The Xbolt wears a Bushnell Elite 3200 3-9x40. I picked this particular scope for a few reasons:
- Price. It was on clearance at SW for $180. I overspent on the rifle, so I was looking for a bargain on optics.
- Firefly reticle. This is basically a fancy glow in the dark reticle which is good for low light conditions. Like I might see in, say, Alaska anytime it is not summer.
- Rainguard coating. This is a proprietary coating that apparently actually works fairly well at dealing with rainy, foggy, or misty conditions. Like, say, Alaska in September.
- Price. Did I mention this was a quality optic for <$200 and I already had spent too much money?
I started with proprietary XBolt integrated bases and rings. Unfortunately, the good folks at the SW shop with their boresight device could not get the windage adjusted properly. Even though I had special ordered the proprietary rings from another company, they swapped them for a set of Leupold rings and bases and actually saved me money (in the form of a gift card). I continue to be impressed with SW. They worked on my gun for over an hour for free. Everything is now loc-tited down and while I don't like adjustable mounts as much as fixed ones (fewer moving parts = good), at least I had a good boresight.
So, how's it shoot? Answer -- not bad! I started off with a box of cheaper ammo to zero it, Remington 150 gr core-lokt. After two groups at 25 yards I had it rough sited and moved out to 100. At 100 it took another few groups to get it centered and shooting about 2.5" high.
I then ran a few types of ammo through to see what it liked. My initial procedure was to fire one fouling shot then a three shot group, but I just started counting the fouling shot to get a four shot group instead as it was pretty darn accurate. I was using a bench rest with an improvised front rest made out of my range bag. I let the rifle cool for a few minutes in between each string of ammo while I counted holes, policed brass, and reloaded the magazine. This is what I got:
- Remington Core-Lokt 150 gr: I don't have a four shot group for this as I used most of the ammo zeroing but I did get several 2-3 shot groups of 1.5" or less. Pretty good.
- Federal Vital-Shok 150 gr: 2.5" (although three shots were within 1.5", with one oddball -- I might have flinched)
- Federal Power-Shok 180 gr: 2", nicely centered
- Hornaday Interlock 150 gr: 1.5", nicely centered
- Federal Fusion "Lite" Reduced Recoil 170 gr: This stuff did NOT shoot anywhere near the same zero at 100 yards, advertising copy to the contrary. It shot about 8" below the point of aim and 3" to the right for some reason. I didn't measure the group as it was actually off of my target that got brought home but it was around 2". This was the last group of the day and as I was getting pretty tired the reduced recoil was appreciated.
I did have a few double feeds, although that was my fault not working the bolt all the way. No other problems. Things were starting to smooth up as I got to the end of the day so I expect the bolt will continue to smooth out with use.
A few things I want to improve:
- Eye relief. Right now the scope is mounted too far forward. It will be even worse with bulky winter clothes on. I need to move the scope back an inch or so.
- Trigger. I want to fiddle with the adjustable trigger and lighten it up a bit.
- Me! I need more practice and range time. Who doesn't?