Mini-Review...Browning Micro Hunter .308


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tex_n_cal
May 26, 2003, 03:40 AM
My '52 FN Mauser in .30-06 is a fine rifle, but it just got too darn heavy last year. When the local gunshop ran a 20% off sale, I scored a Browning Micro Hunter in .308. According to the old bathroom scales, the FN without scope weighs as much as the Browning with a 3.5x10 Leupold, so I guess I saved a pound or so. In overall length, the Browning's 20 inch barrel and short action saved more than four inches off the OAL.

Observation on the rifle are as follows:

1. The 3 lug action has a very short bolt throw. The bolt itself could use some more polishing to smooth it up, but that's what you get for a $550 rifle nowadays.

2. The trigger is pretty good - crisp and consistent, letting go between 3.5 and 4.0 pounds.

3. The magazine is a detachable box, but is sorta awkward given you have to drop the detachable floorplate, then unclip the mag from the hinged floorplate. You can get 4 rounds into the mag, but you won't be able to seat the mag under a closed bolt - making the capacity 3+1. Replacement mags are $54 each at Browning's website - guess I better not loose this one.:cuss:

The hinged floorplate is sorta clunky looking - they really need to slim it down some to improve the rifle's appearance.

4. This rifle has a 13.25 LOP, which is a little shorter than most new bolt actions, which suits me fine.

5. The stock has some pretty nice straight grain. No figure, but above average wood, compared to what you see from Ruger or Remington. The finish, although not glossy, is still a little too slick. Given how well it shoots, I suspect it's going to get refinished in tung oil, to make it a little more user friendly.

6. Browning's tang safety works fine for me - it locks the bolt closed when applied, and is easy to reach without changing your grip. Some of the M70 style safeties you see on production guns are so stiff you can't really use them without two fingers.

7. Yes, I know it's not a controlled feed, Mauser style extractor, but this is a deer rifle.

8. The 20" barrel is fully floated from the forend, and is deeply counterbored at the muzzle. It also had a nice blob of grease in the bore when I got it. Good thing I looked before shooting!

So, how does it shoot?

I loaded it with Hornady Light Magnums, 150 gr SST bullets, which are claimed to do 3000 fps. This is the special high velocity ammo that Hornady sells for bolt actions - it is not recommended for autoloaders, due to pressure and burn rates. Instrumental out of the 20" barrel, they averaged 2920 fps. Given a 22" or 24" barrel, I expect they'd do as advertised.

It will take some work to beat these factory loads for accuracy, let alone velocity. I shot two 100 yard 3 shot groups in a row that were were well under an inch center to center. Not bad for a breezy day and a new rifle!

Except for nitpicking the cosmetics and the magazine, this is a fine rifle, and it's going hunting this fall:D

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