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Thread: Zero'ing my new Browning X-Bolt .243

  1. #1

    Zero'ing my new Browning X-Bolt .243

    I am new to the world of centrefire rifles and recently received .243 on my certificate. I shall be addressing the local fox population on my permissions (all cleared for .243) initially and then getting onto deer in due course (muntjac starting to appear ). I am attending the DSC1 in December (by my own choice before the usual debate starts!) and looking forward to it.

    I started setting up the rifle at the weekend and am certainly happy with how it operates, along with the S&B 8x56 scope. I also have an A-TEC CMM4 sound mod.

    Whilst zeroing, I am shooting from prone using a (Harris 9-13 swivel) bipod at a paper target 100 yards away, firing safely into rising ground immediately behind - all blocked off and inaccessible even to trespassers. I have a question though that I would appreciate others view on: how firm should I be holding the rifle? Is a firm grip essential or should I seek to keep the touch as light as possible?


  2. #2
    Different schools of thought on the grip. The most important thing is to be as consistent as you can be from shot to shot.

    Myself, I find it helpful to pull the rifle back slightly into my shoulder with my forward hand (helps with recoil and holding the fore end firmly helps to see reaction to shot)
    with the rear hand I endeavour to have a fairly light grip while i squeeze the trigger......

  3. #3
    For me a good grip is essential, even on the forend on a bipod - not holding on for dear life but not loose either - it is very individual thing..... I would say that if your holding 1" ish groups prone @ 100 then you're doing fine - follow through is the most important thing as I switch between rifle and shotgun shooting often and the trigger discipline don't transfer!!

    I would recommend you practice from other positions though - you appear to have the opportunity and ground so do so - sitting, standing, off hand and off of stick(s).

    I shoot most foxes from the sitting position (it's surprisingly more stable than you think) - getting down low when you're quarry is already low to the ground will restrict your shot and maybe suffer deflection through vegetation - Charlie won't wait for anyone to put the range mat down!
    Last edited by Hereford; 17-08-2015 at 08:39.
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  4. #4
    This about says it all;

    Hold that Forend!

    As Hereford says, practice different positions & note where they shoot to (it is unlikely to be exactly the same as the bipod zero).

  5. #5
    Very useful responses and links; thank you.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by McKenzie View Post
    This about says it all;

    Hold that Forend!

    As Hereford says, practice different positions & note where they shoot to (it is unlikely to be exactly the same as the bipod zero).
    I would suggest reading the above and getting comfortable with it. 243 doesn't have much recoil, but will pay dividends when you move up to 270, 30-06 etc on bigger deer. Likewise learn to use sticks and shooting off them from both standing and sitting. I like to use a good firm squeeze of both hands as it controls recoil and works from all positions, although appreciate it may not be optimal for pinpoint accuracy with very heavy weight target / sniping style rifles.

    But in the real world we are shooting live animals at ranges of up to 200 yards or so, and time for the the shot is often just a few seconds. Also shooting from standing off sticks gives you much more downward angle of shot - essential in flattish parts of the country.

  7. #7
    If your zeroing first, I would use a sand bag on the butt of the stock so your breathing does not effect your initial zeroing shot take two or three shots to make sure you are hitting paper, once you have established that your rifle is actually shooting roughly in the same area then you can start messing with your scope to get that bullet (preferably if stalking about an inch above the centre of your target) hitting where you need it.

    Once you have your bullet hitting target without shooter error then remove the sand bag and start practising with just the bipod or off the bipod on sticks etc. but at least you know your rifle and scope are zero'd .

    I hope this helps because previous posts I found a little hard to understand myself lol

  8. #8
    In '99 I was instructed in shooting with a bipod for the first time. I am right handed. My left hand is used to hold the butt into my right shoulder and fine tune the elevation of the butt. I've attended a number of training courses since that have taught this approach. Bradley Bourner published an article on positions to be adopted and it's worthwhile tracking down his material.

    The recommendation above to practice a variety of positions is a good one, however I find 95% of my shots are either taken prone with the bipod or off 4-sticks. There are odd times when the terrain or cover favours a sitting shot.



  9. #9
    Tbh I have tried shooting off a bipod as described by jcs above and found it not for me.... I found the rifle bounced a bit and made seeing the reaction to shot difficult (on live targets).

    each to their own though, give both methods a try and see which you prefer!

  10. #10
    JCS is correct, the weak hand supports the butt, have a look at any tactical/varmint stock and they are usually designed with a hooked stock bottom to aid the hold. That said, what works for you......
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not using it in a fruit salad.

    Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they never get it wrong.

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