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X-Bolt Experience

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Temp430, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Temp430

    Temp430 Well-Known Member

    I recently purchased an Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas in 243 Win. for a 10 year old son to use for deer hunting. Great trigger, free floated barrel and quite the beautiful walnut stock. I cleaned out the preservative in the barrel using Hoppe's No. 9 and JB bore paste. First and second times to the range it shot about 3" to 4" groups. The first time out I could not believe that it shot that poorly so I tried it again with two different brands of ammo.

    As you can imagine I was disappointed. I talked to an X-Bolt owner I know and he suggested the problem might be copper in the bore. So, I bought some ammonia based copper remover (Montana Xtreme) and sure enough the patches came out deep blue in color. Last trip to the range the rifle shot a 0.6" group with Hornady's low recoil ammo.
  2. j1

    j1 Well-Known Member

    Good for you, an accurate rifle is a great companion. Enjoy it, sir.
  3. JPG19

    JPG19 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a beautiful gun! I have been stuck trying to choose between an X-bolt and a Ruger M77 Hawkeye. I grew up shooting Browning shotguns and Ruger rifles, so I am partial to each in that same way. Let us know how you/your son like the rifle after some hunting trips!
  4. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Well-Known Member

    The first ammo I tried in my X-bolt was federal fusion, and it shot horribly, 3 - 4 inch groups. I thought I had a dud until I tried regular winchester and found that it grouped right around an inch. Now I only shoot hand loads and the rifle is superbly accurate with NPs and SGKs.

    Out of curriosity, were the factory loads you shot 95 - 100 gr? I recently bought a new M70,and while it shoots great with light bullets, I'm having trouble getting it to group under an inch with anything over about 90 gr. I think maybe my 1 in 10 twist barrel just doesn't like heavier bullets.

    As an aside, it sounds like the rifle was new when you got it, how many rounds did it take for the copper fouling to get that bad?
  5. chucknbach

    chucknbach Active Member

    Go with the Xbolt. I have both. The xtra money spent on the Ruger to make it shoot and you could have had the Xbolt which is a much nicer rifle by far.
  6. Temp430

    Temp430 Well-Known Member


    The rifle was brand new and not broken in. I tried Hornady's Custom Lite 87 gr., Sellier & Belloit 100 gr, and Barnes VOR-TX 80 gr. I maybe shot 15 rounds in my first two trips to the range. It shot poorly right out of the box until I got the copper out. Now all the ammo groups around an inch or better. I'm happy and scrupulous about getting the copper out.

    I shoot Federal Fusion out of my 260 Rem. and 30-06 Rem 700s. Both shoot very well.
  7. herkyguy

    herkyguy Well-Known Member

    can someone explain why there is copper in a barrel straight from the factory. I ask because I have a rather nice Model 70 that isn't shooting groups I want to see out of it. I don't have this problem with other rifles.
  8. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Well-Known Member


    I did not intend to suggest that there is anything wrong with Federal Fusion ammo, simply that each rifle is a law unto itself. My particular rifle didn't like Fusion ammo, but many other folks have good luck with it. I thought perhaps you had happened to pick up a few types of ammo that your rifle didn't like, but from your later post it seems you have tried different brands and bullet weights.

    It doesn't really make sense for your rifle to have been shooting so poorly from the get go due to copper fouling alone unless your rifle was copper fouled from the factory.... which would make even less sense. I've never had a rifle come from the factory with a level of fouling that affects accuracy, heck, most of my rifles seem to tighten up their groups after I put several rounds through a clean bore. Either your bore is uncommonly rough, or the factory put an abnormal number rounds through your rifle before shipping it out.

    When you cleaned out the bore, did you remove the action from the stock? If you did, perhaps when you reassembled, you torqued your action screws to a better or more even torque?

    I only brought up the .243 bullet weight issue, because mine shoots 70 gr TNTs into itty bitty groups, but doesn't do so hot with heavy medium game bullets. In reading around on the internet I've come to the conclusion that this preference for light bullets is not terribly uncommon in 1 in 10 twist .243's.

    I'm glad your rifle is performing up to snuff now, my X-Bolt, along with the M70 are among my favorite rifles.
  9. WCraven

    WCraven Well-Known Member

    According to this reveiw http://www.gun-tests.com/performance/apr97FT270.html

    With factory Federal ammo the Browning A-Bolt II can shoot sub 1"groups @100 yards .. when somone ask what is the best off the shelf rifle the answer really is Browning and then the rest.
  10. jogar80

    jogar80 Well-Known Member

    I have an x-bolt micro hunter in .308. Love the rifle. I used Scratch-X to buff the dull stock finish to a very nice shine. Shoots 1/2" groups at 100 yds with Hornady Superformance ammo. I always recommend the X-bolt to anyone looking for a great hunting rifle.
  11. chucknbach

    chucknbach Active Member

    The Xbolt .243's have a 1:10 twist. I beat my head against a wall trying bullets from 90 to 100 grains. The first load bellow 90gns was the charm. Not exactly scientific as I just might not had the right combo with the heavier bullets but that's my story.
  12. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    My new Browning shot so bad I could hardly keep it on paper at 100 with several brands of factory ammo, only thing that fixed it was handloads, but it does shoot 120gr Pro Hunters into one ragged hole so I am a happy camper.

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