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My new X2 Montana Rifle Co. 30-06

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    My new X2 Montana Rifle Co. 30-06

    Well this story actually started about a year ago. I ordered a nice left handed bolt action rifle (their X2 model) in 30-06 with a carbon fiber stock, stainless steel action and barrel, bedding with aluminum pillars and adjustable trigger. It took about 8 months or so for me to receive my sparkling new rifle but it was gorgeous. Then I took it out for it's trial run. I used factory 168gr Federal ammunition and a bench rest. The result was absolutely terrible. I have an M1A SOCOM that shot far better than the bolt rifle did. I was so upset and unhappy that I wanted to throw the rifle. I called the manufacturer and talked with the owner, I finally told him that I'd like to tinker on the rifle and he kinda agreed (he didn't object at least) to the idea that if I couldn't fix it I could send it back and have them take care of the problem.

    The first thing I found was that the action bolts were too long which caused the barrel/receiver to move under recoil which damaged the bedding. After cutting the bolts and rebedding the stock I tested the rifle again, still no real success. After a little more work I found that my scope was having problems (a nice Vortex Razor HD that I used on my Loaded model M1A and had temporarily moved it over to the new Montana Rifle). So I purchased a new Vortex Viper PST Gen II and waited for the scope to be delivered. In the mean time I found that the bolt didn't really operate smoothly. I tried all sorts of polishing and lubing and it improved a little but not enough to feel the way I wanted it to.

    After a month or so I got my new scope and I tested the rifle again - still no joy. After thinking about it for a while I realized that when I redid the bedding I only bedded the rifle's front end up to the recoil lug, the manufacturer had bedded it beyond the recoil lug to where the barrel's profile started getting smaller in diameter (a little more than an inch forward of the receiver ring). So I figured I'd add that forward section of bedding and see what happened - SUCCESS!!

    Yup, that little section of bedding made all the difference in the world. When I first received the rifle I was getting some really terrible groups, as large as 8 inches at 100 yards from a bench. Today I tested a group at 100 yards with 3 rounds of handloaded 200 grain Hornady ELD-X bullets and got a single big hole with all three touching, that's pretty good for a heavy bullet like that. I need to tune it up a little and test a few tenths of a grain around this load but I'd bet that I'm pretty much done. While I was working on the bedding I also found what was causing the bolt to drag, they use a metal box inside of the magazine well to create a finished look and better control the feeding of the cartridges. On that box they have a lip at the rear and it turned out that the lip was just a couple thousandths of an inch too tall. Once I filed the lip down and rounded the edges the bolt moved like I expected it to.

    I'll try some lighter factory ammo (probably Federal 168gr Match) and see what happens before I'm completely convinced that it's shooting the way I like. I'll also do some testing out to 400 yards and see if I'm able to simply adjust for range and make hits. If all that works out then I'll be completely satisfied with the rifle.
    Last edited by RAMMONT; 07-28-2017, 02:48 AM.

    Nice group!


      Thanks, I like to use 5 shot groups to really see what the rifle will act like but this is a hunting rifle and I doubt if I'll ever shoot more than the 3 shots at a game animal so I tested it the same way I'll be using it. Between fixing the accuracy problem and getting the bolt to move smoothly I'm pretty excited, now to test it at longer ranges and verify that it will be dependable and predictable.


        Very nice shooting and outstanding troubleshooting, Rick! (I would've thrown it lol. I'm not good at that)

        Let's see a pic of this new lady!


          Actually I did loose my temper at the range and I eneded up with a few dings on the barrel and scope. I hate loosing control like that because I have to fix the damage. I had to touch up the scratches on the scope and I had to remove a couple of dings and scratches on the barrel and then refinish it with my beadblaster (it came with a rough beadblasted stainless steel barrel). It looks good now but 15 seconds of stupidity created about 6 hours of work. I'll have to take pictures of the current scoped setup later today but here is a picture of the rifle when I first received it.


            Great looking rifle, slightly looks to me like a LH stainless steel model 70.

            Other that the issues said, how is the quality? how is the trigger?

            I wonder if an NP3 or some kind of coating on the bolt will smooth it up.


              Well I took the rifle to the 400 yard range yesterday along with 3 types of ammo and two other shooters, everything worked as I hoped it would. All three of us were able to keep most of the groups around 1 MOA at 100 yards from a bench and we were all able to hit a 1 MOA target out to 400 yards (actually a 4" x 8" steel target). I was even able to zero the rifle at 100 yards and then accurately estimate the hold overs out to 400 yards and the rifle still made well placed hits without a problem. As promised, I've attached a picture of the rifle as I'm using it now.

              Montana Rifle Co. took a little from Mauser and Winchester and built their own receivers. The action looks to be pretty solid with controlled feed. I'm not real impressed with the fact that they mill cast receivers, the result isn't as smooth an action as I'd like but it's not bad. The trigger is very good, no slack and a crisp break at 1.5 lbs. It is an adjustable Model 70 type trigger so you can make it a little heavier for hunting but so far I think I'll use it as it is. The stock is one of the reasons I picked the rifle, living Montana I need to have a stock that will handle the weather changes without warping and that I can keep a good grip on while wearing heavy gloves. They created that rough bumpy finish that you see on some polymer stocks but it's made of a good grade of carbon fiber so I have light weight with less chance of cracking he stock if I drop the rifle or take a fall. The finish on the metal is very good, no flash from casting and no machine marks. I even bore scoped the rifle when I got it and overall it looked good but it did have a few marks that make me wonder if they actually hand lapped the barrel like they say they do or if the person handling the finish reamer got a little careless about cleaning the chips.

              I honestly think that the problems I had were due to my rifle being a left handed rifle and the size of the company, it's not a big outfit so they really have to put their effort where the money is and left handed rifles aren't going to produce as much revenue as right handed rifles. I think that mine was put on the back burner because it would take longer and be potentially more costly to setup and cut a left handed receiver. By the time several months had gone by (6?) I started asking where the rifle was and I think they realized that they let things slide too long so they tried to rush the job and they made a couple of mistakes. I suspect that standard right handed rifle wouldn't see the same issues. I have no angst toward Montana Rifle Co. and in all fairness their website even says that if the rifle doesn't shoot 1 MOA then send it back and they'll either fix it or replace it so the work I did was my choice and not something I had to do because the company didn't want to honor their product's performance.

              The moral of the story is that if you want to tinker on a rifle just remember that the manufacturer probably configured it the way it is for a good reason and while you might be able to fix an obvious problem, be prepared for the possibility of you causing yourself a major headache if you change too many things away from the original setup.
              Last edited by RAMMONT; 07-31-2017, 12:37 PM.