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Review: Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite

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How much barrel does it take to get the job done? That depends on who you ask. Truth be told, my deep-woods rifle would only bear a 14.5-inch launch tube if it didn’t require a tax stamp, which is why I tend to gravitate toward rifles like the Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite. With its 18-inch barrel and available .308 Winchester chambering, this compact powerhouse delivers everything you need to ethically harvest medium-sized game in a package that is easy to sling across the handlebars of your ATV. I had a recent opportunity to work with one and found it to be quite handy while imparting many of the characteristics of a classic scout rifle.

Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite full length facing right.

As the name suggests, Franchi’s All-Terrain expands on its popular Momentum line, which means that most, if not all, of the Momentum’s best features are carried over. At its core lies the 60-degree, three-lug bolt system that operates with less effort than the conventional two-lug variety. A hard-chromed finish helps it to shed fouling while increasing lubricity, making it less dependent on oil to run smoothly. It’s also an excellent way to inhibit rust without resorting to a gritty coating that will ultimately wear away. This action feeds off an included 10-round AICS magazine, which handles ammunition more reliably than the fading AR-10 pattern box magazines and allows for the use of ammo loaded with high-BC long-ogive bullets. It can also be replaced with a lower-capacity magazine if your hunting jurisdiction requires.

The All-Terrain’s action is mated to a medium-profile 18-inch barrel that features ⅝x24 threading and is capped with a radial muzzle brake. At that length, one can add a suppressor without sacrificing the rifle’s compact nature. This assembly is finished with a Midnight Bronze Cerakote and seated into a specialized stock that further embodies the spirit of Lt. Col. Cooper’s concept rifle. As it will likely wear a sling during its deployment, Franchi clad the All-Terrain with a myriad of QD cups, allowing the user to affix a sling at the 3, 6 or 9 o’clock position. There are also six M-LOK slots on the forward end for accessories like game lights or bipods.

Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite rifle fore-end with M-LOK slots.

Getting Franchi’s latest ready for the range was an interesting affair, as I was genuinely conflicted as to how I wanted to dress it up. It leaves the factory with a pair of flip-up adjustable iron sights, something almost unheard of these days. In their lowered, down position, the irons offer a quick notch-and-post sight picture for those looking to send one in a hurry. Flipped up, the sight offers a more accurate aperture system, which some might argue is slower. A piece of me was tempted to attack steel and paper with the All-Terrain in its natural state, but I wasn’t sure my eyesight alone would do its sub-MOA guarantee any justice. To that end, I grabbed a high-magnification scope and attempted to mount it, but the All-Terrain’s elongated rail interfered with the larger objective bell, so I had to come up with another plan, lest use extra-high rings. The rail did leave me enough space for a holographic optic and a magnifier, which would be a step in the right direction, just not far enough. After adding it all up, it looked like this would be the perfect opportunity to run Riton’s new 5 Primal 2-12x44mm scope. Kept on the lowest power setting, its generous field of view will easily grab a fleeing coyote, and the second focal plane reticle won’t be scaled down at this end of the spectrum, making it easy to acquire. Using a set of the company’s Contessa rings, I quickly ratcheted it down and moved on to ammunition.

As previously stated, this rifle comes with a sub-MOA guarantee when shooting quality factory ammunition. If that can’t be repeated with hunting ammo, it isn’t worth much to me. The good news is that I have an ample supply of top-end game-getters at my disposal, so it just came down to making the right choices. Franchi picked a slower 1:11-inch twist rate for this barrel, which limits it to lighter .308 fodder. This is a fair trade, as this yields a longer lifespan and even remains a touch cooler during elongated shot strings. With this in mind, I selected rounds that hovered around 165 grains, as they would be easy on the shoulder and give me the best shot at punching a qualifying group. Among them were Hornady’s Outfitter load, which features the company’s new monolithic CX bullets, as well as SIG’s 165-grain Elite Hunter Tipped, which bears a striking resemblance to Sierra’s Tipped GameKing bullet of the same weight. Also in the mix was HSM’s Trophy Gold ammo, which casts a familiar Berger VLD hunting projectile.

Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite rifle Picatinny rail.

I started testing by zeroing my optic and cranking it to the max to see which ammo clustered up the best. SIG’s product was able to meet the mark, with Berger’s load coming darn close as well. Hornady’s Outfitter opened things up a bit, but it was certainly serviceable for its intended use. By nature, lead-free bullets are long for weight, and the slower twist rate of the All-Terrain just couldn’t stabilize them to their full potential. With the bench work behind me, it was now time to use this rifle as intended by running it through some classic field positions. Starting with prone, I was able to land rounds on an array of 12-inch steel targets placed between 200 and  500 yards using just the MOA holdovers in the Riton’s reticle. Two hundred-yard hits were easily obtainable in the offhand position, which is a product of the gun’s tight stature and adjustable trigger. At this stage in the game, I had already taken the adjustable trigger down to the minimum pull weight, which was just south of 2 pounds.

Altogether, I put close to 200 rounds through the Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite without experiencing a single hiccup in feeding, firing or ejection. I found it to be an exceptional choice for those looking to keep something close by to address targets of opportunity or to defend the homestead. It’s also an excellent choice for hunting out of a tight blind or dragging across a stretch of treacherous ground. If nothing else, it was a blast to run at the range, and sometimes, that is the only terrain you need to traverse to enjoy yourself behind a rifle.

Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite accuracy results chart.

Technical Specifications
• Type: bolt-action centerfire rifle
• Caliber: .223 Rem., .308 Win. (tested)
• Magazine: detachable, Magpul AICS; 10-rnd. capacity
• Barrel: 18″; chrome-moly steel; light contour; cold-hammer forged; free floating; 1:11″ RH twist, 4 grooves; threaded ⅝”x24 TPI w/muzzle brake
• Trigger: Franchi Relia; single-stage; adjustable pull weight 2-4 lbs.
• Sights: flip-up adjustable notch/aperture rear, front post; Picatinny rail
• Safety: two-position lever
• Stock: synthetic; straight comb; interchangeable cheek risers; TrueTimber Strata finish; 14.25″ LOP
• Metal Finish: Midnight Bronze Cerakote
• Overall Length: 40″
• Weight: 7.5 lbs.
• Accessories: none
• MSRP: $1,449; franchiusa.com

Article by FRANK MELLONI

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