Browning has introduced the AB3 to their rifle at the 2014 SHOT Show. The AB3 is described by Browning as a “value-packaged” rifle. Despite its lower price point the AB3 is designed to be a contender for accuracy, features, style, and comfort. This is not what I would consider a “bargain” rifle in the meaning of lower quality parts and materials for the entry level shooter. Instead, I would place the AB3 in the category of many competitors‘ mid-range rifle selections; such as the Remington 783, the Savage Model 111, or the Mossberg ATR line.
The AB3 will be available in four calibers initially:
- .270 Win.
- .30-06 Sprg.
- 7mm Rem. Mag.
- .300 Win. Mag.
The AB3 barrel is designed with the same methods as the more famous Browning rifles. Affordability is the result of innovative new technologies that simplify production without sacrificing the top performance expected of Browning. Using precision button-rifling that is triple checked for finish, straightness and uniformity, the chamber is hand-reamed. A free-floating barrel allows the best opportunity for accuracy, and a recessed muzzle crown protects the muzzle from accidental contact.
The AB3 trigger is pre-set at the factory to break between 3.5 to 4.5 pounds. The model on the Show floor was definitely closer to the lower end. The trigger had no creep at all, was very smooth, and had a crisp break. Trigger control is a primary downfall of many shooters, but the Browning AB3 trigger does a good job in providing the best possibility for success.
The AB3 bolt is oversized to provide additional rigidity, but is machined inside and out to keep the weight low. Designed with three locking lugs for extra strength, the bolt is covered in a chrome coating providing a very smooth and quiet action. The bolt uses a short 60-degree lift to run the action, leaving plenty of space for clearance between the shooter’s hand and the scope. The bolt release is an easily manipulated lever on the left side of the receiver where the receiver and barrel meet.
Browning uses an Inflex Technology recoil pad to soften recoil, particularly for the larger calibers, and allow the shooter to regain their sight picture more quickly for follow-up shots. The internal design of the recoil pad pulls the rifle down and away from the shooter’s face to assist in reducing felt recoil.
The AB3 uses a tang safety lever, which blocks the trigger when engaged. There is a firing pin safety for added security, and a unique bolt lock override button to the right and behind the bolt lever. When the override button is depressed it allows the shooter to safely open the bolt for inspection or unloading, while the tang safety is still engaged.
Another great feature of the Browning AB3 is the detachable magazine. In my opinion detachable magazine rifles are by far the easier rifles to load and shoot, and safer when trouble-shooting problems. Ammunition can be stored easily and safely, but still be readily available.
A composite stock assists with cost reduction, however, instead of a simple composite design the AB3 has gone a step further by adding a tight grip with a slightly sharper palm angle and enhanced texture. The grip is designed to optimize trigger reach, making the critical trigger pull much easier to accomplish in the proper squeeze method.
The texture of the grip is not aggressive, but still assists the hand in grasping the rifle securely. The fore-end tapers down in sleek lines, and incorporates the same texture as the grip to provide additional control from the support hand.
The Browning AB3 specifications:
- Overall Length (.270 and .30-06 – 42.75 inches)
- Barrel Length – 22 inches
- Weight – 6 pounds 13 ounces
- Capacity – 5
- Overall Length (7mm Rem Mag and 300 Win Mag) – 46.75 inches
- Barrel Length – 26 inches
- Weight – 7 pounds 3 ounces
- Capacity – 4
- Action – Long, with oversized bolt
- Length of pull – 13 5/8 inches
- Twist Rate – 1:10 (7mm Rem Mag = 9.5 inches)
- MSRP – $599.99