The A-Bolt Is Done

Jon A

Well-Known Member
Dec 28, 2001
Mukilteo, WA
The makeover on my faithful hunting companion for the last 16+ years is finally complete:


I'm sorry if some of this is repeat material, but I figured it might be a good idea to put most of the info into a thread that the search function will turn up easily. Every now and then somebody asks here about A-Bolts and many more are likely afraid to ask after all the internet rumors about pressed in barrels, potmetal parts, no gunsmiths touching them, no aftermarket parts, etc.

Well, if you like them and want to build something, here were my results. Here are the specs:

16 Year Old Browning 2000+ Round A-Bolt 300 Win Composite Stalker Action
McMillan "Browning Classic" Stock, 50% Black, 35% Dark Grey, 15% White "Swirly," Medium Fill, Stainless studs, Thick Decelerator
26.7" Lilja #5 Contour Fluted Stainless Barrel, 3 Groove 1:9" Twist
Moyer's Steel Trigger (Totally adjustable for Sear Engagement, Weight and Overtravel) Installed by Me
Bedding Work Done (or at least, attempted by) Me
Barrel Work done by Kirby Allen, Allen Precision Shooting

The finished rifle weighs but 7 lbs 10 oz bare (it was only 7lbs 7 oz before I bedded the barrel channel). With a light scope and mounts it could easily go under 8.5 lbs with scope. With my heavy IOR (4-14X50 Tactical) and steel Badgers, it's just a touch over 10 lbs--but scope swaps are a 30 second deal, unlike barrel/stock/action swaps so I always have the option of losing well over a pound quickly if I get tired of carrying it.

My basic goal with this rifle was to have as much horsepower as I could shoot accurately (without a brake) from a rifle I wouldn't mind carrying. 240's at 3000 at this weight, I can handle, 300's from a big 338 at 3000...I'd need more weight and/or a brake.

Some more pictures:







The bedding job:








I've only had it out a couple of times with the new barrel, but it's enough to tell me accuracy isn't going to be a problem with this rifle. Kirby did well.


Working up a load for 240's:


A couple 240 groups:



It shoots 200 AccuBonds OK too:



That should eliminate any fears that a 1:9 twist won't shoot "normal weight" bullets well.

That's all just in the first couple trips to break it in. I'll get some results at much longer range soon. But with the results so far, if I can't hit at LR I'm thinking it's probably not the rifle's fault....

Big thanks go out to Kirby, as that's obviously where most of the accuracy is coming from. He did an outstanding job.

So, if you like A-Bolts, see a good deal on one, etc, they might not be a bad choice--especially if looking to build a light/medium weight rig as the actions/ALUMINUM bottom metal are very light (but for a "heavy rifle" there are better choices). Bed it well into a good stock, have a good Smith screw on a quality tube, and you will likely be very happy with the results. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

In short, I'm pretty **** happy with it. Hopefully this info will be usefull for some contemplating the same path.
That is a great looking rifle I love it!
Im a fan of the A-Bolt action and something similar to that is on the cards for a future project.

Good shooting you lucky duck.
Wow, I never knew an A-Bolt could look so nice. Congrats. I have one of the same era as what yours was previously. Awsome looking groups. Have you thought of powdercoating it?
Great looking unit and it looks to shoot like anything that has APS scatched on the barrel. (like a house a fire!!) Short of the scope and mounts, what do you have in something like this financially?

Question #2. What was Kirbys turn around time?
Thanks Bill, but I consider it more determination than manlyness. With the added weight it really feels pretty mild to me now with 200's. The 240's require concentration though....

Slopeshunter, maybe someday on the coating. It's not something I'm in a hurry for at the moment but that's partially because the finish on my rifle seems to be pretty durable. Browning seems to have used many different flavors of blueing over the years and I have heard of some being more prone to rust. I guess I lucked out. It is something I'll keep in mind for a rainy day though.

Hired Gun, the stock was around $400, the barrel was a bit more than that (fluting adds quite a bit to the price). The trigger was a little over $100 which is nice but isn't necessary for many rifles that came with a better trigger than mine did or a good smith can work over the stock one and make it pretty good for less. Kirby's bill will depend on how much work you want/the gun needs obviously and could vary widely depending on options. In my case it was less than either the barrel or the stock.

So I figure somewhere around $1300 + my action into the rifle when you add in bedding compound all the various shipping, etc. I saved some by doing the bedding myself and not going to crazy with the work I had Kirby do, not getting a brake, etc. About the only item I consider "extra" was the fluting on a #5 instead of getting a straight #4 which would weigh about the same. But I like that choice. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

There was quite a wait on the barrel and for Kirby to have an opening, but when he finally had the barrel and said he was clear to do it I think it was less than a month turn around.

Man thats a sweet looking rig for sure. I will bet that you will be happy with it for many trips to the field and range.

The only thing I hesitated about when I saw your post is that every time I look at something new or improved, it stirs something in my subconsience and I get to wondering how I can squeeze this and that to save up for something else. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Well Jon, ya done good, real good.....

I really like those bug hole groups. Five shots too /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Will be waiting for the "After I walked for 2 hours to get to the animal I just shot" stories. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
Thanks guys. Yeah Roy, there's a good chance I'll have some of those stories this Thanksgiving. I'll be after a whitetail with a big rack. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif It's funny though, over the last few years as I've been going nuts improving my LR capabilities, every season I'll have a buck in my sights at LR but something will make me pass on the shot--usually the horns are too small, he's standing accross the fence on the neighbor's land, there's too much wind, etc. When I finally drop the hammer on something it usually ends up being at less than 100 yds. That's the thing with hunting for big whitetails--gotta be ready for anything! I did put in for a doe tag this year though, so maybe I'll pop one from at least a medium range, if nothing else for testing the bullet. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

I haven't had the time to shoot it nearly as much as I'd like, but I did sneak out yesterday with enough time to shoot two groups at 300. The first was about 2", the second was pretty good:


There was some nasty mirage, I think the worst I've seen at this range or at any time at 300 for that matter. It seemed like I was trying to hit a moving target! I was actually surprised I did as well as I did. But not bad for a first 300 test for that load considering the conditions. The rifle was sure as heck shooting better than I was.

On another note, even with the mirage it sure was nice to be able to spot my shots through the scope! That IOR has some glass, that's for sure. I always had to use the spotting scope with my Leupold (same power) before. I did take one peak through one of the range's spotters (20X60 Leupold I think) just to see if I could get a better look, but I could make out the holes better through my 14X scope. Nice....
Good groups well earned but you couldn't have been using Remington brass?? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
I never have been too exited about Brownings A-Bolt but you should pat yourself on the back. That is one SWEET rifle!!!
This gives me hope! I love Browning pistols and shotguns, but I was always sort of hesitant about the rifles just based on what I've heard. I've never shot one, out of the box or custom, however.
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