First hello to everyone here; this will be my first post although I've been reading this forum for a while now.
I've gotten a new Browning X-Bolt Composite SS Stalker in 325 WSM - my first new rifle in over two decades. I'm taking it to the range this afternoon to sight it in - I admit some slight concern over the recoil given the weight of the rifle (lack of), but I've never been particulalry recoil sensitive although I admit to having much more firing line time with big bore revolvers than rifles ( used to compete in IHMSA, standing revolver).
I spent a lot of time / reading trying to decide on which caliber and then deciding on which manufacturer (only Browning and Kimber when it gets down to it). I admit to likeing the looks of the Kimber, but I kept having second thoughts on the barrel profile - I simply wish Kimber had a slightly heavier barrel similar to the both the Browning or a Remington CDL.
This Odyssey actually started out with my looking for a 338 WM, but in my area they are only slightly rarer than hen's teeth and ammunition only sligthly better. Oddly I've seen more WSM variants on shelves than the 338 - go figure.
I know I don't need anyting bigger than my current 270 Win for anything in my area - but I've had the desire to have a bigger bore rifle for many years and just finally ignored all the 'logical' reasons that one isn't necessary.
Initial impressions of the X-Bolt are good - at first I wasn't to sure about it, but the more I've played with it, the better I like it. Unlike my Remington's in the past, it actually came with the trigger set at a reasonable weight. I also like the bolt lock up/release. I don't know if it is just a better fit, or the synthetic stock, but I found I was able to hold it much steadier, more easily off a rest than my BDL - still don't really undertand why the difference.
I understand that the recoil energy for this light rifle works out to something similar to a 375 H&H in a 9# weapon. The upside is that my ultimate goal is something in a 416 or 458, so this may be good prep for that if the felt recoil matches the numbers ;-) .
I'll let you know what I think when I get back...
First day at the range to day confirmed my positive impressions of this rifle. Accuracy with Nosler Custom 200gr Accubond factory loads consitently printed groups of approx .750 and most of that variation came from me and not the rifle. I didn't have a crono for this outing, but if you believe the box, the factory load cranks 2900 fps from a 24" barrel. The X-Bolt sports a 23" barrel, so give 50-100 fps back at a guess.
I've read in one review of this rifle/caliber combo that the recoil energy calculates out to something similar to a 375 H&H in a 9lb rifle. The author went on at some length about the poor judgement shown by the recent trend to put short/fat magnum cartridges in short/light weight rifles, particularly this one (the other being Ruger's RCMs as particular objects of ire). Since I've never fired anything on par with a 375 previously I did have some concerns on that front. The upside I told myself, is this may be good prep toward the getting such a gun at some point ;-) . As it turns out, for me the recoil is a non-issue despite the rifle's light weight - approx 6.5 lbs before the scope was mounted which I don't believe it added much more than a pound. For those that reported recoil as a significant issue with this cartridge/rifle, either they haven't actually fired this rifle/caliber combo or they would find anything more than a .222 as excessive recoil.
I fired my Remington BDL 270 Win as comparison and while I could tell that the push was somewhat stronger, the perceived difference was a matter of slight degree and not of major magnitude. I'm sure Browning deserves credit, at least in part, to the work they put into their recoil control design of the stock and pad. I'm ready for that big bore now! ;-)
I am very happy with both the cartridge and the Browning X-Bolt and wouldn't hesitate to recommend either or both. Is the 325 WSM really necessary? No, but then in the lower 48, really anything over a 243 is overkill for most game - so what? Now, if only I can finagle a 416 Ruger or a 458 Lott next year... ;-)