By Michael Deming
The Browning X-Bolt has been the consistent go-to rifle for the Sportsman’s News team for the past four or five years and for good reason. They are one of the most accurate factory rifles that we have ever put in our hands. I’ve personally retired every custom rifle I’ve ever built and now have an X-Bolt for every application needed.
The limited production Browning X-Bolt Long-Range Gray Laminate was a special rifle released at the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade show (SHOT) in 2018, but we only took delivery of this special rifle in late October. So, to say they are limited would be an understatement. However, once you put your hands on one of these rifles, you will see that it was well worth the wait.
This is an out-of-the box, precision long range rifle, ready to get the job done. It comes with a matte blued steel receiver and a 26” stainless steel heavy sporter barrel, which is also matte finish. It is free floated, hand chambered with a target crown. It comes with a muzzle-brake and 5/8-24 suppressor threads on the larger calibers and 1/2-28 on the smaller calibers. It also comes with a thread protector should you opt not to use the brake or a suppressor.
The feather trigger has absolutely no creep and breaks very crisp. These precision bolt action rifles have a 3-locking lug bolt with a 60° bolt lift. The bolt handle itself is extended, making it ideal for a bench shooter to easily rack in another round while keeping your eyes on the target. The detachable magazine holds either 3- or 4-rounds depending on what caliber you choose to purchase and there are a good number of calibers to choose from on this model. The 22-250 is on the small end of the spectrum and it also comes in the ever popular 6.5 Creedmoor, my personal favorite go-to caliber the .26 Nosler, 7mm, .28 Nosler, .308 and the .300 Win Mag at the top end of the spectrum.
All the rifles weigh in at between 7lbs 3-ounces and 7lbs 7-ounces, depending on the caliber you choose. They all have a laminate, gray satin varnish finished stock, with an adjustable Monte Carlo Comb, which allows you to get a good cheek weld, regardless of the optics you choose to mount on this rifle. It also comes equipped with an InFlex recoil pad.
Putting this rifle to the test was a true pleasure and since I’ve been shooting an X-Bolt rifle for all of my hunting needs the past few years, I’m pretty confident in their ability and feel. I love the X configuration on the top for mounting your scopes. It allows for the very novice to mount a scope without having a professional do the job. Using either the Browning X-Bolt models sold by Browning or the Talley one-piece gives you a very reliable base and ring all combined into one and after mounting hundreds of these things for testing, I’ve yet to ever have a problem with one.
Putting this rifle through the rigors for accuracy was even more fun. Shooting premium ammunition, this rifle shot sub 1/2 MOA groups, which means less than a half inch at 100-yards. We secured less than 1” groups with some of the cheapest ammunition on the market.
So, there’s no need to buy or build a custom rifle when you are looking to get into long range precision shooting with the Browning X-Bolt Long-Range available at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse. These rifles have an MSRP of around $1575.00 and will compete with just about anything ever built. It definitely gets a true thumbs up from the Sportsman’s News team.