Austenite grain growth in microalloyed steels is governed by the coarsening of fine precipitates present at grain boundaries below the grain coarsening temperature. Zener model is widely used in metals to describe the pinning effect of second phase particles precipitated in the matrix. In this work it has been discussed whether grain boundary or volume diffusion is the rate controlling process for the coarsening of the niobium carbonitrides. Calculations on austenite grain growth kinetics, obtained coupling Zener theory and both rate controlling processes of precipitate coarsening, have been compared against experimental austenite grain size results under nonisothermal heating conditions. In this sense, it has been concluded that the coarsening of niobium carbonitrides is mainly controlled by volume diffusion of Nb in austenite.