Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Thursday, November 01, 2018
The 10mm comes into it’s own
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Long and short of it

Franchi Momentum Rifle makes debut
Sometimes companies seem to come out of left field with pleasant surprises. So it is with the new Momentum bolt-action centerfire rifle from Franchi.

The subject here is a Momentum chambered in .308 Winchester and sporting a Burris scope.This rifle wants to hunt. And it is the first shot at centerfire bolt-action rifles by Franchi. Somebody there has been thinking and translating those thoughts into exemplary form and function.

FRANCHI MOMENTUM RIFLE delivers the goods. Here, author is shown during a range session with the new rifle.

For over a century, Franchi has made a name for itself in the shotgun world, most notably with its legendary recoil-operated semi-autos. The Momentum falls in the category, the name of which I coined some time back: (MHR) Modern Hunting Rifle, the term a variation on the theme of the (MSR) Modern Sporting Rifle as it describes the AR genre of rifles.

What MHR really connotes is a rifle that is made both of modern materials and with modern technology and machinery. Typically these rifles sport some form of synthetic stock, non-glare stock and action/barrel finish and highly evolved bedding systems. They are designed to be made on computer-controlled machinery and deliver at least acceptable performance while requiring minimal maintenance along the way.

The Franchi Momentum meets every one of those criteria, and then some. It shoots like it thinks it is a target rifle. Pinpoint accuracy is always nice, and a real treat when it comes in a rig that is ready for hard hunting anywhere in the world under any circumstances.

Trigger pull out of the box is superb. Clean 3½-pound release with no noticeable over-travel or take-up. Feels like a really well tuned trigger – basically perfect for a hunting rifle. No need to adjust the trigger at all, although the trigger is adjustable.

TIGHT GROUPS CAME easy with the Franchi Momentum in .308 Win. Generally, the first two shots overlapped, with the third shot making the group size. This group was shot with HSM 168-grain load.

This rifle handles like a dream because of balance and ergonomics. A relatively heavy one-piece, three-lug fluted bolt and receiver are between the hands, so that weight does not detract from quick and smooth handling. Bolt throw is 60 degrees.

The design and contours of the stock all work together as an artful expression. The forend is slender enough to be nice, yet has the equivalent of a full-length finger groove atop. A diamond-checkered-pattern panel and tapered bottom profile rear to front make grasping it anywhere along the forend is both natural and comfortable.

The lines are sexy. The pistol grip is thin enough to afford a hand purchase that is positive. It is angled to put the trigger finger naturally right at the nicely curved trigger. No need to think about how to hold or where to locate the finger – everything goes together automatically because of the design of the stock itself. The front surface of the trigger is nicely rounded in a convex manner that allows the pad of the trigger finger to find its place and then squeeze directly to the rear. This is significant and exciting (and it contributes to accurate results).

The rifle is alive in that it just feels nice to hold, to point and swing. In that sense, it is more like a nice shotgun than a rifle. What this means is that it does not detract from standing offhand shots, or from shots taken from any of the unsupported field hunting positions. This also matters at some times on some hunts. This is a quality that one expects in a custom rifle, but rarely encounters on a production rifle. Whoever put this package together knew what he or she was doing. This rifle is a combination of art and engineering, and that is worth comment.

Hunt ready with scope, the rig weighs right at 7.7 pounds, has 14-inch length of pull and 22-inch medium contour barrel (0.680-inch at muzzle). The rifle came with a Burris 3-9x40 Fullfield II scope and Burris Xtreme Tactical steel bases and Zee rings. Great combination and the rig assembled easily and intuitively. The scope is sharp enough to see .30-caliber bullet holes clearly at 100 yards and adjustments were consistent. This is just one nice hunting rifle rig overall.

WITH BURRIS SCOPE mounted, the Franchi Momentum is hunt-ready. Not only does it perform well on all fronts, but also it is sleek and good looking in the process.

The rifle comes without the scope and has an MSRP of $609, or with the scope/rings/bases with an MSRP of $729. For those who like such things, the muzzle on the free-floating cold hammer forged barrel is threaded and the rifle comes with a knurled thread cover at the muzzle. Sling studs are integral to the stock and the stock around the studs is hollowed out just right so that it is easy to attach or remove a sling.

This is something that other companies might want to copy because it is not only the right way to do it, but does it in an aesthetically pleasing way.

For the range session, I quickly attached a short Harris bipod to the integral stud in the forend and used a folded-up padded flannel hunting shirt to help support the butt. Even when shooting off a bench with hunting rifles, it is handy to use items that logically will be used in the field.

Except for when driven game is on the menu, I use bipods (longer than the ones at the bench) routinely while hunting, and always figure out some way to stabilize the butt for a classic three-point support. That way, at the moment of truth, there is no question that the shot will be true

Different .308 Winchester loads were used at the range. Primary was the 168-grain HPBT Match load from HSM Ammunition. Great stuff and tends to shoot extremely well out of most rifles. Several three-shot groups at 100 yards indicated that the rifle overlaps the first two shots and then the size of the group is determined by the third shot. Average group was 0.542-inch center-to-center.

I also tried some of my own loads that feature a 150-grain Sierra Pro-Hunter bullet. Results were almost identical. A composite group of the two loads would remain under an inch outside. Point is that this rifle shoots tighter than minute-of-deer with different loads. For hunting rifles, it is really nice when the individual rifle likes different loadings.

Some MHRs on the market save both weight and cost via a blind magazine, but not the Momentum. It has a classic hinged floorplate with release within the trigger guard. Nice touch.

The TSA recoil pad is said to reduce 50 percent of felt recoil. I don’t know how to measure that accurately, but can attest that felt recoil was not a detracting factor when shooting the rifle, so it must be doing its job well.

The Momentum is available in .243 Winchester, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and .300 Winchester Magnum. The rifle used for this writing was chambered for the .308 Winchester. Magazine capacity is 4+1 for all but the 6.5mm Creedmoor and .300 mag, which is 3+1.

Bottom line: this is one heck of nice hunting rifle at an amazingly affordable price. Literally, it has it all.

comus_momentumfeaturesMOMENTUM FEATURES AN easy to use two-position safety at the rear of the receiver. Bolt handle and knob are positioned for quick and positive handling.

THREE-LUG BOLT locks tightly, delivering a 60-degree throw. Plunger ejector kicks empties out positively, while the extractor claw grips the cartridge rim with authority.

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