Browing X-Bolt Max Long Range Varmint/Target *2019 Shot Show Special

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by martinakl, Oct 17, 2019.

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  1. martinakl

    martinakl Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

    Nov 27, 2013
    Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range Varmint/Target
    Item#: 035483288
    *Limited Run, 2019 Shot Show Special
    Cartridge: 28 Nosler
    Barrel:26”, 1:8 Twist Barrel, Fluted, “Bull” Contour, .902” at muzzle brake

    Advertised weight:
    9lbs, 6oz - Spot on if include all stock spacers
    Actual Weight: 9lbs, 3.4oz without the spacers
    Barreled Action: 6lbs, 3.7oz
    Stock: 2lbs, 10oz (42oz)
    BM, Mag, action Screws: 5.9oz
    Weight as Pictured: right at 12lbs (11lbs 14.8oz actual) *Not for weight weenies

    Other parts:
    Browning 20 MOA rail
    Rings: ARC M10 Scope Rings - Low (.94 in/24mm)
    Scope: Leupold Mark 4 ER/T, FFP, 6.5-20x50, 34MM Tube, H27 Reticle, Zero stop, Locking Turret

    Upgrades before 1st shot fired:
    • M*Carbo Trigger Spring (less than 5 minutes to install)
    • Muscle Brake: 5 Port, ⅝-24, 30 Cal (adds 4oz over factory brake to total weight)

    This is the “2019 Shot Show Special” version with the “bull” barrel vs. the “heavy sporter” barrel found on the regular Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range and the Hells Canyon Long Range. Based on published specs, it adds 15 ounces.

    3A20DDC8-D1CC-4547-B928-68965D9F22FB.jpeg FB81465F-34F2-4B63-9F87-44003126C94E.jpeg B5942672-F304-4B26-A92E-312EA4B55509.jpeg D9483962-C0BB-48B7-A4D2-00878E3F0D93.jpeg

    Barrel Break-In: I’m going to use Hornady Precision Hunter, 162 grain ELDX ammo for break in and will follow Brownings recommended break-in procedure (linked below). I purchase 2 boxes (40 rounds). Enough to break-in the barrel, gather a few readings on the Lab Radar for FPS, and maybe use it to hunt this season. Lack for free-time makes this highly unlikely scenario. I’d rather hunt vs. dink around with the gun right now.

    Reloading components:
    I have 200 Pieces of ADG brass (That will be enough to burn out the barrel)
    Will test 180 & 195 Bergers
    Federal GM215 Match Primers
    Redding Comp Seater w/ full length bushing dies. +VLD Seating Stem
    New ADG brass neck expanded with Sinclair, carbide, .283 neck expander mandrel

    1. Rifle (Browning Site):

    2. (Purchased here):
      *Painfully slow shipping from Buds even though I paid with a credit card.
    3. M Carbo Trigger Spring:
    4. M Carbo Install Video:

    5. Muscle Brake: 5 Port, ⅝-24, 30 Cal:

    6. 20 MOA Rail:

    7. Browning Barrel Break In:
    8. Scope Rings:
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    257Tony and Barrelnut like this.
  2. martinakl

    martinakl Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

    Nov 27, 2013
    Lots of posts inquiring about XBolts lately. figured I'd post a quick update on my experience with this rifle.

    Barrel Break In (Factory Hornady 162 ELD-X):
    Cleaned the barrel before break in. It was obviously test fired from the factory as there was gunpowder residue and bright blue streaks from copper on the patches. 1st cleaning actually took a while. I used Gunslick Foaming Bore Cleaner and Montana X-Treme Copper Killer. I ran patches through the rifle until they came out spotless and all signs of copper and powder was removed (with both cleaners). I pushed a few batches soaked with barrel conditioner through, followed by some dry patches to remove any excess oil. Barrel was smooth and patches pushed through easily. I used a bore guide and a coated one piece cleaning rod.

    1st shot (October 2020): I took the rifle with me on a one day hunting trip. At the end of the day, I put a shot into the side of the hill. Took rifle home and cleaned again until patches came out spotless.

    Remainder of break-in shots: 11/11/2019
    I went ahead and shot once, and cleaned for 8 more rounds (I counted the factory shot as #1 of 10).

    • Let Gunslick Set for 15 minutes
    • Dry Patches
    • Let Gunslick Set for 15 minutes
    • Dry Patches
    • Bore conditioner
    • Two dry patches

    Ended up being about 1 shot every 40-45 minutes. Needless to say, I was out there all day. I brought some books and listened to Podcasts between shots.

    Copper Fouling???
    From 5th shot on, no more bright blue marks on the patches. In fact, blue marks totally disappeared after shot 6.

    Get to the point… How does it shoot?
    After complete break-in. I shot 1 fouler shot and followed that with two, three shot groups.
    • 1st: .6355”
    • 2nd: .9630” (I pulled shot #2 and it really opened up the group)

    I’m happy with those groups for factory ammo. Tells me the rifle has tons of potential. Full disclaimer, I’m not the best shot in the world. The winds were gusting at 20 MPH+ yesterday. I was out south of Boise (out past the prison, off Pleasant Valley Road). Sagebrush was blowing all over the place and I was eating a lot of dirt. My target kept getting blown over. I was taking shots between wind gusts. Less than ideal conditions but I take what i can get when I have a day off. Luckily, it wasn’t that cold.

    I took it home and cleaned to the bare metal again using Gunslick and Butches Bore Shine. I did Gunslick until spotless. Thought I should see if Butches Bore Shine got something Gunslick didn’t. It did not. No signs of copper with Butches either. I know I mentioned Montana X-Treme early on. I switched to Butches. The Montana X-Treme smells so bad and I wasn't able to keep the garage door open while working last night.

    Muscle brake:
    It works. Not sure what I would compare it to. Probably similar to my 6mm Creedmoor without the brake or suppressor attached. Probably kicks a little more but not noticeably more. I wouldn't want to be standing next to the muzzle brake when that thing goes off. It pushes some serious volume out to the sides. Not really reward, toward the shooter but directly 90 degrees from the barrel.

    Note on the Stock:
    I really like the stock. Way better than the sporter stock that came with the Hells Canyon Speed that I purchased a year or two ago. Vertical grip is nice and the adjustable cheek piece is super slick. I had to lower each time to remove the bolt, so I was able to run it up and down a lot.

    Is it a Manners or McMillan??? No.
    Is is super nice for a $1,100 rifle? Yes.

    I was debating ordering a McMillan A3-5 for it but after spending a day with it. I’m not really in a hurry to upgrade the stock. I'll likely upgrade at some point... I just tend to prefer the higher end feel of a McMillan or Manners.
    *I don't believe Manners makes a stock for the X-Bolts.

    Whats next?
    Probably nothing until spring 2020. I’ve back ordered a bunch of N570 (8lb containers) and will try it with some 180 and 195 Bergers. Maybe try some RL26 as well (also back ordered 8lb containers).
    Barrelnut and mobenzowner like this.
  3. mobenzowner

    mobenzowner Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2016
    Great job on the review!!
  4. WyoHunter1

    WyoHunter1 Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2015
    Put that trigger spring in my sons Hells Canyon. Made a big difference. He said on 1 or 2 occasions the trigger failed to fully reset though. He hasn't shot it since.
    Hopefully it was a 1 time fluke.
    Good review.