FNH-USA .308 Patrol Bolt Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

May 15th, 2008




Shooters like precision rifles. Sometimes referred to as sniper rifles or tactical rifles, the term usually applies to a bolt action rifle that is set up to be both portable and accurate. Not as heavy nor as cumbersome as a benchrest rifle or dedicated varmint gun, but still wearing a heavy barrel and an overall dull or matte black finish. These rifles were developed for police and military designated marksmen or snipers, and they have become very popular with shooters who want a precision rifle, but are not interested in benchrest competition. The rifles also are portable enough to serve well as a hunting rifle, and accurate enough for the occasional long shot. There are many such good rifles on the market, and one of the best is made in South Carolina by FNH-USA. FNH makes some of the best machine guns, rifles, and other equipment in use by our US Military, and are well-equipped to build accurate weapons. The Patrol Bolt Rifle (PBR) reviewed here is one of their precision bolt action rifles that is marketed to law enforcement, and is also available to the rest of us as well.

The PBR is built on what is basically a Winchester Model 70 action. FNH is the parent company of Winchester, and they are also now producing that legendary Model 70 Winchester in their South Carolina plant. The action of the PBR utilizes the controlled round/push feed bolt. This is a variation of the Model 70 type bolt face, and was used in some of the latest Model 70 rifles that were produced in New Haven before the closing of that factory. The bottom of the bolt face is cut out to allow the cartridge to slip from the magazine onto the bolt face, but has an extractor that will snap over the cartridge rim, allowing the cartridges to be either fed from the four-shot detachable box magazine or dropped into the receiver from the top like a single shot, which is very handy when shooting from the bench. The PBR has a very good trigger, again like the Model 70. It is easily adjusted, and releases crisply and cleanly. The pull weight on the sample rifle released at about three and one-quarter pounds. The barrel, receiver, trigger guard, and small metal parts are all matte finished steel. No plastic or aluminum bottom metal on this rifle. It is built to be tough and durable. The sample rifle is chambered for the 7.62x51 NATO (.308 Winchester) cartridge, which is a favorite of police marksman and other sniper types, and is a dandy cartridge for use on game animals and vermin of all types, including the increasingly prevalent urban felon variety.

The stock on the PBR is made by Hogue, and is their over-molded style, which has a somewhat tacky feeling surface. It offers a good positive hold under any weather condition, and has an aluminum bedding block insert for added rigidity. The barrel is free-floated in the stock, and the action is held with two bolts through the one-piece trigger guard/magazine well. The stock wears two swivel or bipod attachment studs on the forend, and another near the toe of the stock. The PBR is a hefty rifle, weighing in at about nine pounds, but that weight makes for a very solid hold while shooting the gun, and working in conjunction with the muzzle brake, makes the .308 PBR have very little felt recoil. The muzzle brake makes the rifle a bit louder from the shooter’s position, but not enough to be bothersome at all.

The PBR comes from the factory with an excellent Picatinny compatible one-piece steel scope base. I mounted a superb Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope atop the PBR in Leupold rings. The Mark 4 has side focus, and a thirty millimeter main tube with target turrets. I use this scope often for accuracy testing, and it is perfectly suited to such a rifle as the PBR. The excellent ranging reticle combined with brilliant optical clarity makes seeing distant targets easy, and even the smallest bullet holes at 100 yards are no problem to see at all.

I tested the PBR for accuracy using Buffalo Bore Sniper Match ammunition, and also with Federal Power-Shock 150 grain hunting ammo. The Buffalo Bore load uses the Sierra 175 grain match bullet, and even out of the PBR’s short eighteen inch barrel, still clocked 2612 feet per second at twelve feet from the muzzle. The accuracy was very good from the PBR’s short barrel, with both loads tested shooting into five-eighths inch groups at one hundred yards, over and over again. Occasionally, I would get a smaller group, but five-eighths was the norm. With a better shooter firing the rifle, I am sure that it would do better.

The FNH PBR proved to be an excellent precision rifle that would serve very well as a police marksman’s weapon, a long range informal target rifle, a stationary hunting rifle, or as a primary rifle to protect the homestead. It is built with precision, built tough, and built in the USA. I like it.

Check out the entire line of FNH rifles, shotguns, and handguns online at www.fnhusa.com.

To order the Buffalo Bore Sniper ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com.

To find an FNH dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the PBR online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

Jeff Quinn

For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:


Leupold's excellent Mark 4 scope.



Leupold's Alumina scope lens covers are both effective and elegant.





Buffalo Bore's excellent sniper ammo.



Jeff tested the PBR using Target Shooting Inc's Model 1000 Rifle Rest.



As usual, LaserLyte's bore sighter was a great aid in sighting-in the rifle.



The Patrol Boat Rifle proved to be a stellar performer from the bench.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


FNH-USA .308 Patrol Bolt Rifle.



The PBR comes with a steel Picatinny-compatible scope base.



Three-position safety.





Barrel sports an effective muzzle brake.



Hogue overmolded stock has aluminum bedding block insert.



Stock features double sling attachment studs (top), and a very soft recoil pad (bottom).



Detachable four-shot magazine.



Heavy barrel is free-floated.



Bottom of receiver sports a heavy recoil lug.



Bolt has a controlled-round push-feed bolt face.



Trigger is reliable, simple, and easy to adjust.