Steyr Mannlicher Pro hunter Rifle Review
Peter Jones Reviews the Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter Rifle.
Steyr Mannlicher Rifles
Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter - Set right in the heart of Austria is the city of Steyr. Due to the cities location on the main thorough fare to and from one of Austria's largest Iron Ore mines, the city has been at the very fore front of weapons manufacturing since as early as the 12th Century.
(Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter in .308 Calibre equipped with North Star Moderator and Zeiss Scope)
In fact after the 30 year war, in the early part of the 17th Century, the city of Steyr became responsible for one of the highest rates of early firearms production in the world.
In more recent times Mannlicher have become the main firearms manufacturer in Steyr, a city which has therefore had a long and historic tradition of weapons manufacturing.
Today 'Steyr Mannlicher' as they are known, are responsible for the production of both sporting and military rifles and one of the more recent models has been the Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter rifle, which has proven highly popular.
Although undoubtedly an attractive rifle the proportions and build along with the synthetic stock give the pro hunter a slightly more heavy duty military style, as opposed to many of the more traditional European hunting rifles.
(Left: the Mannlicher has a detachable two position magazine)
Priced competitively at a mid range market, the rifle will appeal to those deer stalkers and hunters less inclined to opt for the slightly more expensive Sako 85, but will offer something a step beyond a typical offerings from Tikka, Browning or Remington.
The Mannlicher pro hunter is instantly recognisable by the distinctive twist to the action end of the barrel. The barrel itself is duller in finish, contrasting with the action and is cold hammer forged. A process which has been proven to provide highly accurate results. The barrel also comes pre threaded for a sound moderator.
However it is the safety, extraction of the bolt, and magazine that are perhaps the most unusual components of this rifle. The safety system operates by way of a three stage roller switch positioned at the top of the pistol grip.
In the first fire position a red dot is visible and the rifle can be discharged as usual. In the second loading position a white dot becomes visible on the thumb wheel. The rifle at this stage is still safe but can be loaded and unloaded. Finally the third position; 'safe' is indicated with a pop up white/grey catch. In this position the safety is on, the bolt cannot be opened, and the rifle cannot be discharged.
This safety system takes a bit of getting used to however it is well thought out and effective.
Another unusual feature of the Mannlicher is the detachable two position magazine. The magazine itself is of a double stack design made of black polymer allowing you to house 4 standard cartridges or three magnums.
It is released by a double catch visible on each side of the stock just forward of the trigger guard. Nothing especially unusual here, however the unusual bit is that it can be depressed into the rifle in two stages. The first stage allows the magazine to be held firmly in the rifle but will not allow a round to be fed when cycling the bolt. The magazine instead needs to be depressed to the second stage to allow for feeding.
Added to this, a point I like about the magazine is that it requires extracting and does not simply drop out upon the inadvertent depression of the release catch.
As for the bolt this is a stainless steel 4 locking lug system and is extremely smooth. The bolt can be removed by rotating the safety to it most rearward position before simply sliding the bolt free of the action.
The bolt can also be locked in place by moving the safety to its most rearward position and pushing the bolt handle down. This will prevent the bolt from accidentally being opened. By positioning the safety in the middle position the bolt can be cycled while still allowing the rifle to be safe.
(Fig 1. Steyr Mannlicher Pro Hunter Rifle)
I like this system, for sure it takes a bit of getting used to and god knows it's difficult to describe in writing! However with a little use the shooter soon becomes familiar with the operation and I have heard few criticisms.
As for the trigger? Well pretty damn good actually! Crisp, adjustable and reliable with zero creep, factory set to break at around 3.5 pounds.
The Mannlicher Pro hunter is not perfect. The fore end of the stock as with some synthetics lacks rigidity, it is also somewhat of a bulky rifle weighing around 7.5 pounds. However all things considered it is an excellent weapon and represents a sensible mid range purchase for anyone looking for a deer stalking or general purpose hunting rifle.
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