Many shooters advocate a long, complicated barrel break in via a regimen of shooting once and cleaning, then repeating for 5 or 10 rounds. You then go to 3 or 5 shots before cleaning for another 20 rounds, etc. The idea is to iron out any microscopic burs that could scratch bullets and pile up copper fouling. More and more gunsmiths are downplaying the need for this. Most barrels are hammer forged, which leaves no filings like cut rifling might. And most cut and broached barrels are done so precisely these days that rough bores are rare. With a target rifle you might consider a break in, but with hunting rifles I don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve found most new hunting rifles shoot sub MOA right out of the box, and sub MOA means the rifle should group all bullets inside an 8-inch circle at 800 yards!
My advice after your initial bore cleaning is to zero, sight-in, find out which load you like, and then clean. This can be after 10 rounds or 20 or even 40 UNLESS accuracy really starts to suffer. Then clean. As you get to know your rifle you’ll understand when fouling gets bad enough to compromise accuracy. Time to clean. Oh, and while you’re cleaning any bore, follow up with a chamber cleaning. Same procedure. Just treat it like an oversized part of the bore and get it clean.
As for new gun actions, most will be slightly oily. That’s ok. The oil is needed in certain places for smooth function. You can wipe off running excess, but there’s no need to scrub everything. I do recommend a tiny dab of grease behind each locking lug on the bolt head. This is a high friction, high tension connection. Oil is needed in raceways on which bolt bodies glide. Those instruction manuals should provide clear directions on where to grease and oil.
Old timers recommended storing guns butt up so oil wouldn’t seep into the stock and soften it. If you have this issue you’ve got too much oil in and on your gun. About the only firearms that need lots of oil are many pistols like the 1911. Those run best “wet.”
A little bit of caution and cleaning of your new Christmas gun should prepare it for a lifetime of fine function. Enjoy!
Breaking In The Christmas Gun — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com