April 4th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Browning T-Bolt .17 HMR with AA Maple Stock

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

This story features a unique, American-designed rimfire rifle, chambered for the potent .17 HMR round. The current generation T-Bolt has a tang-mounted ambidextrous safety, a choice of barrel contours, lengths, and finishes, and a variety of stock options. What sets the T-Bolt apart from other rimfire rifles is the way the action cycles. There is not a conventional bolt that requires four distinct motions (lift bolt handle up/pull back/move forward/rotate handle down). With the T-Bolt you simply pull the handle straight back to extract a round, then return it forward to chamber a new round from the Double Helix magazine. The cocking effort is divided between back pull and forward movement so the effort is relatively light and easy.

Among current rimfire rifles, the Browning T-Bolt ranks high for fit and finish. The bluing is very nice and the T-Bolt even boasts a gold-plated trigger shoe. Many different stock types have been offered in recent years including some very nice AA Maple stock models as shown below (click to zoom). These T-Bolt rifles exhibit very fine craftmanship. Current models are made in Japan under license to Browning.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR
Click image for full-screen T-Bolt photo with detail.

Browning T-Bolt Sporter AA Maple Model
RECEIVER – Steel; High polished finish; Drilled and tapped for scope mounts
BARREL – Medium Sporter; Blued finish; Free-floating; Semi-match chamber; Recessed crown
ACTION – Straight pull bolt action; Top-tang safety; Adjustable trigger
STOCK – AA Maple; Gloss finish; Checkered
FEATURES – Sling swivel studs installed
PRODUCTION – Limited quantities

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

T-Bolt Owner Talks about Function and Accuracy
“I have a Browning T-bolt in .17 HMR, but with the maple stock. It is probably my favorite .17 HMR rifle (also the most expensive). The rifle feels smaller than some of my other .17 HMR rifles. I think the length of pull is a little shorter. I do like the light weight and trim handling of the rifle and the straight-pull bolt can be cycled really quickly. Mine is quite accurate and will shoot one-inch groups at 100 yards with both Hornady ammo and the CCI A17 ammo.” — RexRay, Varminter.com Forum member.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Pros and Cons of the Browning T-Bolt

The T-Bolt has a reputation for good accuracy, provided you have a good lot of .17 HMR ammo (we recommend checking for bullet run-out before you shoot for groups). The straight-pull action works as advertised — it is fast, smooth, and easy-to-operate. The Double Helix magazine (covered below) is excellent. It is very compact yet ultra-reliable. Another plus is that the T-Bolt has been produced in many different versions, with a variety of stocks, and even a stainless action version.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LRWhat are the negatives? Some of the stocks have a somewhat short length-of-pull, but this is easily solved with spacers. The main complaint is the factory trigger — some owners say it is too heavy at about 4 pounds, though the break is clean. For varmint work, we could live with the stock trigger and put money saved into optics.

If you prefer a very light trigger, JARD makes a T-Bolt replacement trigger. Featuring an aluminum housing, the JARD T-Bolt trigger can be ordered with 12-, 16-, or 20-ounce pull weights. The JARD trigger offers a crisp, clean break significantly lighter than stock. But at $249.99 the JARD trigger is fairly expensive. Additionally there have been a couple complaints about slam fires at the lowest weights so we recommend the 20-ounce. Here is one owner review, from a Rimfire Central thread: “The new Browning T-Bolt is a great rifle in all aspects except for the trigger. In my case when I received my JARD trigger it was an almost drop-in installation with very little adjusting or fooling around. For me it made a decent little rifle a great little rifle.”

Browning Double Helix 10-Round Magazine

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

The T-Bolt’s patented 10-round rotary Double Helix™ magazine is a unique design that feeds very reliably and is easy to load. The Double Helix magazine uses a torsion drive spring and interlocking gear design to maintain correct timing and exact cartridge alignment for smooth, reliable feeding. The translucent gray body allows for easy verification of the number of remaining cartridges. We like the fact that the Double Helix provides TEN-round capacity while fitting nearly flush with the bottom of the action.

The Browning Double Helix rotary box magazine system is easy to load, easy to carry, and easy to use. The smooth, rounded exterior contours of the Double Helix, along with twin gripping grooves, tapered shape and a slightly extended baseplate design make insertion positive, while the spring-assisted drop-free magazine ejection feature allows for rapid magazine changes. T-bolt owners confirm that feeding and reliability is excellent — the magazine design puts cartridges in perfect alignment with the chamber.

Other Browning T-Bolt Variants

Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LRIn recent years, Browning has produced T-Bolt rifles in a variety of models, with many different stock types and various barrel lengths/contours. Most of the photos above showcase the AA Maple Sporter T-Bolt, which is currently out of production, though still available from some dealers (if you search). We like the looks of the AA Maple T-Bolt, but there many other stock options including dark brown, Black, Green, and various camouflage finishes. Use the links below to see all the T-Bolt configurations.

Here are 4 other T-Bolt variants, first the new-for-2021 T-Bolt Target with muzzle brake, then the Limited Edition Cerakote T-Bolt Speed model, and two discontinued T-Bolts, a composite-stocked carbon finish model and a Varmint Special with stainless action and thumbhole laminated stock. Current production T-Bolts are offered in three rimfire chamberings: .17 HMR, .22 LR, and .22 WMR. Barrel contours and lengths (from 16.5″ to 22″) vary from model to model.

T-Bolt Current Production | T-Bolt Limited Editions | T-Bolt Discontinued Models

Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR
Browning T-bolt rifle 17 HMR limited discontinued current production rimfire .22 LR

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

Do you like the T-Bolt? Well there is a 5% Off Rebate Program available right now that covers the T-Bolt and all other Browning firearms.

.17 HMR Cartridge — Fast and Deadly on Small Varmints

We are big fans of the .17 HMR round. It’s just about perfect for ground squirrels, and is effective on prairie dogs out to about 200 yards. The three main .17 HMR producers have been CCI, Federal, and Hornady. Choose from 17gr or 20gr bullets — both work well in the varmint fields. Norma also makes .17 HMR ammo with 17gr V-Max bullets. This Norma .17 HMR ammo has shown very good accuracy.

17 HMR ammunition t-bolt browning rifle

CCI .17 HMR TNT offers 2650 FPS Velocity
For varmint work we like CCI’s latest .17 HMR VNT ammo. This boasts class-leading 2650 FPS muzzle velocity. Engineered to combine good accuracy with high impact energy, this CCI TNT ammo features a 17gr polymer-tipped bullet designed for rapid expansion. We also like the Norma .17 HMR ammo. “With outstanding accuracy and excellent energy transfer… The .17 HMR has a very loyal following among hunters and target shooters alike”, said Paul Lemke, G.M. for Norma/RUAG.

Browning T-bolt rifle .17 17 HMR straight pull production rimfire .22 LR

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April 4th, 2021

Cut-Rifled Barrel-Making — How Krieger Barrels are Crafted

Krieger Barrels Cut Rifling Cut-Rifled Barreling

How Krieger Builds Barrels

This video shows the process of cut-rifled barrel-making by Krieger Barrels, one of the world’s best barrel manufacturers. Krieger cut-rifled barrels have set numerous world records and are favored by many top shooters. The video show the huge, complex machines used — bore-drilling equipment and hydraulic riflers. You can also see how barrels are contoured, polished, and inspected.

For anyone interested in accurate rifles, this is absolutely a “must-watch” video. Watch blanks being cryogenically treated, then drilled and lathe-turned. Next comes the big stuff — the massive rifling machines that single-point-cut the rifling in a precise, time-consuming process. Following that you can see barrels being contoured, polished, and inspected (with air gauge and bore-scope). There is even a sequence showing chambers being cut.

Click Arrow to Watch Krieger Barrels Video:

Here is a time-line of the important barrel-making processes shown in the video. You may want to use the “Pause” button, or repeat some segments to get a better look at particular operations. The numbers on the left represent playback minutes and seconds.

Krieger Barrel-Making Processes Shown in Video:

00:24 – Cryogenic treatment of steel blanks
00:38 – Pre-contour Barrels on CNC lathe
01:14 – Drilling Barrels
01:28 – Finish Turning on CNC lathe
01:40 – Reaming
01:50 – Cut Rifling
02:12 – Hand Lapping
02:25 – Cut Rifling
02:40 – Finish Lapping
02:55 – Outside Contour Inspection
03:10 – Engraving
03:22 – Polish
03:50 – Fluting
03:56 – Chambering
04:16 – Final Inspection

Krieger Barrels

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

“At the start of World War Two, Pratt & Whitney developed a new, ‘B’ series of hydraulically-powered rifling machines, which were in fact two machines on the same bed. They weighed in at three tons and required the concrete floors now generally seen in workshops by this time. Very few of these hydraulic machines subsequently became available on the surplus market and now it is these machines which are sought after and used by barrel makers like John Krieger and ‘Boots’ Obermeyer. In fact, there are probably less of the ‘B’ series hydraulic riflers around today than of the older ‘Sine Bar’ universal riflers.” — Geoffrey Kolbe, Border Barrels.

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April 4th, 2021

Get FREE Classic Hunting Books as Downloadable PDFs

Free PDF hunting books Nitro Express Forum

With the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, plus the anti-gun rhetoric coming out of Washington, it’s important to have some diversions from the unsettling news. To help get your mind off COVID and the ongoing attacks on the Second Amendment, here are some great FREE BOOKS to read. You can download these to your computer, laptop, or tablet, and read them whenever you like.

Do you enjoy classic hunting adventures from around the globe? Then log on to the NitroExpress.com Forum. There you’ll find links for literally hundreds of vintage hunting stories, and even complete books, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s classic African Game Trails and Good Hunting, plus the wonderful book African Campfires by Stewart E. White, one of Roosevelt’s close friends and hunting companions.

CLICK HERE for Hundreds of Vintage Hunting Books and Articles | Alternate Link

Theodore Roosevelt Good HuntingAmong the downloadable titles are The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo (leaflet edition) by Lt.Col. J. H. Patterson, the true tale that inspired the Hollywood movie, The Ghost and the Darkness, staring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. The online version of the Man-Eaters of Tsavo book (right) is a shorter, 140-page edition created for Chicago’s Field Museum, which purchased the skins of the lions from Patterson and put them on display.

You’ll find scores of classic adventure tales, recounting hunts in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. You’ll doubtless find something of interest, whether it be Bear Hunting in BC, Chamois Hunting in Bavaria, Reindeer (Caribou) Hunting in Iceland, Jaguar Hunting in South America, or Dangerous Game Hunting in Africa. Hundreds of articles, all scanned from original texts and saved as PDFs, are available for downloading — and they are all free for the taking. Many of these works feature handsome original illustrations, as shown below.

Theodore Roosevelt Good Hunting

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