The DIY Hunter

Dallen Shooting Remington Fieldmaster Model 572

Dallen came with me and shot his 22 LR, Remington Fieldmaster Model 572 at clay pigeons on the hill while I worked with my rifle.

With drawing the buck/bull combo tag for 2010 I really wanted to get a lighter weight rifle that could pack a real solid punch out to 600 yards. I feel plenty confident with my 243 WSSM A-Bolts out to that range but, with the Triple shocks bullets I'm using I would feel more comfortable if I was shooting 400 yards or less. I would rather have a plain vanilla bullet out past 400 yards with the 243 WSSM to get the bullet expansion I would like to have. I could take my 270 WSM, Model 1885 and I have in the past. It has plenty to offer out to 600 yards and beyond. It fact my 140g Nosler AccuBond handload in this rifle is going 3450 fps. With this rifle and load at 600 yards there would be plenty of bullet penetration and expansion but, this rifle is on the heavy side.

View down range from my New 270 WSM X-Bolt

View down range from my New 270 WSM X-Bolt

I have shot the X-Bolt a time or two and have just loved the accuracy. The factory trigger has just been amazing and as I have learned from my A-Bolts and Model 1885s, Miroku knows how to make a barrel. The X-Bolt magazine has a couple of features I really like also. It has shoulder stops that prevent the tips of the bullet from getting smashed into the front of the magazine when the gun recoils. The magazine also aligns the bullet straight with the bore unlike many others that stack bullets in a alternating fashion. The rifle is also very light. Just perfect for the backpacking hunts that I so enjoy taking. I kind of wish it had a 24 or 25 inch barrel. I will admit that I enjoy getting as much velocity as I can and barrel length will give or take away that velocity. However I also understand that this rifle would weigh more because of the length. The barrel would also be less rigid unless the barrel contour were enhanced. Stiffer barrels make for less vibration which equals better accuracy. If the barrel were longer like I would like then it would need a heavier contour to make up for the added vibration to get the same stiffness and accuracy.

First shots through my 270 WSM X-Bolt Stainless Stalker

First shots through my 270 WSM X-Bolt Stainless Stalker

This year happens to be my 10th year working for Browning. Human Resources contacted me a month or so ago and informed me of the fact and that I could choose a gift for my service award. There were various prizes like a MAC "i" something or other, jewelery and the like, towards a Browning purchase. Well, that's a no brainer. I couldn't even argue with myself about getting an X-Bolt, I'll just worry about having money to feed the family later... The planets had aligned and I had to get the X-Bolt, although strangely my wife doesn't see nor understand the alignment thing. Before the end of the next day I had my 270 WSM X-Bolt Stainless Stalker on order.

Two weeks later my rifle came in. I had decided to swap some rifle scopes around on my rifles. I wanted my favorite scope to go on my new rifle. The Bushnell Elite 6500 that I just placed on my 270 WSM Model 1885 for the cow elk hunt. I wanted that scope to be on my new X-Bolt. A Bushnell Elite 4200 would go on my Model 1885.

When I mounted my scopes I bore sighted my rifles a little different than I normally do. You will see in a minute the technique worked great.

Across the hall from my work office is a bathroom of sorts, really only a shower room with a sink and mirror. Anyway, as I mounted the scopes I would look across the hall into this mirror. In the mirror I could see exactly where the barrel was pointing. So I just started adjusting the scope until the barrel was pointing straight in-line with itself and the crosshairs. It worked really good for my Model 1885, because I have to adjust the windage by a fair amount with the rear base, before I lock the base into position.

270 WSM X-Bolt, Bushnell Elite 6500, and 140 AccuBond Load

270 WSM X-Bolt, Bushnell Elite 6500, and 140g AccuBond Handload

In case my boss were to ever read this. The scope mounting was of course, all accomplished while on my breaks. I just love working in an environment where firearms are the norm at work!

Next, I spent a couple of hours off and on cleaning the bore by running Bore Tech's Eliminator through the barrel. It took a while to get all the copper fouling out from the proofing rounds that were fired through it at the factory.

Now it was time to get it on the range. I was going to try my 140g Nolser AccuBond loads that I worked up for my Model 1885. The load wasn't hot at all on my Model 1885 so I felt safe in using it in my X-Bolt. It was a windy, partly cloudy day with the temperature right around 50-55 degrees. The wind was blowing left to right across the target.

270 WSM, 140 AccuBond Load, First Three Shot Group

270 WSM, 140g AccuBond Handload, First Three Shot Group with a L-R wind.

As the barrel was squeaky clean and still had remnants of Kroil in it, I took three quick shots to get the barrel fouled up good. These shots placed on the target within just a few clicks of being right where I wanted. The mirror bore sighting technique worked very well.

I made a couple adjustments to the scope and then concentrated on being as steady as possible and fired three more shots. As you can see in the photos my first two shot were right on top of one another and the third was just to the side of them. Not too bad, for a magnum rifle, on a windy day. Even though I like longer barrels, I'll take a shorter barrel that shoots this good any day, because when it's all said and done the deer really isn't going to know the difference.

  • You can download printable targets for sighting in your rifle just like the targets I use.
  • Thanks to the passing clouds my chronograph only recorded three velocities from the six fired shots 3254, 3191, and 3184 fps. So roughly 3200 fps from a 23 inch barrel on a 50 degree day. I'll chronograph the load some more to get a little better data. Update: I have shot this load several more times at the range and the velocities have all been in the 3300 fps range. The clouds or something was making the chronograph give incorrect readings this day. This handload can be found in my 270 WSM Handloads and Ballistics article.
  • Learn more about the X-Bolt Features in my entry X-Bolt vs A-Bolt Comparison.
  • August 28, 2010, I now have better data on the velocity of the 140g Nosler Accubond from my 23" barrel X-Bolt in my journal entry: At the Range with My X-Bolt 270 WSM and 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition
  • September 19, 2010: At the range with My X-Bolt 270 WSM at 300 Yards
  • June 2013: I now have my X-Bolt setup with a 20 MOA rail and Vortex Viper HS LR 4-16x50 rifle scope.

Here are my first hunts with my X-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 270 WSM

Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope

My CVA Firebolt with my new Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 scope and Warne Bases and Rings.

Once again Utah is set on having more restrictions for the public hunters for the 2010 season. The rifle deer hunt is now being limited to 3-5 days in the northern region for the public hunters, however all the private CWMUs have 60 or so days as usual to hunt. With the season being so short, I have a feeling that opening day hunters are going to shoot anything that has antlers, instead of passing up on a buck in hopes that they will find something better, as they would in the past. I hate being restricted to such short season lengths. I want to be on the mountain as many days as I possibly can enjoying the experience and challenge of outwitting a buck.  I best just stop now or I'll rant about this for pages...

Anyhow, going into the Utah big game hunt drawing I decided to switch up a couple of things on what I was wanting to draw. First the archery season for elk was going to last all the way until September 17th. The latest I have seen it in the past 10 years. The best chance I may see in Utah to archery hunt elk during the rut. So I decided to put in for a Limited Entry Archery Elk permit, thinking I had a good chance to draw with the number of points I had. With the shortened rifle deer season I figured my best bet was to go with the nine day muzzleloader season. I ended up putting in for a Buck/Bull Combo tag as first choice for deer and second choice I put  muzzleloader deer. I figured when all was said and done I would draw the muzzleloader deer and most likely the Limited Entry Archery elk tag.

With my best odds for drawing the muzzleloader deer tag, I decided to finally get a scope for my muzzleloader. Utah restricts scopes on muzzleloaders to only be 1x power. After studying the various 1x power scopes and handling a couple of different ones, I narrowed it down to two. The Leupold Prismatic 1x14mm scope was at the top of my list. It is small lightweight and has a unique, fine reticle. I handled one of these scopes at a hunting expo and was really impressed. I wasn't impressed with the price tag, not that it isn't worth $500, it is just out of my budget.

I decided to get the Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 scope. This rifle scope was right behind the Leupold on my list but at a more affordable price. Nikon makes great quality affordable rifle scopes and this scope retails for right around $170. The optics are very clear on this scope and it looks and feels very well built.

When the draw results were released I somehow drew the limited Buck/Bull combo tag. So it looks like I will be missing out on archery elk hunting this year and I won't be hunting with my new Nikon scope this year either. However I will be able to have a 13 day rifle season for mule deer.  Deer will be my focus for the season as only a few people will have these tags and of these people many will be after elk first. I am hopeful that I can find a whopper buck this year and maybe my first rifle bull elk. Hmm....this might require a new rifle... I've had an X-Bolt Stainless Stalker on my list for a couple years...

I need to get my muzzleloader out on the range and try out the this scope. Thanks to my luck of the draw it looks like I will have to wait until next year to try it on a mule deer hunt. Maybe I could get to Oklahoma to try in on a whitetail. Hmm...

I'll follow-up on this entry once I've had a chance to try out the scope.

You can read more about my thoughts on the Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader scope in my follow-up journal entry found titled: Review of My Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope


Here are some targets I like to use to sight in my rifles. For my deer and elk rifle loads I like to sight my rifles in at 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This is a little higher than the traditional 2 inches that you have always been told to do.

With the ballistics that are achieved with the 243 WSSM and my 270 WSM I get roughly a 350 yard max-point-blank range on a 7 inch target. What does this mean? It means that I can hold dead center on a 7 inch diameter target and be able to hit that target from 0 to 350 yards. So from 0 to 400 yards I can hold on an elk or deer with no hold over required. Now, I do hold on the lower part of the shoulders for basically a heart shot when I am in the 100-200 yard range and I hold for a high shoulder shot in the 400 yard range.

Now when I am shooting the 243 WSSM 55g Ballistic Tips over the 4,000 fps barrier I like being sighted in for 1 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This gives me a nice 300 yard zero. Perfect for taking the smaller Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, Rock Chucks and the like out to around 350 yards without any drastic hold over or under.

Shooting with Adjustable Target Turrets
In 2013 I started getting Vortex Viper rifle scopes with target style elevation turrets. With these scopes I like to sight the rifle in to be dead on at 100 yards and then dial in the minutes of angle for the specific shot with the target style turret. With these setups I prefer to use the Four Up target shown below.

If you click on the images below you will download PDF files that you can print out. The grid pattern on the targets are a half inch apart. When printing make sure you do the following to get the proper sizing of the targets. To get the correct sizing when you select print in Adobe Acrobat select the "NONE" option in the "Page Scaling" menu. If left on the default option which is "Shrink to Printable Area" your target will be reduced in size making the half inch grid somewhat smaller.

Varmint Sight In Target
1 1/2" Sight-in Height
Traditional Hunting Sight In Target Height
2" Sight-in Height
Two and a half inch target sight in height
2 1/2" Sight-in Height
Four Up Sight-In Target
Four Up Dead On Sight-in
Muzzleloader Sight-In Target
Muzzleloader Target (10 inch outside diameter circle, 11x17 paper required)