Here's my thoughts. I own many nice rifles and quite a few excelent shooters. My thoughts on cleaning a barrel are this. Very few people really clean a barrel the proper way and take the time to do a thorough cleaning. This is a long drawn out process that can take days to complete. I do this to my rifles every year. Running a brush through the rifle is not cleaning it. On my hunting rifles some of them will be shot several hundred shots per year without cleaning properly. I will run a bore snake occasionally through them to remove loose powder but only do the real cleaning during off season. I do not want to go hunting with a clean bore and always shoot several fouling shots before using a rifle for hunting. I do this at sight in before the season then don't worry about the gun till after the season ends. I have found that a clean barrel will usually not shoot to point of aim like a fouled one does in most rifles.
I am not like most people when it comes to zeroing in a rifle either. I have seen many people go out and shoot their rifles before season and shoot 5 shots to zero in their gun to poa. once they get it to hit the spot they are ready to hunt. I do this also but then I will carry my rifle back and set up and shoot only 1 shot and see where it hits and adjust the scope for each shot until it hits every time on the first shot. Reason being as you shoot heat builds up in the barrel. If anything is aganst the barrel the metal swells as heat is applied by more shots. To me the only important shot is the first out of a cool barrel yes it takes longer my way but doing it this way is what I want to know that the first shot is where I want it.
I wouldn't clean it.
The Older I Get...The Better I was...
Team 444 Member #175
Team 35 Member #2
Team 39 Member #10
Marlin League #26
338 MX...It's not your father's lever action!
Clean your guns after every hunt to insure accuracy. I'm one of those hunters who loves a good gun but its not a good gun if its not a clean gun.
I have generally noticed only minor variability between first shot out of a cold/clean barrel and one that had been "fouled". By minor I am referring to a change of a POI of less than .25-inch or, in practical terms, not enough to affect a "shoot/no shoot" decision on game. A difference of a quarter of an inch on any of my rifles (bolt or lever) will simply not make any difference to the target deer. My long term concern is always to maintain the condition of the bore as the most important component of a rifle...my suggestion....clean that baby and take your best shot when it is offerred.
Most people in my club oil the bore after cleaning. The stuff I use is Ballistol. Not only does it protect against rust but it helps to reduce the "flier effect" of the first shot from a clean, cold bore. We shoot long- range- target, by the way, in Oz. At hunting ranges I would not be worried about the difference in POI, that is, ditto Brad4 #34.
Marlin 39A Lyman 66 peep
My 336c in .30-30 hasn't been cleaned (other than wiping off mud, blood, etc.) since I bought it used in 1978. Literally thousands of rounds through it, shoots 100 yard groups with any 170 grain load that are covered by a quarter. Never jammed or failed to fire, except one time with LE ammo which I no longer use.