After Browning discontinued the T-Bolt in 1975, the rimfire rifle has come back to the spotlight. In the Composite Varmint version, the T-Bolt’s signature “T” design remains intact. With the aim of capturing the rimfire hunter looking for accuracy and flat trajectories, the Winchester Browning T-Bolt Composite Varmint is the standard.
- Length – 40.25 inches
- Barrel Length – 22 inches
- Weight – 5 pounds and 13 ounces
- Rate of Twist – 9 inches
- Magazine Capacity – 10 rounds, detachable Double Helix magazine
Following all the good things that make Browning T-Bolts one of the most popular rifles in the market, the T-Bolt Composite Varmint is setting new standards for accuracy for rimfire rifles.
The T-Bolt Composite Varmint fires .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR cartridges via a rimfire method of ignition, thus blending the old with the new. What this means is that the firing pin of the rifle strikes the rim of the cartridge to ignite the primer. This type of firing system has been around since the mid-19th century. It has never really gone out of style, but it is not at the forefront either.
The action on the Composite Varmint is the straight pull bolt action where the bolt is pulled in just one motion, straight back. This empties the chamber, and then by simply pushing the bolt back, the user can load the next round. On the T-Bolt the action is fast and smooth, and lock up is solid and safe. This method eliminates the turning action, which makes for quicker chambering and firing. However, the closing stroke requires a bit more effort because the bolt is cocked. And it is prone to dirt, so regular cleaning of the chamber and the ammo as well is a must.
One of the best features of this Browning rifle is the Double Helix magazine. The design allows for 10 rounds to fit in a small magazine size. It is undoubtedly unique and works well. The magazine is made of polycarbonate that is translucent, allowing you to see the rounds and mechanism that makes the Double Helix system work. Though it looks complicated, the magazine is surprisingly easy to load.
When it comes to the trigger and safety, the T-Bolt Composite Varmint’s are housed in single unit forming part of the rear tang with the trigger guard below it. The trigger is finished and gold—another of Browning’s signature additions—and can be adjusted from about 3.25 to 5.25 pounds to suit the user’s preferences. It comes out of the box with a pull weight of 4.25 pounds, which can be on the heavy side. However, it breaks through cleanly with little to no creep.
The safety on the Browning T-Bolt Composite Varmint has two positions. One position allows for bolt removal, and the other is for locking the trigger only. This means that rounds can be loaded or removed with the safety on. The safety switch is located on the grip tang making it convenient to use.
However removing the bolt is not as straightforward. In fact, in can be quite complicated with the user having to turn the safety on first then pulling the bolt just enough to unlock it from the battery. Then they would still have to press a release button while pulling the bolt free.
The barrel is hammer forged and fully free floating throughout its entire length, so consistent accuracy is guaranteed even through bad weather. It is finished in blued satin and already screw-cut to fit a suppressor with a .5 UNF thread.
The stock is made of composite Monte Carlo material that is finished in either matte black or satin, which is the more practical option for heavy outdoor use. It offers a spare magazine storage located in the buttplate, which is perfect for carrying extra ammunition.
The stock also features a raised cheek piece and lowered heel to support for sighting through a scope. The wider forearm adds to stability and the heavy barrel offers superior accuracy. The receiver is factory drilled and taped so users can mount their own scopes.
Coming under 6 pounds, the rifle is definitely one of the lightest in the market. Something you would expect from a varmint model, in fact. This makes it easy to lug around especially when roughing it in the wild. The rifle is recommended for hunting small game and for target shooting.