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Have you paid close attention to accuracy after cleaning? I'm not talking about a leaded barrel. Just normal GSR. At my range, it's about 50 / 50 more accurate to less accurate. I notice that I'm less accurate.:shock:
 

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To be honest, I do not know how dirty it has to be to affect accuracy.
A normal range visit for me entails firing on average 200-250 rounds after which the gun gets cleaned. I have not noticed any decrease in accuracy during my range visits.

I have read a few articles written on this topic. In every case it was shown that accuracy suffers when a gun was not cleaned.
 

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Are we talking physical accuracy drop off, or fatigue drop-off?

I doubt the effects of a normal accumulation of GSR during a shooting session would effect accuracy at normal pistol ranges. In a precision rifle, a dirty barrel may drop your accuracy from 1MOA to 2MOA at 100 yards, but we're talking a 20"+ barrel at 100-200 yards! Not a 4-5" barrel at 10-15 yards!

I know my accuracy use to drop off when I shot for groups years ago, but it was due to fatigue/focus. I highly doubt you could physically measure barrel performance at normal pistol ranges. Maybe Bianchi Cup distances, from sand-bags... And maybe 1/2" loss of accuracy.

JW
 

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My 45 will yield 1/2 inch groups at the beginning middle or end of a shooting session. I however tend to fade towards the end so have a friend do the test at end of session. From sand bags of course.

It matters not if I am using lead or jhp's.
 

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I often experience fairly wild variations in group sizes--just recently I did a 1" 5-shot group, then immediately did a couple of 1.7" groups. I seem to have a real problem maintaining the same eye focus, same sight picture, etc., and these variations would easily mask any small variations due to cleanliness of the gun.

In addition, I don't see a lot of difference between a bore with 20 rds through vs one with 2,000 rds through it...so I figure any effect of cleaning the bore, at least, is long gone before I'm through my first box of ammo. But, despite this experience, I still try to clean the guns every 2,000 rds or so, whether they're dirty or not. I don't think this strict regimen has had any accuracy benefits over not cleaning them at all, but I still like to have the large chunks cleared out of the small moving parts once in a while.
 

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Heat would probably be more of a factor than crud would. As the barrel heats up, its characteristics change somewhat. But that would be minute in a short pistol barrel.
 

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I have owned guns in the past that would put the first round through a clean barrel a couple of inches away from where they'd group with a fouled barrel. Other than that, they've shot the same no matter how "reasonably" dirty they've gotten.

I've never exceeded 500 rounds between cleanings, and going that long was only at the manufacturer's direction (new Les Baer 1911).

Back in the IPSC days, we'd fire a fouling shot (in muzzle adding competitions too) before starting the first stage of the day.

I'm happy to say that I don't have that going on with any of my M&P's.
 

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I have owned guns in the past that would put the first round through a clean barrel a couple of inches away from where they'd group with a fouled barrel. Other than that, they've shot the same no matter how "reasonably" dirty they've gotten.

I've never exceeded 500 rounds between cleanings, and going that long was only at the manufacturer's direction (new Les Baer 1911).

Back in the IPSC days, we'd fire a fouling shot (in muzzle adding competitions too) before starting the first stage of the day.

I'm happy to say that I don't have that going on with any of my M&P's.
I have experienced the first shot cold clean barrel deviation but only in my venter fire rifles.

Have not noticed it in my M&Ps.
 

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My accuracy is affected more by how many cups of coffee I've had.

But seriously, I tend to feel like my gun works better when its clean so I feel better about it, and that makes me shoot better. Through a session at the range, I can usually tell when the gun is getting dirty. I have a Sig 938 that I feel like I has to have its feed ramp wiped off every hundred rounds or so. But I have a 9c that seems like nothing affects it at all.
 

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I've never noticed a difference.

If I shoot it, I clean it, maybe not tonight, but I'll get it in the morning at the latest.

The 9MM FS is more accurate than the .357 SIG/.40 S&W FS, but I've never really noticed a difference in the "big" gun either.
 

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It seems to me that my M&P 9 FS needs a mag or 2 down range to be the most accurate after a good cleaning.
 

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For pistol distances I've never noticed a difference. I have to imagine that you would have a failure of some kind (FTF, FTE, etc.) due to fouling before you would see accuracy drop off.
 

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My observation is watching others shoot at 10yds and under who can tell the difference. On the other hand 50yds would be a good testing distance but the very few have the ability to be consistent at that range.
 

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Update:

I shot a 1500 round training session over two days last November, and another 1000 round one this past March with my 2013 M&P9, with no cleaning of the bore throughout both courses.

Accuracy never varied any that I could tell.

I have a Wilson Combat barrel in the pistol, but I'd expect similar results with a stock S&W barrel.
 

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Back in the early days of the M&P pistols, we went for as many as 6 months between cleanings, taking classes plus lots (and lots) of training. At 25 yards, a freshly cleaned bore may have given me some problems for the first couple/few rounds, but the grouping potential of the next 3,000 or so rounds would be pretty much identical. Once it gets to about 6,000 there's a small drop off in both accuracy and reliability. At 5-7 yards, I really can't tell any difference between disgustingly filthy and freshly cleaned. 1 hole is one hole either way.
 

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Back in my Army days, I shot on a pistol team.
We were issued AMU built 1911 target pistols.
Armorers told us to never field strip them.
Punch the bore, lube, that was it.
Was told that it would take time for the gun to settle in again.
Did it make any difference?
At my lever, likely not.
At the Gunny Zins level, seems likely that it would.
For speed game by us mere mortals, it matters no a bit.
 
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