Browning’s X-Bolt Eclipse rifle series has always offered shooters something a bit out of the ordinary.
Stocked in a light and hardy laminate, the rifles have been a perfect option for those who put their firearms through the wringer. But the stock also has the features to make it a precision shooter, in addition to being rugged.
The Utah gun designer has expanded the traditionally large-game focused X-Bolt variant, now offering options to those searching for a rifle perfect for smaller game or knocking out the X-ring off the firing line. Browning introduced the Eclipse Target and Varmint models this year, giving shooters all the advantages of the unique line, but in calibers perfect for competition and coyotes hunts.
The Eclipse Target is offered in two of the most popular competition calibers — the 6.5mm Creedmoor and .308 Winchester. While the Eclipse Varmint is set to mystify rock chucks and other critters, slinging .204 Ruger, .223 Remington and .22-250 Remington rounds.
The new rifles have many features those familiar with the X-Bolt and Eclipse lines will quickly recognize. But each also has some particular tweaks that tailor them to their task — mainly pertaining to their barrels.
Both of the new Eclipse variants are outfitted with target-crowned heavy bull barrels, offering shooters superior harmonics and heat dispersion, thus aiding in the accuracy inherent to their missions. The Target version, however, has a slightly heavier and more stable 28-inch barrel, while the Varmint model's 26-inch barrel should make it a more maneuverable firearm in the field.
The barrel differences, however, does not equate to a huge jump in weight, with only around a half-pound variance between the Target and Varmint models. Of course, given many varmint shooters take aim off a portable bench or tripod, this should not put a crimp in their style.
As far as the features common to the X-Bolt line, one that should win plenty of fans is the line's Feather Trigger. The company’s proprietary adjustable trigger allows shooters to modify pull weight to their preference or the task at hand. The triggers can be tuned from 3 to 5 pounds, giving them plenty of versatility on or off the bench.
The cut of the Eclipse's stock should also be an attraction for those searching for every advantage at the range in the field.
The most obvious attribute is its thumb-hole, which allows for a comfortable and natural grip on the rifle. But there are other features that have the potential to win favor. The stock also has a Monte Carlo cheek piece, helping with a firm weld and clear sight line. And the forend is wide and flat, adding to its stability when placed on a rest.
The rifles also come with the X-Bolt’s X-Lock scope mounting system. Browning touts the four-screw system as being a more stable optics platform, compare to the conventional two-screw systems.
Both the Eclipse Varmint and Eclipse Target have an MSRP of $1,069.99