Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Bolt-Action Rifle
Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Bolt-Action Rifle
The Browning® X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Bolt-Action Rifle delivers impeccable long-distance accuracy and performance, ideal for hunting and distance performance shooting applications. The X–Bolt Hunter Long Range features a satin-finished walnut stock with an ambidextrous, adjustable comb for optimal eye-to-scope alignment, while the detailed checkering provides a solid non-slip grip. A non-reflective, matte blued finish on the barrel and receiver reduces glare, and provides superior concealment from deer, elk, and other game. The Inflex Technology™ recoil pad drastically reduces recoil and offers a comfortable, non-slip grip on your shoulder for enhanced reliability. Browning’s Feather Trigger™ also enhances potential accuracy by providing a clean, crisp pull with no take-up and a minimal overtravel (a screw adjusts trigger from 3 to 5 lbs.). A free-floated, target-crowned, heavy sporter contour barrel delivers long-distance precision accuracy, while the factory-installed muzzle brake further reduces recoil, and is installed on 5/8″x24 TPI suppressor threads, readily accepting your favorite suppressor for quiet shooting. The X-Bolt also features a glass bedded, matte finished steel receiver that’s drilled and tapped to accept a variety of scope bases (not included). 3 locking lugs provide exceptional strength and a short 60° bolt lift that cycles smooth and fast, while keeping a wide margin of space between your hand and the scope sight, and a detachable rotary magazine feeds ammunition directly in-line with the bolt instead of feeding offset as with conventional magazines. The Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Bolt-Action Rifle also features a top-tang safety with bolt unlock button that allows you to open the bolt for loading or inspection with the tang safety in the safe position.
- Satin finished walnut stock
- Adjustable comb
- Detailed non-slip checkering
- Non-reflective matte blued barrel and receiver
- Free–floated, heavy sporter contoured barrel
- Factory-installed muzzle brake`
- 5/8″x24 TPI suppressor threads
- Glass bedded steel receiver
- Drilled and tapped receiver
- Inflex Technology recoil pad
- Browning Feather Trigger
- Detachable rotary magazine
- Top-tang safety
- Bolt unlock button
- 3 locking lugs
- 60° bolt lift
Review: Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range
By FRED TOAST FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
The hottest trend in the hunting market is bolt-action rifles that incorporate elements traditionally found on long-range competition and tactical rifles into field guns. Perhaps no other firearms manufacturer has been as quick to jump on this trend as Browning, and scrolling through its current lineup of X-Bolt rifles is a tutorial in how to build a crossover gun.
This year, Browning has added yet another hybrid hunting rifle to its catalog: the X-Bolt Hunter Long Range. The first feature you’ll notice on the Hunter Long Range is its walnut stock. This may come as a bit of a shock in an age where polymer parts have replaced steel and wood, but there’s definitely renewed interest in walnut-stocked guns.
The X-Bolt Hunter Long Range borrows a design element Browning uses on its competition shotguns: a height-adjustable cheekpiece that provides perfect eye alignment regardless of shooting angle or face shape.
The comb itself angles upward, giving the gun a Monte Carlo silhouette in profile. Riding on two metal posts, the comb can be raised over two inches, which is more range than almost any shooter will require. A heavy-duty hex-head nut holds the comb in position, and the nut is accessed through the right side of the stock. It might not be as convenient as, say, the Savage 110 Classic’s push-button design, but the Browning lacks the large, round metal buttons that you’ll find on the Savage stock. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
X–Bolt Hunter Long Range rifles feature a satin-finished Grade I walnut stock, and while the wood isn’t particularly fancy, it’s far better than some competing entry-level rifles that look as though they were stocked using the leftovers from your high school woodshop class. The Browning’s stock has traditional diamond checkering on the fore-end and pistol grip, and the Hunter Long Range lacks the 45-degree angled cut that has become a hallmark of other X-Bolt rifles in favor of a more traditional look.
The stock is also outfitted with Browning’s Inflex Technology recoil pad, which has an internal skeleton that directs recoil down and away from the shooter’s face.
The Hunter Long Range shares much of its design architecture with other Browning X-Bolt rifles, and that’s a good thing. All X-Bolt rifles use a three-lug push-feed bolt with a plunger-type extractor. The bolt design allows for a short bolt lift and fast cycling, and there’s a ring of steel that surrounds the case head to offer added strength. The rear of the bolt shroud is enclosed, and a small, red cocking indicator protrudes beneath the shroud.
The real genius of the X-Bolt rifles—and what makes them so accurate out of the box—is the barrel design and the way in which the barreled action is mated to the stock. All X-Bolt barrels are button-rifled, air gauged and hand chambered, and they all benefit from Browning’s proprietary lapping process. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
Headspacing is tightly controlled, and the receiver is mated to the stock with epoxy bedding at the front and rear of the action. That ensures a perfect action-to-stock fit and improved consistency from shot to shot. The barrel is free-floated, but Browning doesn’t leave a gaping channel between the barrel and stock like some competing firearm manufacturers.
Like other X-Bolt rifles, the Hunter Long Range comes with a tang-mounted two-position safety and a bolt-unlock button located at the top of the bolt handle. The bolt unlock allows the action to be cycled with the safety engaged. The system is not only safe but also functional, as it prevents the bolt from accidentally falling open while walking through heavy cover. The tang safety is another practical feature for hunters because it allows you to quickly and quietly release the safety with minimal movement.
The Hunter Long Range comes with an oversize bolt handle with flat cuts on the sides of the bolt knob for added control and easier cycling. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
Browning’s Feather Trigger is one of the best production triggers on the market. Its three-lever design allows for ample sear engagement with a light, crisp break. The trigger in the Hunter Long Range I tested broke at an average of 3.3 pounds, and there was virtually no creep or take-up.
I am a fan not only of the trigger’s internal design and feel but also of its ergonomics. The relatively flat trigger face offers complete control when firing for improved consistency and smaller groups. And, in signature Browning fashion, the trigger is gold-plated.
Browning’s rotary magazine is among the best you’ll find in any production rifle. It fits neatly inside the stock and locks securely in place, and it falls into the hand when the release, which is located at the front of the mag, is depressed. The rotary design makes it easy to load, and I’ve never had any functioning issues with these mags.
Cartridges feed smoothly into the chamber when the bolt is pressed forward, and there’s none of the ratcheting effect you’ll encounter when trying to chamber a round in other bolt guns. The Browning is a smooth-cycling bolt rifle that runs flawlessly. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
All Hunter Long Range rifles are outfitted with heavy sporter barrels regardless of caliber, but barrel length depends upon which of the seven available chamber offerings you choose. The 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, .270 Win. and .30-06 guns all come with 22-inch barrels, the 6.5 PRC gets a 24-inch barrel, and both magnum versions come with 26-inch pipes.
The barrel and action both feature a matte black finish on the metal that reduces glare and looks very good with the satin stock finish. Hunter Long Range rifles come with 5/8×24 threaded muzzles and include both a muzzle brake and a thread protector.
Unlike some of the current hunting/target crossover guns, the Browning guns are light enough to actually carry in the field. Weights range from about seven pounds, 11 ounces to eight pounds, six ounces, with some variance for wood density.
The .300 Win. Mag. I tested weighed seven pounds, 13 ounces on my digital scale, which was within an ounce of the advertised weight and light enough to carry on all but the most strenuous hunts. Length of pull was 13.66 inches, and the gun’s overall length was 46.75 inches. Suggested retail prices for these rifles range from about $1,300 to $1,330 depending on caliber. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
Browning gave the Hunter Long Range .300 Win. Mag. a 1:8 twist, which proves that Browning understands what its customers want and need. The trend in both hunting and competition/target shooting is toward heavy-for-caliber, high-ballistic-coefficient bullets, and the Hunter Long Range’s fast twist rate means it will effectively stabilize the 200–grain and heavier projectiles that are in favor among .30 caliber long-range shooters.
Two of the three test loads I used—Black Hills’ boattail hollowpoint and Barnes’ LRX boattail—weighed 190 grains, the heaviest .300 Win. Mag. factory loads I had on hand. I also tested the rifle with Hornady’s 165-grain Superformance GMX round to see how the rifle performed with lighter hunting bullets.
The Hunter Long Range features a 1:8 twist in .300 Win. Mag., which makes it able to shoot heavier bullets—like the 190-grainers loaded by Black Hills and others—more accurately.
For a factory rifle shooting factory ammo that’s good, and if you worked to find a factory load that the gun really liked I believe that, like most of the other X-Bolts I’ve shot, you could get the gun in the 0.75-inch range or better. It’s good to know the first three loads I tested went around an inch or even lower, and that bodes well for how these guns will perform in the field and on the range. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
Like other X-Bolt rifles, the Hunter LR has superb ergonomics. The grip has a shallower angle than some dedicated target rifles—including other guns in the X-Bolt line—but the Hunter Long Range is comfortable to shoot from prone and standing positions and from a bench.
The right-hand palm swell is a nice feature, and as previously mentioned, the control layout is the most logical of any hunting rifle out there. Those who haven’t grown accustomed to the bolt release button may not like the setup initially, but it soon becomes second nature to unlock the action with the gun on Safe. The tang safety has a low profile, so it won’t hang up or disengage when the shooter grabs hold of the pistol grip, which are issues I’ve had with other rifles that wore tang safeties.
The gun functioned flawlessly throughout testing, and the ejection port is wide enough that single loading is not an issue. Like most X-Bolts, the Hunter Long Range uses X-Lock bases that secure bases to the receiver with four screws in each base instead of two. I used Leupold bases, and to Leupold’s credit, the company gives step-by-step installation instructions, including how many inch-pounds each screw should be tightened and in which order. Follow those directions and you won’t have a problem.
I topped the rifle with Leupold’s new 30mm VX-3i 4.5-14×40 CDS-ZL scope, and the rifle and optics weighed in at around 10 pounds loaded—not exactly mountain-rifle light but perfect for a dual-purpose target/hunting rifle. The Hunter Long Range isn’t so heavy or cumbersome it can’t be carried while hunting, and yet the added weight and the muzzle brake and Inflex pad take the sting out of recoil when shooting lots of targets from a stationary position.
I find that higher combs allow me to shoot shotguns and rifles more comfortably, and having the ability to quickly adjust the comb height is a benefit for me. It’s also a benefit for those shooters who prefer optics with large objective lenses and tall rings and find themselves breaking their cheek weld to see through optics that are mounted high above the bore.
What’s more, if you prefer a more traditional-looking gun, you can lower the Hunter Long Range’s comb and swap out the muzzle brake for the thread protector and transform your target rifle into a sporter. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
Despite entering the 13th year of production, the X-Bolt family of rifles still feels fresh and current. That’s due, at least in part, to guns like the Hunter Long Range. It offers many of the advantages of a target rifle without looking as though you’ve just dragged it to the woods directly from a PRS match. It effectively plays the middle ground between a tactical rifle and a hunting gun, offering the benefits of the former without losing the soul of the latter. Whether you’re chasing elk or ringing steel, this gun has you covered.
Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Specs
- Type: Bolt-action centerfire
- Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win., 7mm Rem. Mag., .308 Win., .30-06, .300 Win. Mag. (tested)
- Capacity: 3+1
- Barrel: 26 in. (as tested), heavy sporter contour, threaded 5/8×24, muzzle brake, thread protector
- Overall Length: 46.75 in.
- Weight: 7 lb., 13 oz.
- Stock: Grade 1 satin-finished black walnut finish matte blue
- Trigger: Feather adjustable; 3.3 lb. pull (measured, as received)
- Sights: None; drilled and tapped
- Price: $990
- Manufacturer: Browning
REVIEW: Browning X-Bolt Long Range
By THOMAS MIX FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
The Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range is one of those rare gems that got everything right, and it’ll sell in the gun shop for right around $1,000.
Finding a good long-range hunting rifle is much harder than it sounds. Sure, building a custom rifle for the task is easy, but it’s also expensive. So, that leaves production guns, but how do you know which is right for you?
In my book, the biggest win for long-range hunters in 2019 comes from Browning with its new X-Bolt Max Long Range. Why? The company has been perfecting the X-Bolt line since its 2008 inception by incorporating new features that keep adding to the rifle’s accuracy potential. This year is no different, as Browning has added a new stock. This is the first time I’ve seen an easily adjustable stock on a production rifle that has the features and provides the accuracy necessary for hunting at extended distances.
The comb adjusts for height by the quick twist of a thumbscrew. Length of pull adjusts via spacers.
Why Adjustability Matters
The stock on the X-Bolt Max Long Range has many features that every long-range hunter needs. Key among them are adjustability and light weight. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
It’s made from rigid and thick composite material. It is not made from thin injection-molded plastic that lacks the rigidity needed to keep the barreled action from moving under recoil. The composite material that Browning selected is very rigid and light. Total weight for the rifle sits at just over 8 pounds, which for a long-range hunting rifle is just about ideal.
What impresses me the most about this stock is its adjustable comb and adjustable length of pull. Those two adjustments are absolutely critical for effective long-range shooting. Of the two, the adjustable comb is the most critical.
The rotary magazine holds four rounds of 6.5 Creedmoor while keeping the magazine flush with the bottom of the rifle.
Having an adjustable comb on a rifle allows a shooter to get a repeatable, solid and stable head position behind the scope. No matter what height the scope is mounted at, the shooter can raise the comb until there is plenty of contact between the rifle and their cheek. If the shooter relaxes their neck muscles and lets the rifle carry the weight of their head, they have the best chance of catching the round’s impact through the scope.
Being able to maintain a full field of view through the scope as the rifle recoils determines whether or not the shooter can watch their round impact. If it’s a miss or impacts somewhere other than desired, the shooter can correct and send another shot quickly without having to ask for a correction or look around to reacquire the animal.
Browning has a section of Picatinny rail that sits atop the receiver, and that’s desirable because it allows plenty of ring-mounting options. Some scopes don’t have a lot of maintube, so being able to mount rings in confined locations and then mount the scope for optimal eye relief without having to hit two little pieces of scope base is refreshing. Any scope can fit on the X-Bolt Max Long Range.
The gold-plated trigger adds a little flair to an otherwise stately rifle.
Still in Stock
One of the biggest surprises that came from handling the Max Long Range occurred when I separated the barreled action from the stock. Imagine my surprise when I saw bedding compound, much like you’d find on a custom-built rifle. The action had been bedded around the tenon, recoil lug and front action screw as well as around the rear action screw.
Just because someone dropped some bedding compound under the action doesn’t mean it was done correctly, so I checked to see how well this particular barreled action was bedded to the stock. As it turns out, it was an excellent bedding job.
The way to check any bedding job is to stand the rifle on its butt and place your left hand around the forend with your fingertips touching the seam between the barrel and the stock’s barrel channel, then remove the rear action screw.
The magic happens when you loosen the front action screw, so make sure you’re ready for it. Loosen the front screw and try to feel for movement with the fingertips of your left hand. If the barrel moves at all while loosening and removing the front action screw, the bedding doesn’t do a good job of stabilizing the barreled action. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
In the case of this X-Bolt Max Long Range, there was absolutely no movement. In fact, I had a hard time getting the barreled action out of the stock and had to triple check to make sure there wasn’t a third action screw somewhere. It was and is an excellent bedding job.
As mentioned above, the Max Long Range has an adjustable comb as well as an adjustable length of pull. The length of pull adjusts via two spacers that ship with the rifle (one skinny, one fat). The owner also has the option to have the stock shortened by any competent gunsmith.
The rear-most portion of the comb and the rear of the toe are both parallel, so any stock-shortening won’t require reshaping the recoil pad to match the new contour. This is convenient when setting the rifle up for a young or small-framed shooter.
With a flat-ish forend on the bottom, Browning supplied two studs, one for a sling and one for a bipod.
The stock’s forend is also oriented for both long-range shooters and hunters. It is long enough to provide adequate real estate for field shooting positions, has two sling-swivel studs and has a flat on the bottom. The flat is essential and helps the rifle sit still when laid across a backpack or another field support. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
Two sling-swivel studs should be mandatory for any hunting rifle that might get shot in the prone. The Max has three: two up front and one on the buttstock. The closest stud up front gives the sling a place to attach, and the second sling-swivel stud serves as home to the bipod. This allows a rifle with a bipod to still be comfortably carried afield.
Browning offers an accessory section of Picatinny rail that attaches to the forend using the two holes for the front sling-swivel studs. The end of the rail closest to the receiver has a location to mount a sling, leaving a couple inches of Picatinny rail for use with a quick-detach bipod. This is such a sensible option I often wonder why more manufacturers don’t follow suit.
Shooting the X-Bolt reminded me why these rifles are so popular. The three-lug action gives it such a short bolt throw that there’s no way the shooter’s hand will ever collide with the scope’s ocular housing when cycling the action. This is a consideration for any long-range rifle because the scopes that shooters and hunters put on them tend to be large with high magnification and have ocular housings to match.
The rifle is enjoyable to shoot, thanks to the smart stock design. The flat toe rides rear supports well, and the vertical pistol grip places the shooting hand in a comfortable position. The comb is also wide enough that the shooter can rest their head on the stock for extended periods of time without discomfort.
If a hunter thinks he might have to lay on his rifle for a while before his prey presents the desired shot, this is the rifle to have. This may be the most comfortable factory rifle I’ve ever evaluated. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
As far as accuracy is concerned, the rifle did better than I expected, and I had pretty high expectations. Browning spent a lot of time getting the barrels on the Max Long Range correct, and a quick spin through the twist rates offered for each cartridge shows that they did what was right instead of what was convenient.
The threaded muzzle is home to a radial muzzlebrake that does a good job of dampening recoil.
They put a 1:10-inch twist on the .308 Win., but they used a 1:8-inch twist on the .300 Win. Mag. That additional twist rate is necessary to be able to shoot the new 230-grain (and heavier) bullets in the .300 Win. Mag. Good luck finding a 1:8-inch-twist .300 Win. Mag anywhere else. Browning X-Bolt Hunter Long Range Rifle
Accuracy of my test rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 1:7-inch twist, 26-inch barrel was superb. At 100 yards, the rifle loved SIG Sauer’s 140-gr. Match ammo, clustering one five-shot string into a tight .48-inch group. I can’t wait to stretch its legs on longer ranges.
New rifles come out all the time, and it seems like most of them do a pretty good job of getting most things right. The X-Bolt Max Long Range is one of those rare gems that got everything right, and it’ll sell in the gun shop for right around $1,000. That’s not cheap by any means, but it is a tremendous value.