Browning A-Bolt II Micro Hunter 243 Win.
The A-Bolt is available in three action lengths in a spectrum of popular chamberings, materials and finishes to satisfy your needs in any hunting or shooting situation. With a short 60° lift, the bolt incorporates a non-rotating bolt sleeve that runs the full length of the bolt. When unlocked, three guide ribs on the bolt sleeve align with the three locking lugs to allow the bolt to slide smoothly. When locked, these three lugs provide massive bolt strength.
The A-Bolt feeds very smoothly because its cartridge depressor stays in position, independent of the bolt rotation, as the bolt slides over the cartridges in the magazine. The bolt face is recessed, completely surrounding the cartridge base. A cocking indicator located at the rear of the bolt offers visual and tactile firing pin status.
The barrel is free floating and glass bedded at the recoil lug and front of receiver. The recessed muzzle crown helps protect the rifling. Barrels are triple checked for interior finish, straightness and air-gauged for uniformity. A chrome-plated trigger sear is screw adjustable and pre-set at approximately 4 lbs.
The Micro was a good size matchup to the Ruger M77 Mark II Frontier Rifle, a compact rifle designed to accept a front-mounted scope.
In November 2004, Sturm Ruger introduced the Frontier, with its forward scope-mounting rib, a nod to the Scout Rifle design idea, and its lightweight, very short barrel. Of the gun, Sturm, Ruger President Stephen L. Sanetti, said, The ability to mount a scope out front on the barrel rib allows the shooter to keep both eyes open, providing a wider field of view and instant target acquisition. The front-mounted scope also provides long eye relief, which is important in rifles chambered for powerful magnum cartridges.
The Ruger M77 Mark II Frontier Rifle featured a blued steel action and a 16.5-inch hammer-forged barrel bedded in a grey laminate stock. Ruger rolled the gun out in 7mm-08 Rem., .243 Win., .308 Win., and .300 WSM, and its factory specs had its weight as a trim 6.5 pounds unloaded. Naturally, we thought this was an intriguing gun in a traditional niche.
When we started looking for lightweight matchups to pit against the Ruger, we found them aplenty. One was the Browning A-Bolt II Micro Hunter No. 0350202111, a 6.25-pound gun with a 20-inch blued barrel that we bought for $684. We pitted it against the Remington 700 SPS Youth No. 27475, a less expensive synthetic-stocked gun that weighed 6.75 pounds unloaded, and the Ruger M77 Mark II Frontier Rifle.
The test ammos for this .243 showed a range of utility designed to express flaws in the barrels rifling. From lightest to heaviest, they were Federal Premium Vital-Shok 85-grain Sierra Gameking boattail hollow points, No. P243D; Winchester Supreme 95-grain Ballistic Silvertips, No. SBST243A; and Remingtons Express Core-Lokt 100-grain pointed soft points, No. R243W3. Also, as part of barrel break-in, they shot Remington 80-grain Express Rifle rounds, No. 243W1, but they did not collect accuracy or chronograph data with these rounds.
They shot the guns at a private gun club north of Houston, with the test conditions being around 78 degrees and about 60 percent humidity. There was no wind during our accuracy session, which likely helped them achieve the surprisingly good accuracy numbers. Break-in for the guns consisted of firing the Remington 80-grain rounds in this sequence: shoot one, then brush/swab/patch; shoot two, brush/swab/patch; shoot three, brush/swab/patch; shoot four brush/swab/patch, then cool down.
The test shooter, a high-power competitor, used a one-piece Model 500 rifle rest available from www.targetshooting.com, $250, atop a concrete bench. He also wore a Past Mag Recoil Shield, $30, even though the recoil from these guns was light. He shot three-shot groups at 100 yards on EZ2C No. 6 targets, $7.50 per pad of 40 targets.
The test scope affixed to the gun was a proven older Springfield ART IV 3x9x40, and the shooter shot all the groups on the 3X setting. They used Weaver mounts purchased from Gander Mountain.
The major visual differences between the Micro and others are the longer barrel (20 inches, free-floated and glass-bedded at the recoil lug and rear of receiver) and the satin-finished walnut stock.
The Brownings bolt has a 60-degree throw, and its bolt utilizes a non-rotating bolt sleeve that runs the entire length of the bolt. When unlocked, three guide ribs on the bolt sleeve align with the three locking lugs to allow the bolt to slide smoothly. The A-Bolt fed very smoothly, in the magazines view.
The chrome-plated trigger sear offered a crisp trigger pull thats screw adjustable. The trigger broke at a range of weights from a low of 3.5 pounds to 4.75 pounds, for an average of 3.75 pounds, slightly lower than the factorys claimed 4 pounds. The safety was a top-tang, thumb-operated unit, which was easily actuated with the thumb of the shooting hand. The hinged floorplate with detachable box magazine makes it simple and fast to load a spare magazine. The gun holds three in magazine, one in chamber. The receiver was drilled and tapped for the installation of scope mounts, and the forearm included Michaels post-type swivel studs, but no swivels.
The stocks LOP was a near-standard 13.3 inches, with a drop at the comb of 0.6 inch. Overall, the gun measured 41.5 inches in length and weighed 6.25 pounds unloaded.
The Micro doesnt seem long when laid alongside the Rugers Frontier, and its lighter and had better overall ballistic performance, recording the highest velocities across the board. On the accuracy side, the magazine called the Browning a half-inch gun.
Gun Tests Recommends: Buy It. Slightly more expensive than the Frontier, still an excellent shooter.