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BY Bobby Coal on May. 17, 2019

GameKeeper Guns: The Wish List

I have always loved rifles, bolt action rifles specifically. The inherent accuracy and the clean lines are just very appealing to me. I don’t have any predispositions to wooden stocks or synthetic as long as its glass bedded and nearly shoots in the same hole. The same goes for finishes, I have stainless barrels and I have blued barrels and I love them equally.

Lately I have had an itch for a new varmint rifle. I’ve had a .243 bull-bar-reled Sako for 30 years and it has never let me down, but I have been wanting something a little lighter in caliber. Thinking it might be faster and flatter shooting. There are several calibers that have been catching my eye. This year I made a point to spend some time looking at various modern offerings. 

While visiting at the Browning booth at a show, I fell in love with a new rifle they are calling the X-Bolt Eclipse Varmint. It’s as “sexy as a Porsche.” It’s built to be accurate and features a thumbhole Monte Carlo stock, heavy fluted barrel with a muzzle brake, and a detachable rotary magazine. It’s also offered in the very interesting .204 Ruger caliber.

This, quite frankly in my opinion, would be a fantastic truck gun for gamekeepers. It’s the rifle you can grab quickly when you see a coyote at 300 yards while you’re checking fields. How many times does this happen? You have to be ready and this rifle, when scoped correctly, would be a menace to varmints. 

I don’t know that I have ever seen so many custom features on a factory rifle. The glass bedded thumbhole laminated stock feels so comfortable and is actually flatted on the bottom of the fore-end to steady it with sandbags.  It’s a nice weight at 9.5 pounds and I like the detachable magazine in case the need arises to reload quickly.  It’s a coyote special and no doubt would be lethal on pigs with a well-placed bullet in the ear. A rifle like this would give you the confidence required to make a shot like that.

The next step would be some good “glass.” Given my “druthers” I would stick a 6.5 by 20 Leupold on it, and never question it once it was sighted in. Slip it into a quality gun case like the ones Mission Mercantile and Evolution are making and keep it where you can access it easily. You can’t over-protect a precision rifle like this enough. 

For gamekeepers who need a “truck gun,” this as this is as good as I have seen. Check it out at your local dealer or www.browning.com. I think you will be as impressed as I was.

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