X-Bolt 270 WSM Accuracy at 300 Yards, Elite 6500/4200 Rifle Scopes & 243 WSSM Partition Reloads

X-Bolt 270 WSM 300 Yard Three Shot Group

X-Bolt 270 WSM 300 yard three shot group with 140g Nosler Accubond handloads.

I've been spending a lot of time at the range the past month or so, mostly working on my 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition handload. Today I shot more 243 WSSM 95g Partitions test loads and I also shot my X-Bolt 270 WSM on paper at 300 yards for the first time. I have this rifle sighted in at 2 1/2 inches high with 140g Nosler AccuBond handloads going 3300 fps and as you can see from the target it is dead on at 300 yards. My three shots are just 1 3/8 inches across... now that's darn accurate if I may say so. My first shot hit the black dot I colored and I could not see the hit even with a spotting scope... kind of thought I missed the whole darn target at first. After my 100 yard groups and now my 300 yard group, I'm completely sold on the accuracy of my X-Bolt and my 140g Accubond handload combination.

With the ballistics of this bullet and this rifle, at right around 170 yards the path of the bullet reaches about 3 1/2 inches high. So from zero to nearing 300 yards I hold for a low shoulder shot and at the 400 yard range I hold for a high shoulder shot. Zero to 400 yards and no hold over. The 270 WSM gives me near 400 yard max-point-blank range hunting.

Some Bushnell Elite 4200 and 6500 Rifle Scope Thoughts
This was my first time shooting this rifle and the Elite 6500 at paper beyond 100 yards. In doing so I found that the adjustable objective settings of my Elite 6500 are a little different from that of my Bushnell Elite 4200 rifle scopes.


Bushnell Elite 6500 Rifle Scope Side Adjustable Objective

Bushnell Elite 4200 Rifle Scope Side Adjustable Objective

Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16x Rifle Scope Side Adjustable Objective. Objective is set for no parallax at 300 yards.

Bushnell Elite 4200 4-16x  Rifle Scope Side Adjustable Objective. Objective is set for no parallax at 100 yards.

Since I had one of my Elite 4200 rifle scopes with me, on my A-Bolt 243 WSSM Stainless Varmint Laminate rifle, I started comparing the clarity and parallax adjustment and found the the 4200 has excellent clarity, in my opinion a little better than the 6500 and a larger range to fine tune the adjustable objective (see photos). The increments on the 6500's adjustable objective go very quickly from 100 yards to infinity. On my Elite 4200 rifle scope there is twice the distance for this adjustment range. With the adjustment distance being so small on the Elite 6500 it is a little trickier to adjust the objective for longer shots.

I looked around the web to see what others were saying about the Elite 6500 scopes. I read that the 6500 rifle scopes have the same glass as the Elite 4200 rifle scopes with extra lens thus making them heavier and generating a little less light transmission than the 4200 scopes. I really like the 6500's extra eye relief over the 4200 and the ability to go down to 2.5x is nice but not necessary for my style of hunting. I think the 6500 scopes are excellent rifle scopes but for my style of hunting in the wide open country I really don't need the lower range of optical power and would prefer the slightly higher clarity at long range that I feel the 4200 scopes offer.

After playing around with the scopes today I am thinking I might switch up some scopes and maybe try something different on my X-Bolt. I really been wanting to try one of the long range bullet drop compensating reticles. I have always wanted a good Leupold with the Boone and Crockett reticle... of course Nikon makes some great scopes with their BDC reticle at more affordable prices, get great comments in the online reviews and I love my Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 muzzleloader scope. Hmm...

Update Sept. 25, 2010: I purchased a Nikon BDC scope for my X-Bolt. You can read about it in my Setting Up The Nikon Monarch 4-16x42SF BDC Rifle Scope On My X-Bolt journal entry.


243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition Retumbo Test Handloads

243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition Test Handloads

243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition Retumbo test handloads.

243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition Test Handloads.

243 WSSM Test Handloads
I also shot four more test loads of the 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition load I have been working on. I have burned through one box of 50 bullets and into my next box trying to narrow down the load I like most. Once again I am finding that at least in my 243 WSSM rifles the powder burn rates of the powders, that are recommended in the powder and bullet manufacturer's load data are often too fast of powders. Even though their recommended powders are slow burning powders they just aren't slow enough. I just get too high of pressure with them unless I back way off on filling the case to capacity.

For this bullet it looks like I will be using Hodgdon's Retumbo and believe it or not, it's not slow enough to fill the case to capacity and keep the pressures down where I like them... there aren't many powders much slower than Retumbo(you can see powder burn rates on reloadingbench.com)... maybe I could try 50 BMG powder. My favorite load right now that is probably 6 grains below a compressed loads capacity yet it is still going 3250 fps, does not have excessive pressures and has shot sub MOA. I just want to get a few more groups on paper to verify it's accuracy and I'll post this 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition handload on the handload page.

Boots, Blisters & Liner Socks — What I Use to Keep my Feet Going Up The Mountains

Merrell Hiking Boots and Polypropylene Liner Socks

My Merrell Perimeter hiking/hunting boots and some Browning 8396 polypropylene liner socks .

Last fall I bought a pair of expensive "hiking" boots for hunting. As with all my hiking boots I usually wear them around the office, off and on for a couple of weeks before I go on any extended hikes. This practice has always worked fine in getting whatever pair of boots I was going to be hunting/hiking with ready.  I took this particular pair of boots on a couple of different hikes and hunts and could not keep my heels from slipping and creating friction and blisters on the back of my heels when I climbed steep terrain.

I have never had any problem like this before so I started researching the problem and the solutions. Here are some of the things I learned to keep my feet happy and going up the mountains.

First: Getting a boot that fits your foot is a key factor in keeping blisters off the heels. I have a narrow foot and if there is too much movement in my boot, blisters are going to happen. In my case I bought a different pair of boots that fit better. I ended up trying on a couple of different high end hiking and hunting boots. And when trying them on I walked up some stairs to see if my heels slipped against the back of the boots.

Heel Blister From Hiking

One of my nasty blisters or what's left of a blister after a three or so mile hike this summer with the scout troop... I learned my lesson after this hike, that's for sure.

You might ask "why would you let a blister get this bad?" Well it was such a short easy hike on an improved trail, with the scouts, so I didn't come fully prepared to doctor my heels nor did I want to look like a sissy in front of the boys.

Second: I now wear polypropylene liner socks against my feet. These socks wick moisture away from my feet and stay snug on my feet, like panty hose. With the thin liner socks snug against my feet I then wear a pair of wool or wool blend socks on top of the liner socks. By wearing this two sock combo if there is any movement and friction in my boot the friction is between the slick liner socks and my wool socks. If I only have a pair of wool socks on, the friction would be between my skin and the wool socks. After so long that friction is going to turn into blisters that can ruin a hunt real quick.

Third: I like to tie a surgeons knot before I start lacing the upper half of my boots. This helps hold my foot down and keep my heel in place.

The problem pair of hiking boots I used this past summer where taller, I think 8" tall. I have gone back to the shorter standard height of hiking boot. In particular I am using the Merrell Perimeter hiking boots. With my style of hunting I am finding that the taller boots are just more difficult to keep my heel secure and from slipping around in the boot. I also like the comfort and lighter weights of the standard height hiking boots. Of course the major drawback to the shorter height of boots is in the snow and water. When I have to hunt in the snow I will just where a pair of gators around my boots and I'll also try real hard not to fall into creeks.

As an extra precaution I am now also packing some Molefoam padding that I can cut to place on or around hot spots on my feet. And I carry some white athletic tape that I can use to tape-up and protect problem areas on my feet if any should arise.

At the Range with My X-Bolt 270 WSM and 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition

243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition at Shooting Range 243 WSSM with 95g Nosler Partition on Chronograph
243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition handload. One of the velocities of my first 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition handload shots.
A-Bolt Stainless Varmint Laminate 243 WSSM with 95g Nosler Partition Target showing first test loads of 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition
243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition handload next to my Browning A-Bolt Stainless Varmint with laminate stock. My first test load of a 243 WSSM 95g Nosler Partition handload. Now back to the reloading bench for some adjustments to the handload.
270 WSM 140g Accubond Chrony F1 Chronograph Browning X-Bolt on shooting bags and bench at the shooting range
270 WSM 140g Nosler AccuBond handload and the velocity from my 23" barrel X-Bolt. When shooting from the bench I like to either place a box under a shooting bag or stack two bags on top of one another. This makes my shooting posture much more comfortable by getting higher off the bench. I then usually stuff a jacket under the rear of the stock to get the rifle a little more stable.
Three shot groups of 270 WSM 140g Nosler Accubond Handloads Nikon spotting scope at shooting range
Here are two three shot groups from my X-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 270 WSM shooting 140g Nosler AccuBond handloads. My friend Ryan lent me a Nikon EDG Fieldscope 85-A spotting scope and I brought it with me to the range. I have been glassing one of the mountains I like to hunt from over five miles away. This scope is amazingly clear at tremendous ranges.

I went to the range today to shoot my first test loads I've been working on for a 95g Nosler Partition bullet in a 243 WSSM. A also shot two three shot groups with my new X-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 270 WSM and measured the velocities.

First I shot five 95g Nosler Partitions from my A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Varmint with fluted barrel. The first two shots were high and off the target sheet I was aiming at but they were 3/4 of an inch apart. I adjusted the scope some and fired three more shots at the target sheet the first two shots hit on. The third and fourth shot were again right at 3/4 of an inch apart and I was thinking this load might be pretty good right out of the gates but on my fifth shot I got a flier going out about 2 1/2 inches... the barrel was hot, maybe that caused the fifth shot to wander off course. I'll keep tweaking the load.

Oct. 2010: After several trips from the reloading bench to the shooting range I finally have my 243 WSSM 95g Nolser Partition Handload.

After shooting the 243 WSSM I wanted to shoot my X-Bolt in 270 WSM a few times to get more comfortable with it and get some better data on the velocities of the 140g AccuBond that I am shooting out of it. I get a little spoiled with my 243 WSSM rifles and the light recoil, so just after shooting the 243 WSSM I forget that the 270 WSM actually recoils a little. My first shot quickly reminded me of the recoil (I have a long history of getting scope bit... being 6' 7" it helps to have longer lengths of pull), then on my second shot I totally flinched. It was so bad I would have laughed out loud if someone had of been there with me. I just anticipated that the trigger was going to break and I flinched in anticipation, then the trigger broke... just totally out of sync. I went ahead and fired a third shot and it was right back next to my first shot.

I made a minor adjustment to the scope and immediately fired another three shots. Again two touching each other, then a slight flier. The barrel was getting pretty warm after 6 shots so maybe that had some to do with this shot being a little of course. Still, this group measures under an inch at right about 7/8 inch.

My Chrony F-1 chronograph was giving better readings today. When I first took my X-Bolt out as there were a lot of passing clouds messing up the readings on the chronograph. Today it was right around 60 degrees and my average velocity was right about 3300 fps.

270 WSM 140g AccuBond Handload Velocities: 3314, 3269, 3240, 3318, 3294, 3314 — average velocity 3292 fps.

August 31, 2010: Shot the X-Bolt with 140g Accubonds with the temperature right around 70 degrees today. 3338, 3309, 3330, 3362, 3347 — average velocity 3337 fps.

Camo Pattern Comparisons


Comparing Realtree Max-1 camouflage and Mossy Oak Treestand camo on my 2012 limited entry elk hunt.

Comparing Realtree Max-1 (left) camouflage and Mossy Oak Treestand (right) camo on my 2012 limited entry elk hunt.

Mossy Oak Treestand Camouflage in Quaking Aspens

Here is a photo of me hunting elk in September of 2011. It shows Mossy Oak Treestand camo by some quaking aspen trees. My shorts and t-shirt are Mossy Oak Treestand camouflage and my compression fit undergarments are Mossy Oak New Break-Up.

See more TreeStand Camo photos while on my 2011 Utah Archery Elk hunt.

You can also see my DonJoy Defiance knee braces that I use to protect from further injuring my messed up knees.


Mossy Oak Camouflage patterns in the Uinta Mountains

This photo shows six different Mossy Oak camo patterns. All clothing samples in the photo are lightweight cotton.

L-R: New Break-Up, Break-Up Infinity, Treestand, Obsession, Brush, and Duck Blind

I took this photo just before the archery season on August 16th 2010 in the Uintah Mountains at an altitude of 10,330 ft. These mountains are filled with heavy pines, boulders and dead fall.


Notice the shirt camo compared to the pants

This photo was taken during the 2008 rifle deer season in eastern Oklahoma in late November.

Notice how my son Dallen's shirt in Mossy Oak Brush blends in much better than the Break-Up pants.

I think the best camo pattern for this area and time of year is Duck Blind.

Mossy Oak Camouflage patterns Eastern Oklahoma

This photo was taken during the 2010 rifle season in Eastern Oklahoma in late November and shows five different Mossy Oak camo patterns.

L-R: Brush, Treestand, Break-Up Infinity, Duck Blind, and Obsession

While on the ground hunting in Oklahoma in 2010 I prefered Duck Blind, Brush and Break-Up Infinity. You can see more photos of Camo in the field in my 2010 Oklahoma Whitetail Hunt — Hunting with 243 WSSM & 270 WSM Rifles journal entry.

As you may know from reading other journal entires or my Bio on the website I currently work for Browning. When it comes to camouflage, Browning uses Mossy Oak® camouflage patterns. And even though there are many other excellent brands of camo and various patterns I have tried to stay loyal to the brand I love and the camo Browning produces on it's clothing and other products. With that said the camo patterns I use are various patterns of Mossy Oak brand of camouflage.

For many years my only camouflage option was various versions of darker and darker Break-Up® camo. Can you tell I'm not a fan of New Break-Up? However in recent years Mossy Oak has been producing other camo patterns that I have greatly enjoyed. :) Now I do think, New Break-Up is a good pattern if I am going to be in the dark pines the entire time hunting but if I step out into the sage brush or quaking aspens I stick out like a sore thumb. For the most part I think that New Break-Up in many terrains makes you look like a black blob and does very little to break up your outline.

My favorite western camo pattern right now (Fall of 2011) is Treestand. The large areas of light and dark creates great contrast that works very well in many different terrains in breaking up your outline. Treestand camo pattern is excellent in the quaking aspens, sagebrush and granite boulder/rocks of the west. The Treestand camo pattern allows me to go from quaking aspens to sagebrush to a boulder field and into pines and I don't look like a dark or light colored blob. Because this camo pattern has such large areas of light colors and large areas of dark colors it gives you great versatility in breaking up my outline in numerous different settings.

With the exception of the Treestand pattern all of the different patterns work really good as long as you are in the matching color of vegetation. As soon as you step into different terrain and vegetation often you appear as a large blob of solid color that doesn't match the location. Treestand in my opinion does the best job of helping you blend in the largest variety of locations.

My second favorite camo pattern is Duck Blind. This camo is similar to the Brush pattern in color but offers better contrast with dark areas that help break up your outline. Duck Blind is great for areas where the vegetation is yellow and brown.

Eastern Oklahoma where I hunt Whitetail deer from time to time is a perfect area for Duck Blind or Brush as much of the vegetation is very yellow and brown during the late archery season and the rifle season in November/December.

I plan on updating this article periodically as I go hunting in different locations. I will continue to post different photos as I can of camo patterns in different locations and vegetation/terrains.

Dec. 2010: I paid close attention to camo patterns on my recent hunting adventure in Eastern Oklahoma. I had a lot of Break-Up Infinity along for the trip. Infinity looked really good when you were right on the ground in the leaves or against a tree. The fleece TreeStand camo clothing I had with me was a little too dark of a reproduction of the camo pattern on this fleece material in my opinion and I question if it was more effective than Infinity camo even up in a tree stand. When it was warm enough I used my lightweight cotton Treestand camo shirt and pant with the camo pattern colored properly and it appeared to work well.

My favorite camo from the open fields to the timbered creek bottoms of Oklahoma is Duck Blind. Duck Blind blended very nicely in the greatest number of areas I hunted while on the ground... now once I was in a tree I prefer a light colored version of TreeStand, but if I was on the ground Duck Blind or Brush would be my favorites.

After returning home from Oklahoma I went looking for some lighter colored Mossy Oak TreeStand in some fleece. I really really like MOTS(Mossy Oak TreeStand) camo for hunting out west as long as it is printed really light on the clothing material. I found that the Genesis Fleece and 4x Microfleece that Browning produced are light just like my Browning Wasatch cotton shirts and pants. The only problem is that Browning discontinued both the 4x Microfleece in MOTS and the Genesis Fleece in MOTS. With some checking around I found some Genesis Fleece in MOTS at Sierra Trading Post. It was a little hard for me to swallow being a Browning employee and buying a Browning product from a retailer but, Sierra's price for the Genesis Fleece was actually not all that bad. Now as an employee I still could have bought the product cheaper if I had of been paying attention to what Browning had closed out last year. Anyway in the process I found that Sierra Trading Post buys a lot of various Browning products.

January 2012: Browning is now offering Realtree camo patterns. Yeah! I look forward to getting some Realtree AP and Realtree Max-1 camo clothing. They both look to be excellent camouflage patterns for the areas I like to hunt. If I could just convince the powers that be at Browning to offer some King's Camo, Hmm...

August 2012: I've been using Realtree camo for the first time since I started working at Browning back in 2000. I've been using Max-1 camo on my 2012 Limited Entry Elk tag. I'm liking the camo a lot. I'm now going back and forth between Max-1, Treestand, Duckblind and Brush for my western big game hunting.

DIY Bow & Arrow Paper Tuning Stand & Dallen's new Micro Adrenaline Bow

DIY Arrow Paper Tuning Stand Dallen shooting his new Browning Micro Adrenaline bow.
DIY arrow paper tuning stand. The paper shows a perfect arrow punch from my son's new Browning Micro Adrenaline bow. Dallen's first time out  shooting his new Browning Micro Adrenaline bow.

I find having a well tuned bow is crucial for me to get the best possible accuracy from my bows.  Here is an inexpensive paper tuning stand that I use to paper tune my arrows.

I take a wire close hanger and bent it into a rectangle shape approximately 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Then I take a piece of mending plate and nut and bolt the hanger to a tripod. A piece of standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper can be taped across the frame and the tripod can be adjusted in height to place the tuning paper at least three feet in front of my arrow block target.

Dallen's new Browning Micro adrenaline is the last bow that I used the stand to paper tune. I made just a few adjustments to the bus cables to get the timing of the two cams in sync. After I had the cams in sync with each other I shot the perfect bullet hole on my first shot through my paper tuning stand.

I have been using two different full sized Browning Adrenaline two cam bows for the past six or seven years and have really like them. I made a few modifications to my bows. Basically I just replace the fifteen inch limbs with fifteen and a half inch limbs then I make new strings to fit. By adding the longer limbs I get a full thirty two inch draw length that I require.

Dallen's new Micro Adrenaline has got me wanting to upgrade to a new bow myself. I really like the parallel limb design and it is a sweet little bow to shoot.


  • Big Game Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

  • General Hunting and Shooting

    Journal entries covering general information related to hunting and shooting. Many of these journal entries are from shooting on the rifle or archery range. There are also entries related to my experiences with the 243 WSSM, rifles, optics and other equipment and products I use.

  • Varmint Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting coyotes, rock chucks, prairie dogs and the like with 243 WSSM and 223 Rem. rifles.

  • Backpacking and Camping

    Backpacking, Pack Wheel camping and other camping adventures.

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