Finding a quality hunting rifle can sometimes be a challenge for more diminutive shooters. Compared to full size rifles, guns with reduced dimensions are relatively few and far between. This can make it difficult in finding a reliable gun with a good fit for a new shooter whose first experience – good or bad – will have a lasting impression on them.
Fortunately, there are companies that cater to shooters of all sizes. Browning is one of those companies. One of its latest efforts is the AB3 Micro Stalker. This is a rifle that is built on the experience of the original A-Bolt rifle line that offered excellent reliability and accuracy for many years.
The new AB3 Micro Stalker offers three key features when compared to the standard AB3 Composite Stalker: a reduced length of pull, a shorter barrel and an excellent recoil pad.
In crude terms the length of pull is the length of the buttstock. Smaller framed shooters can have a difficult time when shouldering a rifle if the stock is too long. A stock that is excessively long can shift the balance of the gun too far forward and make for uncomfortable shooting. This is one reason why adjustable length stocks are so popular on rifles like the AR-15: they can quickly be adapted to shooters of all sizes.
Browning gives the AB3 Micro Stalker a 13” length of pull. This should help to improve the shooter’s comfort, ability to properly address the trigger and overall enjoyment of shooting.
For the AB3 Micro Stalker, Browning reduced the barrel length to 20” in all calibers. For the standard AB3 hunting rifles, the barrel lengths range from 22” to 26” depending on the cartridge for which the gun is chambered. A shorter barrel further improves the balance of the gun and should not significantly impact bullet velocity.
Smaller statured shooters will frequently have less mass to absorb the felt recoil or kick of the gun. To help with this, Browning makes the highly regarded Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad a standard feature on the rifle. The pad is soft and really helps to reduce the punishment of recoil on a smaller shooter. Also, the pads have a tacky surface to help reduce stock movement when the gun is shouldered.
All of these guns have a synthetic black stock and weigh about 6.5 pounds. Four chamberings are being offered by Browning: .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Rem and the ubiquitous .308 Win. All of those are proven hunting rounds. Each of the guns has a 5-round magazine. The suggested retail price of these guns is $599.
One of the fantastic things that Browning offers with this rifle is something it calls Growth Insurance. Since many AB3 Micro Stalker rifles will be sold as a youth’s first hunting rifle, Browning offers a trade up program that allows the parent to purchase a full size rifle at 50% off retail within the following five years.