Beretta BRX1 - Bold Design
- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 06/02/2024
Beretta is massive in the firearms market and owns a lot of internationally significant brands like Sako and Tikka, to name just a couple they will now compete against with their first ‘bolt-action’ hunting rifle. Bolt-action is somewhat of a misnomer as when the BRX1 first appeared and the ‘straight pull’ title was spread around, all ears were pricked up and it gained massive attention. It certainly carries similar visual characteristics to a Blaser, which favoured its market appearance, yet when you look at the technicalities of the design, it is a fundamentally different operating system.
The BRX1 starts out with a slim, black sporting barrel with a 14x1 thread at the 16mm diameter muzzle. .308, .30-06 and 300-Win Mag chamberings are available, as well as this Creedmoor, and the barrels, bolt head, and magazines are interchangeable. The scope is mounted to a Picatinny rail that hangs rear of the barrel and this is 3D profiled to maintain stiffness, and although shrouding the bolt carrier’s upper surface, the two are not mechanically interactive. The chosen barrel is screwed down to the aluminium bedding block within the stock/chassis with twin Allen screws below the breech. These allow the simple removal of the barrel for entire calibre swaps.
Bolt and carrier
Focussing on the bolt, this is fitted within a carrier. It has 8 lugs on the Creedmoor (16 on the magnum) and rotates to lock within abutments behind the cold hammer-forged barrel. The bolt handle can be swapped right to left, but unlike a Blaser, it does not pivot to unlock the action, as it merely allows the bolt carrier to reciprocate back and forth to reload and re-cock the action. The carrier has grooves along its lower edge that run within the rails on the receiver. Again, this is different to a Blaser, which has long bars that extend from the stock/chassis. As the bolt handle/carrier is drawn open, it has about 7mm of free rearward travel before the internal cam system rotates the silver bolt to unlock it from the barrel, and this forms the pressure retention vessel in a very similar way to an AR-15, which also uses a bolt and separate carrier to force its rotation.
There is a catch on the left side of the carrier and when lifted, you can slide it out rearward and inspect its more revealing underside. Here, you now notice the operation system. There is a sprung plunger, that when pressed, allows the bolt to be drawn out of the carrier. You can then split the bolt in half and rather cleverly, you can slot it back together the opposite way around. It will then become a left-side ejector to pair with the option to switch the carrier handle to the left side. All of this is covered in the detailed instructions, which are available online. Some oil and an extended Allen wrench for barrel/stock changes are also supplied.
With the carrier removed, you can see the latch in the back of the action, above the trigger, which when unclicked, allows you to remove the entire trigger unit and alter the trigger weight. This can be done without tools by moving a black button into one of the three available positions. Once done, it clips back in place, and you can reassemble.
While still looking inside, you may notice the hammer. This flicks up and out of the trigger group and into the bolt carrier’s internals, where it then strikes the rear of the firing pin, driving it through the bolt face and into the ammunition’s primer. Although well-made and neatly finished, the mechanism has more of a military/semi-auto rifle character around its design that will immediately be recognised by any AR shooter.
Feed and safety
The magazine is bright orange for easy recognition, which I think is fantastic, as it’s easier to see and harder to lose. It has twin release catches on either side of its base and it’s instinctively fast to squeeze these and draw it from the stock in one smooth movement. Yet, because it’s a two-column staggered design, you can load it in or out of the rifle by just pressing the rounds in the top, and with the whole magazine revealed when the carrier is drawn back, it’s also ambidextrous to suit the rifle’s similar character.
The safety catch looks very similar to a Blaser de-cocker, but it is not one. It’s a large button on the top/centre of the carrier’s rear, with forward for FIRE, rear for SAFE with bolt locking, and a mid-position for safe action opening. It does not de-cock the internal hammer in the same way a Blaser releases pressure from its striker. I’m only really pointing out the differences because so many readers think they are very similar and ask me to explain them. The Blaser system is significantly more expensive and the two have major operating differences that are too extensive to detail here.
Optics, trigger, and stock
Scope mounting to any Picatinny rail is straightforward and the rifle was similarly simple to set up and zero. I added a Wildcat moderator, Harris bipod (there are sling studs front and rear), and a Burris Veracity scope in Burris rings.
In use, the action operation is intuitive, and no problems are presented, meaning you can get straight into shooting it. The mag loads easily, clips in and out securely, and the bolt carrier reciprocates smoothly.
Firing the rifle showed a decent trigger pull, although it’s not quite as crisp as some premium bolt action rifles, but about 95% with good consistency. I left the trigger weight in the centre position (858-grams) as it struck a good balance for me between target and hunting requirements.
There is plenty of space in the trigger guard for gloved fingers in the winter, and overall, the polymer stock delivered everything needed on a hunting tool. The barrel is fully free-floated and the forend is a medium profile but stiff, with no chance of a shifting zero. The length of pull is generous, with the option of spacers as well. The stippling throughout ensures easy grip without exertion and the finger grooves in the forend assist with this as well as keeping you away from the barrel. The recoil pad plants firmly in your shoulder, without being too spongey, and the cheekpiece is as tall as it can be to remain under the carrier. It’s slender too, avoiding lateral jaw displacement. The bolt carrier does reciprocate 125mm, so be aware of proximity depending on your physique. Ejection is automatic and plentiful, regardless of bolt speed.
The barrel maintained the point of impact on the target from multiple support positions and was easy to live with. The point of impact remained consistent, even when the barrel got hot, but be aware that if you get it very hot, primary extraction does start to require a little more force on the bolt, but I’m talking 15 fast-fire shots before this was noticeable, and that was only with one of the ammo types, as the ELD-X remained smooth. When cold, you can operate the gun deliberately slowly and quietly. However, as it warms, it prefers to be run harder and faster, which in fairness is more appropriate to the kind of hunting scenario where you are getting barrels hot anyway.
Although commonly seen as a wild boar rifle, the gun is accurate and dependable for precision cold bore shots, plus a couple of follow-ups, making it well suited to stalking. The carrier doesn’t need forcing closed and likes just a gentle flick so it can build and maintain a little momentum. Like any rifle, you will become accustomed to its preferences. Similarly, the first few times you take the bolt in and out, you will get a feel for the direction of pressures needed to work it smoothly.
I think Beretta has proposed and delivered a very bold rifle design that works as intended. I like the rifle’s solid bedding block chassis, magazine system, stock geometry, and the barrel’s thermal consistency. The gun is nimble and dynamic, with a very fast reload speed and great performance on target. Just be cautious of overly hot loads that can be a bit sticky to extract if the barrel gets particularly hot. There is a lot on offer here for the money and everything is easily swapped to cater for left-handers, which is a valuable selling point all by itself. I like the option of the Creedmoor and .300 Win Mag pairing, but if going solo for deer in the UK, with wild boar overseas, .30-06 is an ideal performer.
6.5 CM on test, .308, 30-06, .300 WM also available
7 lbs 10 oz
Length of Pull
GMK - www.gmk.co.uk