By Spencer Durrant | Managing Editor
There’s a new Browning X-Bolt rifle on the market – the X-Bolt Predator Hunter Rifle. This rifle, as the name implies, takes the revolutionary developments of Browning’s X-Bolt system, and puts them in a platform primed for predator hunters.
The Predator Hunter rifle was built specifically to handle predators and varmints, and was a special for the 2021 SHOT show. All Predator Hunter rifles sport a 22-inch barrel and come covered in the A-TACS AU camouflage pattern. It’s finished with an Elite Sand Creek Cerakote that reduces the rifle’s visual signature, while also ensuring that it stands up to the elements. At this point, we’re all familiar with how well Cerakote works in various harsh-weather conditions.
Browning opted to chamber this new rifle in .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, and 6.5 Creedmoor. It’s somewhat surprising to see a 6.5 Creedmoor in a 22-inch barrel, but I’m not about to start arguing with the Browning brain trust on that one.
Barrel twist rates are as follows:
- .204 Ruger – 1:12
- .223 Remington – 1:8
- .22-250 Remington – 1:9
- 6.5 Creedmoor – 1:8
Those twist rates should provide excellent bullet stability at standard predator-hunting distances.
Also of note in this rifle is that all models come suppressor-ready. Of course, you get Browning’s usual free-floated barrel design in these rifles, along with an extended bolt handle that makes for an easier cycling of spent and live rounds. The bolt lift is at a short 60 degrees, which Browning claims enables you to cycle rounds faster.
I also love that that Browning X-Bolt ships with their new three-level Feather Trigger. This trigger system supposedly gives you a clean, crisp pull without any creep or take-up. It comes factor set at 3.5 pounds, but it’s adjustable anywhere from 3 – 5 pounds.
You’ll also get a detachable rotary magazine and a bolt-unlock button on these new Browning X-Bolt rifles, both features that I love. The bolt-unlock feature on my Weatherby Vanguard Badlands has come in handy more times than I thought it would. Just knowing it’s there opens up possibilities in the field and at the range.
This new rifle from Browning doesn’t come cheap, retailing for $1,099.99. That’s about par for the course with Browning’s high-end guns these days, but it’s perhaps a bit more than I’d spend on a gun optimized for shooting coyotes.
Regardless, this is a fantastic new rifle, and is available now at your nearest Browning dealer.
Spencer Durrant is a fishing writer, guide, and bamboo rod builder from Utah. He’s the Lead Guide for The Utah Fly Fishing Company, the News Editor for MidCurrent, and a columnist for Hatch Magazine. Connect with him on Instagram/Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant.