It was one of those mornings that faithful whitetail hunters experience once every few years if they are lucky. I was five days into the hunt without seeing an adult buck and then all of a sudden they were everywhere. I had passed on several small bucks and had lost the ability to breathe when a huge one appeared on the skyline in the distance for a moment.
Now there was a decent buck in front of me, and together we watched three does work their way down a path. They stopped right in front of my blind, perhaps 15 yards away, when a streak came out of the woodline and hit the biggest doe, causing her to stumble before all the deer turned to run off in a cluster. The streak slowed down enough for me to see it was another good buck, but the deer were into the brush and showing only contrails and glimpses until they topped the brushy hill in front of me and entered the thick woods.
An hour later, my adrenaline had burned off leaving me shaken, sullen and searching my mind for what I could have done differently. Then I noticed a lone doe coming down an abandoned ranch road. I watched behind her until a nice 10-point buck exited the thick woods on the same path, 100 yards behind her. He wasn’t the big buck, but he was big enough. I eased my Franchi out the window of the blind. When he stopped 100 yards from me, I sent the little 143-grain bullet to its destiny.
That’s not a typo. Franchi is a well-known Italian shotgun maker, but shotguns don’t have little bullets. This time I was shooting a rifle. The cartridge? The 6.5 Creedmoor of course! (I think there is a law that every writer must use this cartridge or face a severe social-media penalty.)
The Momentum is Franchi’s step into the world of hunting rifles, and the company got it right on the first try. The styling is all Italian, swoops and swirls with curls and cutouts abounding. While I love a rifle with classic lines, deep bluing and a walnut stock, I also find pleasure in this styling—much the same way I like Dodge trucks as well as Ferraris. I have stick-in-the-mud friends and colleagues who will disparage the European styling of this rifle, but I like it. It not only has a sense of elegance, but it’s pragmatic as well.
The rifle fits me very well, which is important on any hunt. It’s easy to carry, soaks up recoil, even from the diminutive 6.5 Creedmoor, and shoots very accurately. I have been testing rifles for magazine articles for about 30 years. If the Momentum is not the most accurate hunting rifle I have tested, it’s easily in the top five.
While one option is to order the rifle with a Burris Fullfield II scope installed, mine came without the scope. I installed a Burris Eliminator II rangefinding scope, which, after proper setup, measures the distance to the target and lights up the correct hold point. I shot the rifle with the Eliminator II out to 700 yards and was able to hit 6-inch steel targets at 350 and 500 yards easily.
The heart of any accurate rifle is the barrel. The Momentum’s 24-inch chrome-moly steel barrel is hammer-forged. (Like my test rifle, the .300 Win. Mag. version also has a 24-inch barrel; in other chamberings the barrel is 22 inches.) It comes with a threaded muzzle, which allows for the addition of a suppressor or a muzzle brake, and a thread protector. The other end of the barrel threads into a round receiver and is free-floating.
The spiral-fluted bolt measures .85 inch in diameter and is chrome-plated. Inside the round receiver the bolt is essentially a cylinder within a cylinder, which allows for smooth operation without binding. The bolt release is mounted on the left side of the receiver, which like the barrel has a matte-black finish.
Three lugs on the integral bolt head allow a shorter rise to unlock the bolt, 60 degrees vs. 90 degrees for a two-lug bolt. The extractor is fitted to one of the lugs. It slides in a slot against a spring and detent to easily slip over the case rim and lock into the extraction groove. The ejector is a spring-loaded plunger in the bolt face.
Having a slightly oversized knob, the bolt handle is attached to the bolt with an ingenious design. There is a square-shaped cutout near the rear of the bolt, and the front side bulges out slightly to create a radius rather than a flat edge. An extension on the bolt handle matches this shape, and the handle will only fit into the body one way. A large threaded hole through this extension accepts the firing pin mechanism, which is also threaded. The two screw together to secure the bolt handle. The knob and handle have a black-oxide finish, as does the cocking piece.
The two-position safety is on the side of the receiver and does not lock the bolt. Adjustable for a pull weight of 2-4 pounds, the single-stage trigger is clean and crisp. Mine broke at 3 pounds, 3 ounces.
Holding four standard cartridges or three magnum rounds, the internal box magazine is made of polymer. Its follower is metal, as is the rifle’s hinged floorplate.
The injection-molded stock has recessed sling-attachment locations. Gripping areas have a pebbled finish, and Franchi’s orange “F” logo is on the grip cap. Franchi says the TSA (Twin Shock Absorbers) recoil pad absorbs 50 percent of the rifle’s felt recoil.
Two metal blocks molded into the stock in a V formation mate with recesses milled into the sides of the receiver. They serve as the bedding for the action, keeping it centered. They also serve as recoil lugs, taking the energy load and transferring it to the stock. This is a simple, but excellent, approach to bedding and recoil management. It shows the outside-the-box engineering we often see in European guns. It is cost-saving and it works extremely well.
Franchi brings this European engineering and ingenuity to the rifle market at an affordable price. With the MSRP of the Momentum starting at about $600, the rifle’s price-to-value ratio is high. The fit, finish and function are all excellent. This is a sleek and stylish, yet highly functional, bolt-action. It’s not a shotgun, but there’s no doubt it’s a Franchi.
• Type: bolt-action centerfire rifle
• Caliber: .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), .270 Win., .308 Win., .30-06 Sprg., .300 Win. Mag.
• Barrel: 24″; cold-hammer-forged chrome-moly steel; 6 grooves; 1:8″ RH twist; ⅝x24 threaded muzzle w/cap
• Magazine: internal box w/hinged floorplate; 4-rnd. capacity
• Trigger: single-stage, adjustable; 3.2-lb. pull weight
• Sights: none; receiver drilled and tapped for Remington Model 700-style bases
• Safety: two-position toggle
• Stock: straight-comb polymer; LOP 14″
• Metal Finish: matte black
• Overall Length: 44.3″
• Weight: 6.7 lbs.
• MSRP: $609; franchiusa.com