Review: Colt CBX Tac Hunter

by
posted on June 25, 2024
Review Colt CBX Tac Hunter Lead

When you think of Colt, the last firearm to come to mind is likely a bolt-action rifle. Best known for its handguns and AR-15s, the company saw fit to round out its line with a pair of manually operated long guns. These rifles would start the CBX family, an acronym that alludes to their bolt-action mechanism. A lightweight hunting rifle wasn’t far behind the heavy-barreled chassis version that first hit the scene. Formally known as the Colt CBX Tac Hunter, Colt’s approach to the topic was quite interesting. In essence, the rifle is undoubtedly light enough to sling across your back for a few miles yet displays a feature set that is attractive to competitive shooters. Intrigued by the design, I requested one for review and scratched my head when it showed up at the shop.

Colt CBX Tac Hunter bolt action rifle facing right.

Pulling the rifle from the box, I thought I wound up with a CZ 600 that belonged to somebody else. If you put the two rifles next to each other, they are strikingly similar. A quick field strip will reveal the same split three-lug bolt in both firearms. Admittedly, they do, in fact, share this part, but that is where all similarities end. The CBX is built with a flat-bottomed receiver, a move that allows for a more positive integration with the stock. In doing so, accuracy is enhanced, and the gun feels generally more solid overall. A bolt release is located on the right side, and a two-position safety to the rear. Pushing it forward enables the gun to be fired, loaded or unloaded. The only other control is the magazine release, which is ambidextrous and located just in front of the trigger guard. It releases the included five-round AICS-pattern magazine.

Colt selected a shorter, lighter barrel for this CBX, which measures just 20 inches and is only a touch beefier than a conventional sporter. As chambered in .308 Winchester, I feel this is an excellent length as it doesn’t give up enough velocity to be concerned with and makes the rifle easier to wield in tight spaces. It also lends itself better as a suppressor host and comes threaded 9/16x24 TPI to install one. The barrel is attached via a barrel nut system, which makes it easy to install a fresh one should you ever shoot this one out. Though being that a .308 Win. tube is good for thousands of trigger pulls, you’ll likely never need to do so. The barrel, like the bolt and receiver, is finished in a matte nitride to fortify it against the elements and eliminate glare.

Colt CBX Tac Hunter barrel with threaded barrel end.

The barreled action is set into a gray polymer stock built to enhance the user’s experience. Featuring removable spacers, its length of pull can be trimmed for smaller-statured shooters without the need to take it to a gunsmith. If they are still growing, these can be added back when they are ready for them. The cheekpiece is also billed as interchangeable, but at the time of this writing no alternatives were supplied or available. The fore-end and wrist feature mild texturing as well as reference areas to repeat your grip without having to look. The same system is applied toward the rear of the stock for the support hand when shooting off a bipod without a rear bag. Connecting a bipod is relatively easy, as a second sling stud is provided out front to allow simultaneous use with a sling. 

Getting the Tac Hunter ready for the range took a little bit of work, but nothing out of the ordinary. Colt doesn’t ship the rifle with any scope-mounting provisions, but it is drilled and tapped to accept a base or rail. The good news is that it’s built to the Rem. 700 short-action footprint, so you can likely purchase what you need from a local gun shop or even a big-box store. I went with a one-piece rail and affixed a Trijicon Credo scope with a pair of Warne Mountain Tech rings. This selection kept the rifle lightweight and offered both a low 2.5X magnification as well as a 15X zoom, covering both my long and short game with ease. While I had the rifle on the workbench, I removed the stock and turned down the trigger adjustment screw as light as it would go, ensuring that less of me would be superimposed in my groups later that day.

Being that this firearm is a hybrid target/hunting rifle, I selected ammunition accordingly. For the field, I picked Fiocchi’s lighter 150-grain Hyperformance load featuring the Swift Scirocco II projectile. This round is designed for longer-range engagements and is excellent for medium game. For the heavy side, I chose Federal’s 180-grain Trophy Bonded Tip load, which boasts the same properties but excels on larger species. Sadly, the cost for lethality is generally a bit of accuracy, so for range work, I added a few boxes of Hornady’s 168-grain Match load, which is built with its ELD-Match projectile. This bullet is designed for a single purpose: to group as tightly as possible.

Colt CBX Tac Hunter detachable magazine box.

While conducting my formal accuracy test, I was able to take note of the shorter, 60-degree bolt lift as well as the semi-controlled feed system. Together, these created an exceptionally smooth bolt throw, and I gobbled through most of my ammo in short order. Recoil was surprisingly mild for a .308 Win. and was more rearward than upward, a product of the stock geometry no doubt. Moving from the bench to the targets I have scattered throughout the property, I hiked up the hill to one of my treestands and emptied a magazine on the Caldwell deer target hanging at 200 yards. Without surprise, I landed all five shots. Next were a few engagements from a ground blind, which demonstrated the value of the abbreviated barrel. Lastly, I pulled an Armageddon Gear shooting bag from my pack and worked a few shots off a stump. My goal was to play to the flattened fore-end, which indeed incorporated superbly with the bag.

From handling to testing, I greatly enjoyed the Colt CBX Tac Hunter. I found it hit the mark on duality, and its .308 Win. chambering makes it perfect for nearly any animal in North America. Furthermore, .308 Win. is easy to load, and there is a plethora of inexpensive fodder available for practice sessions. When you add it all up, there’s no reason this rifle shouldn’t see the outside of the safe in between hunting seasons. If you are looking for a paltry rifle for a stalk or a capable firearm for competition, this is the one.

Colt CBX Tac Hunter accuracy results chart.

Technical Specifications
Type: bolt-action centerfire rifle
Caliber: .308 Win.
Magazine: detachable, AICS-style; 5-rnd. capacity
Barrel: 20"; carbon steel; heavy sporter profile; button-rifled; 1:10" RH twist, 4 grooves; threaded 9/16x24
Trigger: single-stage, adjustable; 4 lbs.,2 ozs. to 5 lbs.,12 ozs. pull weight
Sights: none; drilled and tapped for Remington 700 bases
Safety: two-position tang
Stock: straight comb; adjustable cheek riser; polymer; gray; 13.87" LOP, adjustable
Metal Finish: nitride
Overall Length: 39.75"
Weight: 6.9 lbs.
Accessories: none
MSRP: $999; colt.com

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