The X-Bolt Rifles We’ve Used
All the rifles that we have used on The Western Hunter in the last for four years have been Browning X-Bolts. The stocks, camo patterns and metal finishes are varied but the heart and soul of the rifle, the action, are the X-Bolt. All X-Bolt rifle barrels are free floated for consistent accuracy and the trademark Feather Trigger provides a consistently clean pull. The 60-degree bolt throw allows fast but remarkably smooth cycling of the action. The rotary magazine is detachable for ease of loading and unloading the rifle.
While these features look great in writing, the proof of any rifle is how it performs in the field and this is where the Browning X-Bolt really sets itself apart from the competition. On The Western Hunter we have used five different rifles and each one of them has delivered sub-MOA accuracy with factory ammo. While many companies promise this type of accuracy and will even send a test target with each rifle, their test shots are almost always shot from a bench vise and machine fired. We have fired hundreds of rounds, in the field, at targets from 100-1000 yards with real human beings behind the trigger.
Here are the specific rifles we have used.
X-Bolt Stainless Stalker
The first two Browning rifles we ever used were both the X-bolt Stainless Stalker in 300 Winchester Magnum. The weather resistant stainless steel and lightweight composite stock just looked like a winning combination and this has proven to be true. Even 6lbs 13oz and without a muzzle brake the rifle is extremely easy to shoot. This is the rifle Dennis Simmons used on each of his hunts with great success.
X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan
This rifle is a true tack driver! The combination of the X-bolt action and the McMillan Game Scout stock with palm swell just lends itself to consistent trigger finger placement. The rifle comes with a 20 MOA rail which should allow enough scope elevation adjustment to shoot out to 1000 yards and more. Our rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and it is fitted for a suppressor. This package has fired multiple groups well under a half inch at 100 yards and rarely misses a steel target at 1000. This is the rifle Mark Denham has used on his Arizona Coues deer hunts the past few season.
X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Speed 6.5
This rifle has been a workhorse for the past two seasons. The relatively compact size and lightweight (6 lbs. 5 oz.) and Cerakote finish is a perfect combination for a mountain rifle. Our rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and has been super reliable on big game. I packed this rifle for 15 days on my Alaska Dall sheep hunt. Through rough terrain, daily rain and multiple falls this rifle mated with a Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44 has never faltered. In fact, I have never lost my zero with this combination, it is always dead on from the first shot. A muzzle brake comes standard as well as a thread protector if you don’t care for the extra noise.
X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Speed 300 WM
This is the big brother to the rifle above but chambered in 300 Winchester magnum. Given the outstanding performance of the short action, I chose the magnum caliber for our Kodiak Island black tail deer hunt. While this caliber may have been overkill on black tail deer, the presence of 1200 lb. brown bears made it an easy choice! For this same reason, I chose a Swarovski Z8 2-16×50. The incredible field of view at low power gave me confidence in the brush while 16 power make long range shots much easier.
I have no problem giving the Browning X-bolt line my highest endorsement! The reputation for reliability and accuracy has been proven to be well earned. But I will warn you, this is not a well-kept secret so they are not easy to find. Check with your local Browning dealer as soon as possible, there will likely be a waiting line.