GUN TESTS GRADE: A
Envision the 6.5 PRC as something akin to a 6.5 short magnum. When viewed side-by-side, the 6.5 PRC appears to split the difference between a 6.5 Creedmoor and a 300 Winchester Short Mag, at least as far as case capacity goes. Ideally, that means that the 6.5 PRC is going to have more velocity than the 6.5 CM while shooting the same bullets. That translates to better trajectories, but comes at the cost of increased recoil. The manufacturers of our test rifles had different theories on whether something should be done about the recoil and, if so, how that recoil should be handled.
|Overall Length||46.25 in.|
|Barrel Length||26 in., 1:7 twist|
|Overall Height w/o Scope Mount||6.0 in.|
|Weight Unloaded||8.2 lbs.|
|Weight Loaded||8.4 lbs.|
|Action Finish||Matte black|
|Magazine Type||Polymer detachable box|
|Drop at Comb||Adjustable|
|Drop at Heel||Adjustable|
|Bedding||Glass bedding at actions screws & recoil lug|
|Buttplate||Inflex 2 recoil pad|
|Length of Pull||13.75 in., spacers available|
|Receiver Scope-Base Pattern||8 screw Browning X-Bolt “X-Lock” pattern|
|Trigger Pull Weight||3.3 lbs.|
With the X-Bolt, Browning decided to go with a somewhat longer barrel (26 inches versus 24 inches for our other test pieces). The barrel is a heavy sporter profile that measured about 1.16 inches in diameter just forward of the recoil lug, tapering to approximately 0.73 inch at the muzzle. We counted eight shallow, longitudinal flutes on the barrel ending with a threaded muzzle and a radial muzzle brake. Of course, they included the thread protector (5⁄8 x 24 TPI), so the shooter has the choice of which to use.
The composite stock is black with a gray splatter pattern. The forend flares to an almost-flat beavertail style just short of 2 inches wide. It comes equipped with two sling-swivel studs, allowing one to be used for a sling and the other for a bipod. We prefer to hold our rifles using strong-side thumb pressure, and the vertical pistol grip made this very easy and comfortable. The grip panels are textured. The butt of the stock has an adjustable cheekpiece with the height controlled by a knurled thumbscrew on the starboard side. Our sample allowed for right at 1 inch of rise, and there was very little flex to the cheekpiece once it was tightened down. Quarter-inch-wide spacers are available to change length of pull. Our sample came with a single spacer supplied. The Inflex 2 recoil pad was well-fitted, wide and effective. The bottom of the buttstock is stepped, presenting a definite ledge against which a hand or a rear bag can rest. A third sling swivel stud is provided at the rear.
The action is classic X-Bolt with its eight-screw pattern for the scope mounts; there’s very little worry about those coming loose when properly mounted. The bolt is a three-lug pattern with a spring-loaded ejector and a rotating extractor. The three-lug setup only required about 60 degrees of lift to open the bolt. The bolt handle is a medium-sized hex-head design with a straight shaft and was well clear of our optics when opened. The safety is mounted on the tang, with forward being Fire and to the rear Safe. A separate button is mounted at the junction of the bolt handle, and the bolt body that allows the bolt to be operated with the safety engaged. The bolt release is a pivoting piece on the left side of the receiver.
The trigger is a gold-plated unit that contrasts nicely with the black stock. Trigger compression only required about 3.25 pounds of pressure. Both take-up and overtravel were minimal. The trigger guard has the customary Browning Buck Mark engraved in gold. Bottom metal is alloy and is held onto the receiver with two hex-head screws. Removing those two screws allows the trigger and its adjustment screw to be exposed. We found the action to be bedded at the front and rear action screws, which also encompassed the recoil lug. The three-round polymer magazine fits flush with the bottom of the stock making the rifle very easy to carry one-handed. The release lever is actually mounted on the magazine but sits below flush, giving us little concern that it could be activated accidentally.
We found the Browning X-Bolt LR Max to be very comfortable to shoot off the bench. All ammo fed perfectly, whether from the magazine or dropped into the receiver. This rifle shot both types well, but it showed a real preference for the 147-grain Hornady ELD-Match.
Our Team Said: A little lengthier and a bit heavier than our other test rifles, if your long shot is more likely to be from a blind across a bean field rather than from position across a mountain valley, check out the X-Bolt Long Range Max.
|Hornady 143-grain ELD-X||Browning X-Bolt||Bergara Mountain||Christensen Arms Ridgeline|
|Average Velocity||2993 fps||2961 fps||2990 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||2846 ft.-lbs.||2785 ft.-lbs.||2840 ft.-lbs.|
|Best Group||0.91 in.||0.38 in.||0.76 in.|
|Average Group||1.1 in.||0.41 in.||0.88 in.|
|Hornady 147-grain ELD-M||Browning X-Bolt||Bergara Mountain||Christensen Arms Ridgeline|
|Average Velocity||2957 fps||2921 fps||2940 fps|
|Muzzle Energy||2854 ft.-lbs.||2785 ft.-lbs.||2823 ft.-lbs.|
|Best Group||0.40 in.||0.62 in.||0.46 in.|
|Average Group||0.56 in.||0.88 in.||0.56 in.|
|Cumulative Average Group||0.83 in.||0.64 in.||0.72 in.|