first published on April 28, 2021 by Josh Brooks[mashshare]
If you’re here, I’m assuming it’s because you’re thinking of picking up a new rifle for this upcoming deer season, and the Browning X-Bolt is on your radar. If you’re looking for a review from a fellow hunter, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’re going to cover down on why you would choose Browning over the competition, why we think the X-Bolt is a quality rifle worth your time, and how the X-Bolt has performed for us. We might also leave you a few helpful hints on where you can pick an X-Bolt up at a good price.
If 30-06 is your preferred caliber, then the X-Bolt is definitely not a rifle you should be skipping over. While they do come in a variety of calibers, for the purpose of this review, we checked out a Guns.com certified used rifle chambered in 30-06. We’ve also fired a variety of ammunition through the rifle, but primarily we feed it Remington Core-Lokt 30-06 throughout the duration of our test period.
Okay, we’re talking about Browning here. If you don’t know who the Browning brothers are, you may have been living under a rock for the duration of your life. That, or you’re brand new to firearms and this is your first hunting season, in which case welcome.
Browning was founded in Ogden, Utah back in 1878 by John Moses Browning and his brother Matthew Sandefur Browning. The brand-name Browning is synonymous with innovation in the firearms industry. They’re responsible for a few firearms you may have heard of, primarily the M1911 Browning Handgun, and the Browning Automatic Rifle, or the M1918 BAR for short. Also add onto this list the Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, and the Browning M1919 .30 Caliber Machine Gun.
In short, Browning is one of the top firearms manufacturers not only in the United States, but in the world. Anything with a Browning stamp on it is something you can trust to not only save your life, but also to put food on your table.
As previously stated, when it comes to reliable firearms, Browning is something of an authority figure. The X-Bolt is no exception. For this review, we had a used X-Bolt Medallion chambered in 30-06. It came to us through Guns.com’s certified used firearm program, and was feature complete, practically brand new. The Walnut stock was beautiful, and the checkering was in all of the right places to make the rifle feel great in my hands.
As far as features go, the X-Bolt has a free-floated barrel. It also features a 60 degree bolt lift which makes the action buttery smooth. The feather-trigger system, rotary magazine, inflex recoil pad, and x-lock scope mounts are also all present and when wrapped together make for an outstanding shooting experience. You can read more about the specifications of the rifle below.
The Browning X-Bolt is not an uncommon rifle. In fact, I’d wager you might be able to find a brand new X-Bolt at your local sporting goods store if you went and checked. That said, we received our rifle from Guns.com, and it’s thanks to them that we were able to complete this review. At the time of this writing, there are eight used Browning X-Bolt’s available on Guns.com, and the rifle we used for this review was actually one of their certified used rifles.
When it comes to purchasing a used rifle, there are sometimes hiccups present that you didn’t expect. With Guns.com, you don’t really need to worry about that. They inspect the weapons and have a rating system for the used firearms. When purchasing a used firearm there, you get exactly what is advertised. In my experience, the firearms actually come to you in slightly better shape than expected.
One more quick note on buying a firearm through Guns.com. Normally, when you make an online firearms purchase, you have to go through the headache of getting your FFL’s information, and jumping through several hoops. With Guns.com, that’s not an case. You input your address, and they do the rest of the leg work for you.
We had quite the day out on the range with the Browning X-Bolt. The shoot for that day was intended for us to load up on content for a little while, so it was part of a series of articles that will be releasing shortly on our blog here. The range was located out in the middle-of-no-where Wyoming where Paul Markel from Student of the Gun resides.
For the day of our shoot, the weather was mostly nice, but slightly inclement due to wind and cold. As stated earlier, we fired primarily Remington Core-Lokt 30-06 ammunition, and were using a Leupold vXL optic as well. We fired on ranged from 100 to 500 yards. We were able to get the rifle zeroed in about 8 rounds after putting the optic on it, and then we went to work.
The first thing I want to mention that is noteworthy on this firearm is the feather-trigger system Browning has installed on their X-Bolt line. As advertised, it is insanely crisp, with a very clear break. There is little to no take-up or creep, and overtravel was also absent. The trigger on this rifle is actually my absolute favorite part of the rifle, aside from it being pretty lightweight for a wooden framed rifle.
When it comes to bolt action rifles and hunting, the accuracy of the rifle is one of the most important factors. You wouldn’t want to hump a rifle out into the woods, sit with it for an entire morning, and then miss your kill-shot due to an aged-barrel, or loose optic making your shot hit the deer off-center. Even worse, having the barrel or optic cause the shot to go wide and only glance your target causing a less-than-humane death or slow track through the wilderness would be enough to land any rifle in the safe or at a pawn shop as soon as the outing is completed.
With the X-Bolt, this isn’t something I think I would find myself worrying about. Browning used their X-Lock scope mount system here, as well as a free-floated barrel system to ensure that your accuracy is limited more by you, the shooter, than the rifle itself. The X-Lock scope system allows for more locking points on your optic, which keeps it better secure on over-land movements. On top of this, the barrel is of a free-float design. By bedding the front and rear of the action for stability the barrel to stock spacing in the rifle holds true. Definitely a plus.
We were able to maintain a 1/4″ grouping at 100 yards very easily with this rifle. As stated above, I believe the X-Bolt’s accuracy is limited more by the shooter than the rifle itself. Bonus points for buying used, because the rifle was already broken in by the time we got our hands on it.
Ultimately, this is a decision you have to make for yourself. Personally, as someone who has fired and carried this rifle, I believe that the Browning X-Bolt is a solid choice. It’s relatively light, has a great trigger, and has proven itself to be as accurate or more accurate than the average shooter. In my opinion, the Browning X-Bolt will more than optimally serve you this upcoming deer season if a new deer-rifle is on your radar before stepping off.
At the end of the day however, that is the opinion of one shooter. We’d love to hear from you down in the comments if you have any experience with X-Bolt. Together, as always, we can come together as a community and help each other make the best purchasing decisions. Also, if you have any questions that the review may not have answered, feel free to fire away. We try to engage with our readers as much as possible.