Browning X-Bolts – Custom Rifle Accuracy Right Out of the Box

The facts on Browning X-Bolt accuracy.

Well over one hundred 3-shot groups were fired.

For many years Browning factory barrels have had a reputation among serious rifle accuracy buffs. Many have come to understand that the stock barrels on Browning X-Bolts are the most accurate on any production rifle. In short, X-Bolts deliver custom rifle accuracy, right out of the box.

But, just saying Browning factory barrels are custom gun accurate and proving it on the range might be two different things. Then again, they might be one and the same…

Recently the guys in the white lab coats down in Browning’s Research and Development Department decided to settle the question once and for all. They conducted a benchmark study of factory stock Browning X-Bolt rifle barrels against those of a well-known, high-end custom aftermarket barrel manufacturer. 

In short, X-Bolts deliver custom rifle accuracy, right out of the box.

Browning’s Research and Development Department decided to settle the question once and for all.

X-Bolt Long Range Stalker.

In order to minimize the variables in the experiment, an off-the-shelf X-Bolt Stalker Long Range rifle was used to shoot groups through the stock Browning rifle barrels

Then that very same action was re-barreled using the after-market barrel in order to get a true comparison. The aftermarket barrels were from a well-known, reputable company. These hand-lapped custom barrels were purchased in blank form so they could be precision threaded and turned to match the profile, length, headspace and chamber specs of the original X-Bolt Stalker Long Range tested, This is the best means of creating equal test conditions for each of the barrels.

The testing included two different calibers, firing four different factory ammo specs per caliber. Each ammo spec used Browning’s standard testing protocol of one fouling shot, followed by three 3-shot groups for record. All the groups were fired with a cooling period between groups and a thorough barrel cleaning when changing over to a different ammo spec. In total well over one hundred 3-shot groups were fired. 

Testing was performed in a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled 100-yard underground shooting tunnel.

Well over one hundred 3-shot groups were fired.

All testing was performed by highly experienced R&D technicians in Browning’s state-of-the-art, climate-controlled 100-yard underground shooting tunnel.

Remember, our testers aren’t some pick-up team from down at the local gun club. These are guys with years of collective high-precision shooting off the bench who pull triggers for a living. (Yes, they are really, really good at what they do.)

While each barrel writes its own rules, overall the results speak for themselves. The Browning barrels outshot the expensive aftermarket barrels with an average accuracy of 0.80 inches at 100 yards versus 0.83 inches for the custom barrels.

The facts don’t lie. Check out these results in the chart. In the chart, remember that the shorter the height of the bar the tighter the group. SHORTER MEANS A TIGHTER GROUP. 

Remember, the shorter the bar on the graph, the tighter the group. Browning barrels…(delivered) average accuracy of 0.80 inches at 100 yards versus 0.83 inches for the custom barrels. It is important to note that a variety of ammo specs were used.

Copyright Browning February 2017. Written by Browning's rifle product manager Aaron Cummins and Browning staff writer Scott Engen.