September 15, 2023
It’s not every day that I find a rifle that gets all the details for its intended application correct, especially when that application is general use. “General use” means the gun might be used for hunting, ringing steel, or self-defense, and it is almost impossible to build one rifle that is capable of doing all those things. However, Franchi managed to do it with its new Momentum All-Terrain Elite. The list of features found on this rifle makes it an ideal general-use bolt-action rifle for a wide range of applications.
A Shooter's Stock
The stock on the new-for-2023 Momentum All-Terrain Elite shows such attention to detail that it’s hard not to gush about it. This is an injection-molded stock that does this manufacturing method proud. Pulling the barreled action out of the stock allows for a basic assessment and is something that you could repeat at home. The first thing I do is squeeze as hard as I can with both hands where the receiver sits over the magazine. This is the thinnest spot of any stock, and it’s the best place to check a stock’s rigidity. I detected no movement despite my dedicated effort.
Stock rigidity is paramount for accuracy. There is no task more important for a stock than to remain rigid for the barreled action when the rifle fires. If a stock gets all of its other assigned tasks correct, but isn’t rigid enough, the rifle will never shoot well. Franchi’s stock is very rigid, so we’re off to a great start.
The next feature about this stock that makes it ideal for general use is the flat forend. The bottom of the forend is approximately 2 inches wide, which is flat enough to ride a support bag or backpack well. Most stocks have a hard time getting the feature right because many manufacturers make forends that are too skinny. Being slender up front makes a stock comfortable in the hand for offhand shooting, but when I’m shooting and it’s important I want to support the forend on something other than my hand. This forend is slender enough for offhand shooting but wide enough to ride field supports well.
Franchi saw opportunity with the forend and didn’t stop by just making it wide enough to be useful without being so wide that it’s uncomfortable. They inset aluminum M-Lok panels into both sides of the forend and underneath it as well. There are two screws inside the barrel channel that hold each M-Lok panel in place. The beauty of these M-Lok panels is that the forend retains its smooth and comfortable surface until the rifleman decides he needs to use them. The side panels will most likely see use for a sling attachment point, as in “flush cup.” These are already integral to each side panel. The other use for the opposite side could be for mounting a light (home defense) or pushing the front sling attachment point further forward.
The bottom panel has the greatest impact on the rifle’s shootability. It allows the forend to retain a smooth underside, which is essential for rifle stability. Resting the front of the stock on a field support such as a backpack is most beneficial especially when there is more contact between the rifle and support. A wide, flat surface is ideal. Less than ideal is when a sling stud or rail protrudes away from the forend and interrupts that surface. The interruption can be overcome in many instances, but it is better if this isn’t an issue in the first place. Franchi’s use of an M-Lok panel gives the shooter the best of both worlds. The surface stays flat and smooth until the M-Lok mounting system is needed.
The next key feature of the stock, which is a contributing factor to how accurately a rifle shoots, is the bedding block system. Unlike most rifle actions that have a recoil lug that protrudes away from the receiver, the Momentum puts recoil lugs in the stock and has them protrude into recesses cut into the receiver. Separating the barreled action from the stock revealed a large aluminum “V” that sits just ahead of the magazine. The block is about .3-inch thick and is flat on the surfaces where it mates with the receiver. This design puts two, large, flat surfaces in contact with the receiver instead of the normal single surface contact found with a traditional recoil lug, greatly increasing the stock’s hold on the receiver. The more contact there is between the receiver and the stock, the more immobile the receiver remains under recoil. Minimizing receiver movement is one key factor in preventing erratic accuracy, as in “flyers.”
Additionally, the Momentum also has about 35-percent more thread engagement between the front action screw and the receiver when compared to a Model 700-pattern receiver. There are two action screws on just about every receiver made, and those two screws are all that holds the barreled action to the stock. Take a close look at how little contact those two screws actually have with the receiver and it’ll start keeping you up at night. Franchi, through smart design with its bedding block, also found the room to thread that front action screw (which does 80 percent of the work) several more turns into the receiver. That additional contact keeps the receiver immobilized when firing the rifle and is a big reason why every Momentum rifle I’ve accuracy tested does so well.
The triggerguard/magwell Franchi uses on the All-Terrain lends itself well to general use. This rifle accepts AICS-pattern magazines, so it feeds from the center of a single-stack detachable box magazine. This is as reliably feeding as it gets with detachable box magazines because the round sits dead-center in the receiver just below the bolt. When the bolt comes forward, it strips one round off the magazine and sends it into the chamber. Franchi’s polymer bottom integrates the magazine release into an ambidextrous paddle that follows the contour of and hugs either side of the forward edge of the triggerguard. Dropping the magazine requires the deliberate effort of extending the index finger to activate the paddle. The paddle doesn’t protrude, so it won’t grab loose clothing or branches and dump the magazine on the ground at the worst possible moment.
Finally, the Momentum All-Terrain includes a low-rise comb installed, but interchangeable medium- and high-rise combs can be purchased from Franchi for height options, allowing the shooter to improve the cheekweld, which is especially helpful when shooting with a magnified optic. The ability to set comb height means the shooter is more likely to spot a round’s impact because the head is mounted firmly behind the scope for an optimal field of view.
The barreled action is no less feature-rich than the stock. It uses Franchi’s three-lug action with 60-degree bolt throw. It’s fast and keeps the firing hand away from the scope when working the action in a hurry. New for the All-Terrain model is the extended optic-mounting rail the sits atop the receiver and protrudes 31/2 inches forward over the barrel. The presence of this rail allows for the use of traditional magnified scopes as well as long eye relief scout scopes.
Further distinguishing the Momentum All-Terrain is the back-up sight configuration. The front sight sits near the muzzle on top of the barrel, but the rear sight is integrated into the optic rail. These sights work either folded down as three-dot sights, or flipped up as peep sights. As much as I appreciate a good magnified optic, I love the idea of having back-up sights on a rifle. More than once in my life I’ve had an optic lose its zero, requiring shipment to the manufacturer for repair. That’s not enough to stop the All-Terrain; flip up the sights and keep shooting. For a general-use rifle, it’s hard for me to imagine a better redundant sight set-up.
The barrel on the Franchi Momentum All-Terrain is cold hammer-forged and threaded 5⁄8-24 with a muzzlebrake attached. The muzzlebrake works well enough that recoil was milder than I expected. The brake doesn’t have big lateral ports, so it’s not abusive to adjacent spectators.
I was able to field test the Momentum All-Terrain Elite during a black bear hunt in Alberta, Canada. I used it with Federal’s 175-grain Terminal Ascent load to fill one tag, and filled a second tag using Federal’s 150-grain Trophy Copper. In both cases, one shot was all that was necessary to take each bear, but I fired follow-up shots to ensure no tracking was necessary. Both bullets expanded enough to produce large exit wounds, and all shots fired passed completely through the animals.
Terminal performance is always a top consideration when choosing hunting ammunition, but I was pleasantly surprised to see both loads group well during accuracy testing, too. The two Federal products feature substantially different ogives, or “nose shapes,” so the amount of jump to the lands differ significantly when comparing the two bullets. The chamber construction in the All-Terrain Elite handled both bullets well and turned in great groups across the board.
The final touch on this general-use rifle is a healthy layer of Cerakote, a ceramic finish that doesn’t scratch easily and protects against corrosion well. The durability of Cerakote, combined with the featured stock, optic rail with back-up sights, and short overall length, make the Momentum All-Terrain Elite an ideal backwoods, home-defense or truck companion.
Franchi Momentum All-Terrain Elite
- Type: Bolt action
- Cartridge: .308 Winchester (tested)
- Capacity: 10+1 rds.
- Barrel: 18 in., 1:11-in. twist
- Overall Length: 40 in. (extended)
- Weight: 7 lbs., 9 oz.
- Stock: Polymer, injection molded; integrated QD and M-Lok
- Length of Pull: 14 in.
- Finish: Cerakote (steel); TrueTimber Strata (polymer)
- Safety: Two-position selector
- Sights: Folding; post/notch or post/adj. aperture
- Trigger: 3 lbs., 3 oz. (tested)
- MSRP: $1,449
- Manufacturer: Franchi, 301-283-6981, franchiusa.com
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