Winchester’s Latest Bolt-Action: The XPR
Russ Chastain 01.22.15
Winchester’s new bolt-action baby is called the XPR, and I got to play with it at the 2015 SHOT Show. The bolt features a round grasping ball with a hole to lighten its weight, and a short 60-degree bolt throw. The bolt itself is quite large in diameter, at least on the ones I handled.
A lengthwise groove cut into the bolt acts as a guide when moving the bolt forward or rearward, and a left-side-mounted bolt release engages with that groove. Simply push on the release to remove the bolt.
When cocked, an indicator is visible (and tactile, if you need it in the dark) at the rear of the bolt, so you can easily tell whether it’s cocked or not. Three locking lugs secure the bolt when closed. The bolt is also coated with “nickel Teflon” for slick operation and rust resistance and can be disassembled quickly without tools.
The two-position safety is thumb-operated and is mounted to the right of the bolt’s rear end. This may be a bummer for lefties, although when shooting southpaw the thumb will be on the right side of the bolt, so… time will tell, I guess. I’d rather see it mounted centrally, in line with the bore; this is more convenient for everyone–but they didn’t ask me when they were designing it.
When the safety is engaged (rear position), the bolt is locked shut. Just forward of the safety is a small button. Push it down to momentarily unlock the bolt so you can cycle the action with the safety engaged. I found it well-positioned and easy to use.
The Winchester XPR chromoly steel barrel is button rifled, thermally stress relieved, free floated, and uses a Savage-style locknut for easy assembly with precise headspacing. The muzzle of the XPR has a recessed crown, helping to prevent damage to that critical part of the rifling.
The single-stack box magazine is removable, plastic, and feels a little cheap. I asked a rep about it who agreed to some extent, but he also said they hadn’t had trouble with them. They are one of the lower-priced magazines, which helps if you want a spare or need to replace it.
The magazine release is recessed and located at the front edge of the magazine. I found it easy to remove and insert the XPR’s mag. Magazine capacity is 3 rounds in all calibers.
The XPR’s stock–available in black or camo–has a matte finish with textured portions to enhance grip in the pistol grip and forearm. The flattened bottom of the fore-end is a nice touch as it helps stabilize the rifle when resting it on sandbags, a shooting rest, or the rail of a deer stand.
The XPR action engages the stock by lying against flat surfaces they call “profile interface pads,” and a typical recoil lug completes the fit. The Inflex recoil pad is thick and looks forgiving.
The trigger is called M.O.A. and boasts zero take-up, zero creep, and zero overtravel. The factory sets the pull weight at only 3.5 pounds, much lighter than we’ve come to expect from most.
The rep with whom I talked said they were fairly shocked at the accuracy this rifle consistently produced during testing, and with all these features, that’s not hard to believe. Only time will tell how this one plays out, but it looks to me as if Winchester may have a real winner on their hands.
Without a scope, the XPR weighs in at about 7 pounds, and the suggested retail varies from about $550 to $710. Check the Winchester website for more details.