The A-Bolt has been a staple in the Browning line for over three decades. This is because of the accuracy, dependability and price. The AB3 is an advancement in the A-Bolt which takes this rifle to the next level. They have taken what was already a great rifle and made improvements without increasing the cost.
Browning uses cold-rolled steel to make the barrel on these tried and true, AB3 rifles. The precision button-rifled, target crown and free-floating barrel gives this rifle downrange accuracy you would expect from a much more expensive firearm. Most of the calibers in this line come with a 22-inch barrel except for the .270 WSM and the .300 WSM, which have 23-inch barrels. The magnum calibers of 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag have 26-inch pipes.
The action and barrel have a matte blued steel finish. The bolt has three front locking lugs and is designed to give you a 60-degree lift on the bolt. This gives you a fairly short lift before racking the action and something we have become accustom to with the higher-end X-bolt rifles.
An additional feature, which is usually reserved for more expensive rifles, is the bolt will lock when on safety. This keeps the bolt from catching on things as you walk through the woods when opening the action. You can also empty the rifle with the safety on, which is another great feature.
The factory trigger breaks around 3.75-pounds and works well for good, accurate shooting. It comes with a detachable rotary magazine and is drilled and tapped for a scope. The AB3 Composite Stalker model comes with a composite stock, which is pretty durable. The AB3 Hunter model comes in a black walnut and will cost you a bit more.
For that young hunter in your life, the AB3 Micro Stalker hit the market for 2017. It has a shorter pull for those smaller frames and comes in four very popular calibers, one being the 6.5 Creedmoor.
All three of these models were designed to give you Browning quality at a price anyone can afford. A few trips to the range with our AB3 test rifle and some premium ammunition made it very obvious that you don’t have to spend your kid’s college fund money to get an accurate rifle. With several different loads, we consistently shot sub MOA groups. One particular load delivered .5-MOA groups, which is as good or better than anyone could expect for an entry level rifle.
My name is Dan Kidder, I am Managing Editor of Sportsman's News Magazine. I am a former Marine who served with the Fleet Anti Terrorism Security Team Company during Operation Desert Storm. Prior to moving to Utah, I served as communications director for Georgia Congressman Mac Collins in his Washington, DC office. I am the President and CEO of On Target Defensive Training, offering firearms and unarmed combat courses to civilians and law enforcement. My students have included federal agents of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Border Patrol, ICE, local and state law enforcement, national celebrities, and the general public. My beat at Sportsman's News includes tactical firearms, personal protection, survival, first aid, camping, and hiking.