Browning T-Bolt 025236202 22 LR

Slightly less accurate than the other rifles in this test, primarily because it did not do well with the SK Match ammo. The T-Bolt was the fastest-cycling rifle in the bunch and would be our choice for hunting.


We presented a selection of 22 LR rifles in the June 2022 issue of Gun Tests. You promptly told us that you wanted more, and that the next group needed to include the CZ 457. So we secured a sample of the recently-released CZ-USA CZ 457 Varmint MTR 02345 with the walnut stock and the vertical grip, $720. We also added a Browning T-Bolt 025236202 22 LR, $880, with a stainless barrel and action along with a grey/black laminated stock. Then we grabbed a Ruger American Rimfire Long-Range Target 8378, $532, with a two-tone laminate stock and 22-inch bull barrel. Last came the Savage B22 Precision 70248, $570, with the great AccuTrigger and a one-piece billet chassis from MDT.

For the sake of consistency, we decided to stick with the same ammo selection we used for the June 2022 article. Those were SK Match, Eley Tenex, and Eley Match rounds. Our team shot accuracy groups at 50 yards, and we weren’t disappointed.

Gun Tests Grade: B


Every bit as modern as the Ruger LRT or the Savage B22 is our entry from Browning — the T-Bolt straight-pull bolt rifle. Whereas our other three samples in this test sport heavier barrels and stocks designed to be run off a bench or a prop, the T-Bolt is long, slim, and designed to be carried afield.

Action TypeBolt
Overall Length40.25 in.
Barrel22 in. long; 1:16 in. twist
Overall Height w/Scope Mount6.1 in.
Weight Unloaded5.8 lbs.
Weight Loaded6.0 lbs.
Sight RadiusNA
Action FinishMatte blue
Barrel FinishSatin stainless
Magazine Capacity10
Magazine TypeDouble helix detachable box
StockGrey laminate sporter
Stock Length of Pull13.3 in.
Stock Drop at Comb0.63 in.
Stock Drop at Heel0.63 in.
Stock BeddingSpot
Stock ButtplateBlack plastic
Receiver Scope-Base PatternBrowning bases
Trigger Pull Weight3.6 lbs.
WarrantyNone Written
Telephone(800) 333-3328
Made InU.S.A.

This rifle is equipped with a straight-pull bolt action. As the name implies, the shooter pulls the bolt straight to the rear to cycle and then pushes the bolt forward to fire. No 60- to 90-degree lift is required before aft and forward movements. The simplified process is faster than a conventional bolt gun. Still, with good examples of straight-pull rifles dating back more than 100 years, the straight-pull system has yet to catch on.

The T-Bolt uses a “Double Helix” mag style that holds 10 rounds. A wheel helps wind a ratchet that rotates the next round into position.

Browning offers several versions of the T-Bolt. Ours is the stainless-steel model with the grey laminate stock. The 22-inch barrel’s diameter measured about 0.70 inch at the muzzle and just 0.830 inch at the receiver. Balance was slightly muzzle heavy without optics but centered up nicely with a scope mounted. Twist rate is 1:16 inches, as are all of our 22 LR rifles for this test, and the muzzle is threaded ½x28. The stainless barrel had a satin finish, which looked great with the grey laminate stock.

The blued, cylindrical action measured right at an inch thick, keeping the trim theme of the rifle. The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases. We used a Warne Maxima two-piece set from ($23). The safety is tang mounted; forward for Fire and push to the rear for Safe. A red dot shows as a reminder when the safety has been disengaged. The bolt uses dual extractors and an ejector that is fixed inside the receiver. After that, similarities with the other bolts cease.

The Browning’s conventional stock had a fixed LOP.

For operation, the straight-pull bolt is pulled straight back (imagine that). As the bolt handle moves to the rear, an angled extension of the bolt handle cams the lugs out to the right. Looking like two curved pennies that are attached by a bar in the middle, the locking piece moves in or out of a mortise in the receiver walls. Pushing back forward locks everything up quite snugly, but be aware that forward movement needs to be done with some enthusiasm if you want the bolt to completely lock. Total rearward movement required was only about 2 inches. We had a tiny issue taking the bolt out for inspection. To remove the bolt, start with an empty rifle. Please check. Pull the safety rearward to the Safe position, which depresses a tab immediately aft of and below the bolt shroud. That allows the shooter to withdraw the bolt easily to the rear — if you have normal-sized fingers. Ours are a bit large and, because the bolt had to be unlocked before that tab could ever be depressed, leaving us little room to access the tab, we had to use a small screwdriver to push the tab down. Not exactly an insurmountable problem, but we just thought you should know.

The T-Bolt’s trigger is externally adjustable (arrow) for weight of pull.

The stock was a conventional design. Length of pull is fixed at 13.5 inches. Drop at heel and comb are identical at 0.625 inch, leaving a very level cheek rest. The forend and the pistol grip both sport effective checkering, though execution is off a little, we thought. The forend is slim enough to carry and just flat enough to work well off a bag. Bottom “metal” is well-executed black polymer, covering a Browning gold-style trigger. The magazine is a double-helix design that worked well for us once we learned the trick of loading it. There is a small wheel that allows the follower to be rotated, thereby allowing the next round to be inserted. In the beginning, we weren’t watching how much we rotated the wheel and just kind of cranked it over. That made sure nothing lined up and made us say bad words. When we figured out the problem was the nut behind the gun, everything worked perfectly.

Our Team Said: The T-Bolt averaged 0.645 inch for five-shot groups at 50 yards. That represented an increase of 0.1 to 0.15 inch over the other rifles tested. If we could have dropped out the SK Match, the T-Bolt would have averaged groups right in line with the other three rifles. That’s why we shoot multiple loads and recommend you do the same. On the plus side, we could cycle the T-Bolt 50% to 100% faster than the other guns with their conventional bolts. Based on it being nearly 2 pounds lighter than all of the other guns, this is easily the best choice as an easy-to-carry field rifle.

22 LR Range Data (50 Yards)

We tested at American Shooting Centers in Houston. We used a LabRadar chronograph, $559, to determine muzzle velocities. We set up on a Caldwell TackDriver Pro front bag (Brownells 100-027-023, $49) and a Tab Gear heavy large rear bag ($34 at to fire five-round accuracy groups at 50 yards. Ammunition: SK Match (Midsouth Shooting Supply, $17.68/50), Eley Tenex (Creedmoor Sports, $22.36/50) and Eley Match (Red River Reloading, $18.87/50).

SK Match 40-grain Lead RNRuger American Long-Range TargetSavage B22 PrecisionBrowning T-BoltCZ-USA CZ 457 Varmint
Average Velocity1126 fps1129 fps1204 fps1243 fps
Muzzle Energy113 ft.-lbs.113 ft.-lbs.129 ft.-lbs.137 ft.-lbs.
Average Group0.42 in.0.65 in.0.76 in.0.46 in.
Best Group0.36 in.0.49 in.0.52 in.0.42 in.
Eley Match 40-grain Lead RNRuger American Long-Range TargetSavage B22 PrecisionBrowning T-BoltCZ-USA CZ 457 Varmint
Average Velocity1081 fps1084 fps1114 fps1136 fps
Muzzle Energy104 ft.-lbs.105 ft.-lbs.110 ft.-lbs.115 ft.-lbs.
Average Group0.46 in.0.52 in.0.63 in.0.45 in.
Best Group0.36 in.0.30 in.0.51 in.0.36 in.
Eley Tenex 40-grain Lead RNRuger American Long-Range TargetSavage B22 PrecisionBrowning T-BoltCZ-USA CZ 457 Varmint
Average Velocity1082 fps1084 fps1116 fps1139 fps
Muzzle Energy104 ft.-lbs.104 ft.-lbs.111 ft.-lbs.115 ft.-lbs.
Average Group0.70 in.0.48 in.0.54 in.0.50 in.
Best Group0.63 in.0.42 in.0.51 in.0.48 in.


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