Browning X-Bolt Hunter Review


I purchased my first Hunting Rifle about a year and a half ago, and was recommended the Browning X-Bolt rifle by a vendor who eventually became a close friend.  I took his advice and have been thoroughly satisfied with its performance, quality and most of all dependability. 

When I write about dependability, most would think I speak of its ability to fire consistently.  Well being a bolt-action rifle, it's actually pretty difficult not getting it to fire a consistent shot.  Being my first rifle, I didn't know what to look for and how to 'break-in' a rifle yet it shot well right out of the box.

The rifle

I'm not one of those people who craddle their new toys with sating gloves.  When I buy product that's made to be outdoors, I want it rugged, manly and tough as nails.  I dropped this rifle while crossing a marsh in a pool of mud, had it slip into a sand bank (there was sand EVERYWHERE inside it !) and pretty much abused the heck out of it and never had any problems so far. 

That being said you should always CLEAN YOUR RIFLE when it gets mucked, but you don't have to worry about taking this one outside for a good time.  I even had a fire break out in my house a few months ago, and my Browning, not being properly stowed, was grimed with soot all over and within the action.   I cleaned and shot it without a single misfires.

The X-Bolt is the next step in the trusted A-Bolt family of bolt-action designs.  When I first worked the action, it was a bit stiff, but after opening and closing it a few times it loosened and it now smooth and easy.

The butt cushion is very comfortable, and takes a lot of the recoil away, even with a 30-06 like my own.  It was something  I was a little worried about, being a decent load for a small frame like mine, and seeing as it was my first time shooting, but got pretty comfortable with it in no time.  The scope mounting system is nice and reliable with 8 separate screws holding it down.  When properly seated, the scope will not go anywhere.  My first time firing it I made the classic mistake of putting my head to close to the scope and got it right in the forehead without making it budge at all.  The magazine is some sort of hard plastic box which I don't like too much, but it's very resilient and cheap if you need to replace it, or buy more.

the bolt

With a traditional feel and charmingly simple checkered grips, its looks don't hurt either.  The stocks come in different styles and woods from walnut, rosewood and with engraving in some of the high-end models like the White Gold.

On the browning website, the MSRP ranges from 799 $ - 1049 $USD.  I paid mine 789$ in Canada, with a clear conscience that my investment would last me a lifetime.  Since then I've bought and fired various firearms and this one is still my favorite hunting rifle.


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Shooting my X-Bolt

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