Browning T-Bolt Rifle Reviews

Discussion in 'Browning T-Bolt Rifle' started by Billythekid, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Billythekid

    Billythekid Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    As it states above. Post up all your reviews good or bad of your Browning T-Bolt rifle.

    Browning T-Bolt Rifle Review
  2. Billythekid

    Billythekid Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Browning T-Bolt
    With the 22 rimfire rifles being by far the most popular calibre and gun type in the UK today, Pete Moore –revisits Browning’s unusual and efficient, straight-pull T-Bolt
    I am looking again at the Browning T-Bolt for two reasons – first it’s a great design in its own right and one that offers probably the fastest action of any rimfire bolt-gun today. Second, 2009 looks to be the year that the 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) version will appear in the UK, so I thought I would remind readers about this slightly different design as it will soon be available in both of these popular and effective cartridges.
    What sets the T-Bolt apart from any other hunting bolt-action available today is the fact it offers a straight-pull mechanism. So as opposed to lifting, pulling, pushing and lowering the handle in and out of battery; a simpler back and forward movement of the bolt ejects and reloads. OK we have semi-autos, which do it all for you; but personally when it comes to shooting rabbits and hares I’ll stick with manual operation thank you…
    Fast and slick
    Combine this fast and slick action stroke with the zero recoil characteristics of the 22 rimfire cartridge and you have a very good tool for running game with a fast and stable back-up shot available if required. The T-Bolt design has moved on a little with the 17HM2 (Hornady Mach 2) chambering no longer shown on Browning’s web site, so one must assume it has been discontinued. However, they now offer three model options Sporter (wood/blue) Composite Stalker (synthetic/blue) and the Target Varmint. This last is broken down into two versions – wood/blue and stainless laminate, here the stock shows a raised comb and the barrel profile is heavier.
    Wisely Browning offer the rifle in both 17 HMR and also 22 Magnum (WMR) as well as 22 LR and more surprisingly have kept the ammunition capacity at 10-rounds. I say this as when Ruger offered their HMR and WMR guns they had to drop the payload to nine in the same magazine style.
    Whilst at IWA 2008 I saw the 17 HMR, Composite Stalker version, which unsurprisingly looks no different, in terms of weight and length. However, its black synthetic stock did not feel as good as the standard walnut. But the picture I have recently seen show what looks to be a better design than the one I handled. Different is the spare magazine storage in the butt of the Composite Stalker, I have not tried it yet but there’s an awful lot of open space to get crud in if you decide to rest the butt plate on the ground.
    My test gun was supplied by Browning International in Belgium and is the standard Sporter version, so was not threaded for a moderator, but UK importers BWM Arms Ltd offer the T-Bolt cut 1/2x20” UNF as standard.
    Double helix mag
    The build is 100% steel with the tubular action locking by means of a cross bolt that engages with the side walls of the receiver. This is actuated by pulling directly back on the angled bolt handle that sticks out at 90°, where the action slides open. To close just push the handle forward until it all locks up. This is a fast and slick movement that has to be tried to be appreciated.
    Feed is from a rather curious double helix magazine, this consists of two feed drums one on top of the other in a transparent, synthetic casing, with the ammo stored in a Fig-8 configuration. Most useful is the loading aid that consists of a small, notched wheel, which is part of the top feed drum. It protrudes at the rear of the mag body and you can rotate it with your thumb to take the weight of the magazine spring when filling. Certainly a lot easier than cramming rounds into the more standard designs.
    There’s a two-position safety on the tang - forward FIRE, rearwards SAFE. It can only be set with the action cocked and does not lock the bolt, which as I discovered can be a bit of an issue for carriage. At the rear of the bolt channel at 6 o’clock is a cocked action indicator lug, which is also the bolt release catch.
    With the action cocked this lug sits up and can be seen and felt, when the gun is fired it drops down. To remove the bolt cock and close the bolt and set the safety to SAFE. In this position open the action about 1/8-1/4” - no further - and press down on the catch, at the same time pulling the bolt out.

    The trigger is a smooth and wide, gold-plated blade set in a plastic guard. It offers a reasonable pull of around 4lbs with just a tiny bit of creep, but a decent break none the less. The magazine release catch is at the front of the well and consists of a pull-back lever. A word of warning here; the magazine is forced out by a spring and exits at high speed, so be aware and cup your hand underneath so you don’t lose it.
    The barrel, for a 22 rimfire shows a medium profile and is fully floated right up to the action, though the amount of clearance is not massive, but typically that makes no difference to performance in this calibre. At 22” it’s not exactly short, certainly in a country where we consider 20” long. It has a deep, target crown and what Browning describes as a semi-Match chamber, which strikes me as an odd description, as it either is or is not.
    The walnut stock is simple with a low straight comb and wide and generous pistol grip. There is chequering in the usual places, which is deep enough to offer a decent hold. The butt plate is plastic, though rubber would have been better to lock it into the shoulder securely. QD sling studs are fitted fore and aft, with length of pull at a decent 13 ½”. I did find the forend a bit short for me and I was naturally holding on to its tip to get a comfortable position. At 40” overall with a weight of 4 lbs 14oz the T-Bolt Sporter comes up as a generally nice rifle. The Varmint Target is near identical with the exception of the raised comb and the fact the heavier barrel though still 22” adds another 10oz to the overall package. Whereas the Composite Stalker is lightest of all at 4lbs 9oz. No version has iron sights and the receiver is drilled and tapped for 1” dovetail bases.
    Testing times
    Ammo consisted of Winchester 22 sub-sonic, which is a 40-grain hollow point load and one I like as it has a big, bucket nose, which is ideal for bunny busting. I decided to fit the rifle with a Schmidt & Bender 1.5-6x42 Zenith scope. A strange choice you might think as this is really a driven and dangerous game scope. But the maximum mag of x6 suits a 22 rimfire, plus with its illuminated reticule and lowest x1.5 power would hopefully prove effective on close range rabbits. In this way I could test the T-Bolt’s fast cycling potential and also at the same time see how the S&B did on mini moving game; especially as we do not have an abundance of wild boar queuing up to be shot with a fullbore here in the UK.
    The pairing proved highly effective – at x6 the Schmidt’s superb optics showed me the T-Bolt is ½” capable at 50 yards supported, and even at that medium power can reach out to 100 yards with care and attention to hold over to kill effectively.
    Likewise the straight-pull action offers far less disturbance to the firing position, so maintaining the rifle on target and rattling off a string of fast shots is easier than with the same shooter using a turn-bolt gun. Magazine changes are good with the empty powering into your hand and the full one easily entering the well and securely engaging without any fiddling or having to clip one end in first.
    Minus 1 house point
    However, the one niggle I have is that though the bolt is mechanically locked to the action it can happen that you inadvertently knock the bolt lever, which will open up on a loaded chamber. This could occur when moving through heavy cover or even presenting the rifle from the door of a vehicle. This did not happen to me, as I was aware, but it’s a possibility to be considered.
    That aside I really like the T-Bolt as it has a lot going for it – it’s light and easy to use, accurate and shows a fast and reliable action for what is a manually operated system. With a decent capacity in a flush-fitting design that’s easy to fill feed is not an issue as it can be with other makes.
    Suffice to say if you are looking for an alternative bolt-action rimfire then the Browning T-Bolt certainly fills the bill. Currently in the UK you can only buy the 22, wood-stocked Sporter and I have been told by BWM Arms that when the 17HMR version comes in it will only be available in the Composite Stalker model. Given the choice of options this might change if demand grows…
    We reckon:
    • Excellent straight-pull alternative
    • Good feed system
    • Watch that bolt handle
  3. Billythekid

    Billythekid Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    SHOT Show: 17 HMR perfect match for Browning T-Bolt

    LAS VEGAS, NV – The SHOT Show in Las Vegas is always chock full of new ammo and gun developments, with many of these products now hitting the shelves. Hunters will find in 2010 that the 17 HMR is the perfect little rimfire cartridge that has swept the world of varmint, predator, small game and target shooters. Federal (ATK) led the way in the development of reliable shooting, small caliber bullets jacketed in a small rimfire casing. The accuracy of the 17 HMR is combined with impressive terminal performance for excellent results. With bullets like the V-Max, Speer TNT JHP and the latest California Condor ban regulations of the TNT Green option Federal has continued its leadership in this field.

    In addition to Federal's selection of 17 HMR cartridges, Winchester and CCI are also manufacturing ammo that has amazing muzzle velocity speeds in excess of 1550 FPS, as in the case of the Winchester 16GR. V-MAX bullet.

    Rifle, shotgun, pistol and ammo manufacturers had an opportunity to debut their new products at the Desert Sportsman's Club shooting range in Las Vegas, where media folks gathered to test fire everything that was new and talk with factory representatives about the direction of the industry.

    Western Outdoor News kind of camped in the small bore section of the venue, while moving from time to time to the shotgun, pistol and big bore ranges for additional peaks at some of the finest in hunting, sporting arms, defense and competitive shooting firearms.

    This hunting editor kept coming back to the Browning T-Bolt rifles set up at stations along the range line. Browning show cased its light but accurate shooting T-Bolt Target/Varmint 17 HMR rifle with a Double Helix rotary box magazine. The newly designed magazine features torsion spring driven interlocking gears that provide added reliability plus easy loading and unloading in this 10-round capacity magazine.

    The Browning T-Bolt was a fun rifle to shoot on the range and honestly one that needs some field testing out in ground grizzly country or on a varmint hunt. The simple cocking of the rifle with an almost effortless extraction of the spent shell and easy feed of the next round make for one very smooth and efficient rapid fire bolt action style rifle.

    The rifle is made by the Miruko factory in Japan, which alone should speak for the quality of craftsmanship that goes into the design and production of the gun. The T-Bolt is available in 17 HMR, 22 WMR and 22 Long Rifle and is manufactured in four designs. The T-Bolt Composite Sporter features the straight pull bolt-action, composite stock and spare magazine compartment. The slightly more expensive Composite Target/Varmint model has a blued receiver, and medium target barrel, which is free floating. In the T-Bolt Sporter model the rifle features a stained walnut finish, drilled and tapped for a scope, a semi-match chamber and adjustable trigger, while the rifle shot on the test bench was the T-Bolt Target/Varmint with all the features of other models, but features a Monte Carlo checkered stock, wide fore-end and its available in both a right and left hand model.

    There were three matched Browning T-Bolt rifles on the benches to shoot and all were mounted with Bushnell Elite 3200 3-9x42 scopes with a DOA reticle high end scopes that were attached via the receivers tapped and drilled sight mountings. These rifles would shoot at a wide variety of hanging, swinging and metal targets set down range at various distances to allow shooters to challenge the effective range of the 17 HMR or 22 Win. Mag. These rifles proved to cycle fast, and lock-up solidly for unmatched accuracy on the range. According to the Browning representative at the venue, "The T-Bolt is a gem that exceeds expectations with a level of fit and finish seldom found in a rimfire rifle, translating into impressive performance with each squeeze of the trigger."

    Another high quality 17 HMR rifle that has been recently introduced is the Weatherby Mark XXII. This rifle only weighs 6.5-lbs. and features a 1-9" twisted rifling, a Monte Carlo walnut stock with magazine capacity of four rounds and one round in the chamber. CZ rifles also has added a 17 HMR to its line with the new CZ 452 American Classic and Marlin has one of the lower priced 17 HMR's available with the model 917S.

    WON had a chance to visit with Morris Bucnemann, who heads up new products for Winchester ammunition, on the range site.

    "Winchester is offering a lead-free tin core hollow point bullet that is cased in a guilding metal brass jacket. The bullet is a composite of copper-zinc and carries a weight of 28 grains in the 22 Mag. caliber at a muzzle velocity to 2200 FPS. Our 22 Long Rifle started into production late in 2009 and it should be ready to ship by early in 2010. The 22 LR will feature a 22 gr. tin hollow point jacketed bullet with a muzzle velocity of approximately 1650 PFS. Unfortunately we are not offering a lead free bullet in our 17 HMR caliber, but it is on our radar screen for a start-up date, but we have not been given a production date yet," said Bucnemann.

    Because non-lead bullets are required in much of the good deer, boar and exotic hunting region in central California and over to the western slopes of the High Sierra, Western Outdoor News stopped by to visit with Glen Weeks, who heads up the center-fire marketing division for Winchester.

    "We have a full line of E-tip cartridges from the very popular .270 WSM on up the .338 Win. Mag. These calibers feature Nosler copper bullets, jacketed of guilding metal and our patented hard plastic tip of the bullet," stated Weeks.

    WON questioned Weeks on the use of a specially designed plastic tip of the bullet and he responded with, "The aero dynamics of the bullet in flight significantly helps with the down range ballistics of the spent bullet."

    Tye Harding told this hunting editor, "Options for factory ammunition loaded with Barnes is a non-lead bullet that is targeted to be released in mid-2011. The 17 HMR in a 20 gr. is a bullet that still needs a lot of research and development before it will be released to varmint, predator hunters and range shooters. Barnes is also working with the Varmint Grenade in a 22 Long Rife bullet. The difficulty in making a 22 Long Rife bullet that will fire out of the rimfire casing is the hour glass shape of the bullet, which makes it very difficult to produce. Most all other bullets have a square base to work with."

    S. Johnson of Hornady, who heads up their print media division, spoke highly of the company's' NTX .223 caliber bullet that is the latest varmint bullet from Hornady using a special non lead core. NXT bullets deliver the explosive performance that shooters have trusted in the V-MAX bullets, but now can expect in a lead free bullet. Pending more work in R&D from Hornady is a 22 Cal. NTX bullet. For big animals there are a number of calibers produced by Hornady that qualify as being lead free in their NTX line.
  4. Billythekid

    Billythekid Administrator Staff Member Administrator ... n27161884/

    The squirrel season was made for the rimfire rifleman. With your back against a tree on a crisp fall morning, a scoped .22 across your lap, waiting for the sun to inch up and listening all the while for the rustling of a rummaging squirrel, that, my friend, is hunting.

    This past fall was doubly memorable because resting there in my lap was Browning's reintroduction of their famous "T-Bolt." Stalking squirrels in the Ponderosa pine forests of northern Arizona convinced me the new T-Bolt was a finer firearm than its predecessor.

    The original T-Bolt was introduced in 1964 and faded from the scene about 10 years later. Made by Fabrique Nationale (FN), the straight-pull T-Bolt caught everyone's eye. It was intriguing because the straight-pull action was so different. It was also well made, nicely finished, pricey and developed a well-deserved reputation for unusually fine accuracy. The problem was the T-Bolt seemed to come and go so fast most of us were chasing used guns for years after, so it's nice to see this quality .22 back in the line.

    There have been some changes since 1964. The three immediately apparent are the bolt handle is now sculptured along the melted lines of the Browning A-Bolt's knob, the absence of any sights, and the 10-shot "Double Helix" magazine.

    Top Innovation

    The "Double Helix" rotary magazine is really a study in mechanical ingenuity. It consists of two chambers arranged in a figure eight. Inside, powered by a torsion spring, are a series of 10 individual shelves, arranged as two 5-shot rotors, carrying each .22 Long Rifle cartridge down-and-around as the magazine is loaded. The process of loading the magazine is made easier by a toothed thumb wheel on the left-hand side of the magazine to counter the tension of the spring and bring the cartridge shelves into position as you rotate it and load.

    In the process of firing 200 rounds of Long Rifle through the T-Bolt, there was not one failure to feed from the Double Helix magazine. The old T-Bolt's 5-round clip was more susceptible to casual feed-lip damage. There is also stylistic advantage to the new design. Stacking five rounds atop five rounds, the magazine is much narrower than the Ruger rotary magazine, permitting the stocker to achieve some pleasing lines in the forearm. In fact, I was doubly delighted by the classy diamond panel checkering pattern wrapping around the forearm. The new bolt knob is totally functional and again, very stylistic.

    I was surprised there were no open sights on the new T-Bolt nor is the receiver grooved for the typical .22-type mount. The original T-Bolt came with an excellent set of peep sights. The new T-Bolt is drilled and tapped for a set of Browning bases and rings made by Talley and no, they don't come supplied with the rifle. The owner's manual suggests (two-thirds through the book) you contact your Browning dealer for a set of Talley's. I say "groove it!" Browning Listens

    Low and behold the three-lever trigger is adjustable from 3 1/4 to 5 1/4 pounds using an external Allen-head bolt located at the front of the triggerguard. The result is a great trigger combined with a very fast lock time. Browning is listening. The firing pin carries a red mark on its top flat to visually indicate the action is cocked and the handy tang safety shows red as well when moved to the "off' position.

    The improved straight-pull action is a bit slicker than its predecessor. The cocking cycle is split between the opening and closing of the bolt with noticeably more resistance as you close the bolt.

    How did it shoot? Well, like all individual .22s, my test rifle liked some loads a lot better than others, and I didn't test them all. Cutting 1/2" to 5/8" at 50 yards for 10 shots were Remington's High Speed 40-grain solids and CCI's 40-grain HP Mini-Mags. Winchester's 40-grain Power-Points and Federal's 36-grain bulk packed HVHP and 38-grain HVHP Game-Shoks could be depended upon to average 1".

    I've been wanting to test BSA's range-compensating Sweet 22 scope and, while it didn't arrive in time for the squirrel season, I did have a chance to wring it out on the T-Bolt. The Sweet 22 scope comes with three interchangeable elevation drums. They are graduated in 5-yard increments from 50 to 175 yards for the 36-, 38- and 40-grain Long Rifle cartridges, having velocities of 1,255, 1,280 and 1,260 fps respectively.

    Matching the drum to the grain weight/velocity of the load, the shooter zeroes the drum at 50 yards and then, theoretically, is able to dial in any specific range to deliver a first round hit. Used together with an accurate rangefinder, the Sweet 22 makes sense.

    As delivered, the Sweet 22 is a goodlooking scope, if just a bit large for the proportions of the average .22. It's currently available in three different models: a 2-7x32mm AO, 3-9x40mm AO and a 6-18x40mm AO retailing at Midway for $54.99, $64.99 and $124.99 respectively. I chose the 3-9X model for the test. The Sweets feature fully coated lenses, screw-in dust caps, 1/4-minute adjustments and adjustable objectives to correct for parallax. Match To The Ammo

    The first task was to search the ammunition catalogs for specific loads fitting the grain weight and velocity parameters specified by BSA. In the 40grain/I,260 fps category, some matching loads are Remington HV solids, Federal American Eagle solids and Remington Thunderbolts. In the 38-grain/1,280 fps category are Federal American Eagle HP and Game-Shok HP and the 36-grain/1,255 fps load is Federal Champion HE

    I tested the 40-grain and the 36-grain elevation turrets. Both turrets tracked very precisely to about 120 yards, then they began to overcompensate for range. For example with the 40-grain turret and firing Remington 40-grain solids, the elevation turret read 145 yards for an actual range of 160 yards and 155 yards for a measured 200 yards. Having said that, at 200 yards with the T-Bolt, I placed two first round hits on a dry ground gourd measuring 3" in diameter.

    In all fairness, BSA does state in its instructions that "temperature, altitude, velocity and bullet shape can have an effect on the final results." In short, the Sweet 22 concept works fine, but you do have to fine tune the turret adjustments and the adjustable objective to your individual set of circumstances.

    One final thought about the T-Bolt/Sweet 22 combo is the scope weighed 1 1/4 pounds, which brought the total rifle weight up to 6 1/2 pounds. Centered between your hands, the additional weight of the scope added quite a bit of stability to the little wand of a rifle. I appreciated it.
  5. Billythekid

    Billythekid Administrator Staff Member Administrator ... composite/

    Browning T-Bolt Composite

    By: Pete Moore
    Pete Moore checks out the long awaited Browning T-Bolt rimfire in the impressive Hornady 17HMR calibre
    Since the 17HMR hit the UK it has proved a massive hit with rimfire hunters. Personally speaking this calibre has all but replaced 22LR for 99% of my rabbit and hare shooting, as it extends my reach out 150-yards+ . My rifle of choice from day one has been Ruger’s M77/17 All-Weather as mine will hold ½” @ 100-yards making clinical head shots easy even out to 120/140 yards. There are plenty of other makes of 17HMR available and all shoot very well, so it’s really a matter of choice and price. But what we have here in my opinion has been long overdue and should prove to be a popular alternative to your standard, turn-bolt 17HMRs…
    Two years ago Browning re-introduced their T-Bolt, straight-pull rifle in an improved and updated form. Originally chambered in 22 LR the gun was an excellent shooter and a bit unusual due to its fast, push-pull action and 10-shot, flush fit, double helix magazine. Browning said that in time a 17HMR version would become available and I have been running one for a couple of months now.
    Butt trap
    The test gun is the Composite and shows a black, synthetic stock, with a little surprise in the butt, the website shows a walnut model too. Apart from that it’s standard T-Bolt – slim, 22” barrel, threaded ½ x 20” UNF, the safety is tang-mounted and slides forward to FIRE and reverses for SAFE. The bolt handle sticks out at 90° to the action and operates a cross bolt locking plunger. Feed is from a bigger version of the double helix magazine that holds 10-rounds of 17HMR, Browning also offer a 22 Magnum (WMR) version. The release catch is at the front of the well and the empty is popped out by a spring. There are no iron sights fitted and the receiver is drilled and tapped for twin Weaver-type bases.
    I have to say that when I initially saw the T-Bolt Composite at IWA 2009 I did not like the look of the stock as it felt a bit skinny and insubstantial. However in use it’s far better than first impressions indicated, though not 100% ideal. One welcome aspect of this model is a spare magazine is included, though Browning decided to mount it in the butt plate. It slips in and is retained by a catch and springs out when it’s operated. Great idea, but just be aware of this as it would be all too easy to ground the butt and get mud and crap bunged up inside… Or even damage the mag, however in an unplanned drop test, it proved a lot tougher than I imagined!
    Overall a slick and practical package, though the American obsession with long barrels for rimfires is always confusing, as were this my gun I’d lop off two inches off. Saying that the rifle does not feel long or heavy, and even with its 22” tube and moddy fitted is reasonably manoeuvrable inside a vehicle. The straight-pull action is a joy to use and much preferable to a turn-bolt. However, one niggle; even when set to SAFE the bolt is not locked and can open if the handle were to snag and pull against something…
    For testing I fitted the new Swarovski Z5 3-18x50, as once zeroed the T-Bolt would be used on rabbits and hares full time. Ammunition went to Winchester 17-grain ballistic tip and their 20-grain hollow point. I used my All-Weather as a benchmark as that rifle can keep it on the ½” @ 100-yards.
    Supported off a bag the T-Bolt was grouping ¾-1”, which is not too bad. As with all rimfires there is a simple joy of shooting them – no recoil, minimal noise and the fun of small and frangible targets. With its good accuracy potential a rabbit’s head represents an easy mark at 100-yards and a bit more!
    One anomaly was the rifle did not feed the 20-grain, JHP loads that well; certainly from a full magazine and seemed to work better with a payload of eight. No matter as the 17-grain BT is the munition of choice in this calibre for the UK and they feed 100%. What is nice is the ease of filling the magazine, as it has an external wheel that allows you to take the weight of the spring as you slide the ammo in.
    The stock lightly free floats the barrel and shows a short forend while the butt has a raised comb. QD sling studs are fitted as standard. Panels of chequering appear on the grip and forend areas. I did find the furniture a little skinny and as you squeeze the trigger the rifle did seem to sort of roll in your grip just a little. Once noticed it was easy enough to compensate as you broke the shot, to be honest I never found this on the wood-stocked 22 version and would prefer timber as opposed to synthetic.

    My moderator of choice was a SAK from Jackson Rifles, which is a cost effective design for the 17 and 22 rimfire magnums. Even when fully bombed up (scope, moddy and spare mag) the T-Bolt is like a willow wand in terms of weight and handling. The straight-pull action is fast and slick and allows you to maintain the firing and eye/scope positions far more naturally. Likewise the tang-mounted safety does little to disturb your shooting hand grip when operated.
    You do need to be aware of the fact the magazine ejects when you press the release catch and if you don’t catch it as it comes out it could get lost. The spare in the butt is easy enough to access and allows 20-rounds on-gun plus keeps the ammo clean. However, I would have preferred it to be under the butt as opposed to in the plate, which would make access easier and not allow any crud inside.
    My unplanned drop test saw me exit the truck to pick up a hare and the rifle slid through my hand to smack into a furrow butt-first. Expecting a horror; all that happened was the mag was driven into the sprung well and the tip of my knife flicked it back out. Apart from that no damage to it or the release catch with everything working OK afterwards.
    Clean regime
    Apart from that the T-Bolt performed as expected; rolling over a good few hares and rabbits. As always the only weak link being the shooter! The barrel did need a little running in, in terms of cleaning until it settled down at around 100-rounds. As a calibre 17HMR can throw up fouling problems on some makes of rifle. My Ruger initially needed scrubbing after just 16-shots, as accuracy would go to hell; this symptom persisted for a few hundred rounds. But then again you have a tiny 4.5mm bore and commensurately slim rifling, so the build up of debris is expected. However, this is rarer with carbon steel barrels and usually more a symptom of stainless and it did catch me out initially, as I was not expecting it. These days I always keep a rod etc., in my gun bag just in case!
    That aside I have few complaints about the Browning T-Bolt Composite. It offers the highest capacity of any 17HMR in a flush-fit magazine and even aces the Ruger by one round. Accuracy is acceptable and allows shots to be taken out to the HMR’s maximum effective range; given you have the ability. The tang-mounted safety is practical and the action fast to operate. Though I can get on with the synthetic stock, by preference I would get wooden furniture as I reckon it will be a bit more rigid.
    The price points look excellent for what you are getting; certainly when compared to the top end 17HMRs like the Ruger and Anschütz, which can set you back the thick end of a grand! If you’re thinking about this calibre then as I said at the beginning; there’s a lot of choice out there and the Browning T-Bolt is well worth a look.
    We Reckon:
    • Good 17HMR choice
    • Barrel a bit too long
    • Great price
  6. Billythekid

    Billythekid Administrator Staff Member Administrator ... 3&Itemid=1

    Browning "T-Bolt Sporter 17 HMR" First Impressions

    Written by Robbo
    Tuesday, 19 May 2009
    Well for those of you that don’t know, I have been tossing up the idea of purchasing a 17hmr for some time now well actually about 2-3years. As I do a great deal of spotlighting rabbits and foxes off my ATV my dilemma has always been do I take the 222 with the spotlight on top or the 22. Both Rifles are always in the two scabbards on either side of the bike but running two separate spotlights was a pain and really not practical. When Spotlighting from the four wheelers I have found that the spotlight mounted on top of the scope is the best option. The only problem was which rifle to put it on. As you don’t want to be using the 222 solely for rabbits and the 22 is a bit under gunned for foxes unless they are running in hard to the whistle. So this is where the idea of a 17hmr came into play. I won’t go into the advantages of the Hummer in detail because I think it has been done to death and is really quite self explanatory.

    My requirements were pretty simple but not easily attained. I needed a rifle that could handle the type of game mentioned out to say 200yds. It needed to be cheaper than a centrefire to shoot but still as accurate. It needed to be fast to reload and have a magazine capacity as close to 9 shots or more, as spotlighting rabbits can often be fast and furious where I hunt.

    Trying to fill these requirements was quite difficult. Over the last 12 months I had narrowed it down to 3 rifles. They were the Sako Quad, the Ruger and the Browning T-Bolt. These rifles were the only ones available with a magazine capacity of more than 5 shots. One of the other rifles I did like was the Anschutz 1517 but with a magazine capacity of only 4 shots it was out of the question. My mate has this rifle and it shoots very well but I am forever seeing him trying to change mags or reload often at critical times. I know many people would say why not carry more full magazines? Well I can now carry two Mags and have twenty shots compared to say 8 with the Anschutz. Plus it reduces the chances of that dreaded click when pulling the trigger on an empty round. Trust me I have heard my mate utter a few well chosen words after these particular moments.

    As much as I am a Sako fan I didn’t think the rifles quality reflected its price tag, especially as I would have to buy a larger magazine or two at additional cost. This would have put the rifle between $1500-2000.The Ruger was also let go because I know like most Rugers the triggers need a fair bit of work and I didn’t really like the barrel clamping method into the action. In saying this both of these rifles would have done the job it’s just well maybe I wanted something different.

    This is where the T-Bolt got my attention. About a year ago I spied a 22 version in my local gun shop. After a good look I thought this would be a great little rifle in a seventeen!! On closer examination I could see that the action was large enough to accommodate a magnum rimfire case. This got me thinking. Is it available in a 17HMR? After a quick bit of googling there it was!!!! I needed to see one in the flesh but this is where disappointment would set in for a while. Olin Australia let me know that they had no idea how long before we would see one in OZ. Well after what seemed a hell of long time, I had heard that they would be available at the start of this year.

    There are four versions that I have seen released in Australia and they are a Timber Sporter, Timber Varmint, Composite Sporter and Composite Varmint. It is worth mentioning that both the Composite versions come with a spare mag in the Butt plate. A nifty idea.

    One thing that may put a lot of people off with the T-Bolts is that they do use a fair bit of plastic or “composite” in the manufacturing of these rifles. The trigger assembly housing is made of composite and so is the main part of the magazine. Personally I don’t think it is a big issue as some of these composites actually have some advantages over metal. No corrosion and weight reduction being a key ingredient.

    While I am talking about weight the sporter version that I purchased is less than 5lbs, one of the lightest rifles I have ever used. The finish on the Browning is second to none and unlike the original Browning’s that were made in Belgium these new ones are now manufactured in Japan by Miroku. Some of the key points that I like about this rifle are as follows: The Overall finish of the rifle is first class. The action is already bedded with a free floating match grade barrel and chamber. Trigger is adjustable down to about 3lb and has no creep what so ever. The speed of the T-bolt makes you remember your once loved semi autos. Extremely accurate. Flush magazine holding 10 shots. Lightweight.

    The Magazine on this rifle is probably what makes it so different to the original T-Bolt. It is called a Double Helix which feeds the bullets like an upside down question mark. Like I had mentioned it is partially plastic but it works like a Gem. I have put over 300 rounds through this rifle so far and it hasn’t missed a beat. It actually seems to like being worked hard and fast and trust me this rifle is fast.

    A good rifle deserves a good scope and after a lot of deliberation I managed to track down a Kahles 6x42 with a 7a reticule. I use the same era Kahles 8x56 on my Sako 222 and I love it to death. I believe a lot of people over scope their hunting rifles. I prefer a lower power scope with a finer reticule and the little Kahles 6x42 is almost made for this rifle. I mounted the scope with a set of Leupold STD Low rings and the Leupold base is the same as for the Remington 541.

    The trigger easily adjusted down to around 3lb. The adjustment is made with a small allen key screw just in front of the trigger guard. Backing out the screw reduces the trigger weight but be careful as the screw can work loose if backed out too far.

    Now let’s get to the good bit, firing the new toy. Well to say this rifle is a pleasure to shoot is an understatement. After bore sighting I tried four different types of ammo. Hornady, CCI, Federal and Winchester Supreme. All ammunition being 17gr ballistic tips. This rifle is not that fussy and each brand of ammo easily shot ½” groups at 50yds, with the Supremes having 4 out of 5 shots through one hole. Moving the target out to 100yds I thought I would try them all again. The Supremes were the best putting a 3 shot group under 1/2” at 100yds. This is well and truly better than I could have expected. I have spent many hours building centrefire rifles to have them not shoot as well as this without many more hours experimenting with handloads. I have sighted the rifle around 1” high at 100yds. This stops the projectile from rising much over the inch between 30 and 100yds. It is only a few inches low at 150 and about 6” low at 200yds.

    With the rifle raring for action a hunt was organised. It was to be a morning out whistling foxes and an afternoon out sniping a few bunnies. As we were sitting down to start whistling, a fox took off out of an old wood pile. At about 120yds he slowed to go under a fence and that was all I needed. First shot hit him in the spine a little far back. He dropped with the shock but was then to get up before a second in the head finished him off. Not a bad start.

    We moved along the creek but as the wind was a bit flukey we had a few come in and catch our scent before we could get a crack at them. One thing I did realise though is this little 17 is an emphatic rabbit killer. By midday we had got to the point where we would rest, have some lunch and then turn back for the afternoons Rabbit hunt. When we first got to this location we had a whistle with no luck. Half an hour later with a bit of food in the guts my mate said “bugger it I’LL try the whistle again”. With that the Tenterfield shrieked and it was only about a minute before we noticed one lonely fox wandering the adjacent paddock about 500yds off. A couple more blows on the whistle and he showed some interest. With the aid of a bit of camo the shade of the tree the fox was lured into about 20yds. One shot from the T-Bolt and it was goodnight. Then I heard the whisper “there’s another one”. Same paddock but this one was heading to our left towards the creek. We lost sight of him. We kept whistling and within a couple of minutes another fox was seen sniffing the ground in which the first fox travelled. With a few more puffs on the whistle he was on his way. Not as fast as the first but still heading in the right direction. As we were concentrating on this fox coming across the paddock we almost failed to see a fox 20 feet to our left. It was the one that had dropped down into the creek and had now re appeared almost behind us. The 17 cracked again and with a couple of kicks he too was down. The other fox realised something was going on and was now in top gear. This is where the T-Bolt shines. First shot just behind, second just over his back but the third was just right and over he went at about 120yds. Three shots before he even travelled 80yds. It was just like having my semi auto back, I was in love!!!!!!

    So to the T-bolts Credit it is fast and accurate.

    Too the 17’s credit it is deadly on small varmints with very little report compared to a centrefire. I Don’t believe we would have got all three if we were using centrefires.

    The other thing that made it possible was good use of camo, wind and shade.

    Rifles are very much a personal choice and for me this rifle as yet hasn’t even been used for what I bought it for but for some reason I know it will do the job just fine.
  7. Billythekid

    Billythekid Administrator Staff Member Administrator ... eview.html

    Browning T-Bolt rifle review

    The T-Bolt is a good alternative to a traditional bolt-action design.


    By Bruce Potts

    Friday, 14 May 2010

    Browning T-Bolt rifle review: The Browning T-Bolt rifle is a trim straight-pull, rimfire rifle by Browning.

    Browning T-Bolt rifle review.
    Straight-pull rifles are usually confined to centrefire rifles but Browning offers a super-fast action straight-pull rimfire chambered in either .22LR, .22 Magnum or .17HMR.

    First introduced in 1965, this trim little rimfire sported a super-fast bolt operation with a very short operating stroke but it was just a bit too way out there, even for the sixties, and it only lasted until the mid-seventies.

    Today’s rifle is very similar to the early T-Bolt but is now made in Japan by Miroku. However, it still has a quality feel and some innovative features for a small rimfire rifle.

    The T-Bolt cycles its bolt with a single straight pull back and then forth with incredible speed and smoothness. The short bolt handle of 1.5in is used as a pivot that releases two large circular locking lugs/rings from the receiver walls.

    The right-hand one is 0.624in and the left side is 0.486in diameter. When you close the bolt, the action or mainspring is cocked so requires a little more effort, but it is hardly noticeable.

    The one-piece bolt is 4.85in long and is rigid, with twin extractors that really grip the case’s rim securely for a positive case ejection.

    The flat-faced firing pin is exposed at the top of the bolt for its entire length, and there is a small red strip that is visible when the T-Bolt is cocked and hidden when not.

    This acts as a clear visual aid that the rifle is ready to shoot. The action is drilled and tapped for the pair of Weaver-type scope bases that are supplied, and the barrel on this example is 22in long.

    It came unthreaded for a sound moderator but you can order a shorter 16in barrel that comes threaded, which would be my personal choice.

    The Sporter profile starts at 0.825 diameter at the receiver ring, quickly tapering down to 0.535 at the muzzle, which has the advantage that the crown is recessed to avoid damaging the rifling.

    Another feature that certainly contributed to the fine accuracy from this model was the fully free-floated barrel along its entire length, alleviating any pressure from the fore-end wood.

    I was impressed with the magazine design when I tested the .22LR version of the T-Bolt.

    It is the same as on the other calibres only longer (1.5in) to accommodate the .17HMR and .22 Magnum rounds. It is a double helix arrangement that allows 10 cartridges to be loaded into the compact magazine.

    Polycarbonate in construction, the body has a metal rear wall that reaches over the top of the magazine and forms the loading lips.

    This stops wear to the magazine top and also acts as an ejector when the bolt is withdrawn.

    The double helix operation and gears are in an “S” configuration, and a small exposed section of the top gear - when rotated by your thumb a quarter of a turn - loads a round at a time.

    This is a great, highly functional way to get 10 rounds into the smallest possible magazine space.

    I tested accuracy at 50 and 100 yards. The tightest five-shot group were the Winchesters with 0.35in groups at 50 yards and 1in at 100 yards.

    The other 17-grain bullets were all around the 1/2inch mark at 50 yards with the odd flier at 100 yards.

    The heavier 20-grain CCI Game Points shot put all their shots into 0.5in at 50 yards and not much larger at 100 yards.

    That’s great accuracy, which meant vermin out to 125 yards was in trouble.

    The 17-grain Winchester bullet travelling at 2,659fps when zeroed at 50 yards was -0.8in at 25 yards, +0.4in at 75 yards and +0.3in at 100 yards and -1.2in at 125 yards.

    That’s pretty flat with 130ft/lb energy remaining at 125 yards.

    The T-Bolt uses a modular trigger and safety unit that is made from a polycarbonate material that forms part of the two sections to the underneath of the T-Bolt.

    The safety lever or slide is sited in the pistol grip tang area, so it is conveniently placed for smooth, almost silent operation by your thumb.

    It is a simple, two-position unit: up for fire and down to make safe.

    When down, this locks the trigger only so the bolt can still be operated if, for instance, you need to remove a chambered round.

    The trigger blade is quite broad, finished in a gold colour and adjustable from 1.5-2.5kg.

    Factory-set at about 3.5-4lb weight, it felt a lot lighter and broke crisply and predictably.

    Browning now makes two versions of the stock for the T-Bolt. The first is the classic walnut Sporter stock and the other is a practical synthetic one.

    The walnut has a good colour and fine grain pattern, which is protected from the elements with a semi-matt lacquer.

    Personally, I would prefer an oiled finish.

    There is no cheekpiece or palm swell, but the pistol grip has a long rake that provides a good grip and positions your trigger finger on the trigger blade correctly.

    Cut chequering to the pistol grip and fore-end is well executed. The fore-end is one piece and wraps around it and has three plain diamond panels as relief.

    A feature I really liked - I discovered this on the rimfire model I tested some time ago - was that the action is bedded in the stock with a synthetic compound.

    This is common on a centrefire and this, coupled to the free-floating barrel, is probably why this T-Bolt shoots so accurately.

    The T-Bolt fits the bill and is a good alternative to a traditional bolt-action design.

    It accounted for many rabbits on test right out to 100 yards.

    I would have a 16in model screw cut for a moderator to keep the same weight.
  8. I own some amazing rifles. Most are centerfire. I have about a dozen high quality bolt actions. For rimfire I own three.
    And I have shot many others as I have a rifle range where 100 to 800 yards is set up and although I do not use it when the hunting season is on,as I don’t want to run interference on the wildlife with test shooting. I recently bought a Browning T Bolt. I was looking for a .22LR or .22 WMR. In perusing what was available, I finally decided on a .17HMR.
    I bought that as it had as a caliber, a great reputation, and the SugarMaple stock was incredibly beautiful with dramatic Tiger Maple aka Fiddleback. The polymer underside and magazine are the same materials as my pro chainsaws so I knew how tough and light they Are!

    Compared to my Winchester Model 72 Bolt Action .22LR that I hunted with in 1949 and still own, and my Winchester lever action 94-22 built in the NewHaven Custom Shop, the T Bolt was immediately a fond part of my rimfire field rifles. I put on a Nikon EFT Rimfire Precision 3x9x40 scope and the total rifle weighed in including my military style Hunter sling at about Six pounds 3ounces with the magazine loaded.

    The balance and look is spectacular. The oldest rifles I know of have the same wood on their stocks and have been used since the 1700s! This rifle though will shoot very accurately out to 300 yards! For a light rimfire that is amazing! But the wind drift requires savey to achieve hits that far out. I looked at every rimfire out there from A to V. After months of research, hands on, and budget crunching this was my choice.

    In that quest I bought even a Turkish Walnut extreme Tiger Striped CZ Bavarian Lux stock, thinking I would get a rifle to fit that lovely wood, but finally purchased the Browning T Bolt. As I own some other Miroku built XBolt and Winchester Model 94s I knew how nice their work is and how well they shoot. This review is pretty brief but I would like to add mine to the others. As a TreeFarmer who handles tons of wood, I don’t care to own rifles that aren’t durable, tough and beautiful. As to the durability of wood stocked rifles, my 1942 built Winchester Model used by my father, my brother, and I For many years and never refinished is still Fully intact and pretty.

    I was a US Army LT. Colonel and have seen my share of rifles, wood stocks are way tougher than most of the people who carry them. Most who are students of rifle stocks think wood laminates are the best. I have personal proof of that. But my Tiger Maple T Bolt is my new walking stick which can turn into a thunderstick if needed, and it comforts me in my Walkabouts. Good Luck to You All!
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018

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