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I recently purchased a new .300 Win. Mag. rifle. I always put several rounds through my shotguns before going hunting. Should I

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  • I recently purchased a new .300 Win. Mag. rifle. I always put several rounds through my shotguns before going hunting. Should I

    I recently purchased a new .300 Win. Mag. rifle. I always put several rounds through my shotguns before going hunting. Should I do the same with a rifle? If so, how many rounds does a rifle need before it's ready for the field? -Mike Carney, Ithaca, NY

  • #2
    As a very broad rule of thumb, rifles, especially bolt-action rifles, tend to become somewhat more accurate after they've fired several rounds. This can be explained in a number of ways, such as breaking in the barrel and "settling" the action and barrel in the stock. My own experience has shown that a hunting-class rifle gets about as good as it's going to get after 50 to 100 rounds. High-grade target rifles tend to blossom more quickly.

    This doesn't mean, however, that a typical hunting rifle must be fired dozens of times before it's ready to be taken afield. Usually, the accuracy improvement from breaking it in is not all that significant or necessary. In virtually all examples, by the time a rifle has been sighted-in at the range it is ready for the hunt. More important is checking such hunting essentials as smooth and reliable feeding, proper operation of the safety and other mechanical details. Also, when breaking in a centerfire hunting rifle, be sure to let the barrel cool between test groups, checking to see if there is a tendency to shift point of aim as the barrel heats. In some instances sighting-in with a hot barrel can result in a false zero.

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    • #3
      You should properly clean and zero a new rifle. Once that has been accomplished you can hunt with it as soon as you're confident in your bullet placement.

      I do believe in "fouling" shots.

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