but have been very nervous about taking any kind of abrasive to my rifle bores. My X-bolt has a chrome line bore and I wondered how the JB Bore paste would work. My friend confirmed that it would work great with the chrome lined bore.

So here are the three things I run through my bore on cloth patches. The first item is Kroil that is an oil I like that will penetrate, help lift carbon and other debris in the bore. Bore Tech Eliminator is an awesome chemical process that breaks down the copper without causing any chemical breakdown of the bore itself. You can leave it in the barrel and it won't harm your barrel like a Barnes CR2 cleaner would. JB Bore paste is a mechanical process that scrubs and polishes the bore.

So before my next trip to the range I used a combination of Kroil, Bore Tech Eliminator and now JB Bore paste. I would run patches of Bore Tech Eliminator from the chamber and out the muzzle followed by dry patches. After this I would run a patch of JB Bore paste except with the JB Paste I would stroke the patch back and forth in the barrel for around 10 times. I would then follow with a couple dry patches and then repeat the process with using the combination of the chemical and then mechanical cleaning agents.

After I had repeated the process 10 times my chemical patches were only a very, very faint blue color. Blue is the color your patch will be when it reacts with copper. A couple dry patches and a Kroil patch to finish it off and I was ready to head back to the range.

On this trip to the range I wanted to test a couple things at 300 yards. First I wanted to try a group with the original H-1000 load and then I wanted to try Retumbo powder ladder. So I first shot a fouling shot at a clay pigeon I had sat out at 300 yards and I drilled it. Cool! Immediately after that I shot three shots with the H-1000 load. Bingo. These three shots made a 2 1/8" group that measured only 1" vertically. And the one "flier" for the group was to the left instead of the right which at 300 yards the varying wind speed can easily effect. Even at that, this is the equivalent of a group under 3/4" at 100 yards. This is right at the size of groups I was getting with the load at 100 yards previous to the JB Bore paste cleaning. 

Right after firing this group I started on my Retumbo ladder test. Holy crap the first two shots of the ladder were near touching at 300 yards and the velocity and point of impact is the same for the H-1000 load I had just shot. That's awesome! In this ladder test there were two three shot sub MOA nodes. The overall group from the ladder was three inches narrower that the previous  (non-JB Bore Paste cleaned) ladder with the same light wind conditions.

Next trip I'm going to shoot some Retumbo loads in the tight 1 and 2 shots powder charges from my ladder test. And I think I will clean the barrel again but only run a couple JB Bore paste patches this time.

I'm hooked, JB Bore Paste is now going to be a part of my cleaning process. I can think of a couple other rifles I would like to use it in that have had group sizes getting a little larger than I like. Hmm.

Rifle bore cleaning products

 

Out shooting a ladder test tonight with Hodgdon H1000 powder behind a 175 Gr ELD-X in my 28 Nosler. I'm not a pro at ladder tests, nor is this the tightest ladder I have shot, but I do like doing them to narrow down a solid accurate powder charge. For this ladder test I had 13 loads in 2 tenth increments from 76.6 Gr to 79 Gr holding on the same target at a distance of 300 yards. The idea is to find a node of consecutive shots that have the least variance in elevation. Shots 10 through 13 are only 1 1/4" apart in elevation and 11 through 13 are only 5/8" apart. 12 and 13 only 1/4" apart. Would be nice to see a 14 but this is getting near the max charge I feel comfortable with. Charge number 12 looks to be the best from this ladder. After a thorough cleaning and probably some JB bore paste to smooth out this new bore I am going to try a Retumbo ladder test next. #laddertest #28nosler #browning #chrony #targetshooting #rifle #whatgetsyououtdoors #hornady #hodgdon #loadyourown #reloading #reload

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Last night's 300 yard ladder test with different powder charges using Retumbo and a 2 1/8" 3 shot group with H-1000. Both were shot with my @browningfirearms X-Bolt 28 Nosler with @hornady_mfg 175 Gr ELD-X bullets. I first shot the 3 shot group (bottom target) with a load of H-1000 from a node in my previous ladder test. I then shot the ladder test. There are two sub moa nodes in this ladder. 1,2,3 and 9,10,11. I really like that 1 and 2 have the exact point of impact as the H-1000 group I had just finished shooting. And the velocities are both right at 3,215 for both loads. I'm getting closer to figuring out a favorite load. #xbolt #browning #whatgetsyououtdoors #reloading #reload #hodgdon #loadyourown #eldx #bullet #targetshooting #28nosler

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Landen's First Elk — Cow Elk Hunting with a Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

With Dallen and myself filling our cow elk tags it was time to help Landen.

Early in the morning on a week day my three boys and myself were up getting ready to help Landen fill his cow elk tag. Getting three boys all equipped and ready for cold temps with snow took an hour longer than I anticipated. It was a week day but as we pulled into the parking lot to access the public land my ears were correct as we found a horse trailer and three other vehicles. Darn it.

We started glassing from the parking lot spotting a cow out on a ridge near the area the cow elk that Dallen and I first spotted our cows the week before. We were just about ready to start the hike up after this elk when we watched three horses come in below the elk. I snapped a couple photo of these hunters just before they dropped the cow and another cow that was out of sight from us.

As it turned out the hunters with the horses were two friends of mine that work with me at Browning. They were excited to see the photo I snapped of them.

We glassed another group of cows three miles in and on the move to private ground. We could see some hunters in a basin I like to hunt working on a cow they had down. Hmm...

With all of the activity in the area ahead of us we decided to hike up a ridge line and then swing around below the other hunters looking for some cows that we had seen from the road while driving in that morning.

After a mile or so, with a few hours of hiking we dropped over into a small draw and below us were two cows. We worked our way down a ridge line out of sight of the elk and then popped up on a small cliff. I set a day pack on the cliff and Landen setup with my little A-Bolt Stainless Hunter Laminate in 243 WSSM, shooting 80 gr Tipped Triple Shock bullets.

As the two elk moved out in to the open 130 yards across from us Landen hammered the larger of the two with a perfect shot through the shoulders. Nice shooting Landen! The 80 Gr TTSX is a lightning bolt on deer and elk offering amazing penetration and trama is shoulder shot deer and elk out to 400 yards with my 243 WSSM handload going 3,550 fps in this little A-Bolt rifle.

When we got over to the elk we found that it was a calf. I thought it was a younger cow at first but once on the ground we found it was just a large calf with plenty of nice tender meat. Yum!

Dallen and I had already taken a couple nice sized cows the week before so we were set on meat for another year. Yes, our family goes through two elk a year on average. We love elk meat. Landen's elk may not have been the largest on the mountain but it has been a tasty one and given him some great experience to be better prepared on future hunts.

After a few pics with Landen's first elk we went to work boning it out and placing the meat into canvas breathable Pack Wheel Meat Panniers. After we had the meat all boned out and strapped on the Pack Wheel we only had a couple hundred yards to go to drop down to a road and then we could follow the road about a mile back to the parking lot for a very easy pack out with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel.

We even had a little daylight left for some pics on the way off the mountain. 

Another awesome time spent with my boys. Good shooting Landen!

Cow Elk Pack Out with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

Rogue 36 Pack Wheel — Cow Elk Hunting

 

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For several months I have been working on building a Pack Wheel with the largest wheel possible, that being a wheel that is 36 inches in diameter. Thirty six inch wheels on specialty bikes are showing up more and more, especially for really tall people. Being a tall guy myself I have been really intrigued with the larger wheel. The larger the wheel the smoother the ride, as the angle with which the tire contacts an obstacle is lowered making going over obstacles easier.

There are a few challenges to designing a thirty six inch wheel to work with the Pack Wheel. Challenges in designing and building things my brain just loves to tackle, so bring it on. The two most significant challenges to designing this giant wheel to work with the Pack Wheel were first, redesigning the handle so that it would offer strength and stability in a lower-to-frame design. Something I refer to as leverage. The greater the distance between the handle and the center of gravity the better. The second major obsticle was designing the frame to handle the added braking force of the extra leverage from the huge diameter wheel. A few tweaks to the design of the handle and the frame accomplished both of these major obsticles with flying colors!

After working on the design for a few months I had parts cut and welded up just in time for our families late season cow elk hunts. Dallen, Landen and myself all had cow elk tags for an area that has some public land we like to hunt. The last couple of years I have hunted this area I have had to hike in over three miles to find what few elk have been in the area. This year we had a little more snow than the past few years so I was hopeful that we wouldn't have to hike three plus miles in for cow elk especially with my eleven and thirteen year old boys.

Not wanting to have three elk on the ground all at once I decided to have Dallen and I make an initial trip up and see if we could locate some and if possible bring a couple cow elk back with us.

We picked a good day of the week as there were no other vehicles in the parking lot as we showed up a little after daylight. We set out up the canyon with me pushing an empty Rogue 36 and Dallen pushing a 27.5+ Pack Wheel. The 27.5+ is a three inch fat tire that has an outside diameter of 29 inches, just a little smaller than the 29er tires that are on the Pack Wheel.

In years past we have hunted up the mountain for cow elk with Pack Wheels collapsed on our backs. Something that has worked really well for us. My personal Pack Wheels I have setup tubeless making them about nine ounces lighter. This makes my 29er right at twelve pounds of carry weight. Add the two pound meat panniers and I have everything I need to haul a completely boned out elk off the mountain by myself with just the fourteen pounds of extra carry weight with me.

This year we chose to just push the Pack Wheels empty up the mountain. This first prototype Rogue 36 Pack Wheel weighs in just over seventeen and a half pounds and the meat panniers are the same two pounds. In fact Dallen and I were taking the first set I ever sewed up and another very early set. Both sets have carried many elk and a few deer off the mountain and are still holding up strong. These two sets of meat panniers were most recently used to carry out Dallen and Landen's mule deer from the 2016 Utah rifle deer season.

Pushing the Pack Wheel along empty worked great. I wondered if it would annoy me but it didn't at all even going up some really steep inclines. I actually enjoyed having it to lean on and help keep my balance similar to a walking stick.

After hiking for a half mile or so we climbed up the North side of the canyon hoping to glass and find some elk in the area. Nope, nope and nope. After an hour or so we finally found three cows an a calf about a mile further up the canyon and on the thick brushy north facing side. We made a note of them and continued up the south facing slope that we were on. After another half hour we noticed that the three cows and calf had moved one ridge line closer. With not seeing anything on the side we were on we decided to drop back down, cross the canyon, and hope that we might be able to get within range be able to see the elk on the oak brushy side that they were on.

Some time later we were hiking on the other side along the edge of some oak bush when we spotted them at three hundred and fifteen yards. Well within range of my X-Bolt in 270 WSM shooting a 150 Gr SST and Dallen's new 300 WSM shooting 200 Gr ELD-X bullets. However, there was a one major problem, that being we were behind a line of oak brush and getting two of the cows to be in a window to shoot through at the same time highly difficult. Given they were feeding their way towards a ridge line and could disappear from our view, when the largest cow came into an opening I told Dallen to take her. Dallen made a very well placed heart shot and she quickly did a death run mixed with death slide into the brush. The remaining cow and calf ran and paused not far from cresting the ridge line. I had to quickly maneuver into a shooting position that wasn't the most steady but I had a narrow window to the elk through the brush directly in front of me. As I touched off the shot I was right on her back and that was exactly where I hit her. There went a good five pounds of back strap. :( Oops.

By the time we hiked up to them, had them both boned out, and loaded on the Pack Wheels it was after 10pm. As I get older I'm noticing that I can't bone an elk out as fast as I used to. 

Once we had them loaded, off the mountain we cruised. The giant 36" wheel was amazing in the snow. If I could change one thing I would like a really knobby tread like the Hans Dampf or Knobby Nic tires that are on our 26, 27.5+ and 29er Pack Wheels. There just aren't many tire options to choose from that are 36 inches in size. The tires that are on the 36" Pack Wheel are knobby just not super knobby. The reason I would prefer the super knobby tires is for holding your position going around a steep loose side hill. 

There was a hundred yards or so of going around a side hill and the 36 inch tire worked well it just didn't grab and hold it's line quite as well as the knobbier tires I am used to using. I dont' see the tire being a problem I just noticed they slipped a little where the Hans Dampf tires would have held their ground better.

One of the things we knew was going to happen from other snow experiences is the extra resistance of a fatter tire that was on the 27.5+ Pack Wheel Dallen was using. Wider tired have more resistance in un-groomed, wet and deeper snow. I prefer the 2.35" wide Hans Dampf tire over the wider Fat tires in the snow. The reason being is unless you have perfect hard pack snow conditions the fatter tires still sink into the snow. It's a lot easier to have a narrower tire cut through the snow than a fat tire. There just is more resistance along the front edge of the tire. I knew this but still wanted more experience with a fat tire so the Pack Wheel Dallen was primarily using was the fat tire Pack Wheel and I was using the Rogue 36. 

Both Pack Wheels worked great however there was a two hundred yard stretch of sage brush flat that had a layer of a foot of powder on top of a crusted layer of around another eight inches of snow. The 36 inch wheel went through all eighteen inches of snow with ease. The fat tire took some energy to move in this section and a few small rest stops to make it through this two hundred yard stretch. The fat wheel would sink just as far into the snow but it had considerable more resistance to push through the snow just like we have found in other experiences we had last fall while hunting mule deer in heavy wet snow. I knew this but wanted to get a little more experience with the fat tire in the snow. It still worked in the snow but I definitely prefer the standard 2.35" wide tires in the snow. 

We did take turns using each size of the Pack Wheel so that we could better get a side by side comparison.

One thing was for sure and that is the giant 36" tire is now my hands down favorite in the snow and I'm betting it is going to be my all around favorite for all of my outdoor adventures. I'll bet I'm using it on all of my trips this year. :)

Other than a slight slow down for the fat tire on the 200 yard flat, we cruised off the mountain in the dark. 

Did I mention how much I loved the giant wheel? Dang it rolled really nice!

Next up getting Landen's cow elk tag filled.

 

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Subcategories

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    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

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