Does taping the end of my rifle barrel affect accuracy?

Shot through electrical tape on the end of my X-Bolt 270 WSM rifle barrel

This is what the electrical tape looked like after I shot through the tape on the end of my X-Bolt 270 WSM rifle barrel to take my Mule Deer in 2010 at 457 yards.

The last few years I have been taping the end of my barrel to keep snow, water, mud and other debris out. I have read and been told that placing a balloon or tape over the end of my barrel would not affect the accuracy. I believed what I have heard but still in the back of my head I've been a little hesitant that maybe it would change things enough to affect the accuracy. However when I logically think about it, the tape has to be blown out of the way long before the bullet ever gets to the end of the barrel. I should take some time some day and test accuracy on the range.

I carry a roll of electrical tape in my fanny pack that I have my range finder and binoculars in. I wear the fanny pack on my front side so I can quickly have access to items I need, like tape. When I tape my barrel I like to create a tab to use to pull the tape off with. I fold over about a half inch of tape on top of itself then tape up and over the end of the barrel with about three inches of tape on both sides of the barrel.

I have always had time to remove the tape before taking any shots until this year. In the rush of the moment I forgot that I still had tape across the end of my barrel when I shot my 2010 Mule Deer at 457 yards. The shot was dead on — absolutely no problem shooting through electrical tape placed across the end of my barrel.

Update October 2014
In 2014 I started using a Neoprene Rifle Jacket and love it. I no longer tape the end of the barrel or mess with scope covers. I use the rifle jacket and the whole rifle is protected from snow, rain and scratches. You can see more thoughts and photos of this product in Dallen's 2014 mule deer hunt.
 

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