Winchester XPR Bolt-Action: No Love in 350 Legend

By Randy Wakeman

Photo by Randy Wakeman.

Although the Winchester XPR bolt action rifle has been out for a while, this is the first example I've tested. Winchester has no less than 21 configurations listed in 350 Legend. Availability seems erratic, for it took about a year to finally get one in. Although it wasn't what I originally ordered, the basic black with a plastic stock is what I ended up with. For some strange reason, Winchester does not include scope bases with this rifle, although there are no iron sights.

The recoil pad is excellent; it is of the “Inflex” style. I like the action in general, for it is quite smooth. Feeding and ejection is excellent. I also appreciate that the bolt locks, so it won't open itself from brush and so forth. There is a bolt release button if front of the two-position thumb safety. From the factory, the MOA trigger was excessively heavy breaking at 5-1/4 lbs. Supposedly user-adjustable according to the manual, I didn't get that far.

I mounted a Sightron S1 3-1/2 – 10 x 50mm scope, a known and excellent hunting scope with Warne steel rings. Typically, I perform a coarse sight-in at 25 yards, then move on to 90-100 yards for phase two. I had a very rough time, for the scope didn't move the shots to the right as I told it to. At 93 yards, it became apparent why that was: this rifle strings shots horizontally in a spectacularly miserable fashion. That brought to the end a large amount of frustrating sighting in attempts, for in the case of this specific rifle, it isn't remotely competent enough to hunt with. On the same, final day of shooting, I shot a Savage 110 Apex Storm 350 Legend at the same target: the first two shots went through the same hole.

So, sorry to say, this Winchester XPR 350 Legend ranks as one of the worst-shooting bolt action rifles I've tested in a very long while. Perhaps my example is an anomaly, perhaps the wood-stocked rifles do better. Regardless, I can only comment on what is before me and this example was a spectacular fail. There is no love for the Winchester XPR in 350 Legend.

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