Among the most recent entry in Browning's X-Bolt series of bolt-action rifles – the Stainless Fluted Adjustable Threaded model – is a sleek, lightweight and cutting-edge rifle conceived to meet the tastes of modern hunters looking for style and technology
Few years ago, the Browning International group caused – to use the Company's own words – a true revolution in the field of bolt-action hunting and shooting rifles with the launch of the X-Bolt(link is external) series of rifles, which has since then become the tip of Browning's spear.
Manufactured in Japan by Miroku – a fully owned subsidiary of the Browning group – the X-Bolt series rifles were conceived and are manufactured for those hunters who want their gun to be cutting-edge rather than an old-timer, something that will withstand the harshest use and may provide some satisfaction at the shooting range as well.
As a matter of fact, the Browning X-Bolt rifles are – once again, to use the Company's own words – recognized for their custom-class accuracy, and as such they're perfect to stalk the hardest game and to practice some of the most classic hunting-related shooting sports, such as metallic silhouette shooting.
One of the latest entries in the line is the Browning X-Bolt Stainless Fluted Adjustable Threaded( rifle.
Just like all other X-Bolt rifles, the new SF Adjustable threaded model features a three-lever Feather Trigger – providing a clean, crisp pull with no take-up or creep and minimal overtravel – which is screw-adjustable from 3 to 5 lbs (approx. 1 to 2 kg) and factory pre-set at approximately 3 1/2 lbs (approx. 1,5 kg).
The rifle is also equipped with the X-Lock scope mount system, featuring an all new four screw per base design that replaces the traditional two screw system and allows the bases to be secured at all four corners.
If compared to all other versions of the X-Bolt line, however, the new Browning X-Bolt SF Adjustable Threaded rifle model offers several additional features that make it even more appealing.
The Browning X-Bolt SF Adjustable Threaded rifle is built around a matte stainless steel frame. The bolt offers a short, 60-degrees lift – that's fast cycling and allows the shooter to work it quickly without the scope getting in the way – and a cocking handle-mounted bolt unlock button that works in conjunction with the top-tang safety to provide an added measure of safety during checking and unloading of the chamber.
The X-Bolt SF Adjustable Threaded rifle feeds through a detachable polymer rotary magazine which is designed to feed cartridges directly in-line with the bolt, instead of offset as with traditional leaf-spring magazines, for a straight shot right into the chamber.
The sample we tested was chambered for the flat-shooting .243 Winchester caliber, but others available include .223 Remington, 6.5x55mm, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and .300 Winchester Magnum; the magazine capacity is set at four rounds for standard calibers and three rounds for Magnum calibers, exception made for the .223 Remington version, whose magazine holds up to five rounds.
The barrel of the Browning X-Bolt SF Adjustable Threaded bolt-action rifle is 56 cm / 22" long, and is produced through Browning's proprietary barrel manufacturing systems.
The SF Adjustable Threaded model features an M14x1 muzzle thread, protected by a screw-on cap, allowing the use of silencers or sound suppressors – when and where legal – as well as of additional flash hiders or muzzle brakes.
A fully fluted barrel, it keeps the overall weight of the gun down to acceptable levels, making it perfect for those long hunting days on uneven terrains.
The X-Bolt is free-floated by bedding the front and rear of the action for stability and to help maintain barrel to stock spacing for consistent accuracy.
The stock of the Browning X-Bolt SF Adjustable Threaded is manufactured out of matte black composite, is designed to be totally ambidextrous, and features slip-proof DuraTouch surfaces on the pistol grip and handguards, as well as a fully adjustable cheek riser and a recoil-absorbing buttpad.
A single 7mm spacer is issued to adjust the length of pull, and more can be purchased as aftermarket accessories if need be. Two sling swivel studs come standard.
The rifle used for this article was equipped with a Kite KSP HD2 1.6-10x42 riflescope, which in our opinion has performed very well.
The magnification from 1.6 to 10 is an all purpose one and the 42mm front-lens provides proper lighiting in the majority of the shooting conditions.
As said, the Kite KSP HD2 is quite handy, but performant also, thanks to the a declared light transmission of 93% and: a red illuminated dot that is simply great.
The red dot illumination can be set along 11 positions (OFF is on position 1), and the overall usability of the dot itself is helped by the instinctive ease of use of the plain cross reticle.
The sample you see in these wonderful pictures is chambered for the evergreen, ever perfomant .243 Winchester cartridge.It was not our intention to put under heavy test this rifle, and honestly speaking, to approach such an intent would ask for a far more serious and long lasting series of considerations and tests.
So, we have just done what whoever "friend" would do if looking at you in the field or at the range with such a nice and intriguing rifle like the Browning X-Bolt SF Adjustable Threaded rifle seems to be.
Given the quality of the Japanese Miroku industrial technology, we have kept it simple: we have gone to the shooting range with some ammunition, and we have made some holes on the paper.
For reasons of "brand coeherency" and practical attitude, we have used Winchester ammunition: the .243 Winchester 58 grains VarmintX Polymer Tip, and 95 grains Extreme Point.
The distance was a reasonably "standard" 100m and for the precision shots we shot the rifle from a Caldwell rest. We also put the rifle in the field, with some test shots at the same distance, but shooting from sticks.
In any case, the precision shots from the bench have been quite satisfactory, with the Feather Trigger performing great. We have obtained better results with the Winchester 95 grains Extreme Point ammunition, probably because of the heavier bullet, working better in the 22" twist rifling. and the best group we achieved speaks for itself: 27mm, 3 shots at 100m.
Browning X-Bolt SF Adjustable Threaded - Specifications
X-Bolt Stainless Fluted Adjustable Threaded
.300 Winchester Magnum
Three-lever Feather Trigger, screw-adjustable
Top tang safety
Detachable polymer rotary magazine, holding 3, 4 or 5 rounds (depending from caliber)
530 mm / 21", 560 mm / 22", 610 mm / 24" (depending from caliber)
Cold-hammer forged, fluted, matte stainless
M14x1 muzzle thread
No iron sights; X-Lock scope mounting system; Weaver mounts included
105,41 cm / 41.½" approx. (depending from caliber)
2,8 kg / 6 lbs 3 oz approx. (depending from caliber)
Matte stainless steel barrel, frame and action
Matte black polmer stock
Ask your dealer for local availability and price