The Browning A-Bolt Hunter is a bolt-action hunting rifle chambered in .300 Win. Mag. The A-Bolt Hunter is just one of many in the A-Bolt series, and is one of the best-selling A-Bolts. The A-Bolt’s action is known for its smooth reloading capabilities. It has three locking lugs that secure it in place and provide it with a short 60-degree bolt throw.
The Hunter also features a high-gloss walnut stock, a pistol grip with a straight comb, a matte blued finish and a relatively long (compared to other A-Bolt models) 26″ barrel. The Hunter also shares many features with other models in the series like a free-floated barrel, where the stock won’t interfere with the steel barrel’s action. At the end of the barrel is a target crown barrel that helps maintain barrel harmonics, so the rifle doesn’t vibrate too much and throw off the round’s trajectory. It uses Browning’s Top Tang Safety, which places the safety on the back of the pistol grip or where the action-hand’s thumb naturally falls. The feature also locks and unlocks the bolt. And, it has an adjustable four-pound trigger.
Browning recommends the A-Bolt Hunter for hunting or leisure shooting.
|Caliber:||.300 Win. Mag.|
|Features:||Target crown; adjustable trigger; top-tang safety; free-floated barrel; and recoil pad|
|Scope:||Drilled and tapped for scope mounts|
|Twist:||1 in 10"|
|Length of Pull:||13.625"|
|Drop at Comb:||0.625"|
|Drop at Heel:||0.5"|
As a company, Browning has a long and consistent history of making firearms that are both original and mechanically wonderful. The company was originally founded to produce the designs of John Moses Browning, who can be considered the Thomas Edison of the gun world. While the A-Bolt rifle wasn’t developed and introduced until 59 years after Browning’s death, it is still very much in the spirit of the sort of thing that he would have come up with.
The A-Bolt is a bolt action rifle that manages to look more or less like most modern bolt actions while having a number of improvements. The safety has been placed in the center of the tang, like that of most shotguns. Its bolt has a handle that only needs to lift about 60 degrees. All sorts of clever engineering was required to make this happen, but all you need to know about it is that this allows you to mount a scope lower and closer to the bore than on many other rifles, which will make it easier for you to shoot accurately at a variety of distances.
All A-Bolt models come standard with a detachable magazine. The fact that the rifle was designed to use such magazines in the first place makes it more reliable than those made by some other manufacturers, who sometimes jury-rig a rifle action that was really made for blind magazines in order to create a detachable magazine option. You don’t need to worry about this magazine suddenly dropping out when you shoot the rifle.
The ‘Hunter’ is the most basic version of the A-Bolt, lacking the higher-grade walnut, fancy fore-end tips and other cosmetic features of the higher grades. Even in this lower grade, the checkering is sharp and overall fit and finish is good. The Hunter’s stock has a lower-gloss finish than that of the higher-grade editions. Personally, I don’t like to carry anything shiny and highly-visible into the woods with me when I’m hunting, making the less expensive Hunter a bit more practical afield.
In order to say anything bad about the A-Bolt, one has to get pretty fussy. The magazine sits a bit proud of the stock, which tends to irk some people. It has a gold-toned trigger that is not everyone’s cup of tea.
The A-Bolt is a very good rifle that will appeal to people who tend to have certain pet peeves about other rifles. Bolt handles that don’t quite clear every scope, safeties that the thumb has to reach too far for, or detachable magazines that drop out or fail to fully engage with total reliability. If any of these issues have annoyed you with past rifles then the A-Bolt could be a good solution at a surprisingly reasonable price.