Do I need new rifle?
Well, I think I do. 🙄 I do need a new rifle as the rifle I am currently using is not very good on driven hunts. I also have a combo gun that I take on driven hunts, but it is not my favourite gun and mainly my father uses it. I could also use a shotgun, but it is a limitation when longer shots are required. Old Brno has also other problems that always bothered me, but I never managed to solve them such as noisy safety catch etc. Anyway, decision has been made and I am buying a new rifle.
I really enjoyed my Blaser R93 Professional and really regret selling that rifle. It was the rifle I shot best together with the Tikka M595, which I shouldn’t have sold either… Thanks to these two rifles I found out two things – I really should be using synthetic stock rifles. I do go out in any weather conditions, get a rifle wet, dirty in mud and snow. The second thing was – I don’t really need set triggers I used before, and I shoot a lot better with a good direct trigger.
So I made a list of requirements my new rifle should meet. Some are essential, some nice to have.
– good synthetic stock – optional regulated comb
– good direct trigger
– safe – manual cocking preferred
– robust and easy to clean – modular build preferred
– readily available on the shelf in popular calibres
What in theory matches my requirements?
1. Blaser R93 i R8
No questions asked, Blaser R8 is meeting all the requirements. I used Blaser R93 Professional before and I really enjoyed it. If I’d go for Blaser again, I should be getting R8 instead of R93 because of the magazine, available ATZL trigger with separate target and hunt settings, and a very comfortable Professional Success thumb-hole stock. I always thought Professional Success was the ugliest stock available, but once I tried it, I think it is best stock on the market, and not so ugly any more 😆 It is quite expensive around £3,000 + additional charge for optional ATZL trigger or semi-weight barrel.
2. Sauer 202 Synchro XT/Compact
Sauer is available in new synthetic stock that is very similar to Blaser’s thumb-hole stock with regulated comb Synchro XT and shorter Synchro XT Compact with Semi-Weight barrel. In theory Sauer is meeting all the requirements except for manual cocking system, and it is hard to find all the info I need from the website. Safety on Sauer 202’s is a bit unusual, but I could get used to it. It is also as expensive as Blaser around £3,000. There is new Sauer 404 coming in with manual cocking and other improvements, but it’s likely to be more expensive than already expensive 202 and not available any time soon.
3. Mannlicher SM12 SX
I always liked Steyr Mannlicher rifles. I often use my father-in-law’s Mannlicher M in .30-06 or Mannlicher-Łucznik in 7×64, I owned Steyr Pro Huntera in .308 Win and it was a decent rifle too. New Mannlicher SM12 SX has manual cocking system, nice synthetic stock (Pro Hunter was pig ugly in my opinion), good barrels (available short Semi-Weight barrel) and improved trigger (ProHunter had a decent trigger, but could have been better to be honest). Mannlicher cannot be easily taken apart for cleaning and I have to try the trigger. It costs about £1,500.
4. Merkel RX Helix
I had a chance to handle the Helix RX and it is an interesting modular build rifle, but I was not convinced how the barrels are exchanged and the fact that the bolt is not easily removable, (bolt head is removable) but in general the rifle meets all the requirements. Nice synthetic stock with optional regulated comb, can’t remember if I liked the trigger though… Would like to try the Merkel again. It is about £2,000.
5. Haenel Jaeger 10
This is something I have never handled before, but Haenel is getting really popular as it supposed to be well engineered German rifle, at the price tag of Tikka T3. There is Varmint Sporter version available in a synthetic stock with regulated comb and Semi-Weight barrel. The rifle meets most of my criteria (need to try the trigger), and costs around £1,000.
6. Tikka T3 Lite Adjustable
There is new Tikka T3 with new Lite synthetic stock with regulated comb. So far only T3 Supervarmint was offered with regulated comb and it is quite heavy rifle, but here we have new very light 2.7kg rifle. I like Tikka’s triggers, they can be easily improved by replacing the spring. My old Tikka M595 had a great trigger. I always used the Optolock mounts, would have to look for a QD option that is a must in case of driven hunts. Tikka is the cheapest at below £1,000.
I have a couple rifles to try, now to the shops… 🙄