The DIY Hunter

Browning X-Bolt 6.5 PRC Magazine.

Top view of an X-Bolt 6.5 PRC magazine showing how the magazine will accommodate the 6.5 PRC with a 2.955" COAL.

To accommodate the SAAMI specification max overall length of 2.955" of the long 6.5 PRC cartridge, Browning made a few modifications to the short action length X-Bolt magazine. It should also be noted that the same general modifications have been made to the 300 PRC magazine as well except in a long action magazine.

The X-Bolt in 6.5 PRC is built on a short action rifle platform. There are great benefits with having a short action over a long action rifle (that's an article for another time) so Browning modified the magazine design to keep the 6.5 PRC in the short action length and take advantage of those benefits.  

Two major modifications were made to the magazine. First, the front of the magazine has a deeper channel cut to allow for the longer length of the bullet tips. Second, with the channel cut is so close to the front of the magazine the latch spring has been moved from under the center of the latch being offset to one side.

Browning X-Bolt 6.5 PRC Magazine.

Bottom view of an X-Bolt 6.5 PRC magazine showing how the latch spring has been moved to the side of the latch.

With these modifications, the 6.5 PRC cartridges fit nicely into the magazine with a little room to spare and feed ever so smoothly in the X-Bolt rifle.

My hand loaded 147 Gr. ELD-M bullets at the longest COAL I have loaded have been 2.9490" and they fit with room to spare in my magazine. See: 6.5 PRC Handloads

I like shooting from a sitting position. It is very difficult for me to get down into a prone shooting position. Often it is not possible to even be able to take a prone position shot because of the terrain. In a prone position grass and sagebrush can be blocking your view. Shooting from a sitting position is much more comfortable for me and gets me above the grass and sagebrush, but how do I get steady enough to take long-range shots from a sitting position?  Here's what I have found to work best for me.

For the past few years, I have been tinkering with different shooting sticks and techniques. From my tinkering, I have found a great way to get prone accuracy from a sitting position and with equipment that is light to carry.

I use High and Heavy Outdoors Double Cross Shooting Sticks combined with Browning's ultra-light shooting bag that is attached to the top of my Alps Outdoorz day pack. What I do is set up on the sticks (as seen in the photo below) and I then stuff a shooting bag that is attached to the top of my day pack under my right armpit. When I am locked in this position it rivals the steadiness of shooting prone and is so much more comfortable for me.

High and Heavy Outdoors Shooting Sticks.

Prone position steadiness in a sitting position with High and Heavy Outdoors Shooting Sticks and a backpack with ultra-light shooting bag under my right armpit.


X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed with Browning ultra-light shooting bag.

Having an ultra-light shooting bag also gives you options to get steady shots off terrain like cliffs.

Lightweight Hunting Rifle - X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed 300 WSM

I often get asked what my favorite scopes are for my rifles. For my long range hunting rifles, my favorite scope has been the Vortex Optics HS-LR 4-16x50 with the generous 24 MOA per rotation elevation turret and a capped windage turret. In my 28 Nosler X-Bolt I can dial up shots waaaaay out there with this combination. So why did I break from Vortex and go with this Leupold scope for my Browning Hell's Canyon Speed X-Bolt?

I wanted to keep this rifle really lightweight. To do so I needed a scope with a short windage cap to make sure that the fat WSM shells cleared the turret on ejection.  Why do I need a small windage cap? Because with a scope with large windage caps that is mounted close to the barrel does not provide enough clearance for shells to eject... so you either have to raise the scope up a lot or go with a small windage cap. If I raise the scope up high enough for clearance on ejection I then also have to put something on the stock to raise the comb hieght up for proper head postitioning behind the scope. To keep it lightweight and simple a small windage turret is the best option.

I also wanted to have the ability to dial up most of my shots and have a capped windage turret.  So here is my solution. I have went with a 4.5-14x40 VX-3i with 30mm tube (had to get 30mm tube to get an adjustable objective) and I had the Leupold custom shop place an Impact 32 MOA reticle in it. I also have one of Vortex's small steel bubble levels mounted around the scope tube as well.

I really like the setup for keeping my rifle lightweight. If I had a Vortex, Nikon, Burris and many other brands of scopes I would have to put the scope up on a rail or use really high rings. With a scope up so high I would then have to build comb height adjustment into the buttstock

What I have now is a lightweight long range hunting rifle that shoots Hornady 200 Gr ELD-X bullets sub 1/2 MOA. I have an awesome tree showing 32 MOA of holdovers in the reticle, I can dial up 14 MOA on the turret (700+ yards) and I have a sticker on the top of the turret marked with actual yardages to dial, currently set for 6,500 ft of elevation. I can always place another sticker on the cap and mark it for a different elevation and bullet combo.

This rifle as shown with a full magazine and a Clincher sling has a total carry weight of 8 lbs 1 oz.