A friend of mine called from Wyoming with grave concerns about his rifle, a .300 Win Mag with a #4 contour barrel from one of the really good makers, and all the other Right Credentials.

“It never prints the first shot with the others,” he said. “The first shot is always an inch high, and then you can cover the next three with a badly worn dime. What’s wrong with the gun?”

“There’s nothing wrong with it,” I said. “It just needs a fouling shot. About half of my rifles do. I have no idea why. I keep cheap ammo for just that. When I shoot, I put the first round in the dirt alongside the target and then get to business. Same when I go hunting. I sight in here and don’t clean the bore until I come home.”

“The other thing,” he said, “is I get my best groups from [He named a very popular quick-expanding bullet that’s been around for years, and has a sterling reputation for accuracy.}. My friends say they’re no good. What do you think of them?”

“I wouldn’t hunt Cape buffalo with them, but otherwise they’re terrific. Get new friends who know what they’re talking about, or get friends who don’t hunt. Trust your own experience. If they’ve served you well, who gives a popcorn fart what your friends think?”