Cold bore shot vs. rest of group
I'm sighting-in my rifle (remington 700 sps, .30-06) and getting different placement for my first shot(s). After the first shot or two, the groups begin to stabilize and I can zero my scope. The problem is, when I go hunting, I wont have a couple shots to take before getting a stable group, only the first (cold bore) shot will matter.
First off, is this normal?
And second, does this mean that in order to hit bullseye with my first shot, I have to let the gun COMPLETELY cool down after each shot when sighting-in?
Your cold bore shots will be somewhat off from your fouled barrel shots. When I am training with my sniper teams, we record our cold bore shot first, and then shoot a group. Here's what I would recommend for you. Shoot a round or two before making any scope adjustments. After your scope is zeroed, clean your bore while in the field or on the range. Then, fire one or two rounds, and put the rifle away until your next hunt or range visit. This will leave you with a "lightly" fouled barrel that will give you a cold bore shot well within reason of your scopes zero, but will not be harmful to your bore.
Yes and Yes
I agree with what fpdsniper says and will add that the temperature of the barrel does come into play along with the fouling.
Another thing. If you are shooting well enough to notice the difference in cold barrel shots then you should be able to easily place a shot in the kill zone of a deer up to 300 yards.
Beyond that it's an unethical shot anyway. Not that I haven't taken them myself when I was younger. Now I rarely shoot over 100 yards and always use iron sight mauser bolt rifles. And I understand what you are saying though, you want your rifle and scope system as acurate as possible.
But yes, it is normal. And yes, if you want to thread a needle with a cold barrel shot you must fire all your shots with a cold fouled barrel while adjusting your scope. And as said before, clean the barrel then fire at least one fouling shot before putting the rifle away.
Be sure you use match grade ammo or good worked up handloads or it's all out the window anyway.
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