The new Browning X Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB bolt-action rifle on a post with woods in background.
Sabastian “Bat” Mann

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I always look forward to testing a new rifle from Browning because I’ve come to expect good things. I’ve found them to be utterly reliable and capable of all the precision any hunter needs. Rarely, if ever, is there any sort of issue that causes me to cuss. This newest version of the Browning X-Bolt, the X-Bolt 2 is no exception. Last year, we tested the X-Bolt Speed SPR and named it the Best Value Hunting Rifle of 2023, and what Browning has done with their X-Bolt 2 rifles has greatly enhance every element of shooter interface.

I was able to test a new X-Bolt Speed OVIX MB in 308 Winchester at my home range over the past couple weeks—and I wasn’t disappointed. Here is my full review.

Browning X-Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB Specs

  • Length: 43.75 inches (with all stock spacers)
  • Weight: 6.69 pounds (with magazine)
  • Barrel: 22-inch fluted, threaded at M13x0.75
  • Action: Browning X-Bolt 2
  • Trigger: 3.0 pounds
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Finish: Smoked Bronze Cerakote
  • Stock: Composite Vari-Tech user-adjustable stock with OVIX camo
  • Available Chamberings: 308 Winchester (tested), 243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6.8 Western, 270 Winchester, 7mm Rem. Mag., 7mm PRC, 28 Nosler, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Win. Mag., 300 PRC
  • Price: $1469.99

Browning X-Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB Rifle Overview

A shooter test fires the new Browning X Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB at a summer shooting range.
The new X-Bolt 2 Speed is well balanced, and handled nicely when shooting off-hand. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

The new X-Bolt 2 Speed is a sub-7-pound, traditionally-styled, bolt-action hunting rifle that is available for a dozen popular big game cartridges. It uses essentially the same action as the older X-Bolts with their 60° bolt throw that you’re probably familiar with. This includes a two-position safety that locks the bolt and a bolt-release button located on the bolt handle. With the X Bolt-2, Browning has added an additional bolt-guidance surface for smoother operation and new trigger. The new DLX trigger is user-adjustable for pull weight and is very good—so good it hardly feels like any rifle trigger you’ve pulled in the past; you just apply pressure, and the rifle goes bang.

The other major enhancement is the rifle’s stock. Besides the raised black comb, my test gun’s stock looks very much like that of last year’s X-Bolt Speed, with Browning’s own OVIX camouflaged pattern. But what is really camouflaged is the stock’s adjustability. Unlike most adjustable rifle stocks with adjustments that are very apparent at first glance, when you look at the stock on the X-Bolt Speed 2, you’ll probably not notice anything. I didn’t, because there are no visible adjustment screws or knobs.

Closeup photos of the new Browning X-Bolt 2 Speed bolt, trigger, magazine, and safety.
Closer looks at X-Bolt 2 Speed’s bolt, new DLX trigger, excellent rotary magazine, and two-position bolt-locking safety. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

There are three holes in the recoil pad. Two are the common holes that provide access to the pad-attachment screws, but the very top hole provides access to the adjustment lock for the comb. You simply insert a hex wrench (provided with the rifle) into this hole and remove tension, then you have six preset points where you can position the comb to best suit you and the riflescope you’re using. If you remove the two screws that hold the recoil pad in place, it exposes the hidden plates for length-of-pull adjustment. Remove two more screws hidden behind the butt pad and you can add or subtract spacers to adjust the length of pull ¼-inch at time. The process is a bit involved but very covert. More important, the added adjustability will be a big plus for a lot of shooters. And it doesn’t end there.

If you remove the barreled action from the stock, you’ll see that Browning has bedded the recoil lug, but you’ll also notice a small screw just to the rear of where the stock has been cut out for the DLX trigger. If you remove this screw you can swap between a grip with a traditional angle or one with a straighter angle. Also, along the forend, Browning has added a black rubber inlay to enhance your grip on the rifle.

Exploded view of new Browning X Bolt 2 Speed MB bolt-action rifle on white background.
Here you can see the full extent of the Browning X Bolt 2 Speed MB stock’s hidden adjustability. Browning

Lastly, this rifle uses the flush fitting Browning rotary magazine. This magazine goes in and comes out without a hitch and the rifle feeds from it smooth and effortlessly. This may be the best detachable magazine offered for a traditional hunting rifle from any manufacture.

Related: Rifle Review: The New Ruger American Gen II Is Even Better Than the Original

Browning X Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB Shooting Results

A target with 5 bullet holes near the middle and two loose cartridges and a box of ammo nearby.
Overall, my test rifle averaged 1.15 inches for multiple five-shot groups with three different hunting loads. Richard Mann

The Speed SPR we tested last year delivered an average precision of 1.33 inches for five-shot groups. The new X-Bolt 2 Speed shot a bit better, averaging 1.15 inches. Feeding, extraction, and ejection were flawless, and the magazine worked superbly. The adjustments for the comb, length of pull, and the interchangeable grip are easy to make once you understand how to do it. Just know that it really helps to read the instruction manual first. (Don’t ask me how I know.)

Chart showing the accuracy test results for the Browning X Bolt 2 Speed rifle.

Once I did that, I was able to easily adjust the stock to fit me very well, and it was evident when I started shooting the rifle off-hand from field positions. I had no trouble consistently ringing an 8-inch steel plate at 125 yards, or one twice that size at 200 yards. The stock adjustability also helped with faster-action snap shots fired at a much closer range, because when the rifle found my shoulder, the riflescope was right where it needed to be with my eye on the target. The ability to tune this rifle stock to fit me also proved very helpful when engaging my running-deer target.

A shooter fires the Browning X-Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB for accuracy off a bench rest.
The author tests Browning’s latest X-Bolt for precision from a bench rest. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

The “MB” in this rifle’s model name stands for muzzle brake, and the rifle comes out of the box with one installed. It did reduce recoil, but the tradeoff was a hellacious increase in muzzle blast. So, most of the shooting from the bench, and about half the field shooting, was done with a Banish Backcountry suppressor. Since the rifle has a 22-inch barrel, the addition of the suppressor made the rifle a bit long and noticeably muzzle heavy. However, without the suppressor, the rifle was very well balanced.

Related: Proof Research Elevation 2.0 Rifle Review—Expert Tested

Final Thoughts on the Browning X Bolt 2 Speed OVIX MB

A shooter walks onto a summer outdoor range, carrying the Browning X Bolt 2 Speed MB rifle in his right hand.
Once adjusted to fit you perfectly, the new X-Bolt 2 Speed handles great from off the bench. Sabastian “Bat” Mann

Pros

  • Excellent shooter interface
  • Hidden stock adjustments
  • Great trigger

Cons

  • Odd thread pattern on muzzle

The added adjustability with the new X-Bolt 2 significantly improves shooter interface. By concealing these adjustments, the rifle also has a much more appealing look than some of its competitors. One quibble I have here is that there’s only an inch of length-of-pull adjustability to work with. The new trigger felt a bit different and took some getting used to. I’ll admit with the first group I fired, a few shots got away from me. But that, once I did get used to it, it was exceptional. The barrel length of this rifle is either 22, 24, or 26 inches, depending which cartridge it’s chambered for, but keep in mind that a SPR (suppressor ready) version is offered with a 4-inch shorter barrel.

My only real disappointment was the muzzle thread pattern Browning chose to go with. The rifle comes threaded at M13x0.75. The common standard for muzzle threading is 5/8×24. The reason for the small diameter thread pattern is the slimness of the rifle’s barrel, which measures only 6/10th of an inch at the point where the threading starts. This means you’ll most likely need to obtain an adapter to run a suppressor, which is something I think Browning should provide in the box. They already provide a muzzle brake and a thread protector, and if you’re going to use a thread pattern this odd, don’t penalize the customer.

But that’s where my griping ends. Just like the X-Bolt we evaluated last year, this is an excellent—but even better—big game hunting rifle. You should be able to configure it to fit you very well, the trigger will help you make great shots, and you’ll be proud when you pull it from its case in any hunting camp.

Read Next: Colt CBX TAC Hunter Rifle Review—Expert Tested

The post Browning X-Bolt 2 Speed Review—Expert Tested appeared first on Field & Stream.

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