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Thread: Browning X-Bolt

  1. #1
    Member jord's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Browning X-Bolt


    Here is a brief review of my Browning X-Bolt in .270 win for anyone considering buying one.

    Thought I'll contribute what I can to the forums.

    Firstly, the Browing X-Bolt is Brownings latest hunting rifle. Although it is a refined version of the tried and true A-Bolt, it is in my opinion, yards ahead of the A-Bolt and it a step up.

    Secondly, my rifle is in .270 win but the rifle is availible in most calibres - just ask your hunting shop what they can source if your preferred calibre is not in stock.

    I'll break this down into 3 sections and I'll use the Tikka T3 as a comparison throughout (these are fantastic rifles and I am in no way abusing them, but it's a nice popular rifle which will provide a good comparison)

    1. Body - appearance

    The rifle itself is highly refined and a beautiful thing to behold considering it's plastic fantastic! - I have the stainless synthetic model. I have used and am familiar with Tikka T3s and anything that ends in "7" something and begins with Remington. Also I have tried and used Sako A7's and 85's.
    In my opinion, the Browning X-Bolt's synthetic stock is the best there is out of the box. Hands down. Browning have dubbed the grip and stock "Dura-Touch". It should be called "goodta-Touch". The butt stock right through to the foregrip is sleek, well styled, grippy and fits exceedingly well in your hand...well in my hands anyway. It has a nice rubber coating for all weather and doesn't have that moulded plastic look that most synthetics seem to.
    The stainless parts from receiver to barrel look sleek. Alos, the magazine sits flush keeping the rifle looking sharp. The bolt-handle sits short and low throughout the cycling of your bolt at 60 - again it's sleek and this allows you to mount a nice sized scope without having to jack it to the sky with a huge mount with extended rings so you can move your bolt - very nice with a long action like .270, 30-06 or 300mag.

    2. Accuracy

    Firstly your marksmanship ability will set the limitations of this rifle. The calibre you choose will dictate the range and effectiveness for hunting. Choose your calibre wisely - if you're new to hunting then PM me and I can offer some advice in how to choose, it's up to you!

    Here's what I've found with the .270win.

    It's bloody accurate.

    I couldn't believe it. I went out to an undisclosed location a few weeks ago and put it through it's paces alongside a Tikka T3 .308, a Tikka T3 .270, a BSA Monarch .270, a Sako 85 in 7mm08, a Sako A7 .270mag and a custom space aged looking piece of shit that looked like it belonged in Lucas Films storage. In 300mag.

    We shot upto 3, 3 shot groups per rifle at 50,100,150,200,250,300,350,400,500 and 600 paces.
    **(fairly accurate paces I might add - 1 pace = 1 yard, but for this article they're paces so I don't upset anyone!)

    I have a Bushnell Elite 3-9 x 40 which is by no means a long range scope but it will do what I need it to when I hunt. Most of the other rifles had 3-9 x 40s/42s with the Storm Troopers .300mag having a 50-600x12 million...it was something by 50 but it was hefty.

    We used good old Remington Core-Lokt and Federal ammo. It's cheap hunting crap but it's great. All Calibres shot their lighter mainstream load ie. the .308 shot 150 grain and the .270 130 grain - We wanted to use cheap/medium hunting ammo that we all use in every day hunting so we knew our limits. Custom loads I'm sure will out-peform these results but we wanted results everyone could afford and easily obtain. We rotated shooters having our best 2 marksman (myself and another army friend) put at least one group on the target through each rifle before moving on to the next target and range.

    Bugger all wind and dead flat. Sandbags and/or bipods too. Ideal conditions.

    (If you want detailed results I can get them to you but this is a short version for the X-Bolts sake)

    Out too 100 paces we all shot clovers (3 shots more or less on top of each other) so we knew the rifles were all on point!

    150 more or less the same - slightly looser groups - up to 50c piece size.

    200 the .308s started to loosen up to 3" while the other faster flatter cals doing their thing.

    300 My Browning was shooting dead straght and grouping nicely (I even put 2 rounds through the same hole, although the average group was comparable to the 300mag and .270 mag.

    Over 300 the .308s started to drop just a bit too much to adjust easily to and began to remind me why I love .270.

    At 500 yards I hit an iPad sized square 3 times in a row. With a .270. With Core-Lokt ammo. At 500 yards. With Core-Lokt ammo!

    Out to 600 my scope found it's limits but the groups were all on an A4 sized page when I found the target. The .308s were not.

    Up to and Including 350 yards, which I consider the sweet spot for hunting, my X-Bolt shot tighter than the Tikka and BSA .270s. It was consistantly as good as the .300mag and 7mm08 and at times better.

    After all this we each squeezed off 9 shots in a row at an A4 sheet at 250 yards with a black dot in the middle. Nice hot barrels, no cleaning since the last 9 shots fired and all within 90 seconds. A fairly good "hunting rifle test".

    The Browning took the cake. The other rifles didn't like the last few shots and the bigger calibres were taking their toll on the shoulders.

    My X-Bolt .270 was better, hands down, than the Tikka in both cals, better than the space aged machine that couldn't handle the roughness of the last stage and was on par, and depending how you take your averages of 9 shots, marginally better than both Sakos. Defintely not worse, easily the same and in my totally biased opinion, better. But seriously, only the Sako A7 in .270win, .300mag and my X-Bolt landed all 9 rounds on the page.

    I was stoked! Of course, the boys didn't, and won't, hear the end of it.
    I paid $2000 for my rifle scoped and with 100 rounds. About $200ish more than the Tikka but noticibly better. The Sako's would be $3000 and the .300 mag costs more than your house. Feel free to correct me on the price of the Sako's. Excellent rifles. I suspect the Sako may do better in the equivilent calibre but the X-Bolt was the winner within 400 for hunting purposes.

    The trigger breaks at about 2lbs 8oz I believe. Absolutely no creep and no overtravel. It's incredible. Haven't had to adjust it out of the box. It can be adjusted down to 2lbs I believe. Also, being in .270 it kicks fairly well - there is a nice fat recoil pad that deals with this excellently.

    3. Overview

    Field use - Out in the field it is not as light to carry as a Tikka T3 Lite but the extra .6 pounds (Tikka 6lb 3oz = Browning 6lbs 9oz pounds-ish) but in no way is it as heavy as your grandads wooden stocked BSA. I'm fairly slight in build and can carry it all day every day with scope and even torch mounted for wallabies no problem at all. Even plus a pack and half a Tahr on my back for good measure, weight is not an issue. It also has a neat safety feature that allows bolt to be used, extracting cartridge, while the safety is on. Looks cool too.

    Visual appearance - it's a damn good looking rifle, but that's purely preference.

    Accuracy - results above speak for themselves.

    Cost - at about $1600 NZD for the bare rifle it is, in my opinion, the best bang for your buck in this price range. Comparable to a Tikka in affordability and a mighty Sako in accuracy - need I say more?

    Durability - I have given mine a good knock around in the bush and have done plenty of dirty firing to test it and it hasn't failed me. Only time will tell as it's a fairly new rifle but I haven't heard of or read any bad results in this area...or any others.

    Overall - I highly recomened this rifle to anyone wanting one. As of yet, I simply can not fault it. Some say they think the bolt is too lightweight but I doubt those folk have handled the bolt out of the rifle, it's not. This gun is well balanced and does everything I need and I couldn't be happier with my purchase. Only possible fault would be that I had to wait so damn long for one in .270!

    Trying not to be biased as all I have is praise for this bang stick. Well done to the folks at Browning. Hope you guys enjoy the novice post above!

    Wildman, Timmay, StrikerNZ and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
    The Scope Whore ! Philipo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Palmy Nth
    Good on ya Jord , nice little "back to basics" report & nothing wrong with pace'in out a hundy bro. I like the X-bolt pitty the stock doesn't fit me very well

    But fuck one thing about Browning's is they're cool
    jord likes this.
    Shoot it, root it & then BBQ it !!!

  3. #3
    Member ANTSMAN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    yup agree with all. I got a 270 WSM X bolt 2 weeks ago, lerve it !
    wouldn't mind getting another mag for mine
    and agreed Philipo "But fuck one thing about Browning's is they're cool "
    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt

  4. #4
    Village Idjit Barefoot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Yip, nothing wrong with the S/hand one I pick up recently. It will become my main rifle after I adjust to the trigger.

  5. #5
    Caretaker Wildman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Palmerston North
    Photos guys photos

    There is a nice X-Bolt White Gold on TM at the moment... Mmm...
    jord likes this.

  6. #6
    Member JoshC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by Wildman View Post
    Photos guys photos

    There is a nice X-Bolt White Gold on TM at the moment... Mmm...
    It is niiiice
    I'm drawn to the mountains and the bush, it's where life is clear, where the world makes the most sense.

  7. #7
    Member Tahr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Philipo View Post
    Good on ya Jord , nice little "back to basics" report & nothing wrong with pace'in out a hundy bro. I like the X-bolt pitty the stock doesn't fit me very well

    But fuck one thing about Browning's is they're cool
    I've got a Micro Hunter wood blue X bolt. Its more like the Rem model 7 dimmensions and might fit you better. 20" barrel. Mines a 243. Try mine sometime if you want. I'm in PNth quite often.

    Its a great rifle.


  8. #8
    Member jord's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013


    Only photos I have as of yet. Torch is mounted for wallaby hunt. It's a Hawker Hunter Thrower. Bloody good - great up to about 280m for lighting up whole targets but can see eyes out to 400. Very light and only $100 too. Would suppliment it with a decent head torch or wider beam for closer targets though.

    2nd pic is my boy Baz. He's nearly 6 months. Collie Staffie cross. He's stuffed after our morning hunt. Learning the ropes quickly!

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    Wildman and Toby like this.

  9. #9
    Caretaker jakewire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Well thats two men on the forum like their new Brownings enough to post a report.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?



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