Browning X-Bolt 2 Speed Ovix

By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor

In 2008 Browning launched the X-Bolt  as an update to the decades-old A-Bolt. The Morgan, Utah firm accomplished its goal in spades. Since then, more than 30 models have been introduced in the X-Bolt line, from pure hunting rifles with fine stocks, to modern sporters set into carbon-fiber for the avid mountain hunter, and dedicated target rigs with 10-round detachable magazines. 

Like all new and “modernized” firearms that replace tried-and-true older models, initially I was skeptical. But over the last 15 years I’ve become perhaps the X-Bolt’s most outspoken champion. Why? Because of the 10 I’ve tested, all have shot sub-MOA groups, contain non-bullshit features, and just perform well in the woods and on the range. Some of these features include a 3.5-pound trigger, a low-profile receiver, Cerakote finishes, detachable flush-fitting rotary magazine, sleek lines that make shooting and carrying more enjoyable, soft-touch stocks, fluted barrel, fast 60-degree bolt throw, a tang-mounted two-position safety with a unique bolt release button, and a proprietary eight-screw scope mounting system that is stronger than nearly all others. Indeed, when any big game hunter asks me what rifle they should buy for a budget of around $1,500, I tell them “X-Bolt” without hesitation.

Or at least I did. Now I tell them to buy the X-Bolt 2. 

Why? Because it features unique upgrades that make the X-Bolt even better.

Here’s a list of them: 

  • Vari-Tech stock that’s most notably adjustable for length-of-pull and comb height. Comb height—i.e. a consistent cheek weld—is a big deal for long range shooting and for quickly finding targets in the scope. This one is adjustable by a slickly-designed screw hidden in the buttstock. The system is world’s better than strapping a gangly aftermarket comb pad to the rifle like I’m forced to do with most of my other rifles. Yet because it’s simply an adjustable comb rather than a monte-carlo stock design, recoil remains mild. 
  • It comes with a muzzle brake and a thread protector that can both be easily swapped for a suppressor. This gives the shooter three options for sound and recoil mitigation depending on the scenario.
  • Chambered for new and vastly more efficient calibers such at 6.5 CM, 6.5 PRC, 6.8 Western and 7 PRC, while also being available in the classics such as .243, .270, .308, .30-06 and—The Lord’s Caliber—.300 Win Mag 
  • Improved bronze Cerakote barrel finish for better weather resistance and a badass look
  • Improved DLX trigger is adjustable down to 3 pounds and somehow feels even better than the original
  • Shorter barrel lengths in certain models to facilitate a suppressor 

The result is what I believe to be the best all-around hunting rifle for around $1,500 at this point in history. 

Pros: Sub-MOA accuracy, available in classic or cutting-edge calibers, great-handling hunting rifle with unique features that actually help hunters

Cons: Browning isn’t giving them away.

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