Franchi, a 150-year-old shotgun manufacturer, clearly felt it was high time an affordable Italian hunting rifle hit U.S. shores. Affordable? Italian? Yes and yes. Meet the Franchi Momentum Bolt-Action Rifle. Available in six calibers, TTAG gave the $609 MSRP .308 Winchester flavor a test drive.
Unsurprisingly, the Momentum is equipped with a synthetic stock. Synthetic as in black plastic, to be clear, not as in carbon fiber or some other fancy stuff. From afar it looks pretty standard, but it does set itself apart in a few ways.
Moving back-to-front, things start out with a cushy rubber recoil pad. It doesn’t snag or grab clothes but somehow it’s still plenty soft and grippy. It tames the recoil of this 6.6-pound rifle extremely well. I’ve shot heavier .308s with more felt recoil than this guy. Spacers are included for length of pull adjustment.
In front of the recoil pad, on the bottom of the Momentum’s shoulder stock, are two molded-in features: a hand groove grip area for holding the stock with one’s support hand while shooting from a rest, and a recessed sling swivel mount. I can’t say I love the idea of a polymer sling mount with a relatively thin wall to it, but it’s definitely more out-of-the-way than a protruding stud.
I like the straight comb with minimal drop and I found the cheek weld comfortable. Not much going on here, really, but it’s simple and it works. The narrow width put my eye behind the scope nicely but also leaves enough fudge factor for owners who will add an aftermarket cheek piece or wrap.
A fairly vertical pistol grip offers comfortable control from most any shooting position. The molded-in checkering is clean and sharp but in no way uncomfortable. I could go for a more grabby grip myself, but the Momentum’s checkering is certainly sufficient.
The pistol grip is thicker than on many similar stocks, which I appreciate a lot, but at the same time a little more palm swell wouldn’t hurt.
Swelled and checkered grip areas are molded into both sides of the stock over the internal magazine and again at the beginning of the forearm section.
These areas are designed to provide purchase and ergonomic grip options for different shooting positions and styles, such as the five seen above.
Forearm checkering extends nearly all the way forward, ending just short of another molded-in and recessed sling swivel mount.
Franchi talks up the ergonomics of the Momentum big time on their website. While I believe they’ve succeeded in creating a stock that accommodates many different shooting positions and feels above average in all, it doesn’t necessary excel in any of them. Ultimately it still looks and feels like an inexpensive, plastic stock that you’d expect to find on a budget hunting rifle.
That said, the polymer quality and stiffness are better than many. Though the forend wasn’t perfectly centered — coming closer to the left side of the barrel than the right side — it was stiff enough that causing it to contact the free-floated barrel was difficult and wouldn’t happen under most typical use.
Releasing the floor plate of the 4-round, internal magazine is accomplished via a lever inside the front of the trigger guard. Push it flush with the inside of the trigger guard, and . . .
Floorplate, spring, and follower tilt out. All are captive so you won’t lose them. To be clear, you’ll load the rifle from the top, pushing one round at a time down and into the internal magazine, and this function allows you to safely and easily unload the Momentum.
So, too, will the rifle’s 2-position safety allow you to load and unload safely. Even on “safe,” the bolt can be manipulated to chamber or eject a round.
At the back of the bolt shroud, the firing pin protrudes to show cocked status (as seen above) and is flush with the rear of the bolt shroud when not cocked.
Fancy for an affordable rifle, the Franchi Momentum sports a one-piece, fluted bolt. A shiny one.
It’s a 3-lug design with a decently large extractor and ejector and large locking lugs.
A common benefit to a 3-lug design as opposed to a 2-lug design is a shorter bolt throw. Indeed, the Momentum’s bolt only travels 60 degrees from fully open to fully locked and vice-versa, whereas your typical 2-lug job requires a 90-degree throw.
On the flip side, a 60-degree throw is often — not always, but usually — stiffer, and this was the case here. Unlocking the Momentum’s bolt took more effort than a typical Remington 700. As did locking it. Nothing problematic, but clearly noticeable.
Removing the bolt, however, is easier thanks to a release lever located on the side of the action. Simply depress the rear of it while sliding the bolt out the back of the receiver.
Scope bases follow the Remington 700 mounting footprint, but the action length does not so only 2-piece R700 bases or separate rings will work.
All six chamberings available in U.S.-market Momentums come with a threaded barrel. In the case of the .308 Winchester tested here, it’s a 22-inch, cold hammer forged barrel with U.S.-standard 5/8-24 threads.
Yes, it shipped with a knurled thread protector but I immediately lost it when I slapped my Dead Air Sandman Ti on.
So . . . onto the best part!
For some unknown reason it really didn’t like Gorilla’s super nice, match-grade ammo and that entirely unoffensive group above was really horrible by Franchi Momentum standards.
Nor did it entirely love the excellent Hornady Black ammo, putting two rounds through the “O” that I was aiming at and three in another very tight group some distance away. Another group was slightly more evenly distributed but similar in size.
The Momentum loved Armscor’s 168 grain FMJs, though. This ammo is usually an average accuracy performer for me, but dang did the Franchi shoot it well.
It also really liked this 147 grain MEN stuff that I bought in bulk — cheap — some years ago basically just for semi-auto “plinking” use. You know, turning ammo into noise kind of use.
I mean, this is one heck of a tight group! Way sub-MOA. Likely sub-half-MOA. No, naturally I forgot to measure and I didn’t keep the targets (estimating with the On Target app based on the dimensions of the ammo box, it’s about 0.45 MOA). Yes, that’s five rounds as always.
Nor do my groups appear to be outliers for the Momentum. Combing the interwebs just now I see other reviews reporting groups from 0.40 to 2 MOA depending on caliber and ammunition brand/load. Though the tightest of those were from outlets that shoot 3-round groups, for what that’s worth (well, it’s worth a tighter average group size).
These are incredible results from a rifle with an MSRP barely over $600! And based on my limited sample size, this budget rifle seems to prefer budget ammo. Fantastic.
Helping the Franchi Momentum turn in great groups — well, helping the shooter do his or her part better — is a wonderful factory trigger. Adjustable from 2 pounds to 4 pounds, my sample fell right in the middle of that range. It’s a crisp, clean, single-stage trigger with no slack or take-up and a nice break.
I have my moments of trigger snobbery, but if I owned a Momentum I wouldn’t spend money seeking a trigger upgrade or ‘smithing work.
With a typical retail price of $549, the Franchi Momentum is a lot of Italian hunting rifle for not a lot of cash. Accurate, lightweight, and comfortable with a great trigger, it’s a solid choice to fill your freezer this season.
Specifications: Franchi Momentum in .308
Caliber: .308 Winchester (available in five other calibers, too)
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Twist Rate: 1:11
Overall Length: 42.3 inches
Length of Pull: 14 inches (adjustable with spacers)
Trigger: 2-4 lbs, adjustable, single stage
Weight: 6.6 pounds
MSRP: $609 (about $450 retail)
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * * *
Pretty typical for a synthetic-stocked, budget-oriented hunting rifle. I’m giving the Momentum an extra star above “average” for the polished, fluted bolt and all the checkered ergonomic areas on the stock that fancy it up a bit.
Ergonomics * * * *
Again one star better than average in this category, but it still leaves plenty of room for improvement.
Customization * * * *
Remington 700 footprint scope bases, a threaded barrel, and a user-adjustable trigger put the Momentum one star above average here, too.
Accuracy * * * * *
Awesome at this price range. Or even at a much higher price range. Very impressed.
Overall * * * *
A very solid four stars here for the Franchi Momentum bolt-action rifle. If you’re into Italian and you’re into affordable, but you still want some Ferrari performance at the Fiat price, Franchi’s Momentum delivers the goods.