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Franchi Momentum Elite Bolt-Action Rifle

Franchi Momentum Elite Bolt-Action Rifle

(Guns & Ammo photo)

Franchi, the well-known maker of fine and affordable shotguns, unveiled an updated bolt gun in its Momentum Elite. Launched on the March 2018 cover of Guns & Ammo, the Momentum was actually Franchi’s first rifle. The new Elite versions now feature detachable box magazines, Cerakote metal finishes and stocks wearing popular camo patterns.

The Momentum is a three-lug bolt-action rifle with a short 60-degree bolt throw. It’s quick cycling and offers clearance for large optics. Many rifle shooters prefer to mount their scopes as low as possible. Doing so enables the shooter to keep his face firmly planted on the stock while still seeing a full field of view through the scope. The problem is that many of today’s optics, with ever-increasing magnification ranges, utilize large eyepieces and ocular housings. Given the greater lift required by two-lug bolt designs, usually 90 degrees, such scopes must often be mounted high above the bore to accomodate the housing and prevent the bolt’s handle from impacting the optic during the loading cycle. The Franchi Momentum family has no such problem.

Another advantage of the Momentum’s three-lug action is the 6-o’clock placement of one lug while the action is cycling. Having one lug sit as low as possible in the action enables the bolt to have maximum cartridge case head engagement when it moves forward to strip one round out of the magazine. Even fat, short-action magnum cartridges with aggressive approach angles would feed reliably in the Momentum. When a cartridge leaves the magazine and noses up into the chamber, the case head drops lower. Depending on the action and cartridge, the case head can slip under the bolt face. A Momentum will never experience this issue.

The bolt is one-­piece, fluted and chrome plated. The non-­rotating bolt head features three lugs (right, inset) for a short, 60-­degree bolt throw. The extractor claw and ejector are oriented for positive cycling when loading live rounds and removing spent cases. (Guns & Ammo photo)

The standard Momentum models have an internal magazine with a hinged floorplate, but the new Elite comes with a center-fed detachable box magazine. This is a welcome improvement on an already good rifle. Placing the rounds one on top of the other and then lining them up in between lug abutments for the bolt lugs was a great idea. This means rounds leaving the magazine first rise up into what is essentially a bolt lug raceway. From there, it is a straight shot into the chamber. The Momentum Elite feeds smoothly, and the relationship between the detachable box magazine and bolt lug opening is why.

One of the more visible action features is the full-diameter bolt found in the Momentum’s receiver. The receiver has no need for relief cuts to accommodate the bolt lugs because the bolt body, itself, is equal in diameter. Cycling the action is simply sliding a cylinder inside a housing. There is nothing protruding away from the bolt body to bind when cycling. Contrast that with a typical two-lug action with bolt lugs protruding at the 3- and 9-o’clock positions. The opposed lugs sit in raceways and, while lateral pressure at the back of the bolt body won’t usually cause a bind, pushing down too forcefully while running the bolt forward certainly will. Unfortunately, the most common mistake made when cycling a bolt action is to apply downward pressure while pushing the bolt forward. Apply all the sideward, downward, or any other -ward pressure you like to the Momentum. Guns & Ammo’s staff are confident this bolt won’t bind under anything resembling normal use.

The original Momentum featured a hinged floorplate that provided access to unload its three-­round payload. The Momentum Elite offers a removable box magazine that carries four rounds and centers the top cartridge behind the chamber for reliable feeding. (Guns & Ammo photo)

Another reason the Momentum’s bolt cycles so smoothly is the hard-chrome finish applied to the bolt. With a little lubricant, the bolt requires minimal effort to operate.

The features on the action’s exterior received the same critical engineering as the bolt’s design. The bolt stop sits on the side of the receiver and uses a steel lever that protrudes into a recess milled into the bolt body. Normally, the bolt stop impacts the inboard bolt lug on a two-lug action and, cycled hard enough, a bolt lug can take some damage with that arrangement. The Momentum’s action locates the protruding steel bolt stop within a milled groove on the bolt body, and it never touches any of the three lugs. No matter how hard a guy cycles the action, the lugs will remain pristine. The steel bolt stop also uses a steel roll pin to hold it in place, making for a very durable assembly.

The Momentum’s stock looks like a common affair, but there are a couple subtle features that are worth calling out. Removing the barreled action from the stock reveals a pair of recoil lugs embedded in a “V” shape near the front action screw. The two recoil lugs protrude up and interface with corresponding slots milled into the bottom of the receiver. The “V”-shape arrangment ensures the action remains centered in the stock, while the marriage between lugs and receiver ensures the action won’t move under recoil. Mechanical consistency is a key factor to the rifle’s accuracy.


The sling attachment points molded into recesses in the forend and buttstock, though avant-garde in appearance, proved their worth when the time came to attach bipods and slings and go shooting. Because these points do not protrude beyond the stock’s exterior lines, there’s no risk to the shooter’s support hand during recoil. The forend also remains uncluttered, and the rifle won’t teeter precariously on a stud or swivel when laid across a hard-surfaced rest.

Franchi’s decision to carry the stock’s forend forward beyond the sling attachment point also gets top marks for functionality, as it ensures that a bipod can seat firmly against the stock’s surface and maintain proper orientation when tightened down.

During the accuracy evaluation, our test rifle, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, demonstrated repeatable precision that would be impossible without a great trigger. The Momentum’s trigger attaches to the receiver with two retention screws, so removal for maintenance is not difficult. The trigger adjusts from 2 to 4 pounds, has no discernable creep and a crisp let-off. It would be hard to ask more from this rifle’s trigger.

Accuracy was better than expected from Franchi’s first rifle platform, and a good indication that the company is moving in the right direction since releasing the original Momentum. All three types of ammunition tested produced sub-half-MOA groups for three shots at 100 yards! Getting just one such group during a rifle test is exciting, if not conclusive. But, when all three types of ammunition tested (from three different manufacturers) deliver tiny groups, the rifle’s accuracy becomes a big part of the story.


Franchi might be new to the rifle market, but the Momentum Elite is a positive step forward for the fledgling bolt action. When assessing the rifle and considering its features, we can’t help but see the value it offers American consumers. Few rifles, even those costing much more, will match its accuracy.

Franchi Momentum Elite Specs

Type: Bolt action
Cartridge: .223 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), .308 Win.
Capacity: 4+1 rds.
Barrel: 22 in. (.223/.308);  24 in. (6.5)
Overall Length: 44.25 in. (.223/.308); 46.25 (6.5)
Weight: 7 lbs., 8 oz. (tested)
Stock: Injection-molded polymer
Grips: Molded checkering
Length of Pull: 14 in.
Finish: Cerakote (steel)
Trigger: Adj.; 3 lbs., 2 oz. (tested)
Sights: None
MSRP: $849 to $899
Importer: Franchi,

Franchi Momentum Elite

The Momentum Elite presents a larger target-­style bolt handle that provides plenty of leverage to open and close the action fast. The push-­to-­fire safety lever now features a larger, serrated cylinder.

Franchi Momentum Elite

The stock design has been largely carried over from the original Momentum, but is now offered in gray, Realtree “Excape” and “TrueTimber Strata” patterns. Recoil is still absorbed by a TSA pad.

Franchi Momentum Elite

The barrel is free-­floated for accuracy, and a pair of recoil lugs in the stock interlock with notches machined to the bottom of the action. The stock and barreled action are held together by a properly torqued action screw.

Franchi Momentum Elite

The two-­position safety is part of a crisp trigger design that is adjustable between 2 and 4 pounds. When the action is removed from the stock, it’s reassuring to see that the Cerakote was evenly applied.

Franchi Momentum Elite

The trigger is shrouded by a polymer triggerguard. The guard also serves as the pivot point for the magazine release lever. To remove the magazine, press the release lever from inside the triggerguard.

Franchi Momentum Elite

The magazine carries four rounds, and protrudes slightly below the rifle’s stock. Its capacity is a one-­round improvement compared to the original. At writing, spare magazines are not available for sale.

Franchi Momentum Elite

The multi-­ported radial muzzle brake does its part to minimize felt recoil for the 7-­pound rifle. It can be removed to reveal 5⁄8x24 threads to accept a suppressor. A thread protector is also included.

Franchi Momentum Elite

The molded sling-­swivel stud is recessed into the stock’s forearm. Opinions on aesthetics aside, Franchi’s engineers smartly designed enough forend stock ahead of it to accept popular bipods.

Franchi Momentum Elite

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