Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
The Browning X-Bolt Speed SR (Suppressor Ready) takes advantage of the high-performance Hornady 7mm PRC cartridge to make an impressive hunting combination. Mounting a suppressor on a long barrel can make a rifle long and unwieldy. The X-Bolt Speed SR sports a 20-inch fluted barrel to make the rifle handle well with or without a suppressor installed.
Table of contents
Bottom Line Up Front
Browning did a fantastic job making a high-performance hunting rifle with the X-Bolt Speed SR 7mm PRC. After testing firearms for a number of years I’ve seen many firearms that just don’t meet expectations, and granted shooters expectations can be a hard order to fill.
Some just don’t have the right feel or balance, some look and feel great but don’t shoot well, and some have rough actions or finicky magazines. Firearms’ shortcomings are almost as limitless as shooters’ opinions.
However, the Browning X-Bolt Speed SR doesn’t suffer from any of those shortcomings, it exceeded my expectations of a light hunting rifle. So, let’s get down to the specifics and see what makes this a great rifle.
Closer Look At The X-Bolt Speed
The Browning X-Bolt Speed action was smooth and fast to operate. Basically, the X-Bolt Speed features 3 locking lugs and a 60-degree bolt lift that is shorter and faster than the 90-degree found on rifles with two locking lugs. Along with the shorter bolt travel it also keeps the bolt handle and your hand farther away from your scope. This added clearance is really noticeable when cycling the bolt at speed.
The receiver and bolt are both made of steel. The receiver and barrel are finished in a Smoked Bronze Cerakote for protection from the elements. Along with looking great this finish is better protection than a blued finish and works in concert with the Browning OVIX camo finish on the stock.
The Browning X-Bolt Speed SR is fitted with a 20-inch match-grade fluted sporter barrel. I’m always a little leery when I see “match-grade” in a marketing description on a hunting rifle, but in this case, the description was right on target. The X-Bolt Speed SR demonstrated match-level accuracy time after time during testing.
The X-Bolt Speed SR barrel is only 20 inches long to make the gun handle better with a suppressor installed, and it does. Consequently, the 7 PRC SR muzzle is threaded 5/8- 24 to allow suppressor installation and is fitted with a very effective factory muzzle brake. The lightweight sporter barrel increases in diameter to allow suppressor installation on the small fluted barrel.
The fantastic X-Bolt Speed action and barrel are anchored in a weather-resistant composite stock finished in Browning’s OVIX camo. The OVIX camo blended really well on a variety of backgrounds. The stock was very rigid and had a stable foundation for the free-floated SR barrel.
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Some Great Features
The user end of the stock is fitted with a Browning Inflex recoil pad. Browning has done more than just make this from soft shock-absorbing material; they engineered the pad to decrease recoil to the shooter’s face by controlling the direction it moves under recoil.
A hard-anodized alloy trigger guard wraps around the Browning Feather Trigger and rotary magazine. The Feather Trigger on the test rifle broke cleanly at 3 ¾ lbs. The factory trigger is user-adjustable from 3-5 lbs.
The Browning X-Bolt Speed SR 7mm PRC comes with a three-round rotary magazine. The rotary magazine fed the big 7 PRC cartridges flawlessly. The rotary design allows feeding the cartridges in the centerline of the receiver while being shorter and more compact than a single stack magazine.
Specifications For The X-Bolt Speed
Action- X-Bolt Speed
Caliber- 7mm PRC
Barrel- 20-inch fluted/ threaded muzzle/ suppressor ready
Rifling- 1 x 8
Length- 40 ¾ inches
Weight- 6 lbs. 10 oz. w scope base and factory muzzle brake installed
Trigger- 3 ¾ lbs, Browning Three-lever Feather Trigger
Finish- Smoked Bronze Cerakote
Stock- Composite with OVIX camo
X-Bolt Speed In Action
So, the fit, finish, and materials of the Browning X-Bolt Speed SR are all fantastic. The long action ran fast, smoothly, and reliably during all the testing. The 60-degree bolt lift made it a joy to shoot. The rotary magazine fed the big 7mm PRC rounds without any hiccups. However, what it does downrange is what’s most important.
I mounted up a Nightforce 2.5-20x NX8 on a factory Browning picatinny base. This scope seemed like a great fit for the rifle. It has a 30mm tube so if fairly small and light for a scope with enough power to reach most of the distances the X-Bolt Speed SR would be used for in hunting.
I got a couple of boxes of Hornady ELD-M 180-grain Match and 175-grain ELD-X for testing the Browning X-Bolt Speed SR. This cartridge is building a reputation for its accuracy and high performance due to the high ballistic coefficients of the bullets and the efficiency of the case design.
I shot groups off the hood of a range vehicle with a combination of shooting bags and from a Harris bipod mounted on the rifle. However, leaning across the hood isn’t the most stable position. Certainly anchored in a stack of sandbags the gun may be capable of more. Either way, the X-Bolt Speed SR did amazing.
I shot the first batch of groups with the factory muzzle brake installed to test performance for those states that don’t allow suppressors or individuals that haven’t taken that plunge.
READ MORE: Tested: Browning X-Bolt Speed LR 7mm PRC
The Speed SR shot sub-moa groups at 100 and 300 yards with both the ELD-M and ELD-X ammunition with regularity. The recoil of the 7mm PRC 175-180 grain bullets from relatively light hunting was surprisingly manageable due to the effectiveness of the muzzle brake and recoil pad.
All the groups weren’t quite this good but they were all M.O.A. or less. When Browning said “Match Grade” barrel they were not exaggerating. If it only shot one really good group I would say it was luck, but after all the testing I was pretty sure the mirage and I were the limiting factors of the X-Bolt Speed SR’s accuracy.
Installing a Q Honey Badger suppressor didn’t hurt the accuracy of Browning X-Bolt Speed SR 7mm PRC. It just kept shooting great groups, just quieter. Usually adding a suppressor decreases the recoil of a rifle, but I didn’t feel a big change due to the effectiveness of the muzzle brake on previous groups.
Sub-moa groups continued to be the norm with both types of Hornady ammunition. This level of consistency and performance may be expected from a match rifle but not from a lighter-weight hunting rifle.
After punching enough holes in paper to determine that this was a very serious rifle I started ringing some of the steel on the range. Even without a specific aiming point on the steel targets the X-Bolt Speed SR continued to shoot great groups.
Q: What are the key features of the Browning X-Bolt Speed SR?
A: Notable features include a short 20-inch barrel, a lightweight design, a detachable rotary magazine, and a crisp adjustable trigger.
Q: Is the Browning X-Bolt Speed SR suitable for hunting and precision shooting?
A: Yes, this rifle is designed for both hunting and precision shooting, making it a versatile choice for various shooting activities.
Q: What is the cost for the Browning X-Bolt Speed SR?
A: The MSRP is currently $1479.99 if you are buying the gun new.
Browning did a fantastic job on the X-Bolt Speed SR. Paired with the Nightforce 2.5-20 NX8 scope and Hornady 7mm PRC ammunition it is a deadly accurate hunting combination. For a hunting rifle with a lightweight fluted barrel, the Browning X-Bolt SPR shot phenomenally.
With the suppressor or muzzle brake installed, it was very controllable to shoot the hard-hitting 7mm PRC. The weight and length of the rifle made it handy to maneuver and shoot; while still having enough weight to settle in nicely for making those accurate shots.
The Browning X-Bolt Speed SR delivered an awesome performance from a reasonably priced hunting rifle. Hence I wouldn’t hesitate a second to take this rifle out west for a trophy elk hunt or to Africa. For more information on the Browning X-Bolt Speed SPR visit Browning Here.