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In 1984, Gun Digest published an article by Jeff Cooper titled, “The Scout Rifle Idea: You May Need Single Hits, Not Volume Fire.” That article was the beginning of the enigma that the Scout Rifle concept has become. Since then, several manufacturers and many custom builders have attempted to either create a rifle that meets Cooper’s specifications or one that would embody the general-purpose spirit Cooper felt his concept rifle exemplified. With the new Momentum All-Terrain Elite, Franchi did not set out to do the first, but they very much have accomplished the latter.
What is a general-purpose rifle? It’s one that will do whatever you need it to—a rifle as suited for wilderness survival as it is for personal protection and big-game hunting. In other words—as I detailed in my book The Scout Rifle Study—a general-purpose rifle should be a problem solver, and that’s exactly what Franchi has engineered the All-Terrain Elite to be.
Franchi Momentum All Terrain Elite Specifications
- Length: 40.0 inches
- Weight: 7.3 pounds with magazine
- Barrel: 18-inch, 1-in-11 twist
- Action: Bolt, fluted, three-lug, 60°
- Trigger: Relia Trigger, adjustable, single stage
- Capacity: 10+1, detachable AICS magazine
- Finish: Midnight Bronze Cerakote (action & barrel) Chrome (bolt)
- Stock: Synthetic, TrueTimber Strata
- Chambering: 223 Remington, 308 Winchester (tested) 5.56 and 7.62 NATO compatible
- Price: $1,449
Franchi introduced their Momentum rifle in 2018, and the next year they brought out the Elite version with some stock and Cerakote finish upgrades. For 2023, the company has added the All-Terrain Elite to the Momentum lineup. This rifle is built on the same Momentum action, which features a fluted, three-lug bolt with a 60° throw, but most everything else about this rifle is different.
It comes with a free-floated, 18-inch threaded barrel that has a multi-port muzzle brake, and the barrel and action are finished in Cerakote midnight bronze. Available chamberings include 223 Remington and the 308 Winchester, and the rifle is compatible with 5.56 and 7.62 NATO ammunition. In 223 Remington, the barrel has a fast 1-in-8 twist, but oddly, in 308 Winchester, the twist rate is 1-in-11.
Secured to the action with four screws is an optics rail with 21 slots that extends 4 inches over the barrel. But unlike many scout-like rails, this one is not attached to the barrel. This circumvents the potential for loose screws and a point-of-impact shift as the barrel heats up during high-volume fire. Integral to the rail is a flip-up AR-style aperture sight that’s windage adjustable. But when folded there’s what might be considered a combat-style notch sight. These interface with a flip-up AR-style front sight that’s adjustable for elevation and that has a small blade that’s useable when the sight is folded down.
The stock is polymer and has a TrueTimber Strata camo finish. The cheekpiece and butt pad are interchangeable with others that can be ordered from Franchi. The pistol grip is contrasting black and checkered, and there’s checkering formed into most of the forend. The forend is also fitted with three M-Lok rails—one on each side and one on the bottom—where a light, laser, and/or bipod can be attached. There are also six quick-detach swivel sockets on the stock. The rifle feeds from a detachable, 10-round Magpul AICS magazine, and the release is intuitive, ambidextrous, and integral to the polymer floor plate. At 7.3 pounds, it’s a tad heavy but balances well, handling way better than its cumbersome appearance might suggest.
Franchi Momentum All Terrain Elite Test Results
- Back up open sights
- Versatile optics rail
- Multiple sling attachment points
- M-Lok compatible
- Only available in 223 Remington and 308 Winchester
With a suppressor installed and shooting from a sandbag rest at 100 yards, the rifle shot reasonably well. It averaged 1.47 inches with the four different loads. We shot its best group with the Browning 165-grain load, and it measured 0.89 inches. The rifle did not like the Barnes load, and except for one round of the Barnes ammunition that would not chamber, everything else fed and extracted very smoothly.
After bench shooting, we removed the riflescope and shot the gun with both sets of backup sights. Out of the box, the flip-up sights were dead on at 50 yards, but while the peep in the rear sight was nice for precision work, it’s a bit too small to serve as a ghost ring sight during fast action or in low light. The notch and blade sights that can be used when the flip-up sights are folded down placed bullets about four inches low at 25 yards. These are very rudimentary and might only be practical in a close-quarters self-defense situation. The muzzle brake softened recoil but was a bit obnoxious—it spent most of its time in the box during our test.
We did a good bit of shooting with this rifle, with and without a riflescope and a suppressor. (The flip-up sights are high enough to use when running a suppressor.) The rifle handled very well; the bolt was slick to cycle; and we had no issues when running it hard and fast. For traditional hunting applications, the extended magazine makes the rifle a bit uncomfortable to carry at the balance point, and the magazine does not drop free but is easily pulled from its well. This may seem like a detractor but for a general-purpose rifle, truck gun, or rifle to be used as a Scout Rifle, it makes perfect sense—you’ll have to try to lose this magazine.
Final Thoughts on the Franchi Momentum All Terrain Elite
I must admit that I did not want to like this somewhat ugly rifle, but the more I worked with it, it grew on me. I have to give Franchi credit for assembling such a versatile platform and for not calling it a Scout Rifle because while it embodies the spirit of Cooper’s Concept, it doesn’t meet his comprehensive definition. Short of all-out combat, it’s hard to imagine a situation where this rifle would not excel. At 7.3 pounds, it is a bit heavy, but when compared to other commercial scout-like rifles, it’s not so much. The Steyr Scout Rifle weighs 6.78 pounds and the stainless steel, wood-stocked, Ruger Scout Rifle weighs 7.25 pounds. Both cost more than the Franchi.
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For those looking for a single centerfire rifle that could be used in the widest variety of circumstances, this rifle has a lot going for it. If it were mine, I’d drill the hole in the aperture sight out slightly larger, mount a low-power variable riflescope in QD rings, attach a Spartan bipod M-Lok adapter to the forend, and install a Galco RifleMann sling. I’d then buy a case of the Browning load it liked so well and use it to keep my freezer full, put horns on my wall, and keep prowling bears or zombies in check.