Rifle|Special Edition Fall 2020
In all my time in the field, the one rifle I did not see very often was the Browning T-Bolt. Unless they were there and I never noticed, the T-Bolt seems to be a rarity in the hunting fields. Not that there is anything wrong with the rifle, but with the market full of bolt-action and semiautomatic rimfire rifles, the T-Bolt has regrettably been left out of the fray in rifle reviews and gun store inventories.

We can change that right now. I have been shooting a Browning T-Bolt with a laminated gray/black stock and touted as the T-Bolt Varmint rifle. Surely, that was worth my attention as a small-game hunter, and it’s offered in the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire along with the popular .22 Long Rifle and the .17 HMR. I was not disappointed when the rifle arrived.

History is always an important part of any firearm, and if we dig into the T-Bolt we find it was first manufactured from 1965 to 1982 in a wide variety of models including both a right- and left-handed action. Stocks included everything from composite to wood to a present day laminated stock. Interestingly, the rifle was available with a suppressor-ready carbon fiber stock along with a two-tone composite stock. A Micro Midas model is made for younger shooters. In fact, there have been too many versions to list them all here.

Resuming production in 2006, the line was toned down to about one-third that number, and each model is available in the .22 Long Rifle, .22 WMR and .17 HMR, leaving the T-Bolt with more than enough variety to go around for anyone looking for a fine rimfire rifle.

Reviewing the lineup of T-Bolt’s, Browning has listed, a Composite Sporter and Varmint, a walnut stocked Sporter in both a right- and left-handed model and a T-Bolt Target/Varmint rifle with a satin-finished checkered walnut stock. Concluding the list is the Laminated Target/Varmint rifle with a heavy stainless steel barrel. Sporter rifles have a more conservative classic stock profile with a slimmer forend. Target and varmint guns have a stock complete with a beavertail forend and a higher comb, which I find easier to use with a scope.

From the start, I knew this rifle was made for the dedicated small-game hunter interested in using a rimfire rifle in the field. The lines of this laminated stock are clean and crisp with attention paid to all the details. While most shooters are used to a high-gloss finish on Brownings, the emphasis here was to downplay the finish on the entire rifle, from the action right to the stock, to keep reflection minimal in the field.

Looking closer at the stock, the forearm is 2 inches wide, making the rifle easy to rest for those longer shots. There is no forend tip; instead the stock is cut square and rounded off for appearance. This part of the stock is checkered in a traditional point pattern complete with a border, giving it the appearance of a custom gun. From there the stock tapers back under the receiver to the grip. An enthusiast might take note here that the designers made the T-Bolt stock easily adaptable to both a right- and left-hand action. This is done by simply duplicating the lines of the stock at this point to allow the locking lugs on the bolt to follow out and to the rear of the receiver regardless of the action in an obvious move to cut costs to the consumer.


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Special Edition Fall 2020