We explore a mean-field model for the evolution of exponentially growing populations of mutating replicators. Motivated by recent in vitro experiments devised to analyze phenotypic properties of bacterial and viral populations subjected to serial population transfers, we allow our in silico individuals to undergo unrestricted growth before applying bottleneck events. Different dynamical regimes of our model can be mapped to different experimental situations. Numerical and analytical results for fitness distributions calculated at the statistically stationary states of the dynamics compare favorably with available experimental data. Our model and results provide a common framework to better understand populations evolving under different selection pressures.