By Derrek Sigler
I don’t always shoot expensive rifles, but when I do, I prefer Browning X-Bolts.
Well, truth be told, the Browning X-Bolt may not be the most interesting rifle in the world, but it is right up there. Why is that? Well, as they say, only accurate guns are interesting and the Browning is pretty darn interesting. Combine that with light weight and a great feel, and we’re talking about a rifle that is fun to shoot.
I was looking at great deer rifles and got my hands on the Browning X-bolt Stainless Stalker in .300 WSM. The .300 WSM is a great caliber. All the power of the Win. Mag. with the short action of a .308. In the case of the Browning, it wasn’t hard on the shoulder either. I had some test ammo from Winchester and some of the excellent Fusion from Federal Premium. Both proved to be good rounds, although the rifle did prefer the Fusion.
The rifle comes from the factory at 6-pounds, 13 ounces. Overall the length was 46 and 3/4-inches. The rifle was light and felt great with a palm swell in the grip for rock solid handling. The textured stock is a nice touch too for an all weather rifle. It wouldn’t matter what the weather was like, you could grip this thing. The bolt throw is an easy 60-degrees, although you do have to get used to the way the bolt functions if you’re used to other bolt rifles. It is a bit different. Not bad, just different. The Feather Trigger system is very light. Mine was just a hair over 2 pounds as set. I used Talley one-piece base and ring scope mounts and put a Trijicon 3-9×40 AccuPoint scope with their dot reticle. These scope have fiber-optic crosshair dots that glow in low-light conditions. I have used Trijicon optics before and they are as good as they come.
So pulling the trigger at some targets at the range is easy. Once the rifle is sighted in and set, you’re in for some fun. Sighting in only takes a few minutes when you have Talley’s a Trijicon and a good rifle. After that, it’s just time for some fun.
At 100 yards, the group was sub MOA. at 130 yards, the group was still sub MOA. Pushing out to 200 yards, there was just an inch between the furthest 3 holes. This was after cooling and cleaning between three shot groups. Color me impressed. I wanted to push things further, but the range only went to 200 yards. I’m sure we could do well past that.
Recoil was minimal for a magnum rifle. I shoot a lot, though, so I’m a little conditioned to recoil. Still, it was good enough that I could shoot through a box of rounds and not feel like I was beat up. The recoil pad Browning came up with helped too. Very good stuff., but what else would you expect?
The X-Bolt has what they call the X-Lock mount feature an all new four screw per base design that replaces the traditional two screw system. This helps secure the scope mounts solidly to the receiver. They never came loose and were a solid platform for mounting the Talleys. More good stuff.
The bolt cycled flawlessly and I can’t think of one bad feature of the rifle. Oh wait, I can. It isn’t cheap. Of course, I didn’t expect it to be, but the price tag was enough to make my wife give me the stink eye when I said something about wanting to buy it. Unfortunately, I did have to relent and give it back to the kind folks at Browning.
This is one rifle I wouldn’t hesitate to take anywhere on the planet hunting. It is light, accurate and solid. In .300 WSM, there isn’t any big game animal that would be safe from a hunter carrying this rifle and a valid tag. How many rifles can you really say that about?
Stay accurate, my friends.