At the Range: David E. Petzal tests the .325 WSM Browning A-Bolt | Field & Stream

At the Range: David E. Petzal tests the .325 WSM Browning A-Bolt

Dave liked this tempermental rifle enough to buy one for himself despite its quirks. Here's his review.

Field & Stream Online Editors

THE INSIDE STORY: When it first came to me, this A-Bolt rifle couldn't have hit Montana if I were standing in downtown Billings. Why? The fore-end had warped and was pressing against the barrel. I sent the gun back to Browning, where the problem was quickly corrected. When I got it back, the A-Bolt turned out to be a nice firearm, albeit a somewhat temperamental one. It does not shoot the three available bullet weights anywhere near one another, and it finds a certain weight to be much more to its taste than the others.

Here's how it went on the target range: 180-grain Ballistic Silvertips averaged 1.649 inches; 200-grain AccuBond CT slugs went into 2.74 inches, and 220-grain Power-Point groups measured .598 across. This A-Bolt really likes Power-Points.

All told, it is a light, handsome rifle with a nicely figured, well-checkered claro walnut stock, a good-not great-trigger pull, and very positive feed for a gun that handles shortfats. I wish Browning would dispense with the gold-plated trigger, but that is a minor quibble.

Browning considers this an all-around gun, but I disagree. It's not really a deer gun, but I would certainly use it on bear, elk, or African game. Its real advantage is that it's a genuinely light gun that shoots a heavy bullet and won't kick you to death in the process.

**CALIBER: .325 WSM **

PRICE: $764; right-hand, $734

WEIGHT: 7 pounds 1 ounce without scope

BARREL: 23-inch, chrome-moly

STOCK: Checkered walnut

TRIGGER PULL: 3 pounds 12 ounces

SCOPE USED IN TEST: Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5X¿¿¿10X

ACTION: Left-handed A-Bolt