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The New Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro: Range Review

A rifle designed with the hardcore hunter in mind.

The New Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro: Range Review

Browning's latest hunting rifle, the X-Bolt Mountain Pro, is nothing short of a leading design. (Photo courtesy of Joe Ferronato) 

As a leader in the firearm industry, Browning has long been known for their high-quality firearms. They are continuing that legacy with a rifle that has been built to accompany hunters in the most extreme conditions out there.

The new Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro is built on the tried-and-true action of the X-Bolt with some modern flares to decrease weight and increase accuracy. The new Mountain Pro has a quarter-pound weight reduction as compared to older models of the rifles but has a free-floated barrel that his held secure by bedding the action both front and rear into the carbon-fiber stock. The barrel is spiral fluted, adding a modern look and flare to be the envy of all your hunting partners.

The New Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro: Range Review
The latest X-Bolt features a free-floating barrel, a three-lever trigger, a soft recoil pad and many other features hunters are looking for. (Photo courtesy of Browning)

I spent some time on the range with the X-Bolt Mountain Pro and couldn’t have been happier with the performance. When I sit behind a rifle—or any weapon for that matter—I focus on three aspects: Comfort, rugged construction, and function. Comfort is listed first for a reason. If you are uncomfortable sitting on the range, I can guarantee you won’t find a comfortable spot at 10,000 feet on steep slope. I sat behind the Mountain Pro and knew that this rifle would work for me. The stock fit like a glove and I could easily find my cheek weld and hand positioning.

The next thing I look at is rugged construction. I hunt hard—or at least I like to think so—and my equipment needs to be able to stand up to the abuse that the Montana Rockies throw at it. I like carbon fiber, not only is it incredibly durable and rigid, it cuts weight for those long hikes into remote areas. The X-Bolt design has been used for years now and seemingly never fails, it is a perfect action for West. Another feature of the Mountian Pro that caught my eye was the Cerakote finish on all metal. Cerakote is the leader for durability, in my opinion. I don’t want to be worried about dust, dirt, water, and debris fowling my investment and the Cerakote on the Mountain Pro protects all the vital internal workings of the rifle, not to mention the barrel.

The New Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro: Range Review
The Burnt Bronze hue mutes the color of the stock for better concealability and is protected with Cerakote finish. (Photo courtesy of Browning)

Function, in my book, is how the gun operates when in hand—everything from trigger pull to recoil. I look at the trigger pull first. I am not one of those rifle shooters who needs my trigger to be the same on every rifle, I spend enough time with each rifle to become accustomed to the trigger. What I look for is a repeatable pull and break every time. The Feather Trigger on this rifle is Browning’s new three-lever trigger and it offers a repeatable pull and crisp break without fail. It is also adjustable so you can find the perfect weight pull.

As the trigger breaks, it is imperative, especially with magnum calibers, to be comfortable and have a controllable amount of recoil. Browning added a couple of features to this rifle that make it an absolute joy to shoot. Let’s start at the front: The Recoil Hawg mitigates the amount of felt recoil very well. This brake manages the barrel rise perfectly by expelling excess gasses to the side of the rifle keeping you on target while reducing the amount of felt recoil by up to 76%. The rest of the recoil is easily absorbed by the Inflex Technology recoil pad. This pad is designed to pull the comb away from your face upon the shot to help reduce the remaining recoil. The combination of the brake and recoil pad make this a very pleasurable rifle to shoot. What’s more, the 60-degree bolt makes for quick and easy cycling to ensure your next round is chambered in no time—with no possible snagging on your scope.

The New Browning X-Bolt Mountain Pro: Range Review
Browning's Recoil Hawg has been proven to reduce recoil up to 76%. (Photo courtesy of Browning)

This rifle is chambered in nine of the most popular hunting cartridges of the day and retails between $2480 and $2500 depending on your choice. (Barrell lengths vary between 22 and 26 inches based on caliber.) If you’re looking for a new hunting rifle that has a semi-custom stance and will hold up in the harshest of environments, the X-Bolt Mountain Pro is a perfect choice.

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