#SundayGunday: Colt CBX Tac Hunter

posted on May 12, 2024

This week, on #SundayGunday, we shoot the CBX Tac Hunter, a bolt-action rifle from Colt that is part hunter, part tactical patrol rifle. With its short, medium-contour barrel, beavertail fore-end, near-vertical pistol grip and buttstock built to accept a toe bag, it’s an agile sharpshooter ready for duty in many environments.

The Tac Hunter is brother to Colt’s other recently introduced bolt action, the CBX Precision. The rifles demonstrate that the 188-year-old American icon, acquired by Czech maker CZ in 2021, today stands on its own to produce firearms desired by American consumers. Whereas other Colt long guns produced as far back as the 1950s were produced by outside partners, the CBX series is all Colt, produced at the company’s historic facility in Hartford, Connecticut.

The action is a modern, innovative take on controlled-round feed. It actually borrows a bit from the design of the CZ 600, a bolt action produced by Colt’s parent company. The receiver is flat-bottomed, a classic, stiff-sided affair that remains rigid throughout the firing process. But there are no dual locking lugs as found in classic controlled-round feed designs. Rather, the lugs on the CBX bolt head are spaced 120 degrees apart on center. A classic three-lug design is divided into six lugs grouped in pairs. The beauty of this arrangement is a short bolt throw—only 60 degrees. That produces speed of operation to boost rate of fire. It also provides plenty of room to throw the bolt beneath the large ocular bell of a riflescope. Most importantly, three anchor points as defined by three groups of two lugs help the bolt head remain square with the bore to resist torque while firing.

It's a full-diameter bolt body, trendy nowadays. It’s actually a bit larger in diameter than the lugs. Hunters will notice smooth travel when they grab the fat handle and work it back and forth, as there are no machined raceways within the receiver walls. Cartridges pop up from the magazine and slide up the feed ramp into flush contact with the bolt face. A pivoting extractor hooks over a case rim after the bolt head enters the receiver ring, unlike a classic controlled-round feed action that uses a full-length claw extractor to grip a case head as the cartridge separates from the magazine. From this point control is fixed until the case is ejected.

Colt CBX Tac Hunter on white

The rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and in .308 Winchester, our test unit. Carbon steel barrels are 22-inches long in the former and 20 inches in the latter. They taper to just over an inch at the shoulder to just more than half an inch at the muzzle to create a medium-heavy contour, just fine for this rifle’s niche somewhere between stand hunter and patrol rifle. A two-step nut locks the barrel to the receiver. The bore is button-rifled. The muzzle is threaded 9/16x24 TPI and comes fitted with a protector.

The stock is gray molded polymer. A near-vertical pistol grip creates tremendous control by a shooter’s strong hand to eliminate cant and to keep the rifle snugged into one’s shoulder. A cutout in the toe of the buttstock stands ready to accept a bag for precise tweaks to elevation during shooting sessions. A broad, flat fore-end is ready to throw on a sandbag. Its two sling swivel studs stand ready to accept a bipod and sling simultaneously. Generous stippling across the fore-end and grip should prove handy in bad weather.

Those two forward sling swivel studs screw into an aluminum bar that internally spans the length of the fore-end. It’s actually an extension of a bedding block inside the stock. The block’s top surface mates with a flat on the underside of the receiver. The front action screw passes through the block to secure the barreled action to the stock to stiffen the entire front end.

Out of the box, the Tac Hunter’s length of pull is a nice, tight 13.5 inches, best to fit with the rifle’s 20-inch barrel and its carbine-like overall length of just less than 40 inches. Drop at heel is 1.25 inches, and drop at comb is 1 inch. Length-of-pull (LOP) spacers and cheek risers accommodate shooters who need more or less of each of these.

A Magpul AICS pattern, five-shot detachable box magazine is made of polymer. Likewise, the trigger guard and magazine well are made of polymer. A single-stage trigger is adjustable, via a single screw, after removal of the barreled action from the stock. Out of the box, our trigger was quite stiff, but it may be adjusted down to a pull weight lighter than three pounds, which is sufficient for just about all practical shooting. The two-position safety sits on the tang. Users may retract the bolt and unload a chambered round without deactivating it. The bolt release sits just ahead of the bolt handle. The magazine release sits at the rear of the mag well. The receiver top is compatible with Remington Model 700 bases.

With features lending themselves to not only hunting but a fun morning behind the gun from a shooting position at the 500-yard-line, the Colt CBX Tac Hunter stands ready to smack game and steel targets alike. Its size, handling and shooting capability create a great rifle to use in blinds and treestands, and also to carry into and out of vehicles and other tight confines—it weighs 6 pounds, 15 ounces. colt.comMSRP: $999


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