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View Full Version : Browning XBolt Synthetic - Initial Review & Range Report



mlehto
04-09-2013, 04:44 PM
First for those who don't want to read this whole thread, no big deal, just take my advice, and go buy this rifle. ;)

For those who want some more info, I will do my best to put it all out there, and answer any questions....

Here goes....

So a recent promotion at work is what brought me to start looking at some decent rifles in the first place. I have always only purchased budget rifles, such as Stevens 200's, and Savage 111's, or a Marlin XS7, etc. I had been happy with those guns, and they all shot well, but I never got much satisfaction from them. They just never boasted the quality, and feel of a good rifle, like it would last a lifetime. So my hunt began....

Initially I was after iron sights, and started a thread on the topic, which didn't yield many answers, but I ended up snagging a Win M70 on the EE with Irons, and immediately I could see the difference in quality between this gun and the various others I had owned in the past. It was a nice rifle, and worked great, but it was used, and just didn't do it for me. It was a carbine model, and was light weight with no recoil pad, which I felt at the range, even in a .270 win. The irons were useless with the Leupold turn in mounts, as they would not be easy to take off anyways in the field, so I abandoned the idea, and sold her on the EE.

So what were my options now? I settled on either the Tikka T3, or Browning Xbolt, both of which have excellent reviews. At this point I hadn't handled either rifle but the reviews for both were very positive, and I knew the local SAIL had both so off I went to check them out.

I had heard the Tikka felt a little cheap, and I agree the stock really didn't exude quality, but it felt real good. Bolt was smooth, and I am Finnish so I wanted to go Tikka but......

I knew as soon as I picked up the Xbolt that it was the one.

This particular one is in my all around calibre of choice .270 WIN, and I really don't think there is anything I don't like about this gun...... LOL

What I love:

Overall Styling:
- Gun looks awesome despite many complaints I have read. I like it, and the bolt/shroud have some pretty cool styling of their own.

60 degree bolt throw:
- Makes cycling the bolt fast and hard really easy, with your scope mounted as low as possible, and not getting in the way of your knuckles.
- Very smooth, and the polished fluted/cut bolt is very nice.

Textured stock finish:
- The whole stock is covered in a rubberized material, with texturing on the forend and grip.
- Feels really good, and even when wet it is not slippery at all.
- Concern is chips, tears, peeling, but reviews say it holds up well

Recoil Pad:
- One of the best on a factory rifle I have ever felt. Shooting this gun all day is no issue at all.

Barrel/Rifling:
- Not sure how to say this, but the barrel rifling on this rifle is top notch. Running a cleaning brush through the barrel you can tell how smooth the inside is. Comparing to the other rifles I have/had it is night and day. This also shows in cleaning, as their is little to know copper fouling after about 100 rounds now.

Scope Mounts:
- The Xbolt has 4 mounting holes per base. I have never seen this before, but it seems like a great idea. Ensures better alignment, and strength so I only see this as a positive.

Overall Fit & Finish:
- Easy to please here I guess, but like I said this gun is a huge step up in this department. I honestly can't say there is anything I have found that is wrong, or out of place on this one.(That said the one on display had a slightly warped forend with the barrel closer one side.)
- The gun is also a flat textured coating, or blueing which seems really durable.

The Trigger:
- Fantastic!!!
- Easily adjustable, but came perfect for a hunting rifle from the factory around 3.5 lbs.
- More importantly it is crisp, breaking like glass, with no take-up or over-travel.

Accuracy:
- With my first small trial of loads this thing easily shoots MOA, and I am sure with more tinkering I could do better.
- See pics below

What I am just OK with:

Weight:
- many reviews say this is a light gun, but the Tikka is lighter, and some of the cheap guns I have owned even more so. With the 3-9 scope it does feel a little hefty, but compared to some it is pretty good.

Small Bolt Handle:
- Just feels strange, and seems unnecessary with the 60 degree bolt throw. Hell a huge tactical knob would easily clear any scope.

Things I don't like:

Nothing!!! LOL


Anyways here is a couple pics.

She is mated with a Bushnell 3200 3-9x40, with Leupold bases, and rings:

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/Snapbucket/A775A63D-orig_zps9b9361ca.jpg

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/Snapbucket/819DA918-orig_zps423b63e3.jpg


Now as for accuracy, I have only been reloading for this gun, and have only tried 1 bullet/powder combo, but so far I am very impressed, and with some more tinkering I am sure these groups will get even better. ;)

These are Hornady 140 Grain Interlock BTSP and 56 Grains of H4831sc:

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/xbolt3_zps31c8d932.jpg

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/xbolt2_zps45acf4af.jpg

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/xbolt1_zps743f6282.jpg


So long story short, if you are thinking about one of these guns...........GO FOR IT!!!

I am loving mine. ;)

Cheers,
M

Strewth
04-09-2013, 04:51 PM
Hmmm, I was thinking about a new .270 for deer this year, and (unfortunately?) I'm tending towards a synthetic stock...nice looking rifle, thank you for the review!