RPA Rangemaster Precision Arms - Woodland Stalker
A Review of the RPA 'Rangemaster Precision Arms' Woodland Stalker Rifle.
I first came across RPA, ‘Rangemaster Precision Arms’ rifles, a number of years ago whilst doing my DSC1. Having elected to use the instructor’s rifle for the shooting test, (this is not a bad idea as they are usually shooting bang on), I was able for the first time to fit myself to one of these highly regarded, but less well known rifles.
(Above: At just 36" (910mm) in length, the RPA Woodland Stalker is a highly accurate and compact rifle)
As I slid my opposable digit through the thumbhole stock, and lay prone peering through the scope, I was acutely aware that I was handling a quality product. Working the action after the first few shots revealed a kind of mechanical ruggedness that I have experienced in other rifles, a feel that is quite different from some of the slick mechanisms made by many German manufacturers. Personally I like this type of action, it feels reliable and functional. The added weight of the rifle also provides a feeling of sturdiness and lends itself to a reduction in muzzle flip and greater accuracy.
I was again recently reminded of Rangemaster Precision Arms when a regular client arrived in Oxfordshire to stalk Fallow deer, with a brand new RPA Woodland Stalker.
As guests usually arrive with the fairly standard line up of rifles including; Tikka, Sako, Blaser etc, I was delighted to take a closer look at something a little bit different.
The first thing that strikes you is of course the thumbhole design of the black, synthetic stock. This is in fact a design that is available in all of the RPA range, and I have to say it is first class. The design is comfortable and natural and provides, what I can best describe as, a really snug feel when shouldering the weapon.
The second thing, and unique selling point of the Woodland Stalker, is the short 16 inch fluted barrel. It is this feature that has given rise to the name and therefore suggested use. The short length has been designed to create a comfortable, compact and practical rifle for those who hunt in confined environments, when a longer barrel may prove a hindrance.
(Above: A first class trigger and action. A ten shot magazine is also available)
The culmination of the short barrel and thumbhole stock, result in an extremely well balanced rifle. With or without a moderator the RPA Woodland Stalker handles and points beautifully, and in doing so disguises the fact that this is not a light weight rifle. Weighing 8.2lbs without the moderator it is on the heavy side, however the excellent sense of balance means that this is hardly noticeable. Unless of course you choose to be lugging it around all day, in which case you may be less forgiving.
However with the extra weight comes accuracy in bucket loads. RPA promise a ½ minute of angle and all rifles are test fired prior to leaving the factory. The test target is then presented to the new owner as evidence of the rifles performance.
These rifles are in fact, capable of accuracy very much greater than this, something which I have been assured is true by owners of these rifles, and by Sid Hawkins, who is the current verifier at RPA.
RPA rifles are quality products, and highly engineered to exacting standards. As such the action is easy to operate and the match trigger is, as you would expect, first class and breaks predictably and cleanly. The safety catch has also been placed in a simple practical position and is very straight forward to operate.
With all this in mind you might not be too surprised to learn that they do not come cheap. The current RRP for the RPA Woodland Stalker in .308 Calibre is £2722.50 (Excluding VAT). This puts it in the category of a Blaser R8 or Sauer 202. Both of which offer some stiff competition.
Another point worth mentioning before you set your heart on one, currently the Woodland Stalker only comes in .243 and .308 Calibres. Something to keep in mind when you are applying for a new slot on your FAC.
RPA are not a large company, however since their inception around 40 years ago, they have come far. Their meticulous eye for detail and the obvious pride with which they have for their rifles is palpable. RPA's exacting standards mean that they are developing a well deserved and loyal following. If you want a synthetic, compact and highly accurate rifle, then Rangemaster Precision Arms Woodland Stalker is amongst the very best.
For more reviews of other top Deer Stalking Rifles follow this link: rifle-reviews