Initially introduced by Signature 4 in 2017, the Bronc Box line of products was first intended to provide safety to compound bows for archery hunters. That design has undergone three generational evolutions since then to bring a modest 38, and the larger 52 field case to market. Produced in Ohio, the Bronc series of field cases provide the upmost in protection to high-dollar rifles and accessories for those looking into exotic hunts or those within the Western Hemisphere—but also offer those using it for everyday training or professional use with its security as well.
Featured in this review, the Bronc Box 52 is intended for full-length rifles and support to accessories/gear. It’s overall exterior measures 57” (L) x 17.6” (H) x 20” (W) with both an identical, double walled upper and lower segment made from 0.1875” thick, rotomolded linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). This process creates a seamless shell for both segments that is water tight. In previous generations, the upper/lower segments of the Bronc Box were single walled and utilized a foam fill inside the intervening void for protection, but that was dropped as one of several weight-saving measures and the second wall was added to maintain the protection. Around the exterior are four molded cleats for when using ratchet straps or other retention means to secure the case during transport, and reinforcement molding for added structure.
From the front, the Bronc 52 includes four 1” military-style, spring loaded butterfly twist latches that secure the top, opening segment to the bottom.
At the front and rear center, a single 5” steel plate provides for a reinforced handle that allows for the end-user to open/close the upper segment independent of the bottom (once the latches are released).
Both sides of the Bronc 52 have steel reinforced pass-through handles that provide a both a point for picking up the case, as well as anchoring it to a fixed or secure point of retention. Additionally, the steel plate/handle has a single 0.4” diameter hole for securing an elongated padlock (not included).
On one side are 4” polymer wheels, while the other has two spring-loaded collapsible handles (made from steel with plastic support grips) used to support movement of the Bronc 52.
The rear exterior of the Bronc 52 features a 36” long, continuous piano hinge that allows for the two segments of the Bronc 52 to be fully opened and lay flat.
Two non-slip rubberized feet are on the bottom of the case and prevent accidental movement of the case against a variety of surfaces.
While both the top and bottom segments of the Bronc Box share some similarities, depending on configuration the two can be customized based on the end-user’s needs at that time. Regardless, the interior space of the Bronc 52 measures 52.2” (L) x 15.13” (H) x 15.59” (W) that provides 8.12ft3 of storage space.
Both segments include a removable, washable nylon liner that is includes open-cell foam padding to protect the contents.
The top and bottom segments also include three threaded anchor positions, which is dominantly beneficial for attaching/removing the three support rails that provide structure and strength to the overall case. Additionally, both segments include a “kickstand” that can be used to prop open the field case and allow the end-user free use of their hands.
The three support rails are used to attach/move/remove the necessitating attachment points used to secure the firearms to the interior of the lid. The Bronc 52 comes with four 10” (L) hook-and-loop straps, and four 16.75” (L) hook-and-loop straps, although other mounting accessories (such as gun hooks) are also available (and included in this review).
Dividing the space between the two segments is a removable foam nylon divider that is anchored into the upper segment via slide-release buckle. One side of the divider (facing into the upper segment) is featureless while the opposite side has nylon webbing for attaching other pouches or accessories (sold separately).
To provide a water-tight seal between the top and bottom segments of the Bronc Box, a commercial-grade, double groove rubberized O-ring is around the entire perimeter of the lid. Oppositely, on the bottom a continual foam ring ensures any void, gap, or debris is sealed against the O-ring to prevent saturation or moisture penetration.
The Bronc Box 52 is available in OD Green (featured), Flat Dark Earth, or Black.
The Bronc Box line of products also has several accessory items that can offer both supportive roles to any field case, or offer its own unique stand-alone capabilities. Two such accessories were included in this review: Bale Bags, sold individually or in sets, are a means to organize and compartmentalize any ensuing gear, equipment, accessories, or materials needed for the field or range. Each bag, in either the Bale Bag 16 or 32 version, have a two-sided top-opening weatherized zipper and an exterior made with a water-resistant tarpaulin fabric. This provides a water and dust free storage space for the contents. Hook-and-loop straps and aluminum rings provide for side/top carry or compression.
Product Link: https://broncbox.com/products/bronc-bale-bag-kit
Integrated into the design of the Bronc Box segments, is a space whereby a specialized waterproof flashlight can be stored and utilized as needed. The flashlight itself is powered by two AA batteries (with seven hours runtime) and includes a twist-top to activate a modest 100-lumen power source, with a removable conical cap that helps diffuse the light to prevent excessive ambient saturation.
Product Link: https://broncbox.com/products/flashlight
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): The Bronc Box 52 is the largest of the Bronc series of products, and thus has a list price of $895 for the case, and includes internal rails/retention straps. The volume of LLDPE material needed to enclose 8.12ft3 of storage space in a double-wall design is also significant. In contrast, market alternatives would be the Loadmaster 42 ($849) with 3.05ft3 of storage space by Yote Trading Company, or the 472-463L-MM36 Mobile Master Case ($1,284.20) with 8.7ft3 of storage space by Pelican. Often, the cost of field cases in this size becomes the biggest hurdle for end-users to overcome, but considering the volume of LLDPE material involved, the sheer effort in manufacturing a seamless-piece of rotomolded material, hardware involved, and amount of high-dollar items that can be held safely—the value of the Bronc 52 becomes far more recognizable. While there are a multitude of lower-cost field cases available, most do not have the structure, strength, or storage capacity. Thus, amid the market of similar alternatives, the Bronc 52 is at a good value for what is included in its design at its current list price.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): With an overall length at 57” in a rough rectangular design, the Bronc 52 was a bit awkward for a single individual to pick up and maneuver due to its sheer size and weight (while empty). The best method to comfortably move the case (by yourself) was via the side spring-loaded handles and opposing rolling wheels (that provided a very smooth movement). The over-molding on the case’s exterior did make gripping and picking it up (empty) from either end or the front easier, but obviously the best method to transport a field case of this size was once it was picked up and put in the back of a pickup truck (or similar vehicle). As is, once fully loaded with gear or firearms, the Bronc 52 was much heavier than its initial 59 pounds empty, and thus if fully loaded it is highly recommended it be picked up by two people to move it comfortably. The steel reinforced pass-through slots on the side also allowed for cargo straps to securely hold the case to the truck’s anchoring points without any concern of slippage, tearing, or warping on the part of the field case. With its current size, the Bronc 52 fit comfortably under the height of the standard pickup truck bed, with adequate clearance under the height of the railing to account for most aftermarket truck bed covers. The non-slip feet on the bottom did a very good job of ensuring the case didn’t slip, even against the slick surface of a truck bed, but also made it challenging while sliding the case around into position (vice rolling it on the wheels). Other comfortable aspects to the design included the adding of a “reach” strap to the lid’s interior that made opening and closing a fully weighted lid much easier, and far more physically manageable given the extent of the Bronc Box 52 when fully open and laid flat. One recommendation from a comfort aspect to Signature 4 would be increasing/repositioning the single, front-facing 5” handle to two, which would improve the ability of the end-user to comfortably grip the front of the Bronc 52 in both hands and maneuver it around or open the lid. As is, the single handle is somewhat limiting/awkward, especially when the case is fully loaded and the end-user is working against that dead weight.
- Durability – Average (3/5): From a durability aspect, the Bronc 52 is made almost exclusively from linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), which is (to put simply) a variant of low-density polyethylene plastics that is found throughout many products and industries. The difference being polyethylene plastics are widely known for their malleability and tensile strength, however in the linear variant the “fibers” of the plastics are predominantly in a single direction and thus have a much higher degree of flexibility during production, strength, and can contour to much tighter angles. However, the rotomolded process involves a lot of heat, and is very labor intensive. Thus, on the Bronc 52 some edges showed evidence of over-molding/excess material (evidence of being inside a cask or mold), while others showed evidence of exposure to heat elements (i.e. melted) along some edges. None of this was detrimental in any aspect of the field case, nor inhibited any function—merely were minor and indicative of the material and manufacturing process. That established, some exterior surface marring was observed with use and transport to/from the range as the LLDPE material was pliable enough to offer flex against pressure, while avoided excess rigidity that might risk fracture. This was entirely within the normal range of expectations from any case, that with any degree of regular/hard usage, it will receive some superficial scratches, gouging, or marring. The important thing was the double-walled case of the Bronc 52 provided protection to the interior space, and the 36” long piano hinge held up perfectly (with no warping or pulling up of pins observed) despite the added weight of items inside. Other minor elements of durability were noted, with the finish chipping off at the contact points to the butterfly twist latches due to metal-on-metal contact, but again that was normal and within expectations. Throughout evaluations the latches themselves held up appropriately and neither bent nor failed to align (in the military this style of latch is very common to equipment cases and almost always abused by lower enlisted, so there is often at least one broken latch on every case). One negative aspect of durability observed was not with the Bronc 52 field case itself, but rather the supportive hook-and-loop accessories used to anchor the firearms inside the case. The hook-and-loop (male) sides wore out very prematurely, with the fabric de-threading after multiple uses of open/closing the straps—almost to the point that by the end of review it has lost its ability to retain a modest level of retention and keep the firearm secure. Both on the individual straps and on those to the gun hooks suffered from this effect. It is most likely these will be the first sacrificial element in the Bronc 52 that will need replacement over time. With the individual hook-and-loop straps that was as simple as removing the frayed strap and replacing it with another. But the hook-and-loop strap on the gun hook is fixed, thus necessitating replacement of the entire unit itself. One recommendation for improvement to Signature 4 on the retention straps would be to obviously improve that hook-and-loop material to prevent premature wear. But they are also encouraged to examine the possibility of moving to the QuickFist retention block (similar to how Grey Man Tactical uses it to secure firearms to its RMP) that eliminates frictional wear, protects the rifle’s exterior, and secures the overall item. It could be easily modified to accommodate the Bronc 52 interior support rails and improve overall longevity. Signature 4 does offer a lifetime manufacturer’s warrantee on its field cases against cracking or breakage—but this does not extend to improper use or excessive abuse (so don’t use it to test our bear snacks).
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, there is a lot of good aspects packed into the Bronc 52’s design that deserved to be addressed, so the best approach was to do so with each of the three areas individually. These are:
- The Upper Segment (i.e. the “lid”):
- With the upper segment, there was a vast amount of space available to appropriately stow two full length, 18” AR-15 rifles, or alternate them with either shorter rifles or AR pistols (to include with optics mounted). Conceivably, with shorter rifles came the opportunity to also include a third alternate upper receiver as well. The three support rails themselves were rigid and added to the stability of the case, and the security of stored items. Some difficulty was noted however as the rails are anchored in fixed positions, and thus (depending on rifle configuration or length) sometimes it was difficult to find a suitable position for the hook-and-loop retention straps or with the gun hooks. The position of these three fixed points lends itself that the Bronc 52 was designed more around bolt-action style hunting rifles than the modern sporting rifle. A recommendation to Signature 4 would be to increase the number of threaded anchor positions from three to (at least) five. This would allow the end-user to customize the position and internal storage configuration based on the rifle’s accessories and design as needed. It would also open the opportunity to offer additional support rails separately as desired by the consumer.
- Another area of note was the padded nylon divider that was attached to the interior of the upper segment. The divider itself had nearly complete coverage, and did a good job at partitioning both segments and protecting the contents of the upper segment (when not encumbered). However, the spacing of the nylon bands on the bottom was not consistent to the PALS/MOLLE webbing standard, so it was difficult to attach accessories or pouches that meet this requirement without some deflection/bunching in the material (that or just skipping the last band). Additionally, while the slide-release buckles do provide some measure of support if the padded divider is loaded down with pouches/accessories—there was no buckles on the sides, which resulted in the padded divider sagging somewhat due to the added weight. Here, it is recommended to Signature 4 to examine if it wants/needs the webbing on one side—and if so then to make it PALS-compliant. Little would be lost in terms of cost of materials, however the functionality of the divider would be improved in doing so. Oppositely, adding a slide-release buckle to the sides of the padded divider would give it the added support if loaded down. Another recommendation would be to consider adding a continual zipper line along one edge of the padded divider as its interior space would make an excellent pocket for paper targets, documents, and other similar flat items. Alternatively, if the need for nylon webbing were eliminated, the ensuing space would be ideal for administrative pockets for range cards, notepads, pens, etc.
- The Lower Segment (i.e. the “base”):
- Although similar in design as the upper segment, the lower was the primary storage area for non-firearm related items such as; plate carrier, belt, helmet, etc. This space was more efficiently organized using several Bale Bags (this review included two Bale Bags 32s and one Bale Bag 16 (with optional pistol foam insert)) that are sold separately. The lower segment of the Bronc 52 fit all three bags easily, and still had some ensuing space around the 16 for additional magazines or other items. In total, the lower segment fit everything needed that would normally take multiple other cases or bags to hold the same amount of items. Previous versions within the pre-existing Bronc Box generations had the lower segment’s interior space divided via grooves for removable dividers, but that design was eliminated in lieu of the current uniform space and removable liner. Other accessories that help further organize the lower segment space were available (but sold separately from the Bronc 52) and included a foam insert for additional rifles, and other versions of the Bale Bags for ammo and other items.
- Other Notables:
- One area of positive note during the review was the interlock/seal between the O-ring (in the upper segment) and the foam gasket (in the lower segment) that created a solid, watertight seal. During recovery of multiple trips to the range (where the Bronc 52 was continually coated in dust, debris, and rained on) it was hosed off and washed. Water could be observed collecting along the seals, and the case groove it sits in, but never noted penetrating the interior or saturating any areas inside. Perhaps the only limiting factor in this component of the case was that when the upper segment was opened, the water along said upper groove would immediately condense and drip into the interior. This was minimal and was easily mitigated by opening the lid slowly or tiling the case slightly prior to opening and allow any excess water between the two adjoined segments to run off. The consumer should take note however, the capabilities of the Bronc 52 to create a watertight seal works both ways. There is no air pressurization valve (but one can be added per purchaser’s request or sold separately) or other means to enable moisture/humidity from the interior to escape. Thus if you placed a wet item inside the field case (such as wet boots or clothing, wet gear, or gun) and closed the case for transport, that moisture has no means of escape. The same could be said for those living in regions with high humidity levels, such as Florida or Louisiana whereby you could inadvertently trap moisture-rich air, from an early morning hunt or range prep, inside the case. The solution there would be to simply place a quality desiccant pack inside the case and alleviate any concern. One suggestion here for Signature 4 might be to consider adding several small pockets or sleeves to the removable liner for such an item.
- Lastly, the Bale Bags. While not the direct focus of this review, these accessories deserved at least a point of discussion as it is nearly certain that anyone considering the purchase of a Bronc Box will also consider adding these items as well. The two versions of the Bale Bags utilized allowed the end-user to organize the contents, per the limitations that the items fit inside the bags. The bags themselves were very spacious; in one 32 an entire plate carrier (with plates), range belt (with leg drop) and other field items were stored, while in another 32 went all clothing and boots. The 16 had the inclusion of a foam pistol insert, which comfortably secured two handguns, magazines, and earpro—but when the foam was removed made an excellent helmet bag (with the ensuing space taken up by a third-party NVG pouch). The exterior material and weatherized zipper line did a good job at ensuring there was no moisture saturation or dust that penetrated the interior. However two aspects emerged during review and recommended to Signature 4 to examine. The first being the side hook-and-loop handles/straps as they felt inadequate in transporting a fully laden 32. Ideally you’d want that as a continual reinforced nylon strap that is folded to create the handle, runs from one side, under the bottom for support, and then up the other side to establish the other handle. The side hook-and-loop as support straps did well for lighter items (like clothing and such), but strained against heavier contents (like a plate carrier). The second aspect to examine being the zipper line itself. While the Bale Bags sat inside the 52 perfectly flush with the lower segment of the case, because the zipper line runs along the top and slightly down the front of the Bale Bag, this made manipulating the zipper closest to the interior sidewall of the field case somewhat difficult given the confined space. Modifying the zipper line to be exclusively a top-opening only zipper would allow the end-user to fully open the Bale Bag easily while it still sits inside the case. Both aspects were relatively minor and did not inhibit the function of the Bronc 52 in any aspect.
- The Upper Segment (i.e. the “lid”):
- Weight – Good (4/5): The weight of a Bronc 52 tipped the scale in at 59 pounds (empty), and this proved to be perhaps the field case’s single greatest detractor as (combined its bulk) made it somewhat unwieldy for a single individual to maneuver. Thus, as items were added, the weight of the field case obviously only increased from there. While the wheels and side carrying handles did assist in moving—invariably came lifting it into the back of the vehicle. It is highly recommended that if maneuvering the Bronc 52 by yourself, to either pre-stage the field case to where it needs to be prior to adding items, or if the entire 8.12ft3 of storage space is used to simply get someone to assist as a two-man lift to place it where it needs to go. But the double-walled construction of the Bronc 52 held more than enough structure/support to contain and protect the items inside. In contrast, the Loadmaster 42 (23 pounds) with 3.05ft3 of storage space, or the 472-463L-MM36 Mobile Master Case (44.60 pounds) with 8.7ft3 of storage space by Pelican establish that while the Bronc 52 is the heavier of these options, it offers the most storage space, hardware and accessories, and protection out of these alternatives. As the design’s premise of these types of field cases is focused on protecting the contents and not minimizing weight, this translated to a good overall weight of the Bronc 52 considering what is gained.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
Product Link: https://broncbox.com/products/the-bronc-52
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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