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Browning Xbolt 270 win

04 Jan 2020
@ 08:02 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

I have been gifted a brand new, deluxe stainless browning Xbolt in 270 Win
Am just wondering what peoples thoughts were about this rifle/calibre for a main deer rifle. The last time I fired a 270 would have been 30 years ago.


05 Jan 2020
@ 08:07 pm (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
Hi, Michael. My local used gun shop has a few of those for sale at near retail price, so they must hold their value. Here's Nathan's take on them: "While Browning rifles often produce great accuracy, the overall quality of the Browning bolt action rifle is poor. The Browning action is well designed from a manufacturing point of view but for hunters, target shooters, custom gun builders, gunsmiths and rifle lovers in general, the Browning is poorly suited to after factory tuning or modification - especially in comparison to both the push feed and control feed Winchester bolt action rifles." But you got yours for free, so who cares?
07 Jan 2020
@ 08:05 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
Yeah I just finished reading the practical guide to long range hunting rifles snif...So my question now is, the rifle is unfired, do I put some rounds through it and examine its accuracy potential? if it's a straight shooter am I doomed to failure if I try to bed the action ( the task was somewhat daunting before I read the Xbolt section) or am I better off selling the rifle and putting the $ into something else.
08 Jan 2020
@ 12:33 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
How much could you get for it? Can you find something that would cost you next to nothing (with the funds from the sale plus a bit)?

Wait a week or a month, do a lot of reading, a lot of thinking. Would you be happy with keeping it, knowing that you could have gotten something else/better? If you always have that brainworm that says "I shoulda", you probably won't be happy with it, ever.

08 Jan 2020
@ 08:33 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
I bougbt a rifle I wouldn't have had I read the books first. I was a tad crestfallen after reading Natan's critique of it. I probably could have sold it for a small profit, but after I thought about it, I realized it's the perfect deer gun for me, even though I can't ethically shoot past 200 yards with it. Where I hunt, such shots are few and far between. So yeah, Michael, if it were me, I'd put a scope on it and head for the range! You have the quintessential deer caliber with a mpbr of 350 yards or so in a weatherproof rifle. What more could a guy ask for? Maybe a 24" barrel, but it's not worth the hassle unless you're after mule deer.
08 Jan 2020
@ 12:27 pm (GMT)

Magnus Vassbotn

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
Hi Michael.

I had a 270 as my main rifle for red deer for 5-6 years, and african plainsgame for 3 trips or so. I found it to be a very good medium size game cartridge, and used it on a variety of game sizes, from spring buck up to kudu cows (also an eland cow, but that's just one animal).

For red deer I mostly used a round nosed 150-160 grain bullet (as far as I can remember) at modest velocity for short range meat hunting. For plainsgame out to 400 meters or so I used the 140 grain Accubond at good speed (now there's a 150). Plus some other experimental loads and factory loads in between. I cant say I was ever disappointed with any of the loads for their intended purposes. I have nothing bad to say about the cartridge, except for a very limited selection of dedicated long range hunting bullets. But that's improving little by little. Go 270!

As for the X-bolt, I have handled/ shot two Nordic Light editions with 42 cm (16,5") barrels, and developed loads for one of them. The first things that struck me was how well shaped the stock was, especially the wrist. Really slender proportions, almost like a classic wood stock. The second thing was how well the magazine clicked in and out. After recently filing and modifying a crap load of dysfunctional Sako 85 magazines during the same period, it was wonderful to just sit there and click that slick thing in and out.

The third thing I noticed was the trigger - Not that great. Not ideal for precision shooting, offhand shooting or any other kind of shooting really. A tiny creep, and just a bit too heavy. We changed the trigger spring, and it got significantly better. Just inside tolerable. But these things you have probably already noticed yourself.

The one I only tried a few shots, was in 308. After minimum load development, the guy had it shooting around 0.8 MOA with 150 grain Accubonds at about 2700 fps. Not too bad from such a short barrel, really. Quite confident one could get even better accuracy, and with other bullets.

The one I developed loads for was in 6,5x55. A total nightmare. We got surprisingly good velocity from that short barrel in that cartridge, but it wouldn't group any bullet weights at max speed. We had to get all the way down to around 2350 fps, where it grouped around the promised MOA or better with most bullets (this is also where the guaranty-load resides, most likely). Not ideal for things on 4 legs. Fortunately, this rifle was intended primarily for ptarmigan and other birds out to 200 meters, with a possibility of the odd deer, so no big deal. I eventually found a bird load that grouped 5 shots around 0.5 MOA on average, and an ok deer load at 1 MOA, so good to go.

After using these rifles for 1 and 2 full seasons respectively, neither of the guys have had any technical issues/ failures. But it's just two rifles and 3 seasons combined, so not much to go by. I must mention though, that the chamber for the 6,5 was very tight from the beginning (not carbon fouling), so with both Norma and Lapua brass we ended up FL sizing like hell for ok hunting operation.

These 2 rifles may not be directly relevant to your rifle, if it has "normal" barrel length. But what I think I learned from this, is that short barrels just give you a lot less room two play around with velocity/ pressure spectrums, so if it's a short barrel, i don't know... I probably wouldn't go under 22" on a 270 either way. How long is the barrel?

Also, a MOA guaranty doesn't guarantee anything other than tolerable precision with one or a handful of tested loads. So almost worthless, but not entirely.

Considering all this, if you're just gonna use it for hunting inside 300 yards or so, and have no intentions of doing lots of practice, long range = changing the barrel/ tricking it up (except changing trigger spring), I must say I agree with Scott, that you should just use it (and change that spring!). Or at least see how it shoots with a few loads. After all, it's already been test fired at the factory for precision, supposedly.

If you on the other hand have plans for long range and doing rebuilds and all that, read Nathans words about bedding issues etc. with this rifle. Apparently not an ideal platform. I have only bedded a couple of rifles and done a minimum of accurizing myself, but the challenges are quite clear, even for me. I'm not sure about the mag length, which could be an issue with some long range loads (I think upwards of 87-88 mm is preferable for the most stretched out bullets close to the lands in 270). Also, if you have lots of ideas about this and that and how it should be (like myself), and don't really feel 100% happy with it, I agree with Paul. Sell it and get the perfect platform. If somebody offered me a Sako 85 for free, I would gratefully decline, and rather go get an almost free Mauser 98 and start tinkering...

Good luck with the terrible decision!
08 Jan 2020
@ 04:03 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
I quess I'm gonna see how well if shots, and if I have any problems with it, I will flick it off. I like the look of it but never fired it.
11 Jan 2020
@ 11:50 am (GMT)

Luis Vazquez

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
Hi Michael:

You have nothing to lose but all to gain by trying it out. The 270 is a cartridge that performs great on deer. During my teens lots of mule deer and coues whitetails fell victim to it.

I'm not very familiar with the The X-bolt but have read multiple reviews, some great and some bad, but it was free so why not try it out, you might get lucky especially after bedding it and adjusting/replacing the trigger. As far as the cartridge you don't need more for deer, just make sure you pick the right bullet. I used it up to 500m on coues and mulies with great success.

12 Jan 2020
@ 09:42 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Browning Xbolt 270 win
love the .270,its been my main rifle for 30+ years...never ever let me down.
feed it good ammo and it will do the same for you.
more on ammo later.
recently got to handle a brand spanking new SS wood left hand xbolt in all I could say is VERY classy rifle,lovely piece of wood and action was very smooth. its first two shots were 4" apart....what I didnt know is they were possible the 5th or 6th shots of centre fire the owner had ever fired....
I fired 3 into neat little triangle hovering around inch...moved scope 2 more same size move again 3 hovering around inch on the bull...job done. owner then did same.
3 days later he shot his 2nd ever deer with it.

3 days after that he phones me to have look at rifle/brass on range he had bown primer!!!!!
he brought rifle out,looked fine...looked at brass...hmmmm
fired the last 11 rounds he had from 2 boxes...4 of the 40 had flowed into ejection hole,one was bad enough to crack brass surface when doing so and as said one had blown primer
superpreformance 150grn factory loading,temperature wasnt too hot and the day primer blew it was cold and close to raining.
I told young man to take his brass back to shp where rifle and ammo came from and voice his discust...hopefully get some discount on some other suggestion was winchester 180grn power points as he too hunts bush and 150 yards is long shot.I will suggest some federal blue box stuff for longer shots and see how he goes.
looked over rifle again,I could see the bedding compound both sides of the magazine box and it LOOKED fine/even.
loved the rifles finish,loved the tang safety,loved the positive open bolt......the ammunition...not so much.

if I was you...the mighty .270 woulld be staying in my gun rack,being used as main rifle whenever the itch needed to be scratched.
for many years 130grn ammo was all I used as had flinch the 140-150 -170 grn stuff gets the nod,good recoil pad,a suppressor and most importantly good shooting form has made world of difference.
go the .270


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