The Momentum is a nice rifle, but not for the reasons Franchi thinks it is.
The Italian company has been manufacturing high-quality bird guns for 150 years, and in April of 2018, they announced their first foray into the bolt-action rifle market. Franchi hopes to translate its heritage of craftsmanship and innovation to a new kind of firearm, and for the most part, they succeeded.
Shotguns are all about fit, and with model names like “Instinct” and “Affinity,” Franchi’s firearms are designed to, as their company slogan says, “feel right.” The Momentum tries to replicate this ideal, and its textured stock provides helpful grip surfaces in whichever position you happen to be shooting. But in a market replete with stocks that adjust for comb height and length of pull, the Momentum’s true strength doesn’t lie in ergonomics.
Instead, it’s the second part of the Momentum’s tagline—“Italian tradition”—that sets the firearm apart from other bolt-action rifles. The Momentum doesn’t make Noona’s lasagna, but it does maintain the high-quality standards hunters have come to expect from Franchi since the company began making shotguns in 1868.
First, the details.
Chambering: .308 WIN
Magazine Capacity: 4+1
Length of Pull: 14″
Optics Combo: Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40mm scope
Twist: 1:11, RH
Fluted Bolt: 3 large-sized locking lugs, 60-degree bolt throw
BBL: Free-floating, threaded
Trigger: Adjustable, 2-4 lbs.
TSA Recoil Pad: Absorbs 50% of felt recoil
Weight: 7.7 lbs
Stock: Black synthetic
Overall Length: 42.4”
MSRP: $729, $609 w/o scope
Franchi offers the Momentum in six calibers: .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and 300 Win. Mag. All calibers are available with a Burris Fullfield II 3-9X40, and three of the six calibers are available with a non-threaded barrel (243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester). Franchi is also offering a 150th Anniversary Edition in .30-06 with a Walnut stock, though it’ll cost you an extra $400.
Franchi makes much of their stock’s ergonomic design, and I did find the raised portion just forward of the trigger to be helpful while shooting from the standing position. This expanded, textured section provided a nice grip surface while I steadied my support elbow against my side.
But to call the stock “revolutionary,” as Franchi does, strikes me as a bit of an overstatement. It is indeed comfortable to shoot in a variety of positions, but so is a standard sporter stock. The Momentum’s two unique features—the bench-rest grip in the rear and the recessed sling studs—aren’t overwhelmingly useful. In fact, because the sling studs are molded into the synthetic stock, the front stud marred when I tried to attach my bi-pod. It’s possible my bi-pod simply doesn’t fit, but a metal stud wouldn’t have sustained that kind of damage.
The stock might not live up to its hype, but you don’t purchase a hunting rifle for the wood or plastic that holds the barrel and action. You spend your hard-earned money to get a rifle that will help you put rounds on target, and the Momentum is designed to do exactly that.
First, Franchi designed the spiral fluted bolt to lock tight and maximize consistency shot after shot. I spoke via email to George Thompson, the Director of Product Management for Benelli, Franchi’s parent company, who told me that while one-piece bolts aren’t new to the market, the design provides benefits in alignment, strength, and ease of disassembly.
“A one piece bolt can be precision machined to mate up perfectly with the bolt channel, chamber, and locking recesses,” he said. “There is no possibility of tolerance stacking between parts making some bolts ‘fit’ better than others. This improves the feel of the action, and could improve accuracy.”
The action is smooth, and the 60-degree bolt throw allows for quick follow-up shots. The bolt is easily installed by pushing the unit into the receiver, and it’s removed by means of a small hinged button on the left side of the firearm.
The barrel is equally well-constructed. It’s cold-hammer forged and chrome-molybdenum lined, which helps preserve longevity, maintain accuracy, decrease corrosion, and aids in cleaning. It’s also free-floated in the stock, which increases accuracy, and the threaded version costs the same as the non-threaded. The 5/8×24 thread pitch will accept all the most common suppressors and muzzle devices.
“Our barrels are mounted to the action with an extremely low tolerance,” Thompson told me. “This is then bedded into the stock with an aluminum block for rigidity.”
The trigger is adjustable between 2 and 4 pounds, and mine weighed in just shy of 4. We’re spoiled for nice triggers these days, and the Momentum follows that trend. It’s crisp and smooth, and at 2 pounds you’d be set to shoot as far as your load of choice will reach.
Plus, Franchi is willing to stand by its workmanship. Their seven-year limited warranty is among the best in the business and will cover anything that might go wrong under normal use. For comparison, Savage Arms, which manufactures excellent rifles, offers a one-year limited warranty, and many companies like Weatherby and Ruger don’t offer any warranty at all. These companies are known for taking care of their customers, but Franchi puts their guarantee in writing.
As part of that guarantee, Franchi also tests each rifle to ensure that each is capable of sub-MOA accuracy. You won’t find this promise on their website, but upon opening the box you’ll see a card with a diagram of the test group and a description of the ammunition used. This is helpful for determining which ammunition your rifle likes best, and it proves that every Momentum will, with the right load, be able to get the job done. Mine shot a .9-inch group using Norma 150g FMJ.
Before I jump into the Momentum’s performance, I want to touch briefly on the scope. Purchasing the combo package is a good deal: a Burris Fullfield II will set you back about $200 and the scoped Momentum only runs $120 more than the standalone rifle.
Burris is an American company known for making quality scopes, and the Fullfield II is no exception. It’s a traditional 3-9x power scope with a 40mm objective lens. It’s waterproof and shockproof, weighs 13 ounces, and uses a rear (or “second”) focal plane reticle. The reticle design is called “Ballistic Plex” and includes holdover marks out to 500 yards. You’ll have to calibrate your holdovers to your caliber, but like many of the Momentum’s features, it’s a step above the standard crosshair.
I found the glass to be clear, and the rear focal plane reticle is easily visible even at the lowest magnification. Though you’re unlikely to be dialing in your drops, the positive turret clicks indicate the scope’s good quality. The results of my box test weren’t anything to write home about, but the reticle’s hash marks will be much more useful for bullet drop compensation in a hunting situation.
Ultimately, the light-weight, 3-9x scope is the perfect pairing for Franchi’s hunting rifle, and it’ll work well to harvest game at most North American hunting distances.
Function and Performance
Experienced hunters will be familiar with the Momentum’s controls, so I won’t spend much time here. The two-position safety allows the bolt to be manipulated in the “safe” position, which, combined with the hinged floorplate, allows for safe and easy unloading.
Loading the magazine with .308 WIN takes some practice because rounds can be partially loaded too far forward or to the rear. I had trouble at first, and if the rounds aren’t aligned correctly they won’t be able to travel up the steep feed ramp into the chamber. The action’s tight lock-up also means that sometimes the bolt is difficult to close. New shooters or young shooters (and firearm reviewers) might need some time to acclimate to these small obstacles before they’ll be able to operate the rifle smoothly.
Once a round is loaded and the safety is off, however, the Momentum performs beautifully. The trigger is crisp and consistent, and the recoil pad helps tremendously. The Momentum’s weight is heavy enough to help control recoil while also being light enough to carry into the woods. The bolt is unobtrusive, and the magazine release is located on the inside of the trigger guard, where it won’t be activated by a branch or rock.
I conducted my testing at the 100-yard line from the prone position using a Caldwell Lead Sled. The sled stabilizes both the forend and the stock, and shooting from the ground eliminates wind movement. I used match grade ammunition, but not because I want to reignite the “match ammo for hunting” debate (have at it in the comments, though). I like using match ammo for testing because I want to determine a rifle’s accuracy ceiling before looking for an appropriate hunting load. Also, I get a kick out of shooting tiny groups.
As you can see from the table, my rifle’s sweet spot is the 168 grain Sierra MatchKing loaded by Nexus Ammunition. Nexus uses a proprietary loading method that maximizes consistency, so I wasn’t surprised that their product shot well in the Momentum. Still, I’ve tested rifles that struggle to shoot sub-MOA with match-grade ammunition, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a factory load that performed so well right out of the gate.
|Manufacturer||Bullet||Avg. Velocity||First Group (in)||Second Group (in)||Average (in)|
I would have liked to see better accuracy with the other loads I tested, all except one of which used MatchKing bullets. That being said, the performance of the 168 grain MatchKing gives me a great starting place for developing my own loads, and I have no doubt I’ll be able to get those group sizes even smaller with a little tweaking.
If you don’t handload, you might start with the Nexus or look around for another 168-grain SMK load. You’ll notice that the other 168-grain bullet shot the third-smallest group (1.138), though the second group raised its average.
Franchi’s new offering isn’t without its flaws, but the Momentum does what it’s Italian engineers designed it to do: shoot comfortably and accurately. It’s easily capable of .7-inch groups with the right ammunition, and it’s constructed with materials that will maintain that accuracy for many years to come. At just above $600 MSRP, I also expect the price on the street to drop down between $500 and $550, which is comparable to similar-quality rifles.
If you’re in the market for a hunting rifle, the Momentum deserves a look. Franchi stands by its workmanship, and I think you’ll be pleased with what this historic shotgun maker has produced.