Browning X-Bolt Medallion .325 WSM

The rifle is slim and trim and the .325 WSM cartridge is surely terrific. It shoots flat, hits hard and equals the performance of the .338. And this powerful 8mm is a real pussycat to reload for.

The very first group I fired with Browning’s X-Bolt in .325 WSM at 100 metres measured .85. This wasn’t a surprise because my Winchester Model 70 Stainless Synthetic .325 WSM consistently shoots three bullets inside one-inch. The X-Bolt is an innovative and practical sporter that’s set to become a classic. A radical design based on a modified version of the previous Browning A- Bolt, it’s strong, reliable and durable – a perfect example of how a modern sporter should look and perform.

At first glance it is evident that the X-Bolt’s receiver was influenced by that of the A-Bolt, and is a classic example of blending the old with the new. It has been slimmed down to be more refined, and looks a lot slimmer and trimmer. Above the stock, the sides are flat, then taper with two 30-degree angles, but the top is slightly rounded to blend in with the barrels outside contour. The X-Bolt’s side flats are higher than those of the A-Bolt and on the Medallion are decorated with laser engraving in a scroll pattern – a nice touch.

Longitudinal flat surfaces on the sides of the receiver and matching flats on the bolt shroud cause the lines of the action to flow smoothly from one end to the other. Additional flats added to the shroud give it an attractive octagonal shape, which is more or less duplicated by the angular lines of the wide recoil lug sandwiched between the barrel and receiver. The recoil lug is fully bedded into the stock which is attached to the receiver with two screws that pass through both the aluminium bottom metal and the stock. Dished recesses for the screw heads in the bottom metal prevent any compression of the stock, thus doing away with the need for pillars.

The ejection port on the test .325 WSM measured 65mm long and 19mm wide, and the receiver wall is higher on the opposite side. The X-Bolt’s three lug bolt has a relatively short 60- degree lift and provides plenty of clearance between a scope’s eyepiece and bolt handle. Three beefy head lugs some 8.50mm wide and 10mm long engage matching recesses inside the receiver that guide the lugs throughout their length of travel. The lugs are set back just far enough to allow the nose of the bolt to enter a shallow counterbore in the face of the barrel. The lower lugs are fully supported while the upper lug has a guide slot for its interior edge only. The X-Bolt’s design does away with the need for any kind of anti-bind device.




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