Browning X-Bolt Western Hunter in 28 Nosler

The Browning X-Bolt Western Hunter 28 Nosler is not your grandpa’s huntin’ rifle. There’s no wood anywhere. Rather, it’s a sleek, smooth, and lightweight magnum that is capable of the longest shots. That’s not to say it’s not attractive. It is.

28 Nosler is best described as a shorter version of the 7mm Ultra Mag but it’s basically a 7mm on steroids. With either factory ammo or handloads, the 28 Nosler will stay supersonic to a over a mile. Heavy 7mm bullets with G1 B.C.’s in the 7’s going 3100 + fps make this one of the flattest shooting, wind buckinest calibers in existence.

Barrel

Looking at some specifics of the rifle; it is a long action with a barrel length of 26” with the overall length being 46 ¾”. It has a steel barrel with a sporter barrel contour and while Browning does make 28 Nosler’s with chromed barrels this one isn’t chrome lined. It does feature a 1:9 fast twist barrel that will handle heavy bullets.

The muzzle is threaded and it comes with a radial muzzle brake. Take note that the thread size is metric 13 x 1.25 and didn’t fit any muzzle devices I had.

Stock

The length of pull is 13 ⅝”. The drop at the comb and the heel are both adjustable. 

Adjustable cheek Comb

Being able to adjust the cheek piece is a huge advantage. It allows for perfect eye alignment and the same cheek position every time you pull the gun up.

Composite stock that has been bedded. It came pre-bedded from the factory.

Trigger

Has an alloy trigger.

The trigger is short, crisp, and supposed to be adjustable. Mine came from the factory at about 5 lbs. I pulled it off and tried for over an hour to get it adjusted but it wouldn’t adjust below 4.5 lbs. It’s still a nice feeling trigger just heavier than I would have liked.

Bolt/Action

There is a bolt safety that can be pressed to release the bolt with the safety on.

It features a detachable magazine that holds three rounds.

Weight

Weight is always a hot topic in a hunting rifle. Browning listed this gun as 6lbs 13 ounces. I weighed the gun and it showed 7.28 lbs with the bolt in.

Gun with no accessories.
Added the Browning 20moa picatinny rail for another .162 pounds.
 Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 CDS-zl2 30 mm-sidefocus Wind plex scope weighing 1.224lbs.
Also added 30mm Burris Signature Zee rings at .256 lbs.
This gave me a total weight of 8.924lbs.

With a scope mounted and the factory muzzle brake the rifle weighed just under 9 lbs. That’s light enough to carry and still heavy enough to shoot.

Sighting In

I’ll be honest. I really struggled for ammo for this review. Right now finding ammo or components of any kind is kind of ridiculous. I used Nosler brass and, luckily, a buddy had dies and powder and so I was able to load up a few rounds of ammo and get the gun shot.

I bore sighted took a couple shots at 100 yards and it dialed right into the orange. I then shot a three-shot group at 100 yards with a handload of  81 grains of Retumbo powder (bummed it off my buddy) and 180 grain Hornady ELD-M bullets which have a G1 b.c. of 0.796, which is incredible.

At about an inch spread and my first load; I can’t complain. The chronograph numbers were not bad.

Shooting a 180gr bullet at 3,146fps is awesome. That is some serious energy and velocity carried downrange.

I also shot some 168 gr Nosler Accubonds that were factory loaded and they shot a similar groups of just under an inch. Velocity was 3217. I only had a limited amount of this ammo.

I’m still working on the load I’ll use and will update this article when I get that dialed in.

I want to point out that the OAL of the magazine box is way longer than SAAMI spec and so loading the rounds long for less pressure and more velocity should be very doable.

Recoil

Recoil was not as bad as I was expecting. In fact, it was downright mild. The soft rubber butt plate with Browning’s Inflex technology was very comfortable and the Browning radial brake worked pretty well. I actually hate radial brakes as they blast everything around them, kick up dust, snow, etc. I’d love to see Browning send this with a good side port muzzle brake instead.

Conclusion

The trigger was really the only disappointing part of this rifle. I’m almost sure that with a lighter trigger we’d see groups shrink almost immediately. The good news is that Timney makes a drop in trigger for the X-Bolt and I just might try one.

I like the rifle well enough that I’m buying it and using it as my personal hunting rifle this year. It’s honestly one the most economical ways to get into a 28 Nosler rifle, especially when you consider the features.

MSRP $1179.99

Visit Browning for more information on the X-Bolt Western Hunter

I used Nosler Brass for my handloads. Learn more about Nosler’s prepped brass, ammo, bullets, load data, and everything 28 Nosler by by clicking Here.

Specs

Item Number035515288UPC023614742128
Action LengthLong ActionCaliber28 Nosler
Barrel Length26″Overall Length46 3/4″
Length of Pull13 5/8″Drop at CombAdj
Drop at HeelAdjWeight6 lbs 13 oz
Magazine Capacity3Twist Rate9″
Barrel FinishMatte BluedStock FinishA-TACS AU
Receiver FinishMatte BluedChamber FinishPolished
Barrel MaterialSteelBarrel ContourSporter
Stock MaterialCompositeRecoil PadInflex 1, Small
Pistol Grip CapNoneCheckeringTextured Grip Panels
Sling Swivel StudsMatte BluedReceiver MaterialSteel
Trigger FinishGold PlatedBolt Slide FinishA-TACS AU
Magazine TypeDetachableTrigger MaterialAlloy
Trigger Guard MaterialAlloyTrigger Guard EngravingBuck Mark in Gold
Floor Plate MaterialCompositeDrilled and Tapped for ScopeYes
MSRP$1,179.99

About the author: Cody Johns is an avid outdoorsman, shooter, hunter, and backcountry snowmobiler.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Ronald W. McLeod December 15, 2020, 9:31 pm

    great BUT, where is there one in LEFT HAND

  • Richard Wright September 15, 2020, 11:40 pm

    i’m looking for a 10 gague scattergun.

  • Rudolph Ferdinand September 7, 2020, 6:24 am

    I previously owned a Browning A-Bolt, a very accurate rifle, but the X-Bolt not so. The trigger is aweful were I changed to a Timney Trigger, better, some the accuracy still the problem.

  • William Reed September 2, 2020, 3:04 pm

    In weighing the components, it looks as if you’ve considered fractions of a pound as ounces.
    Doesn’t this give you an incorrect total system weight?

  • George hilbish September 1, 2020, 4:51 am

    Excellent review.

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